In spring 2021, Google Ads will begin phasing out two bidding strategies – Target Cost Per Conversion (tCPA) and Target Return on Advertising (tROAS). Google announced these changes in the developer blog at the end of February 2021. Over time, these strategies cannot be selected in the campaign-level settings.
Updates will be introduced gradually and as long as campaigns that use these strategies are not in danger. However, it is worth preparing for updates in advance.
Experts from Wordstream in their article gave recommendations on how to prepare advertisers for the changes, and we made a translation of the material.
How tCPA and tROAS work
Target CPC and Target ROI are smart automated bidding strategies that use machine learning technology. The first allows you to get the most conversions for a set price. The second aims to maximize your conversion value for a given ROI.
What’s wrong with these strategies
These strategies were among the first to appear in Google Ads. Even though they’ve been around for so long, they have drawbacks.
Need constant control
When working with both strategies, the specialist has to constantly check and adjust the target metrics – CPC or ROI – in campaign settings to match the current metrics.
In addition, it can be tempting to understate your CPC or overestimate your ROI. But if these numbers are far from the real state of affairs, Google will not be able to provide you with the result you want.
Historical data required
For strategies to work effectively, you need to have a fair amount of historical conversion data. It is based on historical conversion data that Google determines which bid should be assigned to achieve a goal. If you are working with a new campaign or a new account where there are few or no conversions, you will not be able to achieve a good result with these strategies.
How to replace tCPA and tROAS
A few months before the strategies stop working, Google will send notifications to advertisers. Therefore, for now, “Target cost per conversion” and “Target return on investment in advertising” can be used.
After the updates take effect, you can use an alternative with almost the same options. So, in the strategy “Maximum conversions” the setting of the target price per conversion will appear. And in the Target Conversion Value strategy, you will be able to choose optimization to achieve your target ROI.
Thus, the options for the strategies that Google is about to remove will not disappear, but simply migrate to other strategies.
What advertisers need to worry about and do they need to
There is no need. The changes will take place without visible consequences for advertisers.
No action required… You do not need to make changes to campaigns with tCPA and tROAS strategies, at least until you are notified of the changes in the strategy. Google says it will automatically migrate campaigns to the Target Conversion Value and Maximum Conversions strategies with the same KPIs configured in the disabled strategies.
Campaign performance will not be affected… The transition will be smooth without any changes in the current settings or data, and you will not have to restart the training of the algorithm. Therefore, the campaign performance indicators should remain the same.
How to get the most out of your update
Although Google does not require any mandatory action from advertisers, you can prepare for the changes in advance to get more value from them.
Don’t turn off the Target CPA and Target ROI strategies right nowif they give good results. Nothing will happen to these strategies in the near future, they will still be available.
Find underperforming campaigns currently running tCPA or tROAS and in which you would change the strategy to “Maximum Conversions” or “Maximum Conversion Value” as soon as possible.
Use the update as an opportunity to check how effectively you are using auto strategies… It is always a good idea to revise your goals against the current performance. For example, if you are using the Max Clicks strategy, consider whether you really want to continue working with it or if you already have enough conversion data to try the Max Conversions strategy.
If none of your campaigns have used the strategies that Google is about to remove, this update may still benefit you. While there is time, check your account and Consider which campaigns would benefit from Target ROI or Target CPCand then switch to alternative strategies.
What do foreign experts think about the changes
Holly Niemiec, Wordstream Account Manager, says the update is another Google’s way of encouraging advertisers to use smart bidding strategies and choose exactly “Maximum conversions” and “Target conversion value”. In this case, the advertiser can, within the framework of these strategies, set the settings similar to those in the disabled strategies. In addition, these settings are not new for the “Maximum Conversions” and “Target Conversion Rate” strategies, but are available in Smart Shopping campaigns.
The update will also make it easier to work with auto strategies and make it clear to professionals who are still setting manual bids that Google smart strategies are more effective, says Holly Niemek. They can help advertisers on low budgets to promote in highly competitive topics, achieving the desired indicators.
For Empiric Marketing founder Brett McHale, the update seems unnecessary because the update will have little to no impact on bidding, and all settings will be available in other strategies. The change itself can only confuse advertisers. However, if the upgrade does not really impact performance, then there is nothing to worry about.
Mark Irvine, Paid Media Director at Search Lab, agrees that the change is minor and advertisers have nothing to worry about, but overall it is will improve the work of specialists…
Mark Irwin also notes that many advertisers misuse the tROAS and tCPA strategies, setting the wrong targets. Because of this, the strategy does not work at full strength, although it could give better performance.
This is especially true for advertisers with small budgets: just for them, the best solution would be to use the strategies “Maximum conversions” or “Maximum conversion value.” Then Google will strive to bring as many conversions as possible within the budget, and the advertiser will be able to limit CPA so that conversions weren’t too expensive.
Use the update as an opportunity to improve ad performance. Reconsider your campaigns and consider which ones would benefit from switching to alternative strategies and which ones should continue to use Target Cost Per Conversion or Maximum ROI.
Changes are inevitable, advertising platforms are constantly being updated, and it is important for a specialist to be flexible, to be able to adapt to new conditions. Consider these updates as an opportunity to redefine your approach and take a fresh look at your ad account.