Efficient and effective bid management is a foundational component of any successful digital marketing program. Today, we’re excited to announce Smart Bidding, our new name for conversion-based automated bidding across AdWords and DoubleClick Search that reflects the powerful machine learning behind it.

Making bidding smarter for improved performance

Smart Bidding is built on Google’s deep experience using machine learning to power a wide range of products, including the Google assistant, automatic album creation in Google Photos, and AlphaGo, the first computer program to ever beat a professional player at the game of Go. Smart Bidding can factor in millions of signals to determine the optimal bid, and it continually refines models of your conversion performance at different bid levels to help you get more from your marketing budget.

Even when it encounters areas with lower conversion volume, Smart Bidding's learning capabilities quickly maximize the accuracy of your bidding models to improve how you optimize the long-tail. It evaluates patterns in your campaign structure, landing pages, ad text, product information, keyword phrases and many more to identify more relevant similarities across bidding items to effectively borrow learnings between them.

With Smart Bidding improvements, advertisers using Target CPA and Target ROAS in DoubleClick Search saw an average 16% lift in conversions at the same or better ROI.1

On top of its machine learning capabilities, Smart Bidding is built on three pillars, inspired by feedback we’ve heard from you about what’s important in a bidding solution:

  • Precise bid optimization tailored to a user’s context
  • Flexible performance controls that factor in your unique business goals
  • Transparent reporting that provides clear insight into how your bids are performing

In DoubleClick Search, we have several innovations coming soon across these areas. Get a full overview of DoubleClick Search Smart Bidding here.

New bidding signals that give you a richer view of user context

DoubleClick Search Smart Bidding tailors bids based on a user's context to set the right bid and maximize performance. It factors in a wide range of signals like device, location and remarketing lists to automate bids and bid adjustments across engines. We’re continuously exploring new signals to add to our bidding models that are impactful predictors of performance. These include recent additions like weekday seasonality, and others like sales and promotional calendars that are coming soon, enabling our system to customize bidding models to your business that help you make the most of these important events.

Set multiple performance targets that incorporate your custom data

To help you include more of your own business intelligence in the bidding feedback loop, custom Floodlight variables can now be used as inputs for DoubleClick Search bid strategies. With custom Floodlight variables, you can enrich a conversion event with additional information such as “new customer”, “gold loyalty status”, “device” and more. You can then set unique ROI goals based on this additional information. For example, you can target a $10 CPA for new customers and $5 CPA for existing customers, or aim for a 50% higher ROAS from your most loyal customers.

Identify the most impactful campaign opportunities for Smart Bidding

We’ve also built bid strategy opportunities in DoubleClick Search which identify campaigns with the greatest potential for improved performance. After defining a goal, bid strategy opportunities finds campaigns that are most likely to benefit from Smart Bidding, forecasting how much each campaign's conversion volume could grow if it were managed by a bid strategy.

Once you select the campaigns for automated bidding, the Smart Bidding wizard guides you through the setup, and recommends initial ROI targets (CPA/ROAS) and constraints to ensure a successful transition to Smart Bidding.

Bidding insights that can automatically troubleshoot issues

Coming soon, an enhanced version of bid strategy health will continually analyze your bid strategies for a number of known issues. For example, it will monitor for conversion tracking issues and bid and budget constraints, and alert you if they are adversely impacting your campaigns. It also forecasts the performance impact of resolving these issues and provides a recommendation and one-click solution to quickly implement the fix.

Advertisers like AnadoluJet and eBags are already using DoubleClick Search Smart Bidding to drive better performance.

AnadoluJet is the rapidly growing, low-cost branch of Turkish Airlines. They used Smart Bidding with cross-device conversions to intelligently bid on clicks across devices, ensuring campaign budgets were being allocated most effectively across each device. It drove a 30% incremental lift in clicks and conversions across devices. Read the full case study here.

eBags has been the #1 online bag retailer in the U.S. since 1999 and recently expanded internationally. eBags saw an opportunity to get improved performance by switching from their in-house tool to DoubleClick Search Smart Bidding. It helped the company grow revenue by 38% at a higher ROAS. Read the full case study here.

To learn more about DoubleClick Search Smart Bidding, visit the Help Center and check out our best practices.

Posted by Anthony Chavez
Product Management Director, Search Ads, Google

1 Google internal data. August 2015 before and after of adding Google’s machine learning to DoubleClick Search bidding algorithms.