- Your Google Ads bid strategy determines how much you spend and how effective your ad campaigns are.
- Bid strategies can help you maximise visibility, clicks or conversions.
- Google’s automated bid strategies can optimise your bids to achieve your goals without breaking the bank.
- Even with the right bid strategy, Google Ads campaigns still require regular monitoring and fine tuning.
What are bid strategies?
Google Ads bid strategies are a feature that allow you to optimise your bidding to achieve specific goals. The right bid strategy will make your campaign more effective for the same budget.
Each bid strategy encompasses a range of optimisation techniques. These are tailored to campaign objectives, and they form the foundation of any ad campaign.
For instance, your bid strategy dictates how your budget is allocated, what actions Google should optimise towards, and how you interact with potential customers.
How do bid strategies work?
If we want to understand how bid strategies work, we need to take a look at the Google Ads auction system.
Google runs ads every time a web page is loaded. It decides which ads will be shown by hosting an auction. During the auction, Google compares all the eligible ads that have been submitted. The ads that win the auction get displayed, and the rest won’t show at all.
This is done in a lightning instant by Google’s supercomputers.
Google looks at a few key factors when running auctions. The highest bid doesn’t necessarily win – Google aims to show its customers the most relevant ads, so you can’t always buy your way to the top.
Because of this, bid strategies play a pivotal role in deciding which ads get displayed and how much the advertiser needs to pay.
For example, if we wanted to get more clicks on ads, a Maximise Clicks bid strategy would use our budget to bid on lower priced clicks and increase engagement on ads.
On the other hand, if we use a Maximise Conversions bid strategy, we are telling Google that we are willing to pay a premium for each click, as long as it gets the most amount of conversions possible.
Your Cost Per Click (CPC) is closely linked with your bid strategy. Google allows users to select a bid strategy that aligns with your desired level of control:
- Smart Bidding. Smart bidding uses machine learning to analyse real-time data and apply smart bidding strategies that automatically adjust bids. This can be used to maximise performance and increase clicks, conversions or visibility.
- CPC Bidding. With manual CPC bidding, advertisers set their own bids. It provides complete control but requires frequent monitoring and adjustments.
Do I need bid strategies?
Yes! Bid strategies are fundamental to the success of your campaigns. They’re also a mandatory feature in building a Google Ads campaign.
When you set up a new campaign, Google will ask you to choose a bid strategy that suits your goals. Effectively, if you don’t select a bid strategy, your campaign won’t run at all.
Errors in the set up stage can lead to misconfiguration errors, which can disrupt the learning and optimisation of your account.
How do I choose the right bid strategy?
Selecting the right Google Ads bid strategy depends on your campaign objectives.
Consider what you want to achieve. Is it brand awareness, online sales, website traffic, or something else? Google Ads provides bid strategies tailored to each of these goals.
- Brand Awareness: Focus on maximising impressions with “Target Impression Share” or “CPM” (cost per 1,000 impressions) strategies
- Online Sales: Drive revenue with “Target ROAS”
- Lead Generation: Boost your enquiry volume with “Maximise Conversions”
- Website Traffic: Enhance visibility with “Maximise Clicks”
By determining your goals and how you’ll measure the success of your campaign, you can easily select a bid strategy that will deliver the results you’re looking for.
Google Ads bid strategies explained
Google divides its bid strategies into three categories: Conversions, Clicks, and Visibility.
Bid strategies for conversions:
- Target CPA (Cost-Per-Action):
- This strategy leverages machine learning to automatically adjust your bids in real time.
- It aims to achieve the cost per conversion that you set as a target.
- Google Ads analyses historical data to predict which clicks are more likely to lead to a conversion and adjusts bids accordingly.
- Ideal for advertisers that want to maintain a consistent cost per acquisition while maximising conversions.
- Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend):
- For advertisers focused on maximising the value of their ad spend.
- This strategy automatically adjusts your bids to achieve a specific return on ad spend, optimising for high-value conversions.
- It considers the value of different types of conversions and allocates more budget to ads that are likely to yield higher returns.
- Maximise Conversions:
- This strategy is designed for advertisers who want to maximise the number of conversions within their budget.
- Google Ads will automatically adjust your bids to drive as many conversions as possible.
- It’s a great choice when your primary goal is to increase the overall number of actions taken by users on your website.
- Maximise Conversion Value:
- Ideal for businesses looking to maximise the total value generated from their conversions.
- This strategy optimises your bids to generate conversions that have the highest potential value.
- It’s well-suited for e-commerce businesses that want to increase revenue.
- Enhanced Cost-Per-Click (ECPC):
- ECPC is a hybrid strategy that combines manual bidding with automated adjustments.
- You set your manual CPC bids, and then Google Ads automatically adjusts them based on the likelihood of conversions.
- It offers a balance between manual control and automated optimisation, making it suitable for advertisers seeking a more hands-on approach.
Bid strategies for clicks:
- Maximise Clicks:
- Designed for advertisers who want to generate the highest possible number of clicks within their budget.
- Google Ads automatically adjusts bids to ensure your ads receive maximum exposure and clicks.
- It’s particularly useful when you want to drive traffic to your website or increase your brand’s visibility.
- Manual CPC Bidding:
- Manual CPC provides complete control over your bid amounts for each click. Better suited to those with lots of Google Ads experience.
- You set and adjust individual bids for keywords, ad groups, or campaigns.
- While it offers great control, it requires constant monitoring and adjustments to optimise performance.
Bid strategies for visibility:
- Target Impression Share:
- Perfect for advertisers looking to maximise their ad’s presence on the search results page.
- This strategy automatically adjusts your bids to ensure your ad appears in a specific percentage of auctions.
- It’s a great choice for brand awareness and ensuring your ads are seen by a wide audience.
- CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions):
- Cost Per Mile (CPM) bidding charges you per thousand impressions, rather than per click.
- It’s a common choice for display and video advertising campaigns where you want to create brand visibility and awareness.
- tCPM (Target CPM):
- Similar to CPM, this strategy lets you set a specific cost per thousand impressions.
- It’s useful when you have a predefined budget and want to control your impression costs effectively.
- vCPM (Viewable CPM):
- Focuses on viewable impressions, ensuring your ads are seen by the target audience.
- You pay for viewable impressions, which are typically measured when 50%+ of the ad is visible for at least one second.
- It’s valuable for brand campaigns that prioritise visibility and ad viewability.
Ongoing bid strategy optimisation
Now you know all about each bid strategy, so you can pick one for your whole account, right?
Not quite! Bid strategies can be applied to an individual ad group or campaign, or they can be applied to your entire portfolio. For best results you should be setting up bid strategies at the ad group level and then monitoring them to make sure they’re performing well.
Even if you choose an automated bidding strategy, you’ll need to monitor your ads.
It’s easy to waste lots of money on a poorly optimised Google Ads campaign. Small changes can make a big difference to your budget and campaign effectiveness.
Keep in mind that Google’s automated bidding strategies become more effective over time. Google will continuously collect data about your ads. The longer you run the ads, the better. This also means you should resist the temptation to tweak your ads every single day. If you make a change, give the ad a few weeks to test its performance before making additional alterations.
Make your Google Ads work harder with Gordon Digital!
Bid strategies are critical to running successful Google Ads campaigns.
There are plenty of strategies to choose from. They cater to every objective. Whether it’s conversions, clicks or visibility, Google Ads can help you get there. By aligning your bid strategy with your campaign goals, you can maximise your campaign’s effectiveness while reducing your spend.
If you’re looking to harness the full potential of Google Ads bid strategies, have a chat to Gordon Digital! We’re a team of digital marketing specialists that are ready to help you navigate the world of Google Ads.
We’re experts on the subject, and we can use our knowledge to help your business succeed. It all starts with a conversation – contact us today to see how we can help!