Ultimate Guide to Google Ads Bid Strategies

Ultimate Guide to Google Ads Bid Strategies


As a Google Ads manager at DPOM, a digital marketing agency with 14 years of experience specialising in managing Google Ads and SEO for small businesses, I understand the complexities of Google Ads bidding. Our deep experience enables us to tailor strategies that meet the specific needs of small enterprises, starting from affordable options for startups to more advanced solutions for seasoned advertisers. This guide will delve into the various bidding strategies available in Google Ads, their pros and cons, and the best circumstances to apply each.

1. Manual CPC (Cost-Per-Click) Bidding

Manual CPC bidding gives you full control over your bids. You set the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a click on your ad.

Pros:

  • Control: You have complete control over bid adjustments.
  • Flexibility: Ideal for closely monitored campaigns where you can make frequent adjustments based on performance.

Cons:

  • Time-consuming: Requires a lot of attention and manual adjustments.
  • Risk of over/underbidding: Without proper attention, there’s a risk of setting bids too high or too low.
  • Best For: Businesses that have the time to manage and tweak their campaigns regularly and are not working with a large number of keywords.

2. Enhanced CPC (ECPC)

ECPC is a semi-automated bidding strategy. It adjusts your manual bids to try to maximise conversions, increasing or decreasing your set bid amount based on the likelihood of a sale.

Pros:

  • Control plus automation: Balances between manual bidding and automated adjustments.
  • Improved conversions: Google automatically adjusts bids for clicks that seem more likely to lead to a sale or conversion.

Cons:

  • Limited by manual bid: While it does adjust bids, the initial manual settings can limit its effectiveness.
  • Potential for higher costs: Can increase CPC if Google determines the likelihood of conversion is high.
  • Best For: Advertisers who want some level of control but also want to leverage Google’s automated capabilities to optimise for conversions.

3. Maximise Clicks

This automated bid strategy aims to get as many clicks as possible within your budget.

Pros:

  • Simple and effective: Easy to set up and good for driving traffic.
  • Automated management: Google adjusts bids to get the most clicks for your budget.

Cons:

  • Less control over bid amounts: Google controls bid adjustments, which can sometimes lead to unexpected costs.
  • Not conversion-focused: Maximises clicks, not necessarily conversions.
  • Best For: Campaigns where the primary goal is to increase site traffic, rather than direct sales or leads.

4. Maximise Conversions

This strategy automatically sets bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget.

Pros:

  • Fully automated: Google optimises bids to maximise conversions.
  • Effective use of budget: Focuses on converting users within your set budget constraints.

Cons:

  • Requires conversion tracking: You need to have set up and properly configured conversion tracking.
  • Can spend entire budget: Google will aim to use up your budget in pursuit of conversions.
  • Best For: Businesses focused solely on increasing conversions and who have a clear understanding of their conversion tracking and values.

5. Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

This bidding strategy sets bids to help you get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) you set.

Pros:

  • Conversion-focused: Directly targets your desired CPA.
  • Automated efficiency: Adjusts bids to meet specific acquisition costs.

Cons:

  • Requires historical data: Google needs data to predict which clicks are likely to convert.
  • Can limit exposure: May not spend your full budget if the target CPA is too low.
  • Best For: Advertisers with specific cost-per-conversion goals and enough conversion data to inform Google’s automated bidding algorithms.

 

6. Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)

Description: Target ROAS aims to achieve a return on ad spend that you specify. Google sets bids to maximise conversion value while trying to reach the target ROAS.

Pros:

  • Value-driven: Focuses on the return from your ad spend.
  • Dynamic bid adjustments: Bids are automatically optimised to achieve specified returns.

Cons:

  • Complex to set up: Requires understanding of your conversion values and tracking.
  • Requires sufficient conversion data: Like Target CPA, it needs a lot of data to function effectively.
  • Best For: Businesses with clear understanding of their conversion value and those seeking to maximise financial returns rather than just traffic or conversion volume.

     

Best Practices for Google Ads Bid Strategies

Implementing the right practices is crucial to maximising the effectiveness of your chosen bid strategy. Here’s how to make the most of each:

1. Manual CPC Bidding

  • Regular Monitoring: Check your campaign performance daily to make adjustments as necessary.
  • Segmented Increase: Increase bids on keywords that perform well and decrease on underperforming ones.
  • Use Bid Modifiers: Adjust bids based on devices, locations, and times of day that perform best.

2. Enhanced CPC (ECPC)

  • Conversion Tracking: Ensure your conversion tracking is accurately set up to allow ECPC to function effectively.
  • Start with Manual CPC: Begin with Manual CPC to understand baseline performance before switching to ECPC.
  • Monitor Performance: Keep an eye on cost-per-acquisition (CPA) changes after switching to ensure costs do not escalate unexpectedly.

3. Maximise Clicks

  • Budget Control: Set a maximum daily budget to prevent overspending.
  • Negative Keywords: Regularly update your negative keywords to avoid irrelevant clicks that cost money and don’t convert.
  • Performance Review: Regularly review which keywords and ads bring the most clicks and adjust your strategy accordingly.

4. Maximise Conversions

  • Accurate Conversion Tracking: As with ECPC, accurate conversion tracking is critical.
  • Starting Budget: Ensure your budget is sufficient to gather data without exhausting funds too quickly.
  • Bid Adjustments: Be prepared to adjust your bids or budget based on the initial performance and conversion data.

5. Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

  • Historical Data: Start using Target CPA only after you have enough conversion data, typically recommended is at least 30 conversions in the past 30 days.
  • Flexible Targets: Be flexible with your CPA targets as market conditions and competition change.
  • Regular Adjustments: Review and adjust your targets based on performance and business goals.

6. Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)

  • Understand Your Values: Clearly understand and define the value of different conversions.
  • Sufficient Data: Like Target CPA, ensure you have robust data to inform Google’s algorithm, with at least 50 conversions in the past 30 days recommended.
  • Ongoing Optimisation: Continuously refine your campaigns and conversion tracking to improve accuracy.

 

Summary

Choosing the right Google Ads bidding strategy is crucial for the success of your campaigns. At DPOM, we leverage our extensive experience to guide small businesses through the complexities of Google Ads, ensuring that each strategy aligns with their specific goals and budgets. 

Whether you are looking to increase traffic, maximise conversions, or achieve a specific return on investment, there is a bidding strategy tailored to meet your needs. Understanding the pros and cons of each can significantly enhance your campaign’s effectiveness, driving better results and ultimately boosting your business’s online presence.