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Enhancements to Google Ads May Help Agencies Serving Low-Budget Advertisers

The bulk of Google’s latest announcements and feature updates to the Google Ads platform are largely related to YouTube and therefore larger budget advertisers with access to professional videos and commercials. Some of these updates include improved measurement of sales lift from YouTube campaigns, new bidding options for video campaigns, and new ad options on YouTube.

However, there were a few updates that appear to have some potentially positive implications for those managing low-budget campaigns for small businesses.

Click Share Comes to Paid Search Campaigns

Formerly only available in Google Shopping campaigns, click share is now available in search campaigns. According to Google, “click share is the estimated share of all achievable clicks that you have received.” While Google doesn’t reveal how click share is calculated, it is an “estimate” and therefore is only directional with some margin for error.

Still, it can be a valuable metric. I would imagine the calculation is based on the number of viewable impressions, maybe even dwell times or cursor activity which all can suggest the user was reviewing the ad, but clicked elsewhere in the SERP (paid or organic). For those managing very small budgets this figure offers another metric in assessing the efficacy of the campaign.

For example, if click share is less than 10%, that means that the limited number of impressions you are driving with a low bid, people are ignoring the ad or finding a better answer to their query. With this kind of data, it might be worthwhile to see how your ad appears in the SERP, compare it to other ads, and to the organic listings as well. Ultimately, your low-budget campaign needs to have a high click share, otherwise all that campaign set up and ongoing optimization isn’t going to be worth the effort for a low-budget account.

Optimization Score Feature Driving Results

The Optimization Score featured under the “Recommendations” section of the Google Ads experience was introduced back in August 2018. According to Google, the score helps optimize campaigns by “pausing keywords, adding additional ads, or enabling automated bidding” and by applying these suggestions, advertisers can “boost conversions and get more for your money.”

Google is now starting to identify some compelling examples of how the optimization score is improving the process of campaign management for advertisers. According to a new post, one company executed a specific recommendation which led to a bid strategy switch from “Enhanced CPC” to “Maximize Conversions” which resulted in a 44% increase in conversions and a 32% reduction in CPA.

Ultimately, the feature, when it works well, can help save time for agencies managing low-budget campaigns. While Google automation and machine learning likely have some bugs to work out, this kind of feature can cut back a considerable amount of time for managing campaigns which is very important when dealing with limited budgets.

Pay for Conversions in Display Campaigns

In December 2018, Google announced a new bidding strategy which only charges an advertiser for conversions driven by display campaigns. That means advertisers aren’t charged for clicks or impressions, but actual conversions. This is extremely attractive for the low-budget advertiser.

However, there are a number of eligibility requirements, which in many cases block low-budget advertisers from taking advantage of this bidding strategy:

  • You can’t use offline conversions for this bidding
  • You can’t have conversion delays of more than 7 days
  • You must have 100 conversions in the last 30 days and 90% of conversions occur within 7 days of an ad click
  • You can’t target a cost per acquisition higher than $200
  • Undisclosed reasons from Google

For these reasons, the pay for conversions doesn’t seem to be well-suited for small businesses, unless the business has a high volume of conversions (online orders, form fills, etc.). For example, small online retailers with low-price point products that drive a high-volume of orders might be best suited for this bid strategy.

Ultimately small businesses are risk averse, meaning they weigh the risks of an investment more than the potential gains. For this reason, small businesses who aren’t engaged in or have abandoned Google Ads will be far more inclined to take advantage of a pay for conversion model. It will be interesting to see if Google eventually lowers the restrictions on this bid strategy in order to offer it more broadly. SMBs would certainly be good candidates for it.

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