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Seasonality bid adjustments in Google Ads.

The seasonality adjustments feature that Google previewed at Google Marketing Live in May is now live for Search and Display campaigns. It is not available yet for Shopping, Video or App campaigns, but is expected to come to Shopping campaigns later this year.

Why would you use this? Google’s tCPA and tROAS smart bidding strategies already take broad-scale seasonality changes into consideration; it’s not hard to train algorithms to respond to the holiday season bump, for example. However, machine learning algorithms don’t often respond well or quickly to sharp changes — in this case to changing conversion rates. By the time the system catches up, your promotion may be over. With the seasonality adjustment feature, advertisers can inform Google’s bidding systems of expected conversion rate changes during special promotions, product launches or more nuanced seasonal pickups and lulls specific to their businesses.

“With seasonality adjustments, you can apply a predicted conversion rate adjustment and Smart Bidding will consider that adjustment for the date range selected, while trying to hit your target CPA,” says Google.

How to get started. Getting to the right place in the Google Ads interface isn’t all that intuitive at first. From the Tools menu, select Bid Strategies, then click on Advanced Controls in the left-hand menu. From there you can add a new seasonality adjustment by clicking the blue “plus” button.

You’ll be asked to name your setting and set a start and end dates and time. Note that by default, it’s set to apply to all search and display and all device types. You can instead opt to apply the adjustment to specific campaigns and device types.

Finally, you set the conversion rate adjustment (increase or decrease). “For example, if you expect conversion rates to increase by 50% during a 3-day sale, add up to a +50% conversion rate adjustment,” says Google. “This adjustment will help you optimize your bids.”

The default settings on the seasonality adjustment set up screen.

Why we should care. This feature injects some manual signals and control into Smart Bidding to better anticipate and manage short intervals of conversion rate changes. With the seasonality scheduling, the system will adjust based on your estimated conversion rate change during and then revert back “without the need for a ramp down.”

This should be used for short-term promotions, rather than the month before back to school, for example.


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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