Finding success with Smart Bidding: Google Best Practices

Test your automated bid strategies


When testing Smart Bidding or another automated strategy, you want your tests to reveal clearly whether automated bidding is working well for you.

Keep each bidding test simple, consistent and focused on one KPI

The cardinal rule is: Keep things simple. You want your tests to reveal clearly whether automated bidding is working well for you. So resist the urge to also test new ads or landing pages at the same time and then try to interpret those results together. Stay focused on automated bidding and you’ll find it easier to see what’s happening and be able to troubleshoot any issues.

We recommend using campaign drafts and experiments to compare your current bidding strategy to something new. This allows you to clearly evaluate the results of your test. For example, you can run an experiment to compare Target CPA automated bidding to manual bid changes or your third-party bidding solution. That way you can see whether or not automated bidding will improve performance for your account.

Choose the largest campaign that you’re comfortable experimenting with

When testing, it's important to pick the largest campaign that you’re comfortable experimenting with. In testing, more data means more confidence. Automated bids rely on account history, so they'll perform better in an account with more past data to look at. Keep your experimental split at 50% when possible so that you can generate significant results as quickly as possible.

Aim for campaigns and experiment splits that will provide you with at least 30 conversions in the last 30 days. For the campaign you're testing, multiply your experiment split by the conversion volume of the campaign and make sure you get 30 conversions. For example, if you are only going to put 10% of campaign traffic in your experiment, you'll want a campaign that generates 300 conversions per month. An experiment with a 50% split, by contrast, would only need 60 conversions.

Start with targets that align with your historical CPA or ROAS

When you start your test, use your historical average CPA for that campaign as your performance target. This gives you the best possible comparison in performance with your current bidding strategy. You’ll have more confidence in your results.

Tip

Consider the conversion delay while assessing performance. You’ll want to remove those delays from your analysis. As an example, if it typically takes seven days for users to convert after an ad click, do not include the most recent week of performance when evaluating tests. Your data will still be missing conversion data from those seven days.

As you get your tests up and running, plan for a one-week window while automated bidding learns about your account. Following this learning period, your actual test should last a few weeks. You can make decisions on the winning strategy or adjust what you’re doing after your standard conversion delay has passed. Drafts and experiments also lets you know when a test has reached statistical significance. Wait for that notification to be more confident in your results.

If your automated test was a success, scale it to other campaigns. A great next step is using the Target CPA Simulator. It’ll help you understand the number of conversions your ads might have received if you had set different CPA targets. You can use it to identify incremental conversion opportunity and adjust your targets as you scale your usage of Target CPA bidding.

Conclusion

Smart Bidding can be a simple and powerful solution to the often complex challenge of finding the right bid for each individual auction. It may be a useful addition to your own account as well.

To get started, decide which strategy is right for your business and then test it out. If it’s working right, you’ll see better results while saving hours and days of management time in the long run.

The final goal, of course, is driving the clicks, conversions, revenue and profit you want at the price that makes the most sense for your business.

 

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