Best practices for setting up Search Ads 360 Smart Bidding strategies

Analyze the results

Search Ads 360 bid strategies

For an accurate assessment of a Smart Bidding strategy's performance, you should wait at least three weeks after you apply the bid strategy recommendations. This gives sufficient time for the bid strategy to observe, adjust, and react to its own adjustments.

Here's what happens during the first three weeks:

  • Week one: Startup learning behavior:  The bid strategy attempts to reach a balance between getting enough traffic to observe performance and spending an appropriate amount on any biddable items with unknown potential. 
  • Weeks two and three: Observe, adjust, and react to adjustments.

Keep in mind that to establish a performance baseline, the recommended bid strategy was attempting to achieve:

  • A similar number of conversions at a ROI target that is lower than the average CPA, ERS, or ROAS from your manual bidding.
  • More conversions that your manual bids achieved at a similar average CPA, ERS, or ROAS.

View performance metrics for a bid strategy

Search Ads 360 provides a wide array of metrics for bid strategies. Here's a reasonable place to start when assessing performance:

  1. Create a column to report on the conversions in your bid strategy:

    If your bid strategy targets:

  2. View performance details for the bid strategy:
    1. Navigate to an advertiser.
    2. Click Bid strategies in the left navigation pane.
    3. Click the name of the bid strategy in the Bid strategy column.
    4. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Add the Floodlight column, Google Analytics activity column, or formula column that contains the conversions your bid strategy is targeting. 
  4. From the date selector that appears in the upper right corner of the page:
    1. Select a date range that begins one week after you applied the bid strategy. 
    2. Select the Compare to past checkbox and choose the time period just before you applied the bid strategy. 
    3. Be sure to select an equivalent length of time. For example, if you applied the bid strategy three weeks ago and are viewing performance from the last two weeks, compare current performance to performance from five to three weeks ago. (Be sure to exclude the first week after you applied the bid strategy.)
    4. Click Apply.
  5. The scorecard below the performance summary graph shows the change in performance.
The scorecard below the performance summary graph shows the change in performance.

Adjust your targets

Once you've analyzed the results of the recommended bid strategy and established a baseline, you can make iterative, small adjustments going forward to see if you can get even better performance. The bid strategy forecast can help you with making changes by showing the performance you may achieve with more or less aggressive goals.

View the bid strategy's forecast

After observing sufficient activity in a bid strategy, Search Ads 360 automatically generates a forecast. The forecast shows the current ROI target, number of conversions (or amount of revenue), and cost. You can use the forecast to experiment with the bid strategy's target and see the likely effect on conversions and cost. 

Learn more about viewing forecast recommendations.

Make small changes and evaluate

If you decide to change the bid strategy's goals, make a small change (such as something less than 30% difference from current target) and then check the performance and forecast again after 1 week. Continue making small changes once every 1-2 weeks until you've reached your ideal balance of cost and conversions.

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