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Direct Intent & Google’s Smart Bidding

Google Ads is one of the best channels you can launch for your organization. Why? Because it’s one of the few channels that serves direct intent. Direct intent refers to the purchase intent of the end-user or potential customer. Through direct intent, marketing organizations can serve ads to people when they show intent to buy your products or services.

Let’s say you see a billboard for an auto repair company during your morning commute. You don’t need any auto repair services right now, but you try and make a mental note in case you do.  Now let’s say 6 months later, you need to get your car serviced. You don’t remember the name of the company you saw on the billboard so you go to Google and type “auto repair near me.” Now you, as the consumer, are showing direct intent for auto repair services. If the company that put up that billboard is not investing in Google Ads, they will most likely lose your business to a competitor that is. This type of traffic is some of the most valuable because the likelihood that they will purchase from you is much higher than traditional outlets such as a billboard.

Google has made intent a larger focus on the tactics they deliver to marketers. Now you can leverage Google’s advanced AI to get even more high intent users into your website by way of Smart Bidding. Smart bidding relies on the conversions you have set up on your website – if you’re B2C, it’s most likely an eCommerce transaction. If you’re B2B, it’s most likely a contact form or demo request. When enabled, Google’s AI collects data on the type of people who routinely fulfill your conversions and begins to prioritize individuals who fit those traits within your campaigns.  Now, you’re not only getting people with higher intent, but you’re also getting people with higher intent who are more likely to convert on your specific products and services. Google’s AI is picking up things like time of day, previous search history, device type, etc., on each user after they search.

To take advantage, you need to enable smart bidding on a campaign to campaign basis withing your Google Ads account.  There are three types of smart bidding options you should learn about:

  • Maximize Conversions – Through Maximize Conversions, you tell Google that you want the campaign to garner the most amount of conversions it can within your designated daily budget. This is a great option to pick for both B2C and B2B and is the recommended option If you are just starting out with smart bidding.
  • Target CPA – This is a more advanced option and should only be picked if you have identified a realistic CPA (cost per acquisition). Here, you tell Google to get you conversions at a specified cost per conversion. This is especially good for B2B organizations where there may be no direct revenue collected on conversion (such as a lead gen form, request demo form, etc.)
  • Target ROAS – This option should only be used if you have an eCommerce website or if your conversion goals have direct revenue tied to them.  This is a slightly more advanced option than Maximize Conversions but it is especially good if you need Google Ads to maintain a target return on ad spend (ROAS).  For example, if I set my target ROAS goal to 300% then Google will try to get me a $3.00 return for every $1.00 I spend in ads.