18th October 2018

The Do's and Don'ts of Smart Bidding Strategies

Darren Kyle
Left Angle Mask

What you should and shouldn't be doing when it comes to smart bidding

Understanding how smart bidding strategies work and where they apply is all well and good, but, understanding what to do and what not to do with these strategies is critical to running a successful campaign. Our last two blogs have focused on the different smart bidding strategies that are available to use and the vertical markets that each strategy would generally be used within. With this third element of our PPC Smart Bidding blog series, you’ll now have everything you need to begin testing and see the impact these strategies can have to your business.

Smart Bidding Strategies

Unless you’re an experienced PPC professional, you might not be confident managing these smart bidding options... which is why we produced this blog post to clear things up. 

It can be very easy to make a mistake that can be detrimental to your campaign, so make sure you read our previous smart bidding blogs as well to get a better understanding before you test or launch a campaign.

The Do’s







Smart bidding can be extremely advantageous if used correctly, mainly because the machine learning algorithm learns as data is processed over time and automatically adjusts the bids, saving you time and effort. Here are the things you NEED to be doing when preparing and launching your smart bidding campaigns:

  • Nothing to aim for, nothing to achieve

Set yourself an achievable goal / objective, the goal of your Google Ads campaign will determine the strategy that you should use.

  • Build your foundation

Ensure your campaign structure, creative and landing pages are finished before you launch your smart bidding campaign. This will increase the chances of a conversion.

  • Increase effectiveness and efficiency – TEST!

Test with campaign experiments, you can split your budget between an existing and test campaign to see whether a specific strategy is right for you.

Make sure it’s a fair test by keeping everything equal, we also recommend testing for a minimum of 4 weeks to really gain insight into whether a bid strategy is right for you.

Make sure you have ample budget to test, as this will help to obtain data which helps the algorithm learn quicker. For example, if testing CPA strategies, Google recommends that the budget is 10x the target CPA to begin with. Testing with smaller budgets is only going to lead to longer tests and make it more difficult to obtain robust learnings.

  • “If you don’t measure, it’s pointless” - Anon. equimedia employee

Measure your KPIs. You need to know whether the smart bidding strategy you’re using is getting you closer towards your goal / objective. This data can then be used to compare future campaigns against.

  • Variety is the spice of life…

Ensure you use a few different ads within each ad group so that you can see which ad performs the best, giving you a better idea of how to design and format ads for future campaigns.

Follow these and you’re on the road to smart bidding success! Prepare to start reaping the benefits...

However, it’s still very easy to screw up your test / campaign! One wrong move can completely ruin everything, so you need to know the common mistakes to avoid making.

The Don’ts


  • This isn’t a lucky dip.

Don’t pick a strategy at random! The strategy you choose depends on the objective of your campaign, if you want to get a better understanding of the best fitting strategy for your business, read our Vertical Market Smart Bidding Strategies.

  • Be patient...

Don’t expect instant results, Google Ads will need time to learn based on conversions, the more conversions you get the quicker it will learn how best to optimise. The machine learning algorithm relies on historical data to optimise, so you will need to optimise manually to begin with.

  • Change is BAD! (When it comes to smart bidding strategies)

When testing, don’t make any changes at all (if possible), including website changes, copy changes, and bidding changes. If you are testing bid strategies, this needs to be done in isolation and you shouldn’t be testing anything else in tandem.

Avoid making any major changes to your Google Ads account, doing so will mean the machine learning algorithm will have to start learning and optimising again.

  • Avoid playing with fire ?

Don’t attempt to test if you don’t have the budget to do so. Testing these strategies without an appropriate budget is comparable to continuously lighting £10 notes on fire! You'll end up with nothing to show for your money and instantly regret doing it once you see the outcome.


Hopefully now that you know the do’s and don’ts of smart bidding, you’ll be able to maximise the performance of your campaigns and achieve your objectives!

If you’re still unsure which strategy you should use or how they work, then refer to our two previous blogs:

If you want to learn more about how you can maximise the effect of smart bidding strategies for your business, then request your FREE Google Ads audit now!