The Best Google Ads Bidding Strategies

The Best Google Ads Bidding Strategies

10 min
14 Jun 2024
Someone exploring Google ads.

What Is a Google Ads Bid?

Google is the most used search engine in the world, so it’s a competition among advertisers to feature on the search results page. A bid represents the amount of money an advertiser is willing to spend on a click for a keyword in Google Ads. Ad bidding is very similar to an auction, so you are much more likely to appear in search results if you win a bid. 

You can manage all of your bids within the Google Ads platform. The platform lets you view all keywords, bids, and live ads within every campaign. You can also have multiple ad groups within a campaign, each with separate keywords and ads. It sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of nuances to understand when creating a successful bid. Let’s dive in.

The homepage of Google Ads Bidding strategies.

How Does Google Ads Bidding Work?

Entering the world of Google Ads bidding can feel overwhelming because several options are available. Firstly, you have to decide the end goal of your campaign. These goals are typically video views, impressions, conversions, or clicks. Before entering the auction, enter the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) for your keyword to stay within your ad budget. If you’re unsure of the cost for a keyword, Google provides you with a price range from low to high for each selected keyword. 

During the bidding process, Google considers three factors: your max cost-per-click bid, your site’s quality score, and the ad extensions and relevance to the ad and keyword. All three of these factors have to align for a successful bid. 

Understanding Smart, Manual, and Automated Bidding

As mentioned, you must consider your campaign goals before choosing a bidding strategy. Each of the three main types has pros and cons, so consider the following information before selecting a plan for your campaign.

Manual Bidding 

As the name suggests, this strategy requires experience, time, and PPC knowledge to adjust your bids manually. This strategy does not include any automated tools, so you make all the decisions for your campaigns. When using manual bidding, you place a single bid at the ad group level for all keywords in that group or split your bids by keywords.

This strategy may be best if you’re new to Google Ads bidding and want to learn the platform before using a more complicated approach. It’s also helpful if you have a tight advertising budget and have the time to monitor and improve your campaigns. Manual bidding also allows advertisers to make immediate changes if there is a sudden decrease in ad performance. This control is a huge advantage, but manual bidding can also increase your chance of human error.

A screenshot of the Manual bidding strategy function.

Automated Bidding 

You may be interested in automated bidding strategies if you’re a more experienced Google Ads manager. This tactic automates several metrics: clicks, conversions, email openings, views, SERP position, and conversion value. 

Automated bidding is optimized to set a bid based on the likelihood that your ad will get a click. This system predicts the chance of a conversion and determines the bid using Google’s machine learning. This strategy is helpful for those who manage lots of campaigns and have a larger budget. Automated bidding allows you to use Googe’s advanced algorithm with little prior PPC knowledge, saving you time and potential headaches.

Smart Bidding

Smart bidding differs from automated bidding because smart bidding strategies are part of all automated bidding strategies. This bidding strategy focuses on conversions, helping you increase or decrease bids to boost conversions. You can use this enhanced strategy once you set up conversion tracking. 

With smart bidding, you get flexible performance controls and transparent performance reporting. This lets advertisers set their bid budgets, allowing Google to do the rest. Smart bidding may take time to optimize as Google learns your campaigns and selects the best bids. With Performance Max campaigns, you have limited budget control, as Google determines optimal keywords based on your set CPA or ROAS target. Smart bidding could be your preferred strategy if you’re comfortable with Google managing these aspects.

Common Google Ad Campaign Types

Manual, automated, and smart bidding are the main types of bidding strategies, but marketers can utilize many more. Once you’re comfortable with the Google Ads platform, you can use more detailed strategies for your campaign goals. 

Maximize Clicks

Maximize clicks is an automated bidding strategy that adjusts your bids to maximize the number of clicks within your budget. It’s ideal for quickly boosting traffic, especially if your conversion rate is strong. This strategy can help you increase visibility and drive more visitors to your website, enhancing your overall online presence.

Maximize Conversions

If you’re looking to boost your sales immediately, this strategy allows you to use your whole ad budget in one day. The maximize conversion strategy lets Google automatically set your bids so you get the highest amount of conversions that your budget allows. Maximizing conversions is an effective strategy if you have a high budget and want to drive sales quickly, but the lack of control over budget limits can lead to costly clicks and a lower ROAS.

A screenshot of the maximize conversions function.

Maximize Conversion Value

This strategy is similar to maximizing conversions but gives you more control over your budget. Maximizing conversion value works similarly, but Google will set bids within your budget. Google will also gather info about location, demographics, and queries to find the optimal bid for each auction. This strategy is more effective if you’re looking for quality rather than quantity regarding conversions. 

Target CPA

If you select target CPA bidding, you can set your bid budget to get as many conversions as possible. This strategy uses conversion tracking data to avoid unprofitable bids to gain more conversions at a lower cost. Target CPA works well for advertisers with a higher budget because your daily budget needs to be twice as much as the Target CPA goal for your campaign.

A screenshot of the Target CPA function.

Target ROAS

Using the return on ad spend strategy may be best for you if you want to meet a specific ROI. This strategy uses conversion tracking data to avoid bidding on unprofitable clicks, allowing you to achieve more conversions at a lower cost. Target CPA is effective for advertisers with larger budgets, as your daily budget should double your Target CPA goal for optimal campaign performance.

Target Impression Share

This strategy gives advertisers three options for possible ad locations. You can choose if you want ads to appear at the very top of the page, near the top of the page, or anywhere on Google search results. Setting a CPC limit with this strategy is essential because you can use up your budget quickly. Target impression share can be expensive, but it is a good option if you want to show up for important brand keywords. 

Viewable CRM

This strategy is only available for Google’s Display Network, which is comprised of over two million websites, videos, and apps. Viewable CRM (cost-per-thousand impressions) bidding allows you to set target bids for every 1,000 impressions where your ad is viewable. This is an effective way to increase brand awareness and is budget-friendly because you only pay for every 1,000 times your ad is viewed.

An Adspace CTA.

Maximum CPM 

Maximum CPM is similar to viewable CRM, but this strategy allows you to set the highest amount you want to pay for each 1,000 viewable ad impressions. The higher your maximum CPM, the more likely your ad will be seen. While effective for increasing ad views, it doesn’t ensure higher conversions.

Target CPM

The third type of CPM bidding involves setting an amount you will pay every 1,000 times your ad is shown. It’s beneficial with a limited budget, though you pay regardless of viewer interaction. Target CPM boosts brand awareness but may not guarantee engagement, potentially resulting in ad spend inefficiencies.

Manual CPC 

Manual cost-per-click allows advertisers to set bids for a campaign ad group or keyword. Setting individual bids for keywords will enable you to control your bids so you can keep a close eye on campaign performance. This strategy works best for new accounts. It also demands more hands-on effort and offers less detailed reporting than automated bidding methods.

Enhanced CPC

Enhanced cost-per-click is a smart bidding strategy you can apply to manual CPC. Enhanced CPC allows Google to increase or decrease your bid based on the chance of conversion. When deciding your eligibility for a bid, Google considers browsing behavior, intent, location, expected CTR of your ad, and Quality score. This strategy can increase the CTR and conversion rate, but the lack of bidding control can lead to wasted ad spending. 

Portfolio Bid Strategies 

Portfolio bid strategies streamline bid management by applying a single strategy across multiple campaigns. This is helpful if you don’t want to choose a different strategy for every campaign.  Available options include target CPA, maximize conversions, maximize conversion value, target ROAS, and target impression share. While portfolio strategies can accelerate learning from campaign data, they require campaigns with similar goals and may unevenly prioritize performance. 

Top Tips for Google Ads Bidding

Perfecting your Google Ads bidding strategy takes time, so it’s necessary to experiment with various approaches throughout your campaign. If you want to alter your campaign and targeting strategy, the following Google ads tips can help you target your audience and keywords more efficiently. 

Try Automated Bidding 

Exploring automated bidding allows you to prioritize boosting conversions or conversion value efficiently. This approach can save you time and will enable you to uncover optimal bid amounts and helpful audience segments. You can use many online tools to refine your keyword targeting and define your negative keywords. Negative keywords prevent your ads from appearing in searches that don’t align with your campaign objectives.

Don’t Forget About Bid Adjustments 

Bid adjustments in Google Ads allow you to increase or decrease your bids based on device type, location, and time of day. For example, if your coffee shop ads perform better in the early morning, you can increase bids by 30% from 6-10 a.m. to enhance visibility during peak hours.

You can make adjustments for the following factors: 

  • Device: Modify bids for computers, tablets, or mobile devices.
  • Location: Change bids for specific geographic areas.
  • Ad scheduling: Adjust bids for campaigns during certain days or hours.
  • Targeting methods: Adjust topics, placements, and other Display and Search Networks criteria.
  • Remarketing lists for Search Ads: Optimize bids for users on specific lists to improve remarketing campaign performance.
  • Interactions (call adjustments: Increase bids for mobile devices to boost call ad interaction.
  • Demographics: Modify bids based on gender, age, and household income demographics.

Google Ads Scripts

Google Ads scripts automate and optimize bidding strategies using JavaScript snippets within Google Ads. They handle tasks like bid adjustments based on criteria such as time intervals or performance metrics. 

Scripts enable sophisticated bidding strategies and real-time adjustments to stay competitive. While requiring JavaScript expertise, implementing scripts involves defining automation goals, selecting or developing scripts, testing in a controlled environment, and deploying in live campaigns. If you need more guidance, you can explore Google’s developers page.

Finding Google Ads Success 

Remember, every click counts towards your campaign goals. Whether you’re a newcomer experimenting with Manual CPC or exploring the capabilities of Portfolio Bid Strategies, the key to success lies in continuous testing. If you’re seeking guidance with Google Ads, Adspace’s team of Google experts is ready to assist you. Contact us today for more information!

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