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In this week’s session, Julie F Bacchini focused on various topics which include Bidding Strategy, Account Auditing, Query Matching, and FLoC. PPCers expressed their views on smart bidding, what steps are they taking to be ready for FLoC? , what is their biggest frustration when auditing accounts? and more.

Q1: With FLoC rolling out for testing in the US, has your thinking about it changed at all?

I’ve been surprised by the universal, negative reaction to FLoC by almost everyone. This might be DOA. @robert_brady

I’m interested in what’s going to happen with the browsers & FLoC and honestly don’t think we can say what’s going to go down. @amaliaefowler

The fact that they are not testing it in Europe (and I have read that in its current form it is not necessarily GDPR compliant?) I have MANY questions about its viability. @NeptuneMoon

Not really from an ad perspective. I have started to think about the user more. I personally like personalized ads & get upset when I get ads shown to me that clearly I am outside the target market. Will users dump chrome and go elsewhere or am I in the minority? @selley2134

It’s not rolled out to Canada yet, so this is a wait and see for me. @JuliaVyse

We’re taking it day-by-day! We will be watching our US clients closely with how this rolls out. @snaptechmktg

There’s still too much we don’t know. It’s not even GDPR compliant yet(!) so it will change again somehow. Long term I think it will basically just replace Affinity/In-Market segments and appear roughly the same in platform, but work differently under the hood. @Greg_Asquith

My thinking about it hasn’t necessarily changed but I do feel like I’m seeing more and more platforms saying they are proposing blocking FLoC. Which for me prompts the question why? Is there a strong privacy concern we should be aware of? @BrettBodofsky

Maybe I am overly naïve, but no, not really @JonKagan

Q2: Are you putting anything into place now to be ready for FLoC and the impending dropping of iOS 14.5 (which is rumored to possibly happen today with the scheduled Apple event)?

We have already been taking all the recommended steps for iOS 14.5 and have our Analytics team researching how best to approach FLoC. Getting additional ideas from this community is also high on our list! @snaptechmktg

We’ve been looking at getting ready for iOS 14.5 for weeks now – with our one team member dedicating a lot of time to prepping any FB clients. For FLoC, we’ll see – its hard to know what to put in place when the impact / implementation is so fuzzy. @amaliaefowler

I’m not putting any chips on FLoC just yet, but I’m doing all I can to be ready for the iOS 14 issues. @robert_brady

Echoing others, FLoC is too theoretical at this point to worry about very concretely. iOS on the other hand, is on our doorstep. Been pushing clients to really get their rears in gear and get serious about collecting emails. @NeptuneMoon

For iOS YES, claiming, education, goal revisiting, expectations but with Floc not yet but we are absolutely talking internally here and digging deeper into analytics data (forgot hashtag) one of those days) @runnerkik

I watched the townhall (which was very informative for me – would recommend) last week so am paying more attention to next steps but currently not making any drastic changes. @selley2134

I have a big question about iOS 14 & tracking too that I have not seen talked about. The “don’t track me” is done in the app/app level. Does that mean the people opt not to be tracked will also not be tracked on their computers? I think people would expect that? @NeptuneMoon

Am I right in saying email as identifier is how adtech is broadly looking at this? That’s the impression I get. @beyondcontent

Because that could get really messy if people think they are not to be tracked because of the app opt out, but are still tracked for all their computer activity. @NeptuneMoon

Q3: What are you experiencing with queries in Google Ads lately?

What aren’t we experiencing is really the question! Still seeing lack of visibility, still seeing completely bizarre and inappropriate matches. Still frustrated about both of the above. @amaliaefowler

Not much. and I don’t mean little has changed, I mean, I can’t see a DANG thing. public sector queries were already pretty light, but theys, sirs and ma’ams, the well is DRY! @JuliaVyse

I am so frustrated with queries right now. I turned off an entire category of keywords to see how doing so would impact conversion rates. Guess what G did? Kept on showing for those types of queries, just matching to other keywords. @NeptuneMoon

We’re still seeing the loss of data from last September. While that is to be expected, what is particularly frustrating is the lack of data around terms that have converted (even when looking in Analytics). Is anybody else seeing this? @snaptechmktg

On the ecomm side Search campaigns have taken a noticeable hit for my clients. I am having to comb through queries often to try & get rid of the crap making it through. & then when I try to tighten up by focusing on exact G tells me “not eligible low search volume” @selley2134

I just can’t get over the irony that negative keywords match so strictly and “positive” match types don’t seem to mean anything.@robert_brady

Soooooooo frustrated and frankly I used it for more than negatives Google (talking to you big G), keyword expansion, ad group break down…etc @runnerkik

Q4: Both tCPA and tROAS Bidding Strategies in Google Ads will be deprecated this month. What, if anything, do we need to prepare for this change? Could these changes impact the CPA and ROAS negatively? h/t to @mab_says for the Q!

It will affect some of my clients, but – omnichannel brat – ROAS for us is calculated across media platforms, so it won’t have the same impact to us as eCom. @JuliaVyse

Maybe it is just me, but tROAS caused more issues (in terms of volume) than benefit I ever got. It just means I need to lean hard into max conversions with a strict CPC @JonKagan

They are just being moved, right? Another unnecessary G optimization. They will be under max conversion & max click bidding. wont impact most people except for the few who cant find it & end up using max clicks – Cut to G evil laugh…@selley2134

Looks like tCPA and tROAS aren’t actually going away. They won’t be standalone bidding strategies, more like optional extras. @markbclicky

These are the two smart bidding strategies we primarily use! Interested in seeing whether or not this impacts CPA / ROAS and to what extent, as the implementation is supposed to be similar, just via the maximize strategies. @snaptechmktg

Yes, they are being “rolled into” Maximize Conversions bidding strategy, so not going totally away, but again, being demoted/made harder to find or use. @NeptuneMoon

So in theory I’m actually OK with this, because I don’t think tCPA + tROAS are used as well as they could be AND I think a global maxima solution is usually preferable to a local maxima solution. On the list of Google Ads changes, this one strikes me as, “Meh, fine.” @DigitalSamIAm

I don’t believe we will need to do anything to prepare, just keep an eye on your CPA/CPCs as these changes are implemented and adjust smart bidding targets as needed. Also seems like new fields will be read only through the API. @sonika_chandra

Q5: Let’s talk smart bidding strategies – are you using them and how are they working for you? Any issues you are encountering?

This is what my most recent talk was about! We do use them. Of the smart strategies / machine learning they’re the best to use IMHO. But not across the board, and not without testing. We also tend to avoid the ‘maximizes’ with our clients smaller budgets. @amaliaefowler

In some accounts yes in others no. I just had to turn off “enhanced” because it was in some cases getting way too aggressive and the Avg CPC was nearly double the highest bid w/o any conversions. My advice run experiments – test it each time before broad adoption. @selley2134

Smart Bidding…so just so I am clear, I am entrusting the platforms I give money to, to responsibly manage money, that they can decide if more is needed, on a whim…without fully show the evidence? @JonKagan

I’m all for automated bidding – within reason (client budgets taken into consideration) and with ample testing. Taking advantage of automation seems to be the most impactful way to get time back to focus on strategy. @sonika_chandra

I rarely use them because they can absolutely tank an effective campaign. And how many clients can you tell, “We’re going to try this thing, it might destroy your revenue for a month but, after that, it could turn out to be good for you”? @stevegibsonppc

Q6: What is your biggest frustration when auditing accounts? Is there one thing in particular you always check first because it can identify other areas to investigate?

Always follow the money. That’s the golden rule. @markbclicky

I don’t really have a structure. I just tend to just click around the higher spending campaigns to get a feel for things – then go where the data leads me. @stevegibsonppc

My biggest frustration is not enough context / access. My biggest frustration when people audit my accounts is that they don’t bother with the changelog and recommend things I’ve clearly already tried (very bitter about this right now) @amaliaefowler

Definitely check the conversion tracking and have that context first. If that data isn’t accurate / for whatever reason the client can’t account for it, that should influence the rest of the audit and how you determine success. @snaptechmktg

My current big frustration is that platforms are not set up to make for easy seeing what happened when if you didn’t build the account. Also, lately I check the Auto Applied Dashboard first. Then conversion actions. @NeptuneMoon

I don’t often have frustrations in audits, but I do wish clients were more specific about their goals. yes more sales obvs, but what do you want from this channel? that will help me understand what steps you need to take. @JuliaVyse

ALSO – with my experience a lot of agencies audit with an eye to win the business, not to actually improve performance for the client / with context in mind. @amaliaefowler

Lazy account structure! it usually means you need to delete or pause adgroups but its almost impossible to do that efficiently wihout losing out on performance at least short term. @TheMArketingAnu

I always start with conversion tracking & impression share. For me that’s the quickest way to see if they are leaving money on the table. Bad GA setup or no linking between ads & GA is probably my biggest frustration. @selley2134

Also – when you realise the client doesn’t own their data. @TheMArketingAnu

Their settings. Always check to see if when they launched search, the remembered their geo targeting and if they remembered to turn on/off GDN. @JonKagan

Q7: Anything else you’re wanting to talk about today?

There’s been a lot of shifts in the first four months of the year – do you think Google will slow down or are we in for a continuous rollercoaster? @amaliaefowler

Buckle up. @JuliaVyse

Does anyone else lose search query and keyword data inside ads when you pause an ad group? I cant tell if I found a bug in my Ads or if they have just removed that data for paused campaigns. I have been working on this for a couple of days now. @selley2134

I feel like all the stuff that got paused or whose dev got slowed in 2020 is going to roar over us in 2021. So, no, I think the rollercoaster is just getting warmed up. Which sucks, because we are all exhausted already. @NeptuneMoon

The continuing degradation of the GDN is a frustrating point for me. I work with clients who need reporting of where the ads showed (co-op money) and it’s hard when daily I’m cleaning up garbage and kid sites. @runnerkik

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