Google AdWords Conversion Optimizer is Out of Beta

Google’s AdWords Conversion Optimizer has now been released generally, and they’ve lowered the barriers to entry: it now works with campaigns that average at least 200 conversions per month – down from 300. Also, some advertisers have reportedly experienced good results when applying the optimizer against their Content campaigns.

We’ll definitely be testing the tool and reporting results here. And we’re still wondering whether this is another nail in the coffin for bid management tool vendors (see previous posts here and here).

Here’s Google’s announcement:

Last September, we launched the Conversion Optimizer, a free AdWords feature for managing CPA (cost-per-acquisition) bids. Since then, the Conversion Optimizer has helped many advertisers save time and money, and we’re announcing today that it’s no longer in beta. We’re also making it available to more campaigns: any campaign with AdWords conversion tracking enabled that has received 200 conversions in the last 30 days can now use the Conversion Optimizer (previously 300 were required). We’ve received lots of feedback from advertisers using the Conversion Optimizer including Moritz Daan, Webgamic’s CEO, who shared with us:

With the Conversion Optimizer, we managed to get 600-plus conversions per day, instead of the usual 200. Also, I thought it wasn’t possible to get below €0.60 CPA, but Conversion Optimizer managed to cut our costs down to €0.25 per conversion.

Many advertisers also like that the Conversion Optimizer makes it easier to advertise on Google’s content network. Patrick McKenzie, CEO of Bingo Card Creator, writes:

Conversion Optimizer has improved the performance of my ads on the content network…I’ve cut down my involvement with the content network from a very stressful, mandatory daily session to a leisurely, weekly session, which I can skip if I want to. [The Conversion Optimizer] algorithms take care of finding the gems and discarding the trash without my intervention. I really can’t stress how powerful this is for a time-pressed small businessman.

Here’s how the Conversion Optimizer works: for each ad group, simply specify a maximum CPA bid, the most you’re willing to pay for each conversion like a purchase or sign-up. The Conversion Optimizer does all the rest; using historical information about your campaign, it automatically finds optimal CPC bids for each auction. You still pay per click, but you no longer have to manually adjust your bids to reach your CPA goals.

The Conversion Optimizer uses algorithms to predict which clicks are likely to be most valuable, bidding higher on these clicks and lower on less valuable ones, in real-time. The prediction is based on your specific ad’s conversion history and considers the website in the Google Network where your ad appears, the user’s location, the user’s search query, and other factors.

For example, let’s say an advertiser with a custom shirt website gets a higher conversion rate from the search query custom shirts than from just shirts. The Conversion Optimizer learns this difference and bids higher for clicks on custom shirts. By reducing the risk of over-bidding for non-converting search queries and under-bidding for potentially valuable search queries, the Conversion Optimizer can help improve performance substantially. Based on our analysis of the Conversion Optimizer beta, advertisers using this feature have seen more conversions at a lower CPA.

Follow our instructions to get started with the Conversion Optimizer. If you’d like to learn more, register for our free online seminar on January 15, 2008, from 10 am to 11 am PST. Lewis Lin and Andrew Silverman from the Conversion Optimizer team will give a product overview and explain how the Conversion Optimizer can help you get higher ROI and more conversions from your Google search and content campaigns. They’ll also have time to answer your questions.

You can also get additional information by visiting the Conversion Optimizer website.