Google's looking to help more advertisers utilize Custom Bidding, and provide more transparency over the Custom Bidding process, with two new updates to its ad campaign options designed to further simplify the process.
Custom Bidding is Google's automated bidding strategy for Google Ads, which enables advertisers to assign a value to a conversion or purchase, which Google's system can then optimize for within its process. It can be a good way to maximize campaign performance, based on Google's ever-evolving machine learning processes - but up till now, Custom Bidding has required a degree of technical expertise to implement, due to coding elements.
To mitigate this, and lower the barrier to entry, Google's now adding 'Floodlight activities', which are pre-created HTML code snippets that can be used to track conversions, or other information about transactions.
Through this new process, you'll be able to choose pre-determined goals for your Custom Bid approach, then export the code for insertion on your site. So there is still a level of technical expertise involved - but you won't have to understand all the code parameters and build the relevant HTML yourself.
Of course, it would be beneficial to also have some understanding of the base code operands, so that you can diagnose potential issues, and understand how each element is being tracked. But it could provide an easier way to manage and optimize your Google ad campaigns, with more specific tracking based on your performance focus.
In addition to this, Google's also adding 'pay per viewable' impressions for display and video campaigns, providing more customizable campaign elements, while it's also adding a new 'Bidding Insights' report, which will provide more transparency over its automated bidding processes.
As per Google:
"You'll be able to monitor what the average cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) bid is based on the likelihood of an impression to lead to a conversion or a click. This way you’ll see that automated bidding is increasing your bids for impressions that generate better returns for you."
These are more advanced Google Ads options, but the added control and transparency could make it easier to both understand and optimize your Google Ads approaches, and learn more about the inner workings, which could help you further optimize the same in future.
It takes time to understand these elements, and get your head around the implications of each, but the more you know, the better you can refine and improve your ad approaches, and double-down on what actually works, rather than making assumptions.
Over time, it's becoming increasingly common practice among ad buyers to put more reliance on ad network algorithms, and letting campaigns run for a minimum period so the systems can 'learn' how to optimize for your performance goals. That makes it easier, and is generally delivering better performance, but even so, understanding how such systems actually work is key to truly maximizing your results.