Back in November 2019, as one of the top 50 PPC agencies in the country we were lucky enough to be invited down to London by Google to take part in their digital champions event. This meant we received exclusive access to 1-2-1 training directly from the innovators of smart bidding themselves. Not only was this training on how to best implement smart bidding on campaigns but also how to optimise smart bidding to make sure it fit to clients goals.
As an agency we know of the importance of smart bidding & we were one of the early adopters, willing to test smart bidding to help further improve our client’s accounts. Machine learning has led to some ground-breaking results and aided some campaigns to great success. So when we were given the opportunity to learn more about the latest features and how to best apply them, we had to say yes!
We took part in a workshop that meant we had early insights to the latest features and tools that were getting launched via smart bidding, meaning we are constantly working smarter, working faster & winning more. This consisted of a run through of all the available smart bidding solutions and everyone’s opinions, queries & successes with them. As an agency we feel like we have comfortably found a place for all the smart bidding solutions and how to effectively use them best to suit our client’s goals. However, that doesn’t mean we’re not open to change and trying new ways that could also lead to success for our clients. So for me, this was perfect to not only clarify that we are doing things right but also to get some new ideas flowing and to discuss the general feeling around smart bidding.
One thing that was stressed was that a lot of people assume you can set up smart bidding, let it run and it’ll achieve the results that you want to see. This isn’t the case, as we need to be inputting the right signals into your Google Ads account and aiding it as much as possible (where we can) to get the results you want to see. A few things to consider before smart bidding:
- Are you taking advantage of responsive search ads (RSA’s) within your search campaigns?
- Have you implemented a non-last-click attribution model?
- Are you using RLSA, Similar Audiences & In-Market lists?
If you aren’t answering yes to those questions then please action them before you implement smart bidding in your account. This will allow you from the off to feed Google the most accurate signals about who’s interacting with your site but also how they’re interacting with your website to push for the best results.
Another area we touched on was frequent implementation pitfalls around smart bidding strategies, from setting goals that are too aggressive to looking at the wrong metrics. There are many pitfalls when it comes to smart bidding, especially if you’re not learning and reading about it day in, day out which is completely understandable. So just a few things we were made aware of that Google have found the most common is people relying too much on smart bidding to achieve realms beyond what they were already achieving through their account. So it’s important to be realistic with your goals and to be fair when it comes to assessing what you have achieved through them. Another area Google focussed on was people don’t necessarily look at the right metrics when analysing their smart bidding performance and tend to look at click volume or impressions volume but not actually look at the target that they have input into the system for the machine to learn around. So just be wary when you are judging smart bidding, make sure you’re looking at the right metrics.
One final thing that we talked about was evaluating your bidding performance as there are 2 key factors that impact how long you should wait before assessment;
- The learning period – the time where Google Ads gathers the performance data it needs to learn how to best optimise your bids in real time to achieve your desired results.
- Your time lag for conversions – most clicks don’t result in immediate conversions it takes a bit of time for people to come back and converting after carrying out some research.
So you need to make sure you’re judging it on the right data range when all your conversions are accurate and reported. I suppose the easiest way to think about it is, you wouldn’t judge a holiday on the booking before-hand (the learning period) or the flight back (the time lag for conversions) but the bit in the middle, the actual holiday.
To finish off… we can now proudly say, Mabo are fully fledged Google Digital Champions & your smart bidding experts!