Google Ads – Selecting a Bid Strategy

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Whether you have a small local business or an international audience when setting up a new Google Ads campaign you will need to select a bid strategy.

Choosing the right bid strategy for your campaign will focus around the goals, whether it's driving store visits, sales or increasing brand awareness.

While Google will suggest a bid strategy (which you can ignore), we want to make sure you don't just pick from the hat. So, we've written this simplified guide.

The 3 Groups of Bid Strategies

There are three groups which bidding strategies fall into; automated, smart and manual.



Manual – This type of bid strategy puts you in control by allowing you to manually select the maximum amount you want to pay per click (CPC). While you can set an overall bid for your campaign you can go more granular and set different bids for specific ad groups, keywords or placements depending on their profitability.



Automated – This type of bid strategy automatically sets bids for your ads based on the likelihood that they're going to result in your chosen action (whether that's a click, conversion, etc.)



Each bid strategy which falls into this category is designed to help you reach you goal by taking the guess work and continued nurturing out of managing a campaign.



Smart Bidding - While smart bidding is an automated bid strategy, it uses machine learning to optimise for conversions or conversion value in each auction, this feature is known as auction time bidding.

Individual Types of Bid Strategy

1. Target Search Page Location - Automated Bid Strategy Group

This bid strategy's aim is to show your ad on the top of the page or on the first page of the Google Search Results (although this is not guaranteed as the auction is influenced by competition and quality score).

Find out more about Target Search Page Location

2. Target Outranking Share - Automated Bid Strategy Group

This bid strategy's aim is to help you outrank another domain (which you select) by either placing above that domain's ads or showing when it doesn't.

Find out more about Target Outranking Share

3. Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM)

With this bid strategy, you'll pay based on the number of times your ad is shown (impressions) on YouTube or the Google Display Network.

4. Cost-Per-Thousand Viewable Impressions (vCPM) – Manual Bid Strategy Group

This bid strategy allows you to set the highest amount you want to pay for each 1,000 viewable ad impressions you receive on the Google Display Network.

Find out more about vCPM

5. Manual CPC Bidding – Manual Bid Strategy Group

This bid strategy puts you in control by allowing you to manually select the maximum amount you want to pay per click (CPC). While you can set an overall bid for your campaign you can go more granular and set different bids for ad groups, specific keywords or placements depending on their profitability.

Find out more about Manual CPC

6. Maximise Clicks – Automated Bid Strategy Group

This bid strategy is the simplest way to bid for clicks. All you need to do is set a daily campaign budget and Google will manage your bids to bring you the most clicks for your budget.

Find out more about Maximise Clicks

7. Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) – Smart Bidding Strategy Group

This bid strategy sets bids to help get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition that you set.

Find out more about Target CPA

8. Target ROAS (Return-On-Ad-Spend) – Smart Bidding Strategy Group

This bid strategy helps you to generate more conversion or revenue at the target return on ad spend you choose.

Find out more about Target ROAS

9. Maximise Conversions – Smart Bidding Strategy Group

This bid strategy automatically sets bids using advanced machine learning to help you get the most conversions while spending your campaign budget.

Find out more about Maximise Conversions

10. Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC) – Smart Bidding Strategy Group

This bid strategy automatically adjusts your manual bids for clicks which seem more likely to lead to a conversion.

Unlike Target CPA where it automatically sets bids based on the target CPA you set, ECPC will try to keep your cost per conversion the same as you're getting with your manual bids.

Find out more about ECPC

Aligning Bid Strategies to Your Business’ Goals

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Whether you want to raise brand awareness through impressions or drive more clicks or conversions through your website, take a look at the table below and discover the bid strategies you should use when trying to achieve specific goals.

Bid Strategies

Goal: Impressions
  • Target Search Page Location
  • Target Outranking Share
  • Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM)
  • Cost-Per-Thousand Viewable Impressions (vCPM)

Goal: Clicks
  • Manual CPC bidding
  • Maximise Clicks

Goal: Conversions
  • Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
  • Target ROAS (Return-On-Ad-Spend)
  • Maximise Conversions
  • Enhanced cost per click (ECPC)

Quality Still Counts:

While choosing the correct bid strategy will help you achieve your business goals, you will still be required to achieve and maintain standards related to relevance and landing page experience. These and other factors impact your ad rank which will affect the click cost and conversion cost.

Audit Your Account

Don’t currently have any automated bid strategies implemented or not sure your current strategies are aligned to your business goals. If you’d like your Google Ads account reviewed by one of our Google experts contact us or call 01424 868 001 today.

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