It’s no secret that Google Ads is trying to shift towards fully automated campaign management, particularly when it comes to automated bidding strategies. If you’re hands-to-keyboard running ad campaigns, you’ve probably seen the recommendations in your Google Ads account urging to switch your campaign settings to a fully automated bidding strategy such as Maximize Clicks or Maximize Conversions.
While these automated bidding strategies can be effective when used properly, they can produce unintended results such as skyrocketing Avg. CPCs that burn through your monthly ad budget. (One of the many reasons it’s so important to partner with a B2B Marketing Agency that has deep B2B paid media experience)
Automated bidding strategies can also be tricky for B2B advertisers to use effectively because Google’s algorithms require a lot of conversion data to properly optimize a campaign (at least 20 per month). Due to the nature of the product/service, many B2B campaigns struggle to reach that number of monthly conversions, making fully automated bid strategies a challenge.
Fortunately, there are a few creative ways to “feed” Google’s algorithm with valuable conversion data to improve the effectiveness of your automated strategies.
Understanding Your Sales Cycle and Lead Value
Not all leads have the same value – something B2B marketers are very aware of. While it’s easy to track leads (such as form submissions) in your Google Ads campaigns, longer sales cycles in the B2B space mean it’s not always as easy to fully understand the value of these leads over time. Leads that truly “convert” into sales often occur offline several weeks—or even months—after the original form submission. That missing sales cycle data is incredibly valuable for optimizing your ad campaigns.
Let’s say your Google Ad campaign averages 20 new form submission leads per month, but only 5 of those leads eventually become MQLs. If you’re using the ‘Maximize Conversions’ bid setting, Google’s algorithm will continue to optimize the campaigns to generate additional form submissions, but it won’t know to prioritize leads that become MQLs. The 5 leads that eventually became MQLs are weighted the same as the other 15 non-MQLs from Google’s point of view. So how can you “teach” Google’s algorithm to prioritize the more valuable leads? Leverage your CRM data.
Here at New North, we typically utilize HubSpot for our clients’ CRMs so we’ll be referencing HubSpot for the purposes of this walkthrough, but keep in mind that Google Ads can be integrated with other CRM platforms such as Salesforce.
How to Create and Sync CRM Conversion Events with your Google Ads Account
With HubSpot, we can sync offline conversion data to Google Ads to maximize the effectiveness of automated bidding methods. In other words, we can provide Google with updated information about leads generated from our campaigns and whether those leads eventually became MQLs. This is done by creating custom ad conversion events in HubSpot that reference the Lifecycle Stage of your marketing contacts.
Leads vs. MQLs in HubSpot
A “HubSpot – Lead” conversion fires every time a user submits a form submission on our ad landing page. These users are synced to HubSpot as new contacts with their Lifecycle Stage set as “Lead”. This is essentially just “normal” conversion tracking.
A “HubSpot – Marketing Qualified Lead” conversion fires when a contact’s Lifecycle Stage is changed from “Lead” to “Marketing Qualified Lead”. With this in place, Google can properly attribute the original Google Ads click that led to the MQL.
How to Set Up Ad Conversion Events in HubSpot
- In HubSpot, go to Marketing Ads from the top navigation bar.
- Click “Create Event”.
- In the popup box, customize the event details for your account.
- Ad Network: select ‘Google’ to create this event for your Google Ads account
- Ad Account: select the Google Ads account you want to sync with
- Lifecycle Stage: this is the most important piece of this setup. What you select here determines what data HubSpot will sync to Google Ads.
- For the purposes of this walkthrough, we’re going to select “Marketing Qualified Lead”.
- Value: here you can specify a value for your event.
- Include in Conversions: check the box if you’d like this HubSpot event to be included in the “Conversions” column in your Google Ads account. Checking this box is important if you’re using an automated bid strategy and want Google to use this data for optimizing your campaign(s).
- Event Name: name the event according to how you want it to be displayed in your Google Ads account.
- Click ‘Create Event’
Once complete you should be able to see the HubSpot event in Google Ads under “Conversions”. In the screenshot below you’ll see an example where we created events for “HubSpot – Lead” and “HubSpot – Marketing Qualified Lead”.
These data points will help better your understanding of campaign performance over time. Maybe you find that one of your top keywords generates a ton of leads, but those leads rarely become MQLs. What you previously thought was a “winning” keyword is actually one that is driving low-quality leads unlikely to become MQLs. You wouldn’t be able to easily identify this without HubSpot conversion events in place, or some similar alternative.
Pro Tip: Be creative with the “Value” field when creating HubSpot conversion events.
Many B2B advertisers ignore the “tROAS” bid strategy because it’s more relevant to ecommerce businesses with specific product values than it is to lead gen businesses with long sales cycles. But not so fast!
Smart B2B marketers can leverage custom values for conversion actions that signal to Google what type of action should be prioritized.
For the two conversion actions we created in the example above, we assigned “HubSpot – Lead” a $100 conversion value and “HubSpot – Marketing Qualified Lead” a $1,000 conversion value. These are relative values meant to help Google’s algorithm determine what clicks are most effective. Essentially – we’re telling Google that an MQL is worth 10x what a standard form fill lead is worth. Google will use the data to prioritize clicks likely to convert to MQLs rather than clicks likely to only submit a form.
Final Steps in Setting Up Ad Conversion Events in HubSpot
Now that you have HubSpot ad conversion events synced with Google Ads you should expect to see more efficient campaign performance over time as Google’s algorithm learns from the data.
Patience is key. Many B2B organizations have small monthly budgets or low click/conversion volume which can make using Google’s automated bidding methods feel cumbersome but leveraging valuable CRM data is a game changer.
Our advice? Implement custom ad conversion events from HubSpot sooner rather than later. The clicks your ad campaign gets today may not become MQLs until 8 weeks from now (depending on your average sales cycle).
Need Help Improving Your Google Ads Solution?
A knowledgeable B2B tech marketing agency can help you make the right decisions that let you get the most ads in front of the right prospects. Plus, they’ll likely be able to optimize your ad campaigns and SEO for you.
Want to chat more about what this can look like for your organization? Let’s chat.