Google Ads Bidding – How to Choose the Best Bidding Strategy

Implementing a good Google Ads bidding strategy is easier said than done, especially if you’ve never done anything like this before. In order to keep your costs down and formulate the right kind of campaign for your brand, you need to have a solid strategy that you can rely on. It’s more important than many people imagine. 

If you’re not familiar with Google Ads bidding, it can be a little daunting and confusing. It’s important to get the facts straight and learn about the various bidding strategies you can choose from before you take action. That way, you can be sure you’re taking the right steps for your campaign. Read on now to find out about all of these strategies so you can decide which is right for you.

Portfilio Bid Strategies Google Ads Create New

Your campaign and advertising goals need to come before anything else. If you don’t have these straight, you’re not ready to decide on a bidding strategy yet. So, make sure you give this some thought before you go any further. Do you want customers to take direct action on your website or are you focusing on generating traffic? Is it important to increase brand awareness? All of these questions are important, as are the type of ads you want to run; for example, will they use video content? You can focus on getting clicks, impressions, conversions or video views. 

You can set up Google Ads  to bid higher for ads that serve specific business goals, such as expanding brand awareness, increasing site visits, or increasing sales. 

Bid Strategies Google Ads Menu

Factors to consider for your bidding strategy

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Your Budget

If you have a small budget, we recommend starting at the bottom of the funnel to maximize short term ROI

Campaign Objectives

 What are your campaign goals?  You may prioritize getting more  impressions, clicks or conversions. With Google Ads, you can choose a bidding strategy that drives towards each.

  • Build Awareness:  Focusing on impressions may be your strategy. You can use cost per thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) or cost per view (CPV) bidding to put your message in front of customers.
  • Increase web users: Focusing on clicks could be ideal for you. Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding—manual or automatic—may be right for your campaign.
  • Increase Sales: It may be best to implement conversion tracking in your campaign and focus on conversions. Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bidding lets you do just that.

Value of Conversion

Yes! Depending on how much a lead or sale is worth, you may bid more or less. For example, if the cost per click is £10 and you are selling a $20,000 product, it might be worthwhile having a higher bid

Tools for Determining Bid

When starting Google Ads, it is often best to use manual CPC (At least until you have enough performance data)

  • Bid Simulator:  predicts  “what-if” scenarios like, “How many more clicks or impressions would be obtained gotten if the bid is $1.00 higher ?”
  • Keyword Planner shows  keywords search volume, along with cost estimations.
  • First-page bid estimates shows the required bid increase for the keyword to put the ad on the first page of search results.

Manual Bidding or Automatic Bidding

There are 2 bid management methods in Google Ads: manual bidding and automated bidding. 

Manual bidding gives you control of the bidding yourself by setting bids at the ad group level,  individual keywords or ad placements, so you know you’re bidding for the clicks that mean the most to you.

Automated bidding, is when you let Google Ads do the bidding instead

With automated bidding you can set a daily budget and then have Google Ads automatically adjust your bids to get the most clicks or conversions possible within your budget.

Bidding Strategy Tips - Monitor performance

Here are a few tips to check how ECPC is performing for your campaign:

  • When changing bidding strategies, wait at least 15 days to run before you evaluate its performance. Allowing this time to pass gives the strategy time to adapt.
  • It is not just time- also make sure that you have enough data to evaluate the strategy’s performance. Consider reviewing your data weekly as opposed to daily, especially if there’s little traffic.
  • Factors may affect your results over a period of time. Your results may be affected by holidays, weekends, special events, changes to your feed and your competitors in the auction.
  • Look at the number of conversions, conversion rate and cost per conversion to verify that you’re improving conversions efficiently. The more conversions that you have, the better you’ll be able to tell that the conversion rate has increased.
  • With CPA, ROAS or Enhanced CPA, the cost per click may increase or the number of clicks may go down, but this is expected as ECPC reduces bids for clicks with low expected conversions. 
  • Account for conversion delays. Some conversions take more time than others, in some cases up to days or even weeks. 

Smart Bidding Strategies

If you’re most interested in conversions, it makes sense to choose a smart bidding strategy. It’s about using automation to run your bidding strategy, eventually resulting in optimised conversion value. Here are some of the smart bidding strategies to consider.

Bidding Settings Google Ads

Target CPA

Target CPA (cost per acquisition) strategies involve increasing conversions while targeting a specific cost. That means you keep costs limited while focusing on improving conversions continually. It’s obviously a strategy that focuses heavily on the cost of each acquisition, which makes it good for staying in line with budgets and being able to easily track expenditure.

Target CPA helps to get as many conversions as possible at the target CPA by automatically adjusting bids.  Target CPA does not operate within a set budget- unlike maximise conversions.

This bidding strategy is suited to when you how much you want to pay for a conversion. The priority is to maintain a specific cost per conversion vs further increasing conversion volume.

Target Cpa Bid Strategy Google Ads

Target ROAS

Target ROAS (return-on-ad-spend) involves having your bids automatically optimised at the time of the action, so each auction can be approached in a fresh and appropriate way. It’s a standard strategy that can be implemented across one campaign or multiple campaigns if necessary. It can cope with either situation easily. Ultimately, it’s about securing the best return on your bidding investment.

Target return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) bids more where the Google Ads algorithm estimates ads are more likely to lead to a sale — with the end goal being to achieve as much return on ad spend as possible.

This strategy is effective for advertisers who know the exact value of each conversion to their business.

Target Roas Bid Strategy Googe Ads

Maximise Conversions

If you’re less concerned about using either of the targeting techniques mentioned above and just want to spend all of your budget on doing what you can to maximise conversions, use the aptly named Maximise Conversions strategy. The strategy automatically finds the optimal bid for your ad, allowing you to spend your budget while making conversions more likely.

Maximize conversions sets bids at auction time automatically to get as much conversion volume as possible within the campaign’s budget. This bidding strategy is effective when there is a fixed advertising budget and have not decided how much they should be willing to pay for a conversion (a target CPA). 

Maximize Conversions Google Bidding Strategies

Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)

This is a bidding strategy that is generally used alongside manual CPC bidding. Enhanced cost per click bidding is about having your manual bids automatically adjusted in order to maximise conversions. The bids are adjusted according to how likely or unlikely those ads are to receive clicks that lead to sales or conversion on your site. It’s a good addition to any manual strategy you might be using. 

(ECPC) is a semi-automated bid strategy adjusting your bids to get as many conversions as possible, within the set budget. 

This bidding strategy is a mid-point between manual and automated bidding. It effective for advertisers looking for an incremental increase in conversions while still retaining control over their keyword bids.

Enhanced Cpc Bidding Strategy

CPC Bidding

When you’re focused on generating traffic and increasing clicks, it makes the most sense to choose a cost-per-click (CPC) bidding strategy. Here are a couple of examples of those.

Maximise Clicks

The Maximise Clicks strategy is an automated bidding strategy that’s used by people looking for an easy way to bid for clicks. It’s very easy to set up as well; all you need to do is set a daily budget that’s then used to manage your bids for the most possible clicks. All this is done without exceeding the daily budget that you’ve set. It’s very straightforward and easy to understand for just about everyone.

Maximize clicks will automatically set bids to help get as many clicks as possible within your budget. The benefits include getting more clicks for less money, as well as more traffic from low-traffic terms.

This bid strategy is useful for advertisers just starting off with online marketing who are most interested in getting customers to their website.

Maximise Clicks Portfolio Bid Strategies

Manual CPC Bidding

If you’re looking for a more hands-on strategy, you should use a manual CPC bidding strategy. As mentioned above, this can be used in conjunction with an ECPC strategy if you like. In the most basic form, however, this strategy allows you to set your own bids for different ads, keywords and placements. You can shift your money when you find certain placements more profitable than others too.

Bidding Manual Cpc Google Ads 1

Impression-Focused Strategies

If you’re trying to improve impressions, here are some bidding strategies that will help you to improve the visibility of your brand

Target Search Page Location

This is another automated bidding strategy, but this one focuses on the location of your ads. It’s about making sure your money is spent on bids that make it more likely for your ads to be seen at the top of pages and on the first page of search results. In short, it’s about making sure your ads get seen if that’s what matters to you more than anything else right now.

Target Search Page Location

Target Outranking Share

Target outranking share is also an automated bidding strategy. This one focuses on allowing you to choose a particular domain that you want to outrank, allowing you to move ahead of the competition more quickly. It’s a strategy that works well for people looking to get ahead of a certain site and to beat their reach.

Target Outranking Share Google Ads Bidding Strategies

Target Impression Share

Target impression share like market share. 

Target Impressions Share Google Ads

Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions

If you choose this strategy, you will only pay for the number of impressions you receive. That could be on Google or Youtube. So, every time your ads make 1000 impressions, you’ll pay. If those impressions aren’t made and don’t reach the next 1000 impression milestone, you won’t pay anything for them.

Cost-Per-Thousand Viewable Impressions

Similarly, cost-per-thousand viewable impressions only involves paying for impressions, but this time it’s viewable ones. This allows you to raise awareness of your brand without necessarily getting clicks. It means you’ll pay when your ads are seen 1000 times, regardless of whether they’re clicked or not. Like the one above, this strategy is manual. 

Be sure to always take the specific needs of your campaign into account. What kind of strategy you choose will depend on what kind of campaign you want to run and which networks you want to target. * This is a Display targeting option, and not available on the Search network

Viewable Impressions Bid Strategy
  • Start with manual before automated bidding: The automated bidding algorithm needs time and conversions to make accurate predictions. 
  • Use Conversion Tracking: See how your ad clicks lead to goals lie leads, purchases or newsletter sign-ups. In order to use automated bidding, you’ll need to enable conversion tracking. 
  • Try to keep campaign changes to a minimum while the algorithm learns how to maximize performance for your goals. Google Ads’ algorithm has to adapt to your changes. This includes Target CPA goals, ads, and campaign daily budgets fairly steady.
  • Measure performance and make appropriate adjustments:

    Review the bid strategy report to see how well each bid strategy has performed. Use this data to make refinements to your bid strategies to further improve each campaign’s results.


Certain bidding strategies also allow bid modifier adjustments, covered in more detail on another blog post. For AdWords Scripts to make calculated bidding, the Google Bid Multiplier Script can be used. 


Selecting the best bidding strategy depends on your goal, as well as how much data of statistical significance you have. Automatic bidding strategies for conversions can work very well, but you have to at least 30 conversions in the campaign. So often each advertising account will have a mix of bidding strategies. 

Liam Holmes

Liam Holmes

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