What Happens When We All Use Google Automated Bidding?

Rubber Duck floating in water

by Shaun Bond

March 15, 2021

I still remember the days when clever account managers could differentiate themselves by the unique and innovative manual bid strategies they used. Those days are largely gone, with the vast majority of Google accounts we see being run on some form of automated bidding now.

This does pose a couple of questions though.

  • What happens when we all use Google automated bid strategies – will this give Google the ability to drive up click costs into oblivion?
  • How will account managers find an advantage when all bids are automated?

Certainly great questions worthy of a conversation!

So will Google keep bidding into oblivion?

In a word, no and there are two main reasons why this won’t happen:

1. If CPC’s go too high the campaign will overshoot its target, meaning the algorithm will wind down bids.

2. Different accounts and managers will have different smart bidding settings that will drive different bids between similar advertisers.

For example:

    1. Different CPA/ROAS targets between advertisers
    2. Different smart bidding strategy chosen
    3. Users location is closer to one advertiser than another
    4. Attribution models are different between advertisers
    5. Different keywords and match types between advertisers will trigger ads for different searchers
    6. Landing page quality will be different and directly affect bids (via quality score)
    7. Ad quality will also affect quality score and therefore bids
    8. Available budget of a specific advertiser
    9. Some advertisers will be feeding better data into the machine than others (for example, customer match audience or remarketing audiences added as an observation audience could improve smart bidding results)
    10. Advertisers who use micro conversions will generally get better results than those who are using minimal (final) conversion events.
    11. Use of a variety of extensions

So how can you differentiate yourself around bidding when your competition is using the same bid strategy?

We have three suggestions that might help:


Focus on improving ad rank by testing ad messaging and landing pages. Make sure you’re using both expanded text ads and responsive search ads, and creating messaging that allows you to stand out from your competition


Improve and optimize your product feed to Google best practice, ensuring that titles, descriptions, and other attributes are as descriptive as possible


Feed better data into the machine than your competitors do. Use audiences, conversions, and business data options to give the optimisation algorithms as much information about your business as possible.

Happy hunting!

And don’t forget – if you have any questions about this or anything else paid search, just reach out!
Nelson from The Simpsons The Hunt Is On

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