Google AdWords is a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) platform that allows advertisers to drive as many conversions as possible by bidding on keywords. By defining bids at the keyword level, advertisers can achieve conversions at or below a specified Cost-Per-Conversion (also known as a cost per action, or simply, CPA).
Today, you’ll learn what Google Conversion Optimizer (today, this is more commonly referred to as “Target CPA Bidding”) is and when to use it to optimize conversion rates, helping you get more leads for less money!
If you (the advertiser) specify a relatively low target Cost-Per-Conversion for a campaign, Target CPA Bidding will place conservative bids on only those keywords that Google thinks are a sure thing in terms of their probability to convert for you – the result will likely be cheaper conversions, yet fewer of them.
Conversely by specifying a relatively high target CPA, the Conversion Optimizer will have the ability to bid more aggressively, and will compete for higher ad positions on broader keyword terms, likely resulting in a greater number of conversions, but at a higher cost.
By focusing on relevancy and Quality Score, advertisers can potentially realize both more website conversions and lower costs. To be eligible to use Target CPA Bidding, you must be using Google Conversion Tracking, and you must have accrued a minimum of 30 conversions in the last month so that Google can use that conversion history to help optimize your bids.
Conversion Optimizer has important advantages over commercially-available automated bid management software, most notably cost. Target CPA bidding is free Google doesn’t charge you to place the responsibility for your bids in its hands. The alternative is to use bid management software products or hire a PPC agency to do the work, but these aren’t free.
This type of thoughtful bid management performs a critical function that is difficult or impossible to do manually: constantly monitoring conversion behavior several times per day, and adjusting keyword bids so that the likelihood is high that the advertiser will pay no more and no less than the amount required to get conversions at or below their target cost.
Despite these seemingly obvious and compelling benefits, there’s been a lot of negative criticism of the Google Conversion Optimizer. Generally, the criticism regarding Target CPA bidding is along the lines of:
Our best advice is to consider the source of the criticism and consider if they’re an objective source or not, and beyond that, to simply try out the Conversion Optimizer on one or more of your campaigns and see for yourself!
The Google AdWords Conversion Optimizer (or any bid-manipulation tool based on a target CPA for that matter) tends to work best if the keywords whose bids are being manipulated are:
Put another way, getting the most out of Google Conversion Optimizer requires that your keywords have high Quality Score, which is the Google AdWords way of computing these and other factors in order to determine keyword relevancy.
Quality Score affects many factors which influence Cost-Per-Conversion including your impression share (IS), minimum bid, first page bid estimate, ad rank, and ad position, click through rate (CTR), conversion rates, etc.