Maximize Campaign Performance with a New Bid Strategy

- May 6, 2009

So your AdWords campaigns have grown into architectural masterpieces -structured with multiple, tightly-themed ad groups each containing precise keyword lists that have been expanded, scrubbed, and polished over time.  You are rotating 3 or more versions of ad copy concurrently, removing the impression-cannibals and replacing with fresh ads — always aiming to improve upon click through rates.  Now what?

To make even more of an impact, consider layering on Google’s Conversion Optimizer as part of your overall bid strategy.  Conversion Optimizer is a feature provided by Google that allows you to bid using a max CPA (cost per acquisition or lead) strategy.  This setting is applied at the campaign level.  Google will optimize your campaign performance for the best possible ROI.  CPA bids are set, but you are still charged on a per click basis.  The tool calculates a CPC bid, working back from the max amount you are willing to pay for a conversion, and also using historical conversion data to determine the likelihood your ads have to convert. 

Conversion Optimizer should be considered for campaigns:

  1. Generating conversions on a regular basis at a similar rate
  2. With a Minimum of 30 conversions over the last 30 days (required)
  3. 2 weeks minimum recommended conversion tracking history

Be aware that it is possible to exceed your max specified CPA. Changes to your website and ad copy should be made cautiously during the early stage use of Conversion Optimizer.  These types of changes can have a huge impact on your conversion rate.  If the actual conversion rate turns out to be lower than the conversion rate predicted by Conversion Optimizer, your actual CPA may exceed your maximum CPA bid. 

As with any new strategy, tracking results after changing from manual bidding to Conversion Optimizer is critical.  The chart below provides a snapshot comparison of campaign performance for a 10-day timeframe running Conversion Optimizer versus manual bidding. 


If we were measuring success by click through rate or cost per click, our test would appear to be a failure.  However, our goal with this client was to maintain a consistent lead flow at a pre-determined cost per lead.  With the implementation of Conversion Optimizer, we saw just under a $6 decrease in the cost per conversion over the first 10 days of use……translating to 14 additional leads for our client.

Don’t overlook your top campaigns for bid optimization!  While a manual bidding strategy is necessary for establishing strong positions and click through rates, a CPA bid strategy powered by Google’s Conversion Optimizer can be ideal for taking established campaigns to the next level.  Although campaigns may continue to convert at a respectable rate, you may be missing out on volume by not leveraging this free tool.

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