Choosing a bidding option is an important decision for PPC marketers. Your bidding strategy is not only going to influence your ad spend, but also your returns. It’s certainly a decision that you don’t want to make lightly or without the right understanding of each option available.
Unfortunately, a lot of new Google Ads users make this decision quickly. Blinded by the opportunities and benefits offered by PPC marketing, they make their selection without fully exploring all of the options and what each bidding strategy means for their campaigns.
Even PPC experts can be tripped up by the many different bidding options.
You always want to make informed campaign decisions. You are in the right place if you are an advertiser that wants to ensure they select the best bidding option.
What Is A Bidding Strategy?
Your bidding strategy is essentially the goal for a campaign in terms of a targeted metric or returns you hope to receive, such as clicks, conversions, revenue, etc.
When using automated bidding, Google’s machine learning brain uses your selection to create bids that produce the best results for achieving the targeted goal.
For example, if the focus of your campaign is to drive clicks, setting a bidding strategy at ‘maximize clicks’ tells Google to bid in ways that generate clicks above all else.
Thus, it is very important to align your bidding strategy with your organizational goals and objectives.
Automated Versus Manual Bidding
One of the first decisions you need to make with regards to a bidding option is to choose between automated or manual bidding.
A lot of people opt for automated bidding because it is easier. Manually adjusting bids across many different campaigns can be a hassle.
Automated bidding offers more strategy options, whereas manual bidding is limited to just one bid option.
That said, some PPC marketers prefer to adjust their bids manually for a number of reasons:
1. You need a lot of conversions and account history to forbid automation to work well. The algorithms and AI capabilities don’t function properly with limited data to work with. In fact, Google restricts automated bidding on newer accounts until they’ve acquired a certain number of conversions on their own.
2. Automated bidding requires a bigger budget. The tool will want to make adjustments and changes on the fly. So, it needs a budget with a little wiggle room.
3. Some campaigns may require manual decisions to be made, especially if it is overly complex or a short-lived, seasonal campaign.
Understanding Each Bidding Option
There are a lot of bidding strategies to choose from.
Option #1: Manual Cost Per Click Bidding
If you’re going to choose the manual route, your option is limited to CPC bidding. This gives you complete control of how and where you spend your ad budget.
Option #2: Enhanced Cost Per Click
Google Ads gives you this option when you select manual CPC. ECPC, however, is an automated strategy that gives Google Ads permission to increase or decrease bids if the algorithm detects a good opportunity or expensive risk.
Option #3: Maximize Conversions
This is one of the most straightforward bidding approaches. You set a daily budget and Google will automate your bids to generate the maximum number of conversions possible without going above that level.
Option #4: Target Cost Per Acquisition
CPA bidding is designed to drive conversions that come at a certain cost. Google will ask what your target CPA is. This value is how much you can afford to spend on acquiring a customer, while still leaving room for a profit.
Option #5: Target Return On Ad Spend
This option is used when you want to get a certain return on your ad spends. Google will use your conversion value and target ROAS to find conversions that fit the bill. It’s a little complicated, but the formula is essentially your conversion value divided by costs. Then, multiplied by 100% to turn the number into a percentage.
Option #6: Maximize Clicks
You tell Google Ads what your daily budget is and the automated bidding engine will try and generate as many clicks as possible within that budget. It’s great if you want to drive website traffic!
Option #7: Target Outranking Share
If you have a direct competitor that is outshining you on the PPC market, the target outranking share strategy is a perfect fit. You can choose a competitor that you want to outrank on Google Ads and the percentage of time you want to outrank them. Any time that you and the competitors are in the same auction, your bids will be automatically increased to ensure that you place and they don’t.
Option #8: Cost Per Thousand Impressions
CPM is a bidding strategy that is strictly used on the Display Network. It is designed to maximize ad impressions within a budget. This is a good option if you are running display campaigns and want to generate brand awareness.
Option #9: Target Impression Share Bidding
This is a newer option that allows PPC marketers to target a percentage of impression opportunities. It is great for maximizing brand awareness. You could set your target impression share to 100%, which means your ads will appear 100% of the time for the specific keywords. It can quickly become expensive if you don’t set a budget.
Option #10: Target Search Page Location Bidding
The top of the first search results page is the most valuable ad space possible. If you want to make sure that your ads are featured at this important spot, you can use TSPL to be on the first page, or at the top of the first page.
Option #11: Cost Per View Bidding
If you want to take advantage of video advertising through the Google Ads platform, the CPV selection is your option. This bidding strategy requires you to pay when a user interacts with your video ads. This could be a click, or if they watch your ad for longer than 30 seconds.
The world is your oyster when it comes to bidding options. If you still aren’t sure what to select, choose one of the more basic strategies that align with your overall PPC goals. As time goes on, you can adjust your selection or test campaigns with different bid strategies.
On the other hand, you should see our new guide on the keyword planner.