Using Google’s Automated Bidding Strategies to Get More Conversions

Each business and industry may have different goals for their Google Ads account. For example, a business that is just opening may want to focus on Impressions to help Brand Awareness. A university struggling to meet its enrollment goals may want to focus on getting as many submitted applications as possible before the next admissions deadline. A senior living facility may want to fill up a certain type of living arrangement they have available – like independent living apartments. No matter what your goal is, there’s a way to utilize some of Google Ad’s automated bidding features to help you achieve it. All of the above examples can be classified with the goal of conversions or leads – focusing on interactions where a user has reached out to you to either learn more or begin the process if they’re ready to enroll, apply, or buy.

Goal: Conversions/Leads

If your goal is to get conversions or leads (form submissions on your website, applications submitted, etc.) then Search Ads are going to be your best choice: you can meet users who are actively searching for what you offer with your ad promoting what they need. These interactions are inherently more likely to result in a conversion than interactions from a Display ad because of the intent behind them. However, with Google’s automated bidding options, you can increase the number of conversions you receive and reduce your Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA), also known as Cost-Per-Conversion.

Setting up Conversion Tracking

First things first, in order for Google to be able to optimize your Google Ads campaign to get you more conversions, you have to tell Google what you want to count as a conversion. You can set up Call Extensions so that users who call your number from your ad will count as a conversion if that’s a valuable interaction for you. You can also set up tracking for form submissions on your site using Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager. For more on what to count as a conversion and how to set up tracking, you can read one of our previous articles. After you’ve decided what you’re going to count as a conversion and how you’re going to track conversions, we can look at bidding strategies to get you more conversions.

Automated Bidding: Max Conversions

With the Max Conversions bidding strategy, your budget is the focal point. Google’s automation will work to get you as many conversions as possible utilizing that daily budget amount. This bidding strategy is great when you have a fixed, precise budget. However, while it allows you greater control over the budget, it can result in a higher CPA (cost-per-acquisition) if your targeting is too broad either geographically or based on your keywords and competition.

Optimizing a Campaign Using Max Conversion Bidding:

The ideal way to optimize a campaign using max conversions is to be as specific as possible with your keywords, regularly comb through your search terms to find new keywords to add to your targeting, and also look for keywords that underperform to add as negative keywords to your campaign. Continuous optimizations under this bidding strategy will improve your CPA will still giving you more control over your budget.

Automated Bidding: Target CPA

With Target CPA bidding, the focal point is the “target” amount you want to spend for a conversion. Google will recommend a target for you based on performance, and then Google will let you know if your budget is sufficient or if you are “limited by budget”. If you are limited by budget, the performance of the campaign will suffer. So, you must continue to increase your budget to the recommended amount in order for Google to help you achieve your target.

Common Issues with Target CPA:

Even with target CPA bidding, sometimes the feasibility of that target changes based on search query volume, competition, or as the result of changes you make in that campaign. Regular checks on your CPA at the AdGroup level, as well as combing through search terms for further optimizations, should be a regular habit for you or your analyst to ensure performance doesn’t falter.

If you find that under target CPA bidding, your campaign is recommended to spend more than you are able to, you can start investigating where that money is being spent – which AdGroup or keyword is spending the most and why? Look at the search terms for that AdGroup or keyword – can you add any of them as negatives to improve performance and decrease spend there? If not, then consider pulling out whichever AdGroups are not performing well into their own Campaigns so that those that perform well don’t get overridden. If the issue is less isolated – meaning you just don’t have the budget to support the demand – then switch to Max Conversions for better budget control.

We know it’s a lot, and not everyone has the time and bandwidth to be a Google Ads expert. If you would like help setting up and running Google Ads for your business, reach out to EVG and let us know. We’d love to help you get started with Google Ads and start bringing in those conversions for you.

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