How to Optimize Google Ads Smart Bidding for Offline Conversions

Blair Symes Senior Director of Content Marketing, DialogTech

Google says over 70% of advertisers now use Google Ads Smart Bidding. It’s a collection of automated bid strategies that use machine learning to optimize for what drives the most total conversions or the most cost-effective conversions, depending on the goals you set.

The two biggest benefits of Smart Bidding to advertisers are that it saves you time while also improving the performance of your Google Ads campaigns. But part of what makes it so popular is the flexibility Google gives you to tailor Smart Bidding to fit your specific goals and business needs.

First, Google provides several Smart Bidding strategies to choose from, including:

  • Target CPA: Sets bids for you to get the most conversions at or below your target cost-per-action (CPA).
  • Target ROAS: Bids based on a target return on ad spend (ROAS) to drive more conversion value or revenue for the target spend you set. 
  • Maximize Conversions: Sets bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign for the budget you have. 

Then, Google can use a wide range of signals as factors in your bid optimizations to target the right person with the right ad for the right price. Signals include attributes like the consumer’s device, location, search query, previous activity on your website, and much more. 

Use Offline Conversions as Automated Bidding Signals in Google Ads

Google Ads Smart Bidding isn’t restricted to generating online conversions, either. It can now be used to drive offline conversions like store visits and inbound phone calls — something advertisers in many industries value just as highly as online conversions, if not more.

That’s because most searches take place on smartphones, and those searchers often call or visit the business’s location instead of converting online. According to Google, mobile searchers are:

  • 57% more likely to visit a store
  • 39% more likely to call a business
  • 51% more likely to make a purchase

Offline conversions are highly prized by businesses in the industries spending the most on Google Ads, including automotive, healthcare, home services, insurance, financial services, and retail. Being able to drive store visits and phone calls is essential for advertisers in those industries to get the best results from Google Ads Smart Bidding.

Percent of Consumers Who Say They Called After Searching for a Business

How to Include Store Visits as a Conversion in Google Ads Smart Bidding

Smart Bidding can only use conversions reported in the “Conversions” column when optimizing towards a target. So advertisers who want to use Smart Bidding to optimize for store visits need to first have store visits as a conversion in their Google Ads account.

Store visit conversions provide insights into the number of people who visited your store within 30 days of engaging with one of the ads in your Google Ads campaigns. Google provides this data for you, so you don’t need any additional technology to capture it. However, you do have to meet certain volume thresholds to be eligible to get it, so not every advertiser can take advantage of store visits in Smart Bidding.

But if you are receiving store visit data from Google, you would just need to include it as a conversion in your “Conversions” reporting column. You can then select it as a conversion to optimize for via Smart Bidding.

Google recommends testing it out first on a subset of campaigns before expanding to your entire account. They also recommend using a 7-day store visit conversion window when evaluating it with Smart Bidding, unless your business typically has longer purchase cycles (like if you are running campaigns for auto dealerships) — in which case, you can keep it at 30 days.

How to Include Inbound Calls as a Conversion in Google Ads Smart Bidding

If your business values inbound calls, you can also use Google Ads Smart Bidding to automatically optimize for phone call conversions. The process is similar to store visits, in that you would need to have calls captured as a conversion in your Google Ads account in order to include them as a signal for Smart Bidding to optimize on.

Unlike store visits, however, advertisers should consider using a third-party conversation intelligence platform to get the right data on calls in their Google Ads account. That’s because while phone calls can be extremely valuable conversions, not every phone call you generate from Google Ads is a qualified sales lead. The truth is most are not. And you don’t want to have all those bad calls used as signals for Google’s machine learning to optimize on. Optimizing on bad data usually leads to bad results and wasted spend.

But if you use a conversation intelligence solution like DialogTech, you can have Google Ads Smart Bidding optimize only for those calls that drove the results you want. Conversation intelligence solutions combine the attribution of call tracking with AI-driven conversation analytics to provide meaningful and actionable marketing insights from callers. They don’t just  tell you what marketing source drove each call, who the caller is, where they are calling from, and what location or agent they are calling — they also close the loop by analyzing the actual phone conversations to determine caller intent, lead score, product/service interest, conversion outcome, and more. 

Pass AI-Driven Insights from Conversations into Google Ads 

Those KPIs from calls are then passed into your Google Ads account, so you can optimize for the campaigns, ads, keywords, and webpages driving the most valuable phone leads and sales conversions at the lowest costs. It will enable you to get better results from automated bid strategies because Google is optimizing with true call conversion data.

Google Ads Campaigns with Conversation Intelligence Data

Sample Google Ads report that includes conversation intelligence data

With DialogTech you can separate out bad calls (spam, support calls, solicitations, etc.) from actual sales-related calls within Google Ads so Google doesn’t include non-sales calls as conversions to optimize for. Then, if you are using Google’s “Maximize Conversions” strategy, for example, Google can optimize for what drives actual call conversions to generate better results.

Separating phone leads from non-leads helps Google make better decisions

With conversation intelligence data from DialogTech in Google Ads, Google can also take into account each call’s lead score and if they converted to optimize for what drives the most valuable phone calls. Remember, not all phone leads are equal — you might sell higher-priced products and services and want Google to be able to spend a bit more to get calls for those offerings. You might also value high-intent calls that convert right away to appointments or orders more than you value those that didn’t. So now with this KPI data from calls in Google Ads, if you are using “Target ROAS,” Google can factor in the value of calls to drive more conversion value for your target spend.

Phone lead score and sales conversion metrics show Google what’s driving the most value

Learn More About What Marketing Intelligence Is Available from Phone Calls

Download our ebook, The 10 Call Analytics Reports That Will Change Your Marketing, to see examples of AI-driven conversation intelligence reports you can use to make smarter marketing decisions.

Download our ebook, The 10 Call Analytics Reports That Will Change Your Marketing, to see examples of AI-driven conversation intelligence reports you can use to make smarter marketing decisions.

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