Google’s Smart Solutions are features that have been evolving on the platform for some time, although recently it seems tools such as automated bidding strategies, dynamic ads and smart creatives are performing better than ever, with Google even going as far as saying they should be implemented right away, else you risk getting left behind.
We recently visited Google’s London HQ to find out more about implementing Smart Solutions, so here are some of our key takeaways from the day.
Automation is not your enemy
The word ‘automated’ can conjure up fear for those who think that it will eventually take over and make the role of the marketeer redundant. But, instead of spending hours adjusting bids, dissecting campaigns and testing ad copy, your time can be spent focusing on the overall strategy of the account. The key learning here is that, while your old best practices shouldn’t be completely dismissed, you should now be considering a different approach to optimising a Google Ads account.
One good place to start is by looking at the recommendations tab. Although not a new feature, it has improved over time with machine learning and now gives clear, actionable insights to each campaign. It suggests different bidding strategies to use based on your campaign goals, new keyword suggestions and recommendations on ad copy changes. There’s also an ‘Optimisation Score’ which gives a calculated estimation of how well the account is set to perform and, by applying the recommendations, the score will increase.
Smart Bidding Strategies
There are now six Smart Bidding Strategies in Google Ads, each with a different campaign goal in mind. Instead of focusing on cost per click (CPC) and average position, they optimise towards conversions or overall impression share, depending on the bidding strategy chosen. But it’s important to note that when implementing a Smart Bidding Strategy, you need to give them time to prove their worth and let the machine technology adapt and improve.
This means that looking at results on a daily or even weekly basis won’t give you a true understanding of how the campaign is performing. Google advises leaving the campaign to run for a month at the very least before analysing results and making changes.
Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) and Responsive Display Ads (RDAs) are proving to be very successful additions to the platform and Google are reporting some great results – for instance, RDAs can increase conversions by 50% when used with standard image ads.
Smart Creatives allow you to test assets at scale, with machine learning serving the best performing images, videos or ad copy for you. RDAs are a simple and quick way of creating display assets without the need for a designer. You can upload images directly from your website, add your brand colours and test different messaging, which isn’t easy to achieve with static image ads.
When it comes to RSAs, Google recommends using these alongside Expanded Text Ads and, when analysing results, looking at the ad group as a whole rather than each individual ad. This is because RSAs are designed to generate incremental clicks and conversions rather than just improving your click-through rate.
At Cobb HQ, we’re continually testing these strategies and features and have had some great success with them overall. However, it does take patience. Though it might be tempting to revert to manual bidding when you see your CPC increasing without immediate improvements to conversion rates, reviewing campaigns over a longer time period can yield results worth waiting for. This won’t always be the case, of course, so it’s essential to check in on the campaigns and change strategies over time once you’re in a position to comprehensively analyse the data, rather than making lots of big changes all at once.
With lots of new, useful functionality arriving in Google Ads, it’s an exciting time for paid media experts. But these tools are still evolving – as your campaigns and strategies should over time anyway. So don’t be fearful of Google’s automation-based features; adopt them with with an open mind and consider a different perspective.
If you’d like to discuss how Smart Solutions can be used to improve your paid media strategies, give us a call on 01273 208913 or get in touch here.