It’s been a while in the making… but my new eBook 100 Advanced Tips for Paid Search Pros is now available.
I.S. Lost to Budget? Get Ruthless! Tip #26
The precautionary principle can be a real impediment to optimising an account.
Too often, we tinker around the edges, not wanting to ‘jump the data’… not wanting to lose traffic that’s providing – or might yet provide – some nugget of value…
But being afraid to close any doors can keep an account in a stasis of bloated traffic, with unnecessarily high CPA.
Sometimes it takes bold moves to really swing that traffic in the direction of better-converting users. Instead of nudging bids down by 10-20% on underperforming segments, think about excluding them.
Ask, “Can we afford to lose this chunk of traffic?”
Often you can afford to lose that traffic perfectly well.
And if you’re hitting your daily budgets, then lopping off an arm from your current traffic may not even reduce your overall spend.
(I.S. Lost to Budget gives you that ‘starfish power’ to grow it straight back…)
More than an Observation Tip #10
Adding audiences on observation is a generally useful thing to do.
There’s nothing to lose from adding them all and seeing what patterns emerge, that you might then want to act on.
Nothing, that is, apart from the muddying effects of ‘too much data’… avoid this by selecting 10-20 audiences that you expect to have some correlation with performance.
But there’s a more tangible benefit to observation audiences which is easily overlooked.
While smart bidding algorithms can make use of the ‘built-in’ audiences (‘in-market’ / ‘affinity’…) unaided, they can only tap into your own audiences (remarketing / customer-match…) once you create and add them to the ad group or campaign in question.
Adding these audiences on observation isn’t then just an act of observation… it genuinely increases the range of signals available to the algorithms, giving them more to work with, and a better chance of navigating to a profitable state.
Free the Algorithm in One Realm... Restrain it in Another Tip #49
Smart bidding has improved dramatically in the last few years. It certainly isn’t the lumbering oaf it used to be. And yet…
For various reasons (the current limits of the technology and, perhaps, Google’s intentional settings on how tolerant the algorithms are to risk and loss…) sometimes it needs to be kept in check.
So when you give the algorithm freedom in one dimension, you may need to restrain it elsewhere.
It is always wise to strike a balance between caution and control on one hand, and the ability to take advantage of Smart Bidding’s potential on the other…
Here are five ways you can still exercise a bit of control when using one of the Maximise Strategies (with or without a target CPA/ROAS):
Demographic segment exclusions
Device category exclusions, (with -100% bid adjustments)
Location targeting and exclusion (drill in to the matched locations report to find under-performing areas)
Audiences (exclusions/targeting, and in the case of remarketing audiences – just adding them on observation provides new variables for the algorithms to work with)
Targets (CPA or ROAS)… make them more ambitious when you’re getting the traffic but it’s not profitable / more lax when you’re hitting target and want more volume (see tip #16)
and then there’s always ad text, keyword selection and negatives…