As advertisers prepare for the holiday season, Google has announced a new Smart Bidding feature that will give advertisers a way to adjust for seasonality.
Smart bidding strategies like Target CPA and Target ROAS use machine learning to optimize for conversions or conversion value. While these strategies consider seasonality, Google has now given advertisers the ability to let Smart Bidding know what conversion rate it can expect for sales and promotion.
For example, if you’re anticipating conversion rates to increase by 30% during your 3-day Thanksgiving Sale, you can now build a seasonality adjustment that increases the conversion rate by up to 30% for those 3 days. At the end of the sale, Smart Bidding will immediately go back to pre-sales performance without the need for a ramp down.
Here’s a quick step-by-step glimpse at applying a seasonality adjustment to your smart campaigns.
Step 1: Identify Historic Conversion Rate Performance
As you prepare to run a promotion or sale, you will first need to identify the historic conversion rate performance of comparable promotions. It’s best to use data from past promotions from a similar time frame to get an apples to apples comparison. For example, use data from last year’s 30% off Black Friday deal to inform this year’s 30% off Black Friday deal.
In your Google Ads account, navigate to the campaigns that you want to view the conversion rate for, and then adjust the date range to reflect the previous promotional period. From there, make note of the conversion rate for that period.
Step 2: Apply Seasonality Adjustment to Smart Bidding Strategy
Navigate to the “Shared Library” (under Tools & Settings) and select Bid Strategies from the drop-down. Then, from the left-hand menu, select “Advanced Controls”. To create a new seasonality adjustment, click the blue plus-sign button.
To start, give your seasonality adjustment a name, and provide a short, but detailed description. You also need to apply a start and end date.
Google recommends using seasonality adjustments for short periods (1-7) days, as they may not work as well for extended periods (more than 14 days at a time).
Next, select the campaigns and devices for this adjustment. At this time, only Search and Display campaigns are supported, however, we suspect support for Shopping, Video, and App campaigns will be rolled out.
Finally, enter an estimate based on the expected conversion rate changes, and then click Save. Following the implementation of the seasonality adjustment, closely monitor the performance of your campaigns.
Humans and Machines — Working Together
By adding feedback mechanisms, like seasonality adjustments, to Smart Bidding, advertisers will be able to apply insights that machines aren’t able to anticipate to improve performance. During a time where advertisers feel like they have steadily surrendered control to Smart Bidding, this is a big step forward for the advertiser/machine relationship.
If you’ve got any other questions about Smart Bidding, or PPC in general, reach out to the greater team here at Seer! We offer PPC Efficiency Audits to help marketers make sure they’re using the right bidding strategies to get the most out of every ad dollar.