One of the constant battles in all digital advertising and marketing platforms is the balance about how much power you give the advertising channel to optimise itself via machine learning versus the irreplaceable instinct and knowledge of a qualified digital marketer.
At Sunny Digital, we follow the formula of ML x HI = AO.
ML = Machine Learning.
HI = Human Intelligence.
AO = Amazing Outcomes.
Read the full article here.
You have to remember, that whether it’s Google Ads, Facebook Ads or any other demand side platform where the bones of your campaigns live, these platforms make billions of dollars each year from you. They don’t achieve such healthy bottom lines by encouraging you to spend less.
Here in lies an ongoing challenge that only an experience human can decipher – are the spend recommendations legitimate and will result in better/more results, or do we need to read between the lines and take another (not suggested by ML) course of action?
We recently tested an automated bid strategy against a manual bid strategy in Google Advertising campaigns across 7 client accounts.
Of course the caveat list in terms of industry, seasonality and so on can go on forever, so whilst there are some trends that stuck out, please be sure to talk to a qualified Google Advertising Specialist before making such changes to your campaign.
Before we run through the findings, it is important to understand enhanced cost per click as well as maximise conversions and the bigger picture of bidding inside Google Ads (specifically search advertising).
Every time someone searches, let’s say “green dress online”, any advertiser that has a search ad set up targeting this term via a keyword (as well as the location, device etc. they have selected for the user) they will go in to an auction against all other advertisers bidding on the same person/search term.
How much you’re willing to pay, combined with several other factors will dictate a) if your ad shows at all for that search and b) how high it will appear in the top four Google Advertising positions.
Enhanced CPC, is (we think) 70% manual with a nice 30% kicker to let Google bid more if it believes the individual user is likely to click & convert based on their browsing activity. You set you’re only willing to pay $5 for “green dress online”, however if someone searching green dresses for the last week searches, you might end up paying a little more than $5 for the click. Ultimately you still have control though.
Maximise conversions bid strategy in Google Ads automatically set bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget. You can influence the efficiency and not just the volume by telling Google Ads your ideal CPA or ROAS. This is a bid strategy that relies heavily on your historical account data and conversions – so the more it has, the better (theoretically) it should be.
All of the accounts we tested these two bid strategies on in Google Ads campaigns had a significant amount of historical data.
What we found.
- 5 out of 7 campaigns showed Maximise Conversions return a significantly lower Cost Per Result. The 2 where eCPC performed more efficiently were the two lowest daily budget campaigns – indicating that if they has spent more over a longer time frame and achieved more data to fuel the bid strategy this could be a different story. One word performance advertisers and marketing managers/business owners often have fun conversations around is patience. How long should you wait for things to turn around and have faith in a certain strategy? It’s not a simple answer unfortunately.
- On average, the CPC & CTR for eCPC was considerably lower that maximise conversions. Whilst this may seem like a good story for eCPC, the conversion volume and efficiency tells another story. It comes back to the question of would you rather pay $10 for a click that is more likely to buy, of $5 for a click that is less likely to buy. Both have a certain level of propensity to purchase given their pre-search and click behaviour.
Google Ads bid strategies can be a minefield if you’re not careful. Get in touch if you would like a free review of your account!