Finding success with Smart Bidding

Deliver better performance using auction-time bidding with Google Ads


Google leverages the best signals we have to help set your bid right at the time the auction happens. This is called auction-time bidding.

Setting the right bids is an essential part of a profitable account. You may have a good sense of where you should set your bids, but there could be ways to improve on your current method. Namely, can you optimize your bids quicker, across more keywords, and can you set your bids individually for each auction?

Automating your bids with Google Ads can deliver better and more informed bids while saving you time. In this guide, we’ll talk about why you should use automated bidding, which strategy to choose, and how to test it in your account.

Bid to the user’s auction-time context via Smart Bidding

Deciding where to set your bids is important. It could very well determine how profitable your account is. You could potentially apply the following bid modifiers: 17,000 cities, across 6 distinct blocks of time for each of the 7 days in a week, for users that have visited specific parts of your site before, while factoring in three different device types.

There are over one million bidding combinations available to you on just one keyword in the above example. It becomes pretty difficult to scale that level of bidding precision when you’re managing accounts with thousands of keywords.

We created Smart Bidding to solve that problem. Smart Bidding takes even more factors into consideration when adjusting bids than are available in the interface with standard bid adjustments. Not only that, those bidding decisions are made uniquely for each auction that you enter. They are highly specific bids, made efficiently and at scale to help you achieve better performance.

Keyword-level bidding is the most specific way to bid manually, but even with that you can’t set precise bids for the many different queries that can match to a single keyword. This proves especially true if you're using broad or phrase match keywords, or even targeting-level bids with Dynamic Search Ads.

Beyond that, keyword-level bidding for your exact match keywords can't account for the wide array of user contexts connected with a search. Only auction-time bidding has the level of precision required to set a bid matched to a user's actual search query and context.

Smart Bidding sets your bids at the moment of the auction for each impression based on all the factors in play. So instead of a few basic adjustments, you get subtle (and powerful) shades of all the relevant contextual factors. Things like:

  • Exact wording of the query
  • Match type
  • More specific device (including OS)
  • Browser
  • Language
  • Time of day

Smart Bidding also includes other factors like the ad creative in use or what audience list someone may belong to as a result of visiting your site previously. All can be factored in at the moment of an impression so you get a bid that makes sense for you and your business goals. Smart Bidding improves constantly as new signals are added to the algorithm.

Note: Curious about how our auction-time bidding technology works? Check out Setting Smarter Search Bids: Inside Automated Bidding with Google Ads.

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