Google Budget Optimizer – The House Always Wins!!!

Bob Dumouchel

Think about it for a minute… you walk into a car dealership with $20,000 dollars cash. You’re greeted by a salesman, and you tell him that you can spend up to $20,000 dollars and everything else is his call. That doesn’t sound like the best idea ever does it? It’s entirely possible that you will roll out of there with the world’s first $20,000 used Toyota Tercel (but c’mon it has spinning rims!). So why would you go to Google and tell them “here’s all my money, could you spend this for me however you see fit?”

Could you punch me in the face, but not make it hurt?

When you turn on the Budget Optimizer, you’re pretty much asking for it. I recommend that you never, ever, ever, ever, ever use the Budget Optimizer. Its job is to spend budgetoptimizeras much of your money as you tell it to, that’s it. It’s not thinking “hey $8.79 per click can’t be right, let’s think this through.” It’s thinking “hey I have $8.79 left in my budget, maybe right now is a good time to bid my way to number one on a tangentially semi-related but irrelevant word.”

I’ve inserted a screen cap from one account that we took over recently that was getting absolutely abused by the Budget optimizer. They do have a very competitive market, but it’s not $9.38 auto bidding competitive. Google Was eating up a $1500 per month budget at $5.00 per click on its own, we have the same amount of traffic down to about $2.50 a click right now.

Wow, Google-centric Optimization sounds awesome, what else can they do for me?

The other optimized option that bothers me a lot is the Ad Serving Optimize option in your campaign’s advanced settings. It sounds like a good deal, Google makes sure that the better ad is always showing (by the way it is the default choice). The problem is the metric they measure with is Click Through Rate (money in their pocket), not the actual conversion cost (money in your pocket). Is it easier to just let Google pick? Yes. Should you actually just buck up, pay attention and do the work yourself? Yes.

So how do you turn off this not so handy optimization feature? It’s pretty easy; you just have to know where it is. This is a feature that is set at the campaign level in the same place you set your daily budget. Click on “Edit Campaign Settings” at the campaign level and then scroll down to “Advanced Options.” At the bottom of that box you’ll see the box I’ve inserted below, Choose “Rotate.” From there you just have to pay attention and control your own split tests.


The thing to remember with Google Adwords is that it is self service advertising. They want you to succeed and to get traffic, but they also want your money. Someone has to do the work, and if you leave it up to Google you are going to get burned.