Utilizing Google Ads Smart Bidding

Problem

For our clients’ Google Ads search campaigns, our primary goal is to deliver as many leads as possible while sticking to a monthly budget. We must find ways to reduce cost per lead and ensure the campaign delivers a positive ROI.

Manually setting bids on a per keyword basis is time consuming, and static. While we can control and set very precise bids, they do not change based on a user’s journey or search history. We can make bid adjustments for mobile, but that then applies to all mobile devices. We can do the same for time of day, locations, and other metrics, but these cannot be adjusted for each search individually.

Google’s smart bidding strategies are able to analyze these variables, and more, and adjust bids depending on the likelihood of a conversion.

Theory

Switching from a manual bidding strategy (Enhanced CPC) to a smart bidding strategy (Maximize Conversions) will help deliver more conversions per month.

We’ll be able to utilize Machine Learning to help the campaign identify users who are more likely to contact a law firm.

We expect Search Impression Share (SIS) to drop, as we bid higher on fewer (but more valuable) search queries. Budgets will not change, so total cost will remain constant. As conversions increase, our average cost per conversion will drop.

We will not make any other major changes to the campaign the month before, during, or after switching to Max Conversions in order to isolate the results.

We will test a variety of accounts with varying practice areas, geographies, and current level of market share.

Results

Solo Immigration Attorney in Seattle, WA

Client Summary

  • Practice Area: Immigration
  • Firm Size: Solo Attorney
  • Location: Downtown Seattle, WA
  • Status: Small budget with low impression share. Already seeing acceptable cost per conversion metrics, but there seems to be room for growth.

Before After Change Expected?
Cost $1100 $1100 0% Yes
Conversions 13 57 +338% Yes
Cost/Conv $80 $17 -79% Yes
SIS 30% 50% +67% No



Analysis of Change

Instant success! Massive increase in conversions, and massive decrease in cost per conversion. Was not expecting such a drastic improvement in performance. We also gained impression share, which came as a surprise. Campaign become extremely efficient and maintained results for next 3 months.

Personal Injury Law Firm in Eastern PA

Client Summary

  • Practice Area: Personal Injury
  • Firm Size: 3 locations
  • Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
  • Status: Need more total conversions to find the accidents with actual injuries. Not happy with cost per conversion, and budget covers nearly two-thirds of the market.

Before After Change Expected?
Cost $5100 $5300 +4% Yes
Conversions 8 18 +125% Yes
Cost/Conv $618 $295 -52% Yes
SIS 62% 48% -23% Yes



Analysis of Change

Success after a learning period. Smart bidding usually takes at least 2 weeks to learn what works and what doesn’t. The system needs time to learn, and we see that here. There was zero change for a full month, but the following month gained traction and we more than doubled our leads.

Criminal Defense Lawyers in Chicago, IL

Client Summary

  • Practice Area: Criminal Defense
  • Firm Size: Single location, 2 attorneys
  • Location: 10 miles from downtown Chicago
  • Status: Covering half the market and generating acceptable conversions at a good cost per conversion.

Before After Change Expected?
Cost $3200 $3400 +6% No
Conversions 25 41 +64% Yes
Cost/Conv $127 $83 -35% Yes
SIS 55% 47% -14% Yes



Analysis of Change

Success. Results were exactly as expected – significant increase in conversions, decrease in cost per conversion, and a drop in search impression share. The new bidding strategy made sure we spent our entire monthly budget, as opposed to our control month where we spent slightly under our target. At this new cost per conversion we are now exploring how to capture the remaining 53% of the market.

Conclusion

Moving from manual bidding to smart bidding can improve campaign performance. A lower initial impression share seems to give the new system a lot of room to cherry pick only the best queries and improve results dramatically.

All accounts, regardless of their variables, saw an increase in conversions and a decrease in cost per conversion. Overall, moving to Maximize Conversions seems to do exactly what it is meant to do.

We will continue rolling out this strategy to our other accounts, and we expect to have similar results. We will still monitor results for all changes, as past results do not guarantee future success, but we are confident metrics will continue to move in a positive direction.