Marc Poirier predicted that 100% of the campaign process would be automated in the near future, and while we’re not there yet, we want to help you learn about all the different areas where automation can really kick your campaign performance into hyper-drive.
To help introduce you to some of the best automation tools on the market, some of the big players in the industry, including Lee Goldberg, President of Vector Media Group, Brad Geddes, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of AdAlysis and other innovators have joined forces with Acquisio to create a comprehensive “Guide to the Best Marketing Automation Solutions.”
As a preview of the ebook, we’re focusing on Acquisio’s bid and budget management (BBM) solution. Here’s what you should know if you’re looking for a solution to automate bids and manage budgets.
Why automate bids and budgets?
One of the most important, yet difficult, areas of campaign management is determining and setting bids to garner as many clicks or conversions as possible, all while maintaining daily and monthly budgets.
An effective bid can be the difference between being the first ad to appear on search and not appearing on the page at all. An optimal bid is one that generates a higher return on investment (ROI). The best bids are those that cost less and generate more engagement.
Manually figuring out the right bid at the ad group and keyword level requires a lot of work, analysis and time, and it’s not something campaign managers can realistically handle at scale.
For those who manage hundreds or thousands of campaigns, monitoring and adjusting bids to improve performance is not an easy, or even feasible, task.
At best, a campaign manager can determine, through trial and error, which bids generate the most engagement, and then try to replicate those across ad groups and accounts.
However, besides all the time required, one of the problems campaign managers face is that there is no historical data for bids recorded or stored in AdWords, which makes it difficult to keep track of bid changes and learn from what worked and what didn’t.
In many cases, because of all these issues, accounts get neglected and are stuck underperforming.
Acquisio’s Bid & Budget Management (BBM)
To get the lowest cost per click and the highest generation of clicks or conversions, without over or underspending the monthly budget, Acquisio’s automated Bid & Budget Management system (BBM) is the best solution on the market.
Using complex algorithms to determine the best bids to set, the algorithms make thousands of changes across thousands of ad groups, campaigns and accounts, eliminating hours if not days of tedious work each week.
Algorithm expert, Bryan Minor, believes that adjusting bids and examining budgets many times a day generates better results. Why? Because once a day adjustments are like shooting a cannon ball – shoot, see where it lands and adjust the cannon. Constant bid adjustments are more like a cruise missile – so accurate they can go through a window of a building 2000 miles away.
That’s because cruise missiles steer onto their target the whole time by making small adjustments every short period of time.
Acquisio’s algorithms do something similar, by taking the data provided and making the best decision scientifically possible continuously throughout the day.
The algorithms are able to deal with changes in:
- Time of day market changes for bidding
- New constraints (max. CPC, avg. Pos.,…)
- Creative changes
- Google Settings changes
- Google algorithm changes
This proves to be a more accurate way of getting the most clicks and conversions for the lowest CPC.
BBM updates every half an hour – more than any other automation solution in the world. Other optimization solutions only update daily, which means that if something unpredictable happens in the auction, improvements won’t be made until the next day, when the change is likely irrelevant.
Acquisio’s optimization solution makes nearly 50x more predictions than other predictive models, which positions us as the most accurate predictive model on the market in relation to bids and budget constraints.
In the Auction All Day
With BBM, the daily budget is guaranteed to last all day, running out just before midnight. For example, if it is Black Friday and businesses are paying out the ear for clicks, the BBM system automatically lowers the bid. When other brands have exhausted spend by noon, BBM optimized campaigns last the whole day and pay far less per click, especially those at the end of the day, resulting in far more clicks for the same daily budget (which translates to significant savings).
Also, on average, 98 percent of the budget for every campaign is spent, even ones with small budgets. And when working with groups of campaigns that share a monthly budget, the automated bid and budget management solution allows the campaigns to compete fairly, so each one gets a chance to spend the daily budget without the use of hard allocations.
Before and After Human Intervention: A Case Study
For a massive automotive marketing agency in the United States, with thousands of cars being bought and sold and ad campaigns starting and stopping constantly according to the changing inventory, Acquisio suggested the agency try dynamic campaigns and bid optimization.
Once Dynamic Campaigns was set up, the agency was able to, on a daily basis, create or update ads for each vehicle grouping (Make/Model/Year) to drive traffic to pages with filtered results. By linking to each automotive dealer’s inventory feed, advertising was automatically paused for out of stock vehicles and activated for new stock.
Ads performed better, quality scores were better and exposure was better.
Once Acquisio’s bid & budget management solution was activated, bids and budgets automatically updated every half hour, using near real-time data resulting in greater bid accuracy and approximately 335 more updates a week.
After adding bid optimization to select dynamic campaigns, by the end of the month, the campaigns tested averaged a 75% increase in clicks, and a 28% decrease in cost per click!
Not only did the dynamic campaigns with Acquisio’s automated bid and budget management maximize clicks and lower CPC, but with precise budget management, the entire campaign budget was spent without the agency experiencing overspend. An average 98.2% of the budget was spent leaving less than 2% to rollover to the next month’s budget.
That’s not something the agency could have done manually.
Mobile Bid Optimization
With the rise in mobile advertising, understanding the relation between bid and pay for different devices (mobile and non-mobile) can help generate more impressions, clicks and conversions from PPC initiatives for both mobile and non-mobile devices.
To set separate bids for mobile, a mobile bid modifier or adjuster must be used, which enables campaign managers to set a percentage difference for ads on mobile devices. Advertisers modify the mobile bid using percentage adjustments, for example setting a difference of 20% for mobile.
Mobile and non-mobile devices are parts of completely separate auctions. A bid of $3.00 in both auctions could result in a pay of $1.24 for mobile and $2.37 for non-mobile devices. With identical bids, advertisers pay a lot more for one device than the other in almost every case.
Unless you know one device outperforms the other, you want to pay the same for each device. This is because the campaign data collected is typically an average between device types, you cannot easily see how much you pay on desktop vs. mobile devices. If you are not sure where to focus budgets (on mobile or desktop), the best thing to do is to pay the same amount on each device type, to learn what adjustments are needed.
To balance pay between device types, different bids must be set. Acquisio’s automated optimization tool, Bid & Budget Management (BBM) uses its advanced algorithms to figure out what to bid to make the pay equal for both mobile and non-mobile devices.
Here is an example:
Since there is a mobile bid modifier present:
The actual bid being used is: Bid = $0.20 * 0.90 = $0.18
And the pay is: Pay = $0.11
This accurate bid resulted in a significant difference of more than 18K clicks for the client in one month.
These results were achieved thanks to the automated bid and budget management solutions in place, and could not have been achieved so quickly or on such a scale without automation.
To learn about other automation solutions, covering display, ad testing, creative and more, download the full ebook.