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    How To Set Up Google AdWords Conversion Optimizer

    Want to get more conversions? Definitely! Want to spend less money on wasteful keywords? Of course you do.

    But do you want to devote yourself to manually managing keyword bids? Probably not. And, in many cases, you wouldn't even do that great of a job optimizing bids manually.

    Wouldn't it be great if the system just managed that for you? Well, with Google's Conversion Optimizer, that's exactly what you're offered. Conversion Optimizer will use your campaign's past performance to optimize the bid for your ads each time they're eligible to appear. You'll still pay for each click and you won't need to set your bids manually to reach your conversion goals.

    Conversion Optimizer automatically optimize your bids to get you the most conversions.

    With just a few clicks, you can set your AdWords campaign to automatically optimize your bids with the goal of getting you the most conversions given your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) goals. Conversion Optimizer works best for advertisers whose goals are mostly conversion and direct-response oriented. Advertisers also need to have already installed Conversion Tracking for Conversion Optimizer to work.

    UPDATE: Google AdWords Conversion Optimizer is called Target CPA Bidding. Target CPA bidding automatically sets bids to help you get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) you set.

    How To Set Up AdWords Conversion Optimizer (aka Target CPA)

    1. Set Up Conversion Tracking
      First, make sure you’ve set up AdWords Conversion Tracking by creating a conversion goal and installing the tracking code onto your website. This provides Google with insight into which of your ad clicks result in conversions on your website.
    2. Collect a Baseline
      In order to make accurate predictions about your future conversion rate, your campaign will need at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days before conversion optimizer is enabled. The more conversion data the system has, the more accurate it will be.
      adwords-conversion-optimizer-eligibility
    3. Switch Your Bid Strategy
      At this point, Conversion Optimizer will become enabled for your campaign. To access it, go to your campaign’s settings tab and click Edit next to “Bid Strategy.” Switch to Conversion Optimizer by selecting "Focus on Conversions."
      adwords-conversion-optimizer-focus-on-conversions
    4. Advanced Options (Optional)
      Bid Type -Under Advanced Options, you can select a bid type. You can set either a maximum cost-per-acquisition (max. CPA), which is the most you're willing to pay for each conversion, or a target cost-per-acquisition (target CPA), which is the average amount you'd like to pay for a conversion.
      Bid - Then you can either select "Start with recommended bid" or set a custom bid.
      One-per-click vs. many-per-click - Conversion Optimizer will focus either on one-per-click or many-per-click conversions, depending on the bid metrics that you choose in your AdWords conversion settings. One-per-click is ideal for conversions that an individual user shouldn’t repeat, like a newsletter signup. Many-per-click is ideal for conversions that you’d like a user to repeat, like completing an online order.
    5. Monitor Performance
      AdWords will do the rest, working 24/7 to set unique bids in an attempt to meet your CPA goals. Just keep an eye on it to make sure you're happy with the results.

    Once again, Conversion Optimizer isn't perfect and your mileage may vary with each campaign. But I always test it out in each of my campaigns once they're eligible. Sometimes it outperforms my manual bids. And sometimes it sets erratic bids that only a heartless computer could (one of my campaigns saw $120 CPCs!)

    Summary

    But, like most marketing tactics, you have test it. It only takes a couple weeks to gauge results and every opportunity to improve and simplify your campaigns should be seized.

    The system isn't perfect, but in many cases it beats what you'd be able to pull off by setting bids manually. Give it a chance to outperform your manual management and you may be able free up your time and focus to tackle other opportunities for your business.