“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love automation

Too much? Any Pride and Prejudice fans? 

I think Mr. Darcy’s feelings towards Elizabeth are in alignment with how I feel toward automation, however exaggerated and hyperbolic that may be. Truly, the success I have seen in accounts using Google automation is astounding, similar to Elizabeth’s astonishment towards that infamous marriage proposal. 

My clients have all transitioned to Search Ads 360. As intimidating of a platform as I first thought it to be, it has proven to be amazing. (Feelings so altered since a first impression  – sound familiar?) From aftermarket automotive parts to durable goods, SA360 has consistently surpassed all expectations and become way more than merely tolerable.  

Take an imaginary turn around the drawing room with me and I’ll tell you how.  

Auction Time Bidding and Search Ads 360 Definitions

Auction Time Bidding (ATB) is Google’s most advanced algorithmic real-time bidding to date. From their support page:

“Auction-time bidding is a Google Ads Smart Bidding feature that analyzes several contextual signals at the time of the auction to set bids with the goal of targeting your ads.”

ATB works in conjunction with Search Ads 360 within its bid strategies portfolios. A better definition on how they work together from Google:

“A Search Ads 360 bid strategy analyzes the performance of the campaigns in its portfolio approximately every 6 hours to set keyword bids and set or recommend bid adjustments.”

A Google Ads auction-time bidding strategy analyzes different contextual signals (such as device, browser type, location, time of day, remarketing list, and more) in real-time to set each keyword bid to display your ads in the best position and maximize performance. 

A Search Ads 360 bid strategy includes auction-time bids in its analysis to set each campaign’s return on investment (ROI) target to achieve the bid strategy’s goal. 

Utilizing Auction Time Bidding to Its Full Potential

So – I took Elizabeth’s sage advice and allowed my courage to rise when intimidated by SA360 fancy features, resolving to utilize ATB to its full potential within my accounts. 

Initially, I analyzed historical campaign performances and grouped campaigns into portfolios that had similar results (similar cost per leads or similar return on ad spends). I started with campaigns that would have the least impact on an account if ATB didn’t work out as planned. 

In my durable goods account, ATB shocked us. This account focused on a cost-per-lead (CPL) goal. In the first month of performance, we were able to take two non-brand campaigns that would barely spend $3000 a month and drove minimal leads to be our top-performing campaigns. 

After enabling ATB, leads increased 1,019% month over month with spend increasing 1,370% while CPA only increased 32%. We were able to not only get our campaigns to spend their full daily budget but we more than doubled our lead volume without seeing a major increase in cost per lead.

The former bid structure wasn’t showing a picture of what the true volume could be for these campaigns. To top it off, our search impression share for these two campaigns grew 30% month over month. 

For the account selling automotive parts, I took the same approach – analyzed campaign performance, grouped it into similar categories, and started with ATB on campaigns that would have the smallest performance impact should metrics drop. 

After enabling ATB, Google search campaigns had a 2.3x increase in ROAS, Google shopping campaigns had a 9.6% increase in ROAS, and the total account revenues increased 7% year over year. This is looking at a three-month period compared to the three previous months. 

Wrapping Up

In summary, SA360 and ATB proved their worth in two completely different accounts that focused on different goals across multiple campaign types. 

Settle in and lean into automation. Don’t let pride or prejudice towards giving up control to a machine stop you. Besides – it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a digital marketer in possession of an account must be in want of great performance.