How to Avoid the Complacency Bug – Smart Bidding Edition.

Campaign Planning

More and more we are becoming aware that the future of paid search is a world of smart bidding, automation and algorithms; there’s no denying that to stay ahead of the curve, wherever possible, we should be moving forward to adopt the available smart bidding strategies in our arsenal. Smart bidding works with data in a way that our poor, small human brains simply cannot, or at least not in a matter of seconds.  

To think, however, that we can simply switch on these smart bidding strategies, put our feet up and watch the results roll in, is complacency at its worst. After all, smart bidding works with the data we feed it. Quality data is arguably more important now than ever before. If we are all competing on the same platforms which are utilising the same algorithms and data signals, we have to ensure we are giving ourselves the best possible chance of success. 

To ensure we are doing what we need to do to get the absolute best out of the world of smart bidding and automation, here are five key factors to look out for:


  1. Product Data Feed Quality

Starting with our shopping campaigns, product data feeds house the product information we want to feed into our paid search campaigns, whatever is in those feeds echoes in eternity. Seriously though, with this being one of the most important elements of shopping success, a poor feed is a recipe for poor performance – go figure. If you want success in the world of shopping, have a good data feed.  

The importance of good, relevant titles, descriptions filled with potential keywords our searchers might be using, and quality images, can’t be ignored. We have seen campaigns completely turn around based on feed optimisation. A simple tweak such as adding a brand name to a title can turn a campaign from zero to hero in no time at all. Ensure the data is as relevant to your product as possible, check your google product category is the right one for your product, this helps google determine when and to whom to show your item, so get it right! It can be as simple as reordering your wording, don’t be complacent, test and perfect.

Perfecting your data feed will give your smart bidding strategy the basis it needs to perform well and help it on its way to greatness. You can ask it to spend as much as you like, ask it for the return you want, and it will try it’s very best for you, but it really can only work with what it’s given in terms of your data. 


  1. Staying Competitive

Seems obvious, because it is. Do what you can to be competitive within your market, if you’re trying to get the most out of a smart bidding shopping campaign, but are asking it to get you sales on an item that competitors are selling for 20% less, you better have a good reason that will compel users to spend more with you. Whilst people truly value good service and quality, they really want a good price too. See where you sit in line with your competitors, check things like your auction insights reports to see who is in your market and how they are behaving – use this analysis to determine what you may need to change in terms of your budgets/targets to get the most out of your strategies. 


  1. Audiences

Audiences are still important! When you include audiences in your smart bidding campaigns, you’re telling your bid strategy which users are most important to you, the bid strategy can use this data to optimise your bids.


  1. Quality Score

What happens when our quality score increases? Our CPC’s decrease. Our CPCs decrease and we give our Smart Bidding strategies the opportunity to get more exposure for our budget and improve our Ad Rank. Quality score is of huge importance, and one I fear is at risk of being ignored the more smart bidding strategies are expected to do all of the hard graft – bidding isn’t everything people! 

Ad Quality / Strength  - Are you using the newest ad types? Are you utilising responsive search ads? Are you using up all possible space with your descriptions and titles? Make sure messaging lines up with the tone of the business as a whole, make sure it is cohesive and well written. Again, we need to be giving our smart bidding strategies the best possible shot – we can ask a ‘Maximise Search Impression Share’ strategy to do its job, but if you are getting 99% impression share with a terrible ad, and your main competitor is getting 95% with ads that are super engaging, you can guess who’s click-through rate will likely be best.

Relevancy - ‘Ad Relevancy’ is literally scored out of 10 on Google Ads, and that score matters. Make sure your ads are super relevant to the keywords they are firing from, structure your account in a way that makes this possible. If you want to keep the cost of your conversions low, or your return high, aid your smart bidding strategies where you can by mining search term reports for irrelevancy, get those suckers out of there. 

Landing Pages - Landing Page Experience is another element taken into consideration when our quality score is judged, so be sure to send people to the most relevant pages possible in relation to the keyword being targeted. Take your high relevancy and throw in user-friendly pages and you’re one step ahead. If you need to optimise your landing pages, do it. Not only will you keep the user engaged so that they purchase, but you’ll also be in a better position to make them return. 

Let’s say that we choose a ‘maximize conversions’ smart bidding strategy in a campaign… the strategy would certainly try it’s best and yes conversions might come…but if we have low-quality ads, a terrible landing page choice, and have let an abundance of bad traffic into the campaign, then we aren’t doing what is necessary to capitalise on our investment. 


  1. Site Performance 

As a whole, make sure your website is performing the best it can. Are your product pages user friendly? Good categories? How is your site speed? Take the time to make sure the site can work in harmony with your smart bidding to achieve whichever goal you are going for through paid search. Google has plenty of tools to run basic tests which give you possible solutions to any site errors, they’re worth checking out. 


And there you have it, an almost rant but an actual guide on why the basics can’t be ignored. The important fundamentals of keeping your accounts in the best possible shape still stand, and there are plenty more things to consider, the optimisation possibilities are endless folks. Don’t be complacent, nurture your smart bidding campaigns with good data, keep up the quality of the ads and extensions, make sure to keep the traffic relevant, optimise your site so it is the best it can be, and reap the rewards.