When to Manually Adjust Bids on Google Shopping

While Google recommends utilizing their smart bidding options to automate your shopping campaigns, their automated bidding strategies take away your ability to make bid adjustments on a product level. Although it often makes sense to take a back seat and let Google do the work when it comes to your bidding, there’s something to be said for the flexibility and control you have with manual bid adjustments, which you can use by selecting a manual CPC  (cost per click) strategy for your bidding within Google shopping.

For many of our eCommerce clients, and our in-house eCommerce company, DermWarehouse, we’ve experimented with both manual and smart bidding options for Google shopping campaigns. While there are certainly benefits of utilizing automated bidding, we’ve seen really great results when we’re able to manually adjust bids on a per product level. 

Not only does this allow us to bid higher for higher priced items (we wouldn’t want to bid the same for a $30 skin care product vs. a $200 product, for example), it also allows us to look at the performance of each product and adjust bids accordingly. If one product has a 6 to 1 ROAS (return on ad spend), we can bid up to try to double down on this. Alternatively, if a product has a terrible ROAS, we can bid down to ensure that product isn’t eating up too much of the budget. 

Learn More: What is a Good ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) for eCommerce

When it comes to manual bid adjustments, knowing when to adjust your bids is key. Sometimes automated bidding makes the most sense, if you don’t have the time to spend managing your campaigns or you aren’t extremely familiar with the products. Other times, manual bidding is the right move and can make a huge difference in your campaign performance. 

Automated bidding vs. manual bid adjustments

As I mentioned, automated bidding takes the guesswork out of managing your Google ads. Google will automatically set your bids for you based on your goals for a specific campaign and that campaign’s performance. Google is able to gauge your bids vs. competitors and look at the history of your campaigns to set the bids appropriately so that your ads are able to gain traction and perform. Not to mention, automated bidding is a huge time saver and allows for you to set and forget your campaigns more so than with manual bidding.

Learn More: When to use Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

Manual bidding, on the other hand, allows you to set the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click. The benefit of manual bidding is that it gives you control to adjust your bids as you see fit. While it does take time to manage this, it allows for adjustments based on product price and gives you the flexibility to change your bids based on the profitability of each individual product.

Need help setting up your Google shopping campaigns? Contact The Media Captain!

When Should You manually adjust bids on Google Shopping

If you want to set up a manual Google shopping campaign, under your settings, find the bidding section and then choose “Manual CPC”. You’ll be able to set a max cost per click for your entire campaign and then within the ad group, you’ll be able to adjust each bid as you see fit. As you can see below, I always choose to use enhanced CPC to optimize for conversions. This means that Google will adjust your bid up or down as they see fit to encourage more conversions in your campaign.

As you’re starting to adjust your bids, you’ll want to keep the following strategies in mind and adjust bids up and down accordingly:

Adjusting bid based on product price

When your campaigns are first starting out and have no data behind them, you won’t be able to make many bid adjustments based on the performance of the products. Right from the get go, however, you can adjust bids based on price. 

The easiest way to do this is to set up custom labels for price. For DermWarehouse, we have a $0-$50 bucket, $51-$100, $101-150, and so on. Maybe I’ll bid $1 for the $0-50 bucket, $2 for the $51-100, and $3 for the $101-$150. This means that I’m willing to spend more money on products that are a higher price. Why spend the same for a click on a $25 product that I do on a $125 product?

As you can see in the screenshot below, in the past, we’ve run shopping campaigns that were segmented by our custom price labels. This was I was easily able to manually set my max CPC’s based on the prices in each campaign.

Adjusting bid based on profitability

Once your campaigns start running and get some data behind them, you can begin to adjust bids based on product profitability. This means that you’ll put more money behind products that are performing well. You’ll also reduce the amount you’re spending on poor performers. 

Learn More: How to Optimize Google Shopping Ads for a Better ROAS

For your most important campaigns, you can look at these once per week and make adjustments. For other campaigns, you can look at these every other week or once per month. 

Below are the parameters that I use when I’m adjusting bids in my DermWarehouse campaigns. If you set up rules for yourself, bid adjustments become a no-brainer. You don’t have to think twice about when to adjust up or down, these rules will make the decision for you.

You can change the parameters below as needed, but make sure to save filters within Google ads so finding the products to adjust is just one click away.

  • Bid up 25%:
    • ROAS >2
    • Absolut Top Impression Share <90%
    • Clicks > 30
  • Decrease bids 25%:
    • ROAS <1
    • Impression Share >20%
    • Clicks > 25

As you can see below, I’ve saved the filters that I mentioned above so I have easy access to them.

Don’t be scared to pause poor performing products all together. My rule of thumb is that if a product gets more than 50 clicks and 0 conversions, it’s time to pull the plug. Again, pick a number of clicks and stick to it, that way the decision making process becomes extremely easy.

Mobile Bid Adjustments

While mobile bid adjustments are not exactly the same as manually adjusting bids on a per product level, we frequently do adjust bids by device, so it’s worth mentioning here. You can adjust your bids by device whether you’re using one of Google’s automated bidding strategies or manual CPC.

The reason it’s so important to pay attention to this is because even though mobile traffic continues to overtake desktop in terms of volume, this doesn’t mean it converts as well as desktop. In fact, mobile conversion rates are less than half that of desktop. [source]

If you don’t adjust bids accordingly, the high majority of your traffic for Google Shopping could be mobile, which will lower your conversion rate percentage (if you’re not being proactive with your bid adjustments). You can adjust your bids by device whether you’re using an automated or manual bidding campaign. 

HOW TO ADJUST MOBILE BIDS ON GOOGLE SHOPPING

Below is data from DermWarehouse in one of our Google shopping campaigns for a brand called Auriderm.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • There’s way more traffic coming from mobile (276 clicks) versus computers (76 clicks) | Look at “Clicks”
  • The cost per conversion is 2x the price on mobile compared to desktop | (look at cost/conv.)
  • To offset the amount of clicks from mobile while trying to drop the cost per conversion, we’ve lowered the bid on mobile by 50% and increased the desktop bid by 15% | (look at Bid Adj.)
  • You can see that the cost per click is now significantly lower on mobile versus desktop | (look at Avg. CPC)

There’s still room to drive down the cost per conversion on mobile by continuously lowering mobile bid adjustment until it evens out with desktop. The issue is if you lower your bid to a certain level, you can sacrifice volume and may not hit your daily budget and ultimately, this will drive less sales. This is where an online advertising strategy is needed to determine benchmarks for desktop versus mobile bid adjustments.

SIMPLE YET OVERLOOKED

Mobile bid adjustments on Google Shopping is a simple tactic that takes minutes to implement that’s often overlooked. For each individual campaign, click on “Devices” and then lower your bids accordingly. You can also create separate campaigns for mobile and desktop if there’s enough traffic to justify the budget you’re working with.

In Closing:

  • While Google recommends utilizing their automated bidding options, it often makes sense to manually adjust your Google shopping bids on a per product level.
  • Manual bid adjustment is helpful when you want to bid up or down based on price or profitability of certain products. You wouldn’t want to pay the same per click for a $20 product vs. a $200 product. You also wouldn’t want to pay the same for a product that has a 2×1 ROAS vs. a 6×1 ROAS.
  • Pay attention to your bids by device. Conversion rate is lower on mobile so many times it makes sense to bid down on this device type.

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