by Luke


Google Ads, Paid Search, Smart Bidding

Google Marketing Live 2019 – Smart Bidding Improvements

Google Marketing Live 2019 has been packed full of new releases, features and announcements after it’s first day. Leaving us with a fair few topics of discussion about how best to, in Google’s words, ‘be responsible, be there and be useful’.

What we’ll be focusing on here are the updates and improvements to smart bidding in Google Ads, delivered to us in the keynote by Anthony Chavez.

Maximise Conversion Value 

To start we were introduced again, to what seems to be now an old friend, machine learning. In order to bolster the capabilities of Google Ads and assist marketers everywhere, machine learning made another appearance with a surprise. A new smart bidding strategy, maximise conversion value.

As you’d expect the maximise conversion value will aim to do exactly what it says. In the past, new smart bidding strategies have taken some time to perfect. So, do use with caution but also make sure you’re following the guidelines to give the bidding strategy enough time to show true results. Also bear in mind, that this strategy may not consider cost or, total conversions whilst maximizing conversion value. So may be best utilised in a test and learn strategy, to discover where select campaigns can make the biggest gains, then optimise for a return better return.

We’re sure to get more information on how the strategy works in the near future before its release to make a more informed decision about how best to implement this into our marketing strategies.

Three New Ways to Guide Smart Bidding

Conversion Action Sets

I’m going to start with this in reverse to the keynote order, so hopefully it makes a little more sense. Conversion action sets (as seen below), are available to some regions now, with other advertisers around the world having to wait that little bit longer.

Conversion Action Sets

The main benefit here is the ability to group different conversions together. Why? To allow smart bidding to focus on optimising for different groups of conversions, depending on any one of your campaign goals. Any one conversion action can be grouped with others leading to the possibility of the creation of multiple conversions action sets to suit your needs.

Campaign Level Conversion Actions

At each campaign level in settings you now have the ability to set campaign level conversion actions. This will allow smart bidding strategies for chosen campaigns to optimise for designated conversion actions or sets.

These features are best suited to accounts with multiple conversion actions and campaigns focused on specific conversion actions. E.g. free and paid memberships, online and in-store sales or core products sharing the same account (ticketing, hospitality and memberships).  As an added bonus, Anthony did emphasise that search campaigns can now be optimised for in-store visits!

Conversion Value Rules

Now, we don’t know too much about the conversion value rules other than this. You’ll be able to set up rules in Google Ads, which adjust conversion values based on certain properties. The example given was if a user belonged to audience list of members you know are likely to be worth more, than those who are not. Conversion value reporting will reflect any changes by these rules and as a result, enable smart bidding to optimise toward them.

It’s likely that we’ll get a bit more information on the full capabilities of conversion value rules, but there are hints towards a usage based on assigning a conversion value where one may not be given. Then adjustments applied would be determined by insight into properties like location, device and possible audience lists created or informed by segmentation of CRM and performance data.

Seasonality adjustments

No doubt something marketers have been crying out for and the rumours have finally come to be true! Seasonality adjustments are also coming to Google Ads.

Upcoming sales or periods of seasonality would need to be input into Google Ads with the typical or expected conversion rate changes. Once added the smart bidding algorithm will automatically adjust bids for this period, aiming to maximise performance based on your chosen goal.  As an added feature the data from these time periods can also be excluded, meaning that they won’t influence the smart bidding strategy in its normal day to day operation.


In summary we have some awesome new features that are either available in selected regions or, will be available in the coming year summarised below.

  • New smart bidding strategy ‘Maximise Conversion Value’.
  • Conversion action sets and campaign level conversion actions.
  • Seasonality adjustments and exclusion capabilities for automated strategies.  

If you do have any questions or thoughts regarding the smart bidding announcements, other new releases or general questions for Google Ads feel free to get in touch today and I’ll be happy to help!



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