The limitations of smart bidding and why your paid search campaigns deserve more

April 18, 2024

Arguably the biggest innovation the paid search industry has seen in the past decade is the advent of Smart Bidding, Google’s automated bidding solution. I remember when I first entered the industry as an Account Coordinator… Ah, the good (or bad?) old days. A majority of my time was spent manually updating CPC bids for every keyword in my client’s Google and Bing Ad accounts. I would analyze how each campaign was pacing toward my client’s KPI and calculate new bids multiple times a week. 

Enter Google’s tROAS and tCPA smart bidding strategies. I remember my Google account reps encouraging my team to test these automated strategies and how skeptical we all were. The only automated bidding we had heard of in the past was through Marin! But as the years went by and Google’s automation won more and more bidding tests, Smart Bidding became the norm. 

Now manual bidding is a thing of the past – manual CPC isn’t even an option anymore. And what paid search marketer isn’t relieved to be freed of the tedious tasks associated with manual bidding? 

These publisher bidding strategies are great… but they’re an incomplete solution. What if you want budget pacing, not just ROAS or CPA, to be considered in bidding decisions? Can you ask Google’s algorithm to do that? Not without a complex custom script… and I certainly don’t know how to code.

Managing budget pacing still requires manual intervention – that is unless you use Marin! Read on to understand some of the ways Marin makes smart bidding even better.

Manage everything in one place

Jumping across publisher tools can be time-consuming and fragment your workflows and data. With Marin, all your different campaigns across Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more are unified in one UI

Marin unifies publisher data from tools like Google and Microsoft ads with backend data from tracking solutions like Google Analytics. We even have our own tracking solution, Marin Attribution, which is a more straightforward alternative to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

All that data comes together in our interactive, customizable reporting grids. From campaigns, all the way down to individual keywords, front-end metrics – like costs and clicks – are married to backend metrics – like conversions and revenue – and attributed to the correct source. You can even create your own custom columns with the calculations that matter most to you. That means no more spreadsheets. 

Transitioning your reporting and analysis from an Excel grid to the Marin grid eliminates the need for any manual data wrangling, saving time and improving data accuracy. Check out how easy it is to analyze performance in Marin.

Marin makes it easier than ever to analyze cross-channel performance and clearly determine what is working well and what needs attention. If you decide to take any action based on that analysis, Marin makes that process easier than ever, too. 

Edit smart bidding settings across publishers

After using Marin’s reporting grid to determine what’s working and what’s not, you can use our multi-edit functionality to make changes. Update your smart bidding settings like strategy, target, bid cap, and more in Marin and avoid wasting time hopping between unintuitive publisher UIs.

Maximize ROAS with Dynamic Allocation

If you find yourself grappling with questions of how much you should spend on each of your campaigns, let Marin solve them for you. Our budget allocation solution harnesses the power of AI to ensure your budget is distributed as efficiently as possible across campaigns and channels. 

It all starts with your goals. First, you’ll meet with your Marin team to discuss your KPI targets and spend goals. Next, you’ll group your campaigns into different spend groups. Some examples of typical spend groups are brand, non-brand, retargeting, and prospecting. 

Marin’s AI will take it from there. It will analyze how each of your campaigns is currently pacing toward your KPIs and review impression share metrics to determine if there is more room for a campaign to spend in the SERP or if that campaign is already dominating. It’ll then allocate your budget across all the campaigns in the given bucket based on each campaign’s potential. 

You can either auto-apply Marin’s budget recommendations, or review them in the Marin app and apply them manually as you see fit. Manage it all in Marin’s budget pacing dashboard, which showcases not only how your budget groups are pacing toward spend goals, but revenue and ROAS trends as well.

Get unbiased recommendations for improvement

The publishers all provide recommendations to improve performance. But if you look closely, these recommendations always seem to lead to you spending more money on ads — not necessarily getting you any closer to hitting your KPI targets. Marin’s recommendation engine is free from publisher bias and has complete context on how all of your campaigns are doing across your customer lifecycle. This makes it more accurate than Google or Bing’s recommendations. And just like Google’s recommendations, they can be applied with one click. 

In the modern paid media landscape, maintaining independence from domineering publisher tools is more valuable than ever. If our blog hasn’t convinced you of that yet, Marin’s unbiased recommendations will. 

Say goodbye to publisher walled gardens

If you’re only using publisher tools for paid search media buying, you're limiting your marketing program. Marin can help you save time and improve your ROAS or CPA in countless ways. The best part? Marin is completely customizable. Unlike the publisher tools' one-size-fits-all approach, we can adapt our software to your business’s specific needs. Share your struggles with a Marin rep today and learn what we can do to help!

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Lauren Neels

Marin Software
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