Comparison Of Google Bidding Strategies

Put on your readers and set-aside the kool-aid while I compare Google Ads Bid Strategies using various campaign types from a real-world eCommerce business. This is not your usual theory-blog maximized for SEO (I’m not counting words – so tired of long, empty articles written as search rank spam, aren’t you?) And this is not a how-to guide. I hope you find this no-bullshit article refreshing.

First lets start with the summary and a quick conclusion. You see 6 active campaigns and 2 inactive, sorted by Conversion Value / Cost. These campaigns are all running smoothly after having ironed-out the kinks that are inevitable with new campaigns (you know what I mean). And there is a long enough time-frame to capture the “trend”.

My Name Is Nobody

Can you see that manual bidding with CPC enhanced is my best strategy – surprised? Yes that is not what others are blogging about, because Google wants everyone to migrate (give control over) to their Machine Learning (ML) and they will reward you with a pat on the head for blogging about it. Just do the search for this article’s title and look at what the sycophants say; “Join or Die: It’s Time To Embrace Google Automation” , on which I could write an entire blog about the bias and myopia. And then there are the simple-minded blogs; “Most people opt for automated because who the heck wants to adjust bids all the time if you’re running multiple campaigns? Nobody.”

Machine Learning

Doesn’t the logic of giving yourself over to ML (artificial intelligence) just bother you on several levels? Letting Google do whatever it thinks is best for my business and spend my precious ad dollars whatever way it’s program (it is a program written by humans by the way) should bid to get a conversion. Really? Let me get this straight; Google cares so much about li’ol’me, that it will always put my ad ahead of my nearest competitor’s ad? That is what they are insinuating aren’t they? And people must believe that or it wouldn’t be a thing. OR how about that you are committing career suicide by declaring yourself obsolete? (who need a job anyway?) Now the guy in the first blog tries to explain that you will still have plenty to do, but I gotta wonder what the C-suite at Google thinks about that logic?

Well lets just allay any unicorn thinking you might have because those 2 bottom performing campaigns (Christmas & New5Dec) are SmartShopping campaigns; 100% Google ML. They have been running for more than a month (the learning is over). Google’s machine loves me just enough.

The Dynamic Ads campaign is of course Target CPA, which is ML, and while it has always performed well, its expensive. Look at the Cost / Conversion. And this campaign is high-maintenance. I have to watch this one daily or the Cost / Conversion starts to creep upwards. So much for saving me time! Bottom line. Those 3 bottom performing campaigns all employ ML.

I regularly see (and I have the screenshots, but Im sure you understand why I cannot show you the products) where Google will bid $8.00 for an item that sells for $3.99. How is that “intelligent” or even possible when Google gets to see the sales price in the MerchantCenter feed? I’d like to see Google’s ML (machine learning or artificial intelligence) run a business with that logic. More likely, that’s not the priority…Im coming to that.

The NoC campaign is unique in that it is Target ROAS, so there is ML at work there too, but the ROAS is 900% and its set Low priority – a bidding strategy of last resort. This works well for new products that have never sold before (bid discovery). At least that is how I use that strategy successfully. Of all the strategies, this one is also the most volatile in terms of performance (Conversion Value / Cost). But you get bid pricing from it.

In case you don’t know, you cannot use scripts to extract AverageCpc from SmartShopping campaigns. No bid discovery from SmartShopping seems to be the new normal. Why is that? (que Dr. Evil)

My name is nobody and I do manually set bids for products that sell frequently. Fancy a guess why? Because I can maintain a profit margin, that’s why. How can you maintain a profit margin if Google’s ML knows your profit margin (I can’t prove that, but I’m just that type of guy) and will bid up to a point where you get to keep just enough and they get to keep some too.

The AaA and HiCtr campaigns are the heart of the business because those maintain profit margin on the greatest number of best-selling products.

And this is where you get another reward-tipp for reading this article in full. Contact me to run your eCommerce campaigns and keep more profit margin. Hell-of-a-tipp! No?