This month, Google introduced three new bidding strategies ways that are more flexible than Smart Bidding. These new bidding strategies should offer more ways for advertisers to customize their bidding strategies.

Smart Bidding is a type of automated bidding strategy. Automated Bidding allows you to choose a bid strategy in order to best meet the goals of your advertising campaign. For example, if your goal is to get more eyes on your website, your bid strategy would be “Maximize Clicks.” If conversions are your priority, “Maximize Conversions” is the bid strategy you’re looking for.

Choosing an automated bid strategy allows you to using machine learning to improve the results of your campaign by taking out a lot of the individual guesswork. Not only are algorithms faster, they’re generally more effective because they can look at so much data at once, and most individuals don’t have the expertise necessary to do successful manual bidding.

The key is making sure that your bid strategy lines up with your advertising goals so the machine can accurately do the hard work for you. So what is this news about Smart Bidding?

Smart Bidding is a subset of Google’s Automated Bidding strategies

Smart Bidding offers additional benefits over run-of-the-mill Automated Bidding because it uses machine learning to optimize for conversions in every single auction, known as “auction-time bidding”. According to Google, Smart Bidding also offers four additional benefits over regular Automated Bidding

Advanced machine learning

Algorithms are able to take almost incomprehensible amounts of data and use it to help you predict the outcomes and best practices for your Google Ads. The more advanced machine learning for Smart Bidding makes more accurate predictions across your account to help you determine the best bid amount for conversion value. The sheer amount of data and numbers involved is more than an individual or team could crunch, so Google is attempting to take some of the load off with new Smart Bidding algorithms.

Wide range of contextual signals

Google’s definition of signals is “identifiable attributes about a person or their context at the time of a particular auction,” which are traits that allow you to optimize your campaign strategy with bid adjustments. For example, depending on your business location might be very important or not at all. Smart Bidding will have several exclusive bid adjustments that you can optimize your campaign with, including:

  • Location
  • Device
  • Time of Day
  • Remarketing list
  • Ad characteristics
  • Browser
  • Language
  • Operating system
  • Web placement
  • Search query
  • Search network partner
  • and more

Even simple things like optimizing the size of your ad to the placement it will be can improve the likelihood of conversion and the quality of the ad. Optimizing for location may seem basic, but you really need to think about whether your business needs to be operated within a certain distance or if you can work with clients and customers anywhere around the world.

Flexible performance controls

Performance controls deals with setting performance targets for your own business goals. This also allows you to optimize your search bids based on your selected attribution model. A bid is how much an advertiser is willing to pay per click, and the attribution models help you understand how your ads perform by allowing you to choose how you “credit” which ad as the best (whether the first time a potential customer clicks an ad of yours, or the last time they click and ad before converting, for example).

By defining your own metrics for success, you are able to hone in on your own business goals and what’s right for you instead of general umbrella standards.

Transparent performance reporting

The new Smart Bidding algorithms claim not only to help you define and reach your goals better, but to track them. Nobody wants to put money in and not see results, so Google’s claims are promising. They include the status of your bid strategy, the ability to make campaign experiments to test your current bidding methods against Google’s Smart Bidding, alerts to bring potential issues to your attention, and more.

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