Smart Bidding Strategy: Full Guide to Increase Performance

smart bidding strategy

Smart Bidding strategy has actually been a staple in the means we run campaigns given that 2020. When I was first asked to update my 2018 write-up on Smart Bidding, I discovered it said that we weren’t very confident regarding it.

Flash onward to 2022, and our internal directive because 2020 has actually been:

” By default, Smart Bidding process need to be applied. There needs to be a great reason to go manual.”

Having dealt with Smart Bidding process on a lot of various instances, we have discovered:

  • When it performs well
  • When it needs help
  • How we can make it better

This post covers our collective understanding regarding these elements, which ultimately allows us to do something about it that allow Smart Bidding to do better instead of simply quit when it’s not working.

The last point we can do, as an agency, is to say, “We’re running Smart Bidding process, so there’s nothing we can do.”

So, we’ve discovered ways to guarantee we never ever need to state that.

The Foundation for Smart Bidding Strategy

Your data must be:

  • Correct
  • Sufficient
  • Stable

Let’s briefly go through these one by one:

Your tracking must be correct for start bidding strategy

I originally really did not include this factor, however adequate people persuaded me that it had to be in here.

You certainly require to have the appropriate tracking in place:

  • For revenue and transactions
  • Preferably from the Google Ads tag

And also you have to recognize what the earnings consists of. Does it consist of delivery? Tax obligations?

Which you then associate to the targets you have. Typically, financing individuals will certainly give you a ROAS target omitting tax (specifically for Europe) since that’s the only way they evaluate the numbers.

So double-check you have the ideal numbers in place and also make periodic examine your tracking. If you move to Smart Bidding process, it will certainly react to modifications in tracking without you knowing.

Data-volume must be sufficient to know about smart bidding strategy

I such as to contend the very least 100 conversions a month per project type (Search/Shopping) prior to I venture right into Smart Bidding process. That’s not to claim that this is the only time it works, but based upon our cases, that’s when we typically see it functioning the majority of the time.

The even more information Smart Bidding process has, the more it finds out about your customers, which it can utilize to bid better.

But the main guideline is at the very least 15 conversions in a 30-day duration, and also with make the most of conversion value there is no minimum requirement.

Your data must be stable for start bidding strategy

This is not a demand in itself, yet we have seen Smart Bidding do the best with steady data.

So if you often have days with 0 conversions, or your AOV boosts/ decreases by +50%, or you have very couple of conversions at extremely high AOV scattered throughout the month, Smart Bidding process will be much less reliable.

Smart Bidding Strategy Signals

I still remember the first Smart Bidding pitch I obtained from Google. It looked something like:

Smart Bidding Strategy is amazing due to the fact that it can bid on a gazillion different signals that you as a human could not also fathom. Envision being able to set the optimal proposal based upon the area, target market, internet browser, search term, gadget, AND time of day?

My very first idea? Bullshit.

There isn’t enough information for 95% of the advertisers available to make use of that combination.

Fast forward to 2022, and Smart Bidding Strategy has actually progressed to concentrate on the locations that genuinely make it effective: Accessibility to bidding process on (a couple of) signals that we can not access.

You can see a full listing of the Smart Bidding signals below as I have picked to rank them.

One of the most important bidding signals remain in the center, and the rest are used as supporting signals, depending on exactly how solid they are:


Smart Bidding signals

Complete list of bidding signals

For some markets, Location will certainly be a much stronger signal than others.

Cost Competition, Seasonality, as well as Product Attributes are solely bidding signals for Google Purchasing.

The most effective bidding process signals (not including the Shopping-only signals) lack a doubt:

  • Actual Search Query
  • Device
  • Audiences

Back then, we could often open accounts as well as simply lower bidding process on Mobile as well as make it extra profitable– or tweak suit kinds to be much more rewarding.

Today, you can, to a certain extent, bypass this process by simply running Smart Bidding due to the fact that it will inherently bid for these variables that you initially really did not enhance.

Which provides us all the chance to take our video game to the following level. Not having to set hand-operated quotes on an once a week basis on a range of aspects enables us to work on more calculated levels in addition to close the gap on internal teams when it comes to company insights.

For Shopping Ads it’s not fair

Among the reasons it was usually possible to improve Criterion Buying arrangements by 50– 300% resulted from how terribly hands-on bidding process works with Purchasing.

With a general Requirement Purchasing setup that runs manual bidding process, you can only bid based upon the product itself and also the gadget. Nothing else.

This is where Smart Bidding process has a massive advantage as well as why, in virtually any case, you will improve outcomes by using Smart Bidding for Google Buying than trying it by hand:

The difference between manual bidding and smart bidding

Currently, there are a lot of trivialities to the chart above, however that’s for one more write-up. In the meantime, just know that you ought to obtain much better outcomes by running Smart Bidding with the suggestions in this short article than hands-on bidding.

5 (13) Ways to Maximize Smart Bidding Strategy Performance

Besides the 3 foundational facets that have to be in place (proper monitoring, sufficient conversions, and also secure information), when it involves straight dealing with Smart Bidding process, the following elements issue:

  1. Set correct targets
  2. Use portfolio bid strategies
  3. Use minimum and maximum bid limits
  4. Rethink your account structure
  5. Work consistently with Smart Bidding

Let’s dive in.

1) Set Appropriate Targets for Start Bidding Strategy

When launching, or running, Smart Bidding process, you ought to regularly review whether you have the right target in place.

You can choose a target that is:

  • Equal to your historical performance
  • Higher than your historical performance
  • Lower than your historical performance

When you start a new profile, you will have the ability to see the ROAS target recommendation based on the historical information that Smart Bidding counts:


When you begin Smart Bidding for the first time on an account, I normally advise you set the target to the historical performance.

If your historical efficiency isn’t what you desire it to be, you can pick a higher or lower target. Feel in one’s bones that this isn’t a magic tablet. Establishing a higher ROAS target than suggested will, in many cases, lower your perception share, causing less income.

A vital element is establishing the appropriate targets, which takes us to the next tip: Usage profiles.

2) Portfolios Give You Better Flexibility for Start Bidding Strategy

You can apply Smart Bidding to a group of campaigns sharing a single target (called portfolios) or on a specific campaign basis, which we routinely see a better efficiency with.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. It allows Google to better balance your ROAS levels across campaigns (some campaigns can be at 400% and others at 600%, averaging out to your 500% target).
  2. It gives Google more data to predict performance and set bids.
  3. It’s easier for you to control than having 100+ different targets in large accounts.
  4. It allows you to set minimum and maximum bids (more on this below).

I like creating 2–3 portfolios with different ROAS targets.

Let’s say my overall account target is a 500% ROAS.

I then create three portfolios with the following targets:

  • 300% Target ROAS named Revive
  • 500% Target ROAS named Main
  • 700% Target ROAS named Profit

This makes it easier to change the ROAS target for a specific campaign based on what you would like to achieve:

  1. Purpose of the Revive portfolio: One reason could be that I need to enhance the direct exposure of a specific classification, which is relocating right into high season. So, I move it from the 500% target to the 300% target. All of a sudden, Smart Bidding process has a huge project that can get higher bids and greater direct exposure.
  1. Purpose of the Profit portfolio: Some campaigns optimize their Top Perception Share at a high ROAS, but Smart Bidding process will tend to maintain raising the bids to get the most revenue feasible. To prevent this, you can set a higher ROAS for these campaigns.

And, of course, your Main portfolio will be the primary one you use.

3) Always set Minimum and Maximum Bid Limits

Utilizing portfolio bid approaches allows you to put a limit on how high (or low) Google can set your bids.

You can locate them in the sophisticated settings in private portfolio proposal techniques:


I normally recommend setting your maximum bid limit to increase or triple your avg. CPC for the campaigns.

You don’t want to unnecessarily restrict your optimum proposal, however you need Smart Bidding not to overdo with its proposals.

At the time of composing, there doesn’t seem to be any way for Smart Bidding process to stabilize individual products or key words versus each other. If a keyword phrase generates 1500% ROAS, after that the bid for that “key words” will boost.

Sometimes, we see that this is too much, which’s where the optimum bid restriction will certainly help guarantee Smart Bidding process does not invest “stupid” cash.

If you are stressed over restricting Smart Bidding by doing this, then do not be. Google will certainly inform you when your bidding process strategy is being restricted by the maximum or minimum restrictions, so no demand to be too cautious here. You can always upgrade it.

An excellent instance of when optimal bid limitations were effective was when COVID-19 was discovered in China. Below is a screenshot of a client of ours that offered surgical masks:


ROAS increased a lot, so Smart Bidding thought it ought to enhance Bids. However, it didn’t need to raise quotes. We were currently maximizing our Impact Share, so the increased CPCs were not needed as well as caused an unnecessarily low ROAS.

At the other end: Minimum Bid Limits for Start Bidding Strategy

Minimum Bid Limits job by telling Google not to bid less than the limit.

This worries an aspect that the majority of people don’t learn about when working with Google Advertisements: The search phrase or product is simply the tip of the iceberg when it pertains to sections.

A key words or item is separated right into a number of mini-segments based upon:

  • Demographic
  • Search term
  • Audience
  • Device
  • Location

And more.

As Smart Bidding uses any one of these as bidding signals, it can reduce its bids for any of them without you recognizing that it’s really “turning off” search terms, target markets. or gadgets that aren’t carrying out well.

With minimum proposal restrictions, you can limit Smart Bidding process to not bid less than a collection quantity.

I normally suggest this to be around $0.1 to $0.2, relying on the case, yet we can conveniently establish it a lot higher if your avg. CPC is high.

4) Granular Account Structures Are a Thing of The Past

The suggestion with Smart Bidding is that the equipment makes use of the data it reaches set the correct quotes.

Many of the extremely granular ways to framework Google Ads accounts in the past were indicated to segment an account, so we can by hand bid according to:

  • Match types
  • Devices
  • Audiences
  • Hour of the day / Day of the week

This resulted in extremely granular accounts that, especially in large markets (like the United States), can execute truly well.

But, if you are going all-in on Smart Bidding, this is not needed. All the segmentation that you made use of to do to aid you make better bidding process decisions should be dismantled since you will not utilize it anymore. In fact, you can in fact hinder Smart Bidding by making also granular a structure.

5) 9 Ways to Improve Smart Bidding Strategy Performance

A lot of accounts are worked on auto-pilot nowadays, without anything being done to optimize Smart Bidding process.

That’s a mistake. Actually, the subject is so large that we devoted a write-up exclusively to responding to the concern: How do you enhance Smart Bidding?

The 9 areas to optimize within Smart Bidding are:

  • Increase/decrease your target
  • Create different bid strategies
  • Remove your ROAS target
  • Change your minimum bid (temporarily)
  • Change your maximum bid (rarely)
  • Add Seasonality Adjustments
  • Add Data Exclusions
  • Change to Targeting Conversions
  • Give it time

Two Factors to Keep In Mind When Working with Smart Bidding Strategy

1) Smart Bidding Focuses on “Existing Customers”

The larger your eCommerce business is, the higher the share of existing clients that can be found in the searches on Google.

Smart bidding focuses on existing customers

When you incorporate this understanding with the reality that you commonly have a much better ROAS from existing consumers, you can begin noticing threat when utilizing Smart Bidding process under specific circumstances.

The higher you established the ROAS target in Smart Bidding, the more probable it is that Smart Bidding will reduce its bids for new consumers rather than lowering quotes across the board.

This can take place in regards to bidding for your brand terms in Buying or be directly pertaining to retargeting target markets, demographics, or other bidding signals.

For a lot of “smallish” eCommerce organizations, this is not a real concern.

The solution is to collaborate with Worth Policy, however that’s a larger subject for another write-up.

2) Stop Micromanaging or “Missing the Old Ways”

Most of us “old timers” that remember when we got the very best results from hands-on bidding recall exactly how we can increase/ reduce proposals based upon the information we saw with immediate outcomes.

Evaluating your efficiency and not having the ability to make an adjustment (like directly transforming your quote) can be frustrating.

Yet we have actually dealt with internal groups to help them surpass these problems as well as discover methods to sustain Smart Bidding process instead, by:

  • Using Seasonal Bid Adjustments to make an immediate impact on bids
  • Using blackout dates to remove faulty or other data that should be ignored
  • Lowering ROAS targets to increase impression share (aka bid higher)
  • Building more granular portfolios to set individual targets per campaign group

And much more.

Most People Aren’t Good at Bid Management

I believe that 80% of PPC managers are bad at manual bid management.

15% are good.

5% are really good.

On top of that, a very large percentage of PPC managers are not performing bid management according to widely accepted best practices, such as:

  • Make bid changes on the same day of the week
  • Use the same date range every time, but include longer/shorter ranges occasionally
  • Calculate for lag-conversions (conversions that happen several days after a click)
  • Increase/decrease bids based on a set list of percentages
  • Override as needed
  • Calculate bid adjustments (device, ad schedule, audience) into your keyword bids

It comes as a surprise to several internal groups when our Google Ads Roadmaps recommend they use Smart Bidding. However in all circumstances, my argument is:

You’re not doing an excellent task managing your bids to begin with. So even if Smart Bidding was just 80% of the method there, it would certainly still do a far better work than you could.

Which’s actually the main point I have. Numerous people take care of bids inadequately that Smart Bidding process would have to be outright crap not to improve on performance.

In Summary, Smart Bidding is a Great Tool for the Right Job

I think Smart Bidding Strategy is a step in the appropriate direction for many marketers. It allows you to focus on other facets of your account. If you’ve invested 10 hours on your account per week up until now and also fifty percent of that time has gone to bid administration, after that you’ve possibly really felt pretty good.

Now that we’re taking those activities away, you will instantly have even more time to enhance various other parts of your account that you have actually overlooked.

I dislike best techniques. I hate advice that individuals assume will certainly benefit everybody. And also the very same goes for Smart Bidding.

Smart Bidding does not help everybody. But it will certainly help numerous. And that might be you. You just need to know what does and also does not work well with Smart Bidding so you can alleviate the disadvantages.