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Three Basic Categories of Google Ads Bidding

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There are only two certain things in life: death and Google Ads updates. Google makes updates to its ads platform on a monthly basis and most of these are small changes or new features types to test out. However, every year or so Google loves to rock the boat with removing or adding a new bid strategy. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed any big news recently! However, given pivotal shifts in strategy all markets have undoubtedly had to make in these uncertain times, let’s take some time to review our current bidding strategy options and how best to use them!

If you or your client is primarily concerned with profitability, Google offers two types of bidding strategies that will allow you to up your PPC game while working within a pre-set KPI.

Target Cost Per Action (CPA) Bidding

Target CPA bidding is a smart bidding strategy that gives Google almost total control over your bids, leaving your hands free to focus on other aspects of your account. Target CPA bidding allows you to set a specific cost per action that you do not want to go over, ensuring you are not going after “unaffordable” conversions. So, for example, if you are selling a pair of shoes for $60 it wouldn’t make sense for you to pay $60 for a conversion, as it would completely wipe out your revenue. Instead, you’d want to set a much lower CPA goal, maybe $10, to ensure you are going after the most profitable converters. Setting this CPA goal tells Google’s algorithm to only bid on searches by customers that it identified as likely to convert within this $10 restriction. If you or your client is highly focused on efficient spend and revenue, this is a great bid strategy to leverage. 

Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

Much like Target CPA bidding, Target ROAS is super valuable to the revenue-focused client, particularly in the e-commerce realm. One benefit of eCommerce businesses is that we can easily quantify sales or assign value to them. Therefore, it is easy to calculate a return on investment, or in PPC terms, return on ad spend. Of course, all brands want to see a return. However, because eCommerce clients have a set dollar value assigned to each product, we can optimize ad spend to stay within a margin of return. Therefore, if you have a brand that wants to generate 5x the revenue from the cost it takes to generate a conversion in PPC, your ROAS goal is going to be 500%. Google’s Target ROAS smart bid strategy allows you to input that goal then tells its algorithm to only go into auctions it deems as likely to convert at or above that 5x margin. Again, this is a great option for clients with KPIs heavily centered on return, however, it is best suited for eCommerce clients with specific product values. This is because in eCommerce businesses product values differ. For example, one pair of shoes may cost $60, while another costs $120. If our KPI is 5x ROAS then we are willing to pay only $12 for the $60 conversion but $24 for the $120 conversion. Target ROAS bidding gives Google’s algorithm room to adjust based on product price, unlike Target CPA.

If your brand is less concerned about ROI, but is primarily focused on maximizing conversions or conversion value as is possible with the given budget, then choose one of these bid strategies.

Maximize Conversions

This is another smart bidding strategy that gives Google total control at auction time. However, this strategy is tailored to spend your entire budget and bring in as many conversions as possible. That’s it, pretty straight forward. The one caveat to this is that you can set a max. CPC to ensure you aren’t paying an outrageous amount for a click. However, be careful in setting this. You will want to be generous with your CPCs to ensure Google’s algorithm can work its magic, if you set a low CPC, you will be restricting yourself just as you would with manual bidding!

Maximize Conversion Value

Just as with Target CPA and Target ROAS, there is a very subtle difference with Max. Conversion and Max. Conversion Value bidding. Maximize Conversion Value bidding is, again, a smart bid strategy but is more tailored for ecommerce clients. Like Target ROAS, Max. Conversion Value operates based on a product dollar value. With this bid strategy, Google’s algorithm is going to go after conversions likely to bring in the most dollars. This strategy will maximize the revenue from sales generated through PPC.

If handing over the reigns to Google seems like a scary prospect, or if you’ve tested out smart bidding with less-than-desirable results and would prefer to stick with manual bidding but with a liiitttle bit of help from Google then this next bidding strategy may be for you:

Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)

ECPC bidding allows you to set and adjust your bids manually, which admittedly takes some time. However, this setting gives Google some leeway in changing those bids at auction time. Basically, if you’ve set your bid cap at $10, but Google’s algorithm feels certain that you can win a particular auction at $10.05, it will adjust your bids accordingly. 

Finally, if your campaign goals are not based on driving conversions or revenue, but rather you are wanting to drive awareness and get your brand name out there, then none of the above strategies matter to you! Instead, you will want to focus on showing in the SERP and traffic to the website, which can be done with the final two bid strategies.

Top Impression Share Bidding

If your plan is to dominate the market and show for every relevant search or always show above a competitor, then this is the strategy for you! Top IS bidding is Google’s newest bid strategy, having replaced position-based bidding in 2019. 

Top IS bidding allows you to tell Google:

  • How often you want to show up in search results
  • How often you want to show on the first page   OR
  • How often you want to show in the very top placement

Then, its algorithm optimizes for that goal. The most common setting for any of these placement options is 100%, because why use impression share bidding if you only want to show up part of the time? Just like Maximize conversions, you are able to set a max. CPC, here again, however, you want to be careful with this because setting a 100% impression share goal and then setting an extremely low max. CPC is unrealistic and will not yield the results you want. 

Maximize Clicks

Since Maximize Clicks is optimizing for the most click-through traffic as possible, it is pretty straight forward. With this bid strategy, all you need to do is set a daily budget and Google will take care of the rest! Its algorithm will work behind the scenes to generate as many clicks to your website as your budget will allow. This strategy is great if you want to generate brand awareness or if you want to jump-start a new campaign by bringing in a lot of data, faster. By getting as many clicks to a website as possible, you can more quickly identify what type of users are most likely to convert – their interests, demographic sets, etc. Then use that knowledge to drive future optimizations!

And that’s it! Outside of manual bidding, these are your options for search in Google! It is always recommended to test one of these strategies before overhauling your whole account because while they all sound good on the surface, you never know what kind of results your brand is truly going to get. Also, when testing out these strategies, remember that Google’s algorithm has a learning period. So you may see some wonky performance for the first few days of the test. However, if you stick it out and test these methods one by one – you may just hit a huge win for your account!

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Google Implements Stricter Guidelines for Mass Email Senders to Gmail Users

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Beginning in April, Gmail senders bombarding users with unwanted mass emails will encounter a surge in message rejections unless they comply with the freshly minted Gmail email sender protocols, Google cautions.

Fresh Guidelines for Dispatching Mass Emails to Gmail Inboxes In an elucidative piece featured on Forbes, it was highlighted that novel regulations are being ushered in to shield Gmail users from the deluge of unsolicited mass emails. Initially, there were reports surfacing about certain marketers receiving error notifications pertaining to messages dispatched to Gmail accounts. Nonetheless, a Google representative clarified that these specific errors, denoted as 550-5.7.56, weren’t novel but rather stemmed from existing authentication prerequisites.

Moreover, Google has verified that commencing from April, they will initiate “the rejection of a portion of non-compliant email traffic, progressively escalating the rejection rate over time.” Google elaborates that, for instance, if 75% of the traffic adheres to the new email sender authentication criteria, then a portion of the remaining non-conforming 25% will face rejection. The exact proportion remains undisclosed. Google does assert that the implementation of the new regulations will be executed in a “step-by-step fashion.”

This cautious and methodical strategy seems to have already kicked off, with transient errors affecting a “fraction of their non-compliant email traffic” coming into play this month. Additionally, Google stipulates that bulk senders will be granted until June 1 to integrate “one-click unsubscribe” in all commercial or promotional correspondence.

Exclusively Personal Gmail Accounts Subject to Rejection These alterations exclusively affect bulk emails dispatched to personal Gmail accounts. Entities sending out mass emails, specifically those transmitting a minimum of 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts, will be mandated to authenticate outgoing emails and “refrain from dispatching unsolicited emails.” The 5,000 message threshold is tabulated based on emails transmitted from the same principal domain, irrespective of the employment of subdomains. Once the threshold is met, the domain is categorized as a permanent bulk sender.

These guidelines do not extend to communications directed at Google Workspace accounts, although all senders, including those utilizing Google Workspace, are required to adhere to the updated criteria.

Augmented Security and Enhanced Oversight for Gmail Users A Google spokesperson emphasized that these requisites are being rolled out to “fortify sender-side security and augment user control over inbox contents even further.” For the recipient, this translates to heightened trust in the authenticity of the email sender, thus mitigating the risk of falling prey to phishing attempts, a tactic frequently exploited by malevolent entities capitalizing on authentication vulnerabilities. “If anything,” the spokesperson concludes, “meeting these stipulations should facilitate senders in reaching their intended recipients more efficiently, with reduced risks of spoofing and hijacking by malicious actors.”

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Google’s Next-Gen AI Chatbot, Gemini, Faces Delays: What to Expect When It Finally Launches

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Google AI Chatbot Gemini

In an unexpected turn of events, Google has chosen to postpone the much-anticipated debut of its revolutionary generative AI model, Gemini. Initially poised to make waves this week, the unveiling has now been rescheduled for early next year, specifically in January.

Gemini is set to redefine the landscape of conversational AI, representing Google’s most potent endeavor in this domain to date. Positioned as a multimodal AI chatbot, Gemini boasts the capability to process diverse data types. This includes a unique proficiency in comprehending and generating text, images, and various content formats, even going so far as to create an entire website based on a combination of sketches and written descriptions.

Originally, Google had planned an elaborate series of launch events spanning California, New York, and Washington. Regrettably, these events have been canceled due to concerns about Gemini’s responsiveness to non-English prompts. According to anonymous sources cited by The Information, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai, personally decided to postpone the launch, acknowledging the importance of global support as a key feature of Gemini’s capabilities.

Gemini is expected to surpass the renowned ChatGPT, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, and preliminary private tests have shown promising results. Fueled by significantly enhanced computing power, Gemini has outperformed GPT-4, particularly in FLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second), owing to its access to a multitude of high-end AI accelerators through the Google Cloud platform.

SemiAnalysis, a research firm affiliated with Substack Inc., expressed in an August blog post that Gemini appears poised to “blow OpenAI’s model out of the water.” The extensive compute power at Google’s disposal has evidently contributed to Gemini’s superior performance.

Google’s Vice President and Manager of Bard and Google Assistant, Sissie Hsiao, offered insights into Gemini’s capabilities, citing examples like generating novel images in response to specific requests, such as illustrating the steps to ice a three-layer cake.

While Google’s current generative AI offering, Bard, has showcased noteworthy accomplishments, it has struggled to achieve the same level of consumer awareness as ChatGPT. Gemini, with its unparalleled capabilities, is expected to be a game-changer, demonstrating impressive multimodal functionalities never seen before.

During the initial announcement at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, the company emphasized Gemini’s multimodal prowess and its developer-friendly nature. An application programming interface (API) is under development, allowing developers to seamlessly integrate Gemini into third-party applications.

As the world awaits the delayed unveiling of Gemini, the stakes are high, with Google aiming to revolutionize the AI landscape and solidify its position as a leader in generative artificial intelligence. The postponed launch only adds to the anticipation surrounding Gemini’s eventual debut in the coming year.

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Google Brings Bard Students Math and Coding Education in the Summer

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Google Brings Bard Students Math and Coding Education in the Summer

Google is stepping up its AI efforts this summer by sending Bard, its high-profile chatbot, to summer school. The aim? To boost the bot’s math and coding smarts. These developments are excellent news— when Bard first debuted, it was admittedly not a finished product. But Google is steadily plugging away at it, and have now implemented implicit code execution for logical prompts, and handy Google Sheets’ integration to take it to the next level.

Thanks to implicit code execution, Bard can respond to inquiries requiring calculation or computation with Python code snippets running in the background. What’s even more amazing is that coders can take this generated code and modify it for their projects. Though Google is still apprehensive about guaranteeing the accuracy of Bard’s answers, this feature is said to improve the accuracy of math and word problems by an impressive 30%.

In addition to this, Bard can now export directly to Sheets when asked about tables. So, you don’t need to worry about copying and pasting, which comes with the risk of losing formatting or data.

From the company’s I/O keynote address, it is clear that they are focused on making the most of what Bard can offer. As they continue to speak highly of the chatbot, we’re sure to expect more features and capabilities when the summer comes around.

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