Google Adwords Conversion Optimizer First Look

So Google launched a new tool for adwords advertisers today, Conversion Optimizer (beta of course!). I manage a number of campaigns, and one of them is perfect for me to test this new tool, so I went ahead and started today. Here is a brief rundown of the tool and what to expect when setting it up. It’s easy, I promise.

What is Conversion Optimizer?

Conversion Optimizer for Adwords is a new bid management tool from Google that allows advertisers to target a cost per acquisition, rather than cost per click. Using data that is not available to you, but is available to google, they will target an acquisition cost that you set.

From Google:

Suppose you know how much you’re willing to pay for a conversion, and you know that your ads get better conversion rates on certain days of the week. Normally, you’d spend time monitoring and adjusting your cost-per-click (CPC) bids in order to get more conversions for a lower cost.

You can read more about conversion optimizer here, straight from the horse’s mouth.

How do I qualify to use the Conversion Optimizer?

It’s simple really, according to Google you only need to meet two requirements.

  • You must have conversion tracking enabled.
  • You have to have at least 300 conversions in the last 30 days.

I was lucky to have a campaign that meets these requirements. Since most of my campaigns are broken out into multiple specific campaigns for optimization purposes, a lot of them don’t get that many conversions a day. But I did have one that I still haven’t done much work on, so it’s perfect for this test.

So how do I start?

It’s easy, really! Here is a brief rundown, with a few screenshots so that you know what to expect.

The Conversion Optimizer is a new bidding strategy option, so you need to edit the settings for your campaign and click the link that says “View and edit bidding options”. Clicking on that link will bring you to the following page, with a new option:


Selecting “Use the converstion optimizer” and clicking “Save and Continue” takes you to a page where you will actually set your targeted CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), along with a recommendation from Google based on your conversion history.


Once you’ve edited and saved your bids, you are presented with a disclaimer before you can continue:

By clicking ‘I Agree’ you indicate you understand and accept the following conditions for the Conversion Optimizer (beta).

1. Your actual cost per acquisition (CPA) depends on factors outside Google’s control, so your actual costs can exceed the maximum CPA bid that you specify. However, the AdWords system automatically adjusts your costs over time, with the goal of keeping your average CPA under your specified bid.

2. When you enable the Conversion Optimizer, a small portion of the traffic on your ads will be used for evaluation purposes. This evaluation is part of our work to ensure a high-quality final product. Your cost and ad performance will not be negatively affected.

No surprise there, Google is testing something new. Once you agree to their terms, you are redirected back to the campaign summary screen, which should show you a confirmation that your campaign is now using Conversion Optimizer, and you now see that your Default Bid is set to your “Max CPA”.


That’s all there is to getting started. Will it work for you? I’m not sure, but like anything, you should always be testing.

Should you use conversion optimizer?

Only time will tell if this tool will work well, and if it will be worth it for you, but there are some circumstances where it may be useful, for example, if you are not currently using any bid management solution, or if targeting a specific CPA is a large part of your marketing strategy.

I do have a few concerns though. Like much of Google’s secret sauce, the data and methods they use to optimize your campaign are not available for you to examine (Google even tells you this data isn’t available to you). If the tool works really well, this may not be a issue for the smaller advertiser or business that wants to target a CPA without manually optimizing each campaign, hiring an agency, or paying for expensive bid management software, however I think that professionals in the industry want to know what is happening behind the scenes with their campaigns; these larger advertisers and agencies will continue to use and refine the tools they are currently using.

For anyone that’s interested, I’ll post an update with my results in a week or so. Even with the issues I brought up, I’m still interested to see how Google’s new automatic bid management tool works. What do you think? Are you testing this already, do you plan to, or have you already decided against it?

8 Responses to “Google Adwords Conversion Optimizer First Look”

  1. Jeremy Mayes Says:


    I’m testing out the optimizer – results are not so hot so far.

    Pre Conversion Optimizer:
    Conversion rate: 38.60%
    Cost per conversion: $0.03

    Conversion Optimizer Day 1
    Conversion rate: 32.61%
    Cost Per Conversion: $0.05

    Conversion Optimizer Day 2
    Conversion rate: 24.07%
    Cost Per Conversion: $0.06

  2. Google Conversion Optimizer Results Says:

    So here’s a follow up to this article. Including my results, which turned out pretty good.

    Adwords Conversion Optimizer Results

  3. Sahaj Says:

    Adword’s conversion optimizer may be a nice and useful tool but it may not be for everybody. I wrote about the pros and cons sometimes back, Is Adwords Conversion Optimizer good for you?

  4. Are You Using Google’s Conversion Optimizer? Says:

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  5. Jacnette Says:

    I have been using Adwords for the last 2 years and i can only say that it increased my online sales by about 20%. The pay per click cost of Adwords is even cheaper than Adbrite. I love Adwords.

  6. Cameron Kane Says:

    Adwords is a really great tool for promoting your website, forum or affiliate link. the ppc cost of adwords is even cheaper than Friendster or Facebook. before, i used to advertise on facebook but the ROI is so low. Adwords gives me a much better ROI compared to Facebook ads.

  7. James Basinger Says:

    Adwords is really good in driving traffic to your website. however, they are very strict right now and they would not easily approve websites that they thought have low quality content. *-

  8. Dylan Lopez Says:

    search engine marketing is also good but you need some capital to shed on your adwords account.;.;