Pros & Cons of Conversion Optimizer in AdWords

May 13, 2016 | Featured Posts

bri--blog--19CPA bidding (also known as Conversion Optimizer) is a feature in AdWords that allows you to set bids based on how much you’d like to pay for a conversion on your website–as opposed to bidding how much you’d like to pay per click.

So it’s like this… Let’s say you sell an e-book on your website at a price of $25, so you set a CPA bid in AdWords of $20. That tells AdWords, “I’m willing to pay $20 in click costs for every one of my e-books that gets sold.” The AdWords system will then use its massive repository of data to decide when and where to display your ads, and how much to bid per click in the auction.

Pros of using Conversion Optimizer:

  • Free to use
  • Super easy to set up (once you’ve met the requirements for conversion tracking)
  • It focuses on maximizing conversions at a certain price, which should always be the primary focus of AdWords
  • Google has infinitely more data than you, and utilizes it for your benefit when deciding where and when to display your ads, and what to bid in the auction.
  • It allows you to set a “target CPA bid, or “maximum be a bid.
  • Based on campaign history, it will offer a recommended bid to help get you started in the right way.
  • It saves you the trouble of doing manual bidding for individual ad groups or keywords–which can be labor-intensive.

Cons of using Conversion Optimizer:

  • Will not work with any bid adjustments–with the exception of one: you can set a bid adjustment of negative 100% for mobile devices.
  • It does not work well with new keywords. Since it requires history in order to base future bids and projections, it will normally underperform when adding new keywords.
  • It doesn’t give you any assist data, which can be very valuable. In the attribution report, you can normally learn which elements of your campaigns factored in to an eventual conversion.
  • Cannot be used with shopping campaigns– which is a special campaign type for creating product listing ads.
  • You can’t use separate bids for display network and search network advertising. Conversion Optimizer automatically optimizes your bids across all networks.

My advice:

My best advice is to test using Conversion Optimizer under these conditions:

  • You have a well-defined, and valuable conversion action on your website.
  • You have a campaign that’s been getting a fairly consistent flow of conversions over a period of a couple of months or more, and you don’t plan on doing much tweaking to keywords for the time being.

One thing you could do—which might be the perfect option for you— is to apply CPA bidding as a flexible bid strategy. Flexible bid strategies are an advanced AdWords feature, but can give you the ability to apply CPA bids with flexibility to any combination of campaigns and ad groups you wish.


Barry--BW Profile Photo--qual. 80%Hello. My name is Barry, and I love Google AdWords! Would you like to connect with me? If so, send me an email at this address:

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