Big Changes for Google Adwords Bid Optimization

Google initiated some subtle, but big changes to its Adwords bid optimization in the 4th Quarter of 2017.

If you haven’t kept up, those changes could cost you money on your Adwords spend.

Are you currently using Google’s Smart Bidding? You may be now, and you may not even know it. Smart Bidding according to Google includes the following:

If you are “optimizing for conversions” or  have your Google ads set to “rotate evenly,” then you will now have to choose between:

  • “Optimize” which will use Google’s latest machine learning technology which will favor delivering ads Google determines  should perform better than other ads in your ad group.  That’s good news and bad news.  Bad news if you think Google is wrong and you have the track record to prove it, but good news if you’re just starting out and you have no track record.

‌ “Rotate indefinitely” delivers your ads more evenly for “an indefinite amount of time.”  The key take away here is that it appears you can no longer target specific days or hours of a day when choosing optimizing for conversions.  Possibly, part of the reason Google is going this route is because the old “rotate evenly” ad placement often results in budgets for the day not being used.   Although overall search activity is fairly predictable, the actual searches for any one key word are random and

Two Key Benefits of Smart Bidding for Google Adwords:

1. Advanced machine learning

“In bidding, machine learning algorithms train on data at a vast scale to help you make more accurate predictions across your account about how different bid amounts might impact conversions or conversion value. These algorithms factor in a wider range of parameters that impact performance than a single person or team could compute.”


Google is now able to more accurately determine ideal bids for conversions.  “Welcome to the Machine” as Pink Floyd would say. At least for now, the key variable of creativity and great ad writing still comes down to a talented human writer.

2. Wide range of contextual signals

“With auction-time bidding, you can factor in a wide range of signals into your bid optimizations. Signals are identifiable attributes about a person or their context at the time of a particular auction. This includes attributes like device and location, which are available as manual bid adjustments, plus additional signals and signal combinations exclusive to AdWords Smart Bidding.


The hot buzz word of 2017 and continuing into 2018 is  “Geo-fencing.” Already many apps such as Facebook offer this feature of being able to target customers when they come within a specific set geography.  This is great for Retail and especially restaurants, but not as relevant for manufacturers or online stores.

If you don’t have the time or knowledge to manage your own Google Adwords campaign because you’re too busy doing what it is you do, we understand. We offer professional management of Google Adwords and Google Display Ad campaigns with enhanced tracking for better conversions. Contact us today.

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About Matt Ross

Matt Ross is the President and Founder of DigitalHipster Inc. est. 2009.  Matt and his Wife Wendy have two adult sons. He's a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Alumni, a member of The Society of Martin Scholars at The University of Akron, and an active member in a few book clubs. When he's not deep in code and cranking music, or trying to keep up with the latest Google Algorithm, Matt is gardening, mountain biking, off-roading in his Jeep, writing for fun or being a guinea pig for his wife's yoga instruction. He lives and works in Highland Square Akron, Ohio. For the 15 years prior to launching DigitalHipster Inc.  Matt worked as a Senior Advertising Account Executive and Integrated Sales Director for major television stations and newspapers in the Akron, Cleveland, Phoenix and Las Vegas markets. He has successfully planned, sold and executed millions of dollars in innovative multi-platform advertising campaigns consisting of television commercials, web video, content integration, multi-carrier mobile WAP sites, print ads, and radio. Matt says, "During my years working in broadcast and print media, I learned how to gather real-time advertising response rates and develop cost-effect creative that works for my clients.  By working for over a decade on the sales side with millions of dollars of advertising revenue, I learned how to spot bargains for my clients and see what worked and what didn't. We're not just a team of graphic designers, or artists that take chances with your ad budget. We have real advertising experience across all the major advertising channels."