Evaluating the success of a bid strategy typically involves answering two broad questions:
- Is performance better than manual bidding (or other automated bidding systems)?
- Could you get better results with different settings (higher CPA, wider min/max bid range)?
Because search engine marketing is directly affected from one day to the next by unpredictable forces—such as competitors' actions, news events, and so on—you'll need a period of at least several weeks to understand how your current settings affect performance, make adjustments if necessary, and wait for the adjustments to take effect.
Reports that provide transparency
To help you figure out whether you could achieve better results with different settings, bid strategies provide a variety of reports. These reports give insight into how a bid strategy is performing and which changes the bid strategy has made. For example, you can see reports on:
- Settings and constraints that might be preventing the bid strategy from hitting the targets you specified.
- How closely the bid strategy performance matches the goal you specified. For example, you can see if a $10 CPA bid strategy is actually able to achieve a $10 cost per action.
- A history of changes the bid strategy has made to bids.
Bid strategy forecasts
Once a Smart Bidding strategy has enough historical data about the biddable items and conversions in the bid strategy, it can generate a forecast that shows the likely trade-offs between cost and conversion volume as you adjust your CPA, ERS, or ROAS targets. You can use the forecast to help you find the ideal target for your business goals.
Comparing bid strategy performance
Once you're satisfied that the bid strategy is performing as well as possible given your marketing goal, keywords, and business constraints, optionally run performance comparisons to answer the question, "Does the bid strategy perform better than manual bidding or another automated bid system?"
Here are some suggested options for comparing performance:
- Compare performance before and after after launching the bid strategy.
This is the most straightforward comparison to set up, but it can't provide the most accurate, rigorous comparison.
- Compare campaigns with similar performance, applying a Search Ads 360 bid strategy to one campaign and using manual bidding or another system for the other campaign.
This comparison is better than comparing pre-launch and post-launch performance. However, it's only effective if you have truly similar campaigns that you can compare.
- Use Google Ads campaign drafts and experiments to run a randomized A/B test:
Google Ads campaign drafts and experiments allows you to split your campaign traffic into two randomized arms. You can put one arm into a Search Ads 360 bid strategy and the other in a different system and get A/B test results. Learn more about how to set up a Search Ads 360 bid strategy with experiments.