A Guide to Google Ads Bidding Strategies
Updated: Mar 15
The Google Ads platform offers a diversity of bidding strategies from Manual CPC Bidding to Target ROAS.
"So do I choose manual bidding or automated bidding?"
That’s a question that often plagues many advertisers when facing a new campaign, and with so many options it can be difficult to choose the right one for you.
This guide looks to provides an introduction into the bidding strategies and a brief insight into how they could help your online campaigns.
The different types of bidding strategies
· Manual CPC Bidding
· Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)
· Maximise Clicks
· Maximise Conversions
· Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
· Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)
· Target Impression Share Bidding
· vCPM Bidding (Cost Per Viewable Thousand Impressions)
· CPV Bidding (Cost Per View)
What is a bidding strategy?
A bidding strategy in short, is an approach in a campaign which has a specific focus. The focus would be founded on certain criteria:
· The networks your campaign is targeting (Display or Search)
· What do you want to achieve: clicks, impressions, conversions or views
The aim behind these strategies is that they help in the accomplishment of specific goals depending on who your target audience is.
There are a variety of different bidding strategies available to use and understanding your options and what they can do is key to the performance of your online campaigns.
Different types of bidding strategies
1. Manual CPC Bidding
If you’d prefer on doing things manually, the Manual CPC Bidding option is for you. This strategy allows you to set your own maximum CPC. This type of bidding gives you full control over each keywords bid,, and you can set the maximum amount that you could pay for each click on any of your ads. It allows for a level of control that is lost through automated bidding systems.
2. Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)
Enhanced CPC is a semi-automated bidding strategy that works by automatically adjusting your bids.
The strategy is based on clicks and their probability of leading to a converting action. ECPC attempts to keep your average CPC below the max that you have set. It works best when conversion tracking is applied and active.
3. Maximise Clicks
Maximising Clicks is an automated strategy that sets your bids to get as many clicks as possible within your specified budget. It’s a straightforward and simple way to gaining clicks, as Google's algorithm does the majority of the work.
What’s more, you don’t need to set bid amounts for your ad groups or keywords.
4. Maximise Conversions
Unlike Enhanced CPC, Maximise Conversions is what Google calls a fully automated optimisation bidding strategy. This means there are no individual keyword bids set by advertisers that Google factors in. It simply chooses a CPC bid based on the goal outcome of the bidding strategy against the auction.
The Maximum Conversions bid strategy is designed to get as many conversions as possible while spending your daily budget.
5. Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
This strategy is perfect for optimising your conversions. This type of strategy will focus on trying to create more conversions at a specific acquisition cost.
Google Ads will automatically set your bids based on your average CPA. Conversion tracking is a must!
Your CPA is the amount of money that you can afford to spend on one customer. For example, your Google Ads conversion data might suggest a Target CPA of £80.
You can set your Target CPA at either the campaign or portfolio level and Google will attempt to optimise to the goal.
6. Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)
With the Target ROAS strategy, Google Ads will seek to predict future conversion and conversion value performance based on your campaign historical data when entering the bidding auctions.
It will adjust bids in real time to maximise conversion value while trying to achieve the Target ROAS goal you’ve set at the ad group or campaign.
7. Target Impression Share Bidding
Target Impression Share Bidding is a relatively new bidding strategy. It replaced Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking Share in mid 2019. Advertisers set a goal impression share percentage, like the way you would for a Target CPA. You get three choices for ad placements:
Absolute top of the results page
Top of the page
Anywhere on the results page
Each option will tell the Google algorithm different things about your preferences, and it will adjust bids accordingly.
8. vCPM Bidding (Cost Per Viewable Thousand Impressions)
This bid strategy lets advertisers bid for impressions when your ad is triggered.
Viewable impressions are when a user sees 50% of your ad or more for 1 second.
vCPM bidding is great if you’re working on expanding your brand coverage and simply want to get your message in front of a large audience.
Google will aim to maximise the number of viewable impressions your ad receives, which works best with a finite audience.
Viewable CPM bidding (vCPM) means only paying for ads when they’re seen.
As you can see, there many bidding strategies that you can use to enhance your online Google campaigns in some way.
Each strategy has its pros and cons, so it is going to depend on what you are hoping to achieve as to which bidding strategy is best for you.
We would recommended that if considering an automated bidding strategy, that you ensure you have plenty of conversion data for the Google algorithm to work from.
If you need help and would like to discuss the best option for your current Google campaign, and would like an audit please feel free to contact us by booking in a discovery call using the link below.