12 Google Ads Bidding Strategies For ALL Types Of Campaigns

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Standing out in Google Ads, where thousands of bids clash every second, isn’t just challenging. It’s a strategic battle.

Success in this cutthroat battleground depends on more than who bids the highest. Instead, it results from careful planning, understanding audience behavior, and implementing the most appripriate Google Ads bidding strategies.

Whether you’re a newcomer to Google Ads or an experienced marketer yet to taste victory over bigger-budget competitors, this completes getting on the right path to success.

Let’s dive into the 12 Google Ads bidding options and see which fits your campaigns best.

Must-Read Tips Before Implementing Google Ads Bidding Strategies

First things first: you want to make sure to get these basics down:

Establish Definitive Goals For Your Bidding Strategies

Setting clear goals is the first step in any successful Google Ads campaign. 

Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve? Is it more website traffic, increased sales, or brand awareness? 

Your campaign’s goals are the compass that guides every decision you make, from the choice of keywords to the selection of a bidding strategy. 

These goals can vary widely, such as:

Increasing Website Traffic: If your primary objective is to drive more people to your website, you’ll want to maximize conversions by implementing bid strategies that increase the number of clicks your ads receive.

Boosting Sales: If your goal is to increase online sales, your focus should be converting clicks into customers.

Enhancing Brand Awareness: If you’re looking to build brand recognition, you might prioritize reaching as many people as possible rather than just driving clicks.

These goals call for a different approach to your Google ads bidding strategies. Let’s look at this example.

Scenario: Bella’s Boutique is a new online fashion store specializing in handmade accessories. 

Bella, the owner, decided to use Google Ads to promote her store. However, as a new brand in a competitive market, she needs to establish her presence and make potential customers aware of her unique product line.

Goal: Bella’s primary goal is to enhance brand awareness. She wants as many people as possible to learn about her boutique and see her unique accessories.

Bidding Strategy: Given her goal, Bella should focus on impressions (how many people see her ads) rather than just clicks. 

This calls for a CPM (Cost Per Mille, or cost per thousand impressions) bidding strategy. 

With CPM bidding, Bella’s ads are charged based on the number of times they are shown, not the number of clicks they receive. This approach is ideal for building brand awareness, as it maximizes the visibility of her ads.

Implementation: Bella sets up her Google Ads campaign, choosing ad placements that align with her target audience’s interests, such as fashion blogs and lifestyle websites. 

She opts for a CPM bidding strategy, setting a budget that allows her ads to be displayed broadly across these platforms.

Outcome: As a result, Bella’s Boutique gains significant exposure. Thousands of potential customers see her ads, leading to increased brand recognition. 

While the immediate clicks may be lower than with a CPC (Cost Per Click) strategy, Bella successfully plants her brand in the minds of her target audience, laying the groundwork for future sales and customer engagement.

Decide On Manual CPC, Smart Bidding, And Automated Bidding Strategies

Understanding the differences between Manual CPC, Automated Bidding, and Smart Bidding is crucial for any advertiser looking to optimize their campaigns. 

Each has unique advantages and applications, depending on your campaign goals, level of expertise, and the amount of control you desire over your bids.

Let’s cover each one more in-depth:

What Is Manual Bidding On Google Ads?

Manual CPC (Cost-Per-Click) bidding puts you in the driver’s seat on the ad group level. 

You set the maximum amount you’ll pay for a click on your ad. This strategy is ideal for advertisers who want complete control over their bids and have the time to monitor and adjust them regularly.

Example Calculation:

Suppose you have a daily budget of $100 and are willing to pay up to $2 per click. Ideally, your ad could receive up to 50 clicks a day (Budget $100 / Max CPC $2 = 50 clicks).

Pros:

  • Complete control over bid amounts.
  • Ability to make quick adjustments based on ad performance.

Cons:

  • Time-consuming and requires regular monitoring.
  • May not fully leverage Google’s machine learning capabilities.

What Is Automated Bidding On Google Ads?

Automated bidding eliminates the guesswork out of setting bids for your ads. 

Google automatically adjusts your bids in real time, aiming to get as many conversions as possible at the best possible price. 

This strategy is based on algorithms and historical data, making it suitable for advertisers who prefer a hands-off approach.

Pros:

  • Saves time by automating bid adjustments.
  • Leverages Google’s machine learning for better results.

Cons:

  • Less control over individual bid amounts.
  • Requires trust in Google’s algorithms.

What Is Smart Bidding On Google Ads?

Smart Bidding refers to a group of automated bid strategies employing machine learning to enhance conversions or the value of conversions for every individual auction.

This advanced strategy is ideal for advertisers focused on conversion-based goals.

Pros:

  • Optimizes bids for each auction, potentially improving conversion rates.
  • Utilizes advanced machine learning for bid adjustments.

Cons:

  • You need to set up conversion tracking accurately.
  • There is less transparency in how bids are set.

Make Sure You Have Conversion Tracking Enabled

Conversion tracking lets you see how effectively your ad clicks go toward high-value customer activity, like purchases, sign-ups, phone calls, or app downloads. 

Conversion tracking is essential to understand your ads’ ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) and make data-driven decisions about your spending.

12 Most Effective Google Ads Bidding Strategies [With Pros, Cons, And Examples]

1. Target ROAS Bidding Strategy (Smart Bidding)

Target ROAS bidding is a strategy within Google Ads Smart Bidding where the aim is to establish a desired return on ad spend.

This strategy is ideal for businesses with specific ROAS goals for their PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns.

It uses your conversion value data to optimize bids for each auction, aiming to maximize your return based on the target ROAS you set.

Pros:

  • Particularly effective for e-commerce businesses with diverse product ranges, helping to balance the focus between high-volume and high-margin products.
  • More likely to display ads to users who are ready to make a purchase, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
  • Focuses on achieving a specific return, which can lead to more efficient use of your ad budget.

Cons:

  • Requires accurate revenue data for Google to optimize effectively.
  • Could reduce overall ad spend as it aims to meet specific ROAS goals, potentially limiting exposure.
  • Prioritizes ROAS over total revenue, which might not align with all business goals.

Example Scenario:

Imagine you run an online electronics store. You set a Target ROAS of 500%. 

For every $1 spent on ads, you aim to generate $5 in revenue. Google Ads will apply automatic adjustment to your bids to achieve this ratio, focusing on keywords and audiences most likely to result in high-value purchases.

2. Target CPA Bidding Strategy (Smart Bidding)

Target CPA bidding is another type of Smart Bidding strategy in Google Ads where you set a target cost per acquisition or conversion. 

This strategy is best for businesses focused on maximizing conversions, like sign-ups or sales, at a specific cost per action.

Pros:

  • Ideal for campaigns where the main goal is acquiring conversions at a set cost.
  • Aims to prevent unprofitable clicks, optimizing for conversions at a lower cost.
  • Google Ads automatically adjusts bids to meet your target CPA, potentially increasing conversions within your budget.

Cons:

  • Requires a sufficient budget to perform effectively, typically at least double your target CPA.
  • You can’t set a maximum CPC bid cap on a campaign-by-campaign basis (though possible in portfolio strategies).

Example Scenario:

You might set a Target CPA of $20 for a service like an online course platform. 

If your goal is 100 sign-ups, Google Ads will optimize your bids to try and acquire each sign-up at or below $20, balancing your ad spend against the desired number of conversions.

3. Maximize Conversions Bidding Strategy (Smart Bidding)

Maximize Conversions is another Google Ads bidding strategy that gets you the most conversions possible within your set ad campaign budget. 

It uses Google’s advanced machine learning algorithms to automatically adjust your bids, focusing on clicks that are most likely to lead to conversions.

Pros:

  • Ideal for campaigns where the primary goal is to maximize the number of conversions, such as sign-ups, sales, or leads.
  • Works well for brands with a specific budget cap, aiming to extract the maximum number of conversions from the allocated budget.

Cons:

  • While aiming for more conversions, this strategy may result in a higher cost per action (CPA) as it doesn’t set limits on bid amounts.
  • There’s a risk of overshooting your daily budget, primarily if Google’s algorithm identifies high-potential conversion opportunities.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A flower delivery service with a $5,000 monthly advertising budget.

How This Strategy Works: Google Ads uses historical data and contextual signals like time of day, user location, and device type to predict the best bid for each auction. 

For the flower delivery service, it might increase bids during peak times like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day when people are more likely to order flowers, ensuring the service gets the most orders possible within its budget.

4. Take Advantage Of Maximize Conversion Value Bidding Strategy (Smart Bidding)

Maximize Conversion Value focuses on achieving the highest total conversion value within your campaign budget. Unlike maximizing conversions, this strategy prioritizes the importance of conversions over their quantity.

Pros:

  • Targets audiences who are likely to make more valuable purchases.
  • Ideal for businesses with high-value products or services.

Cons:

  • May exceed your advertising budget in pursuit of high-value conversions.
  • This can result in a higher cost per conversion.
  • Focusing on high-value conversions could potentially reduce the overall return on ad spend.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: An electronics retailer focusing on high-ticket items.

How This Strategy Works: This strategy uses conversion tracking data to identify which products (like TVs and laptops) bring in the most revenue. The electronics retailer, by employing this strategy, allows Google Ads to allocate more budget towards ads for these high-value products. 

For example, if the retailer notices that 4K TVs generate more revenue per sale compared to other items, Google Ads will prioritize bidding on keywords related to 4K TVs. 

This ensures that the retailer’s ad spend is concentrated on products that yield the highest conversion value, optimizing the return on their advertising investment.

5. Try The Maximize Clicks Bidding Strategy

Maximize Clicks generates the maximum number of clicks within a specified budget. 

This strategy is helpful for campaigns where the primary goal is maximizing the number of visits or traffic to your website or landing page:

Pros:

  • This strategy can significantly increase the number of visitors to your site by maximising clicks, which is particularly beneficial for new websites or content that needs exposure.
  • It helps reach new segments of your target audience, potentially uncovering untapped markets or customer bases.

Cons:

  • Not every click is equal. Some clicks may come from users who are less likely to convert, leading to lower overall campaign efficiency.
  • Requires continuous monitoring and adjustment. You need to closely monitor your campaign’s performance to ensure that the increased traffic is relevant and valuable.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A new blog looking to increase its readership.

How This Strategy Works:The Maximize Clicks Bidding Strategy is ideal for a blog that aims to boost site traffic. Google Ads will focus on getting the maximum number of clicks within the blog’s set budget.

If the blog has a daily budget of $100, Google Ads will adjust bids to garner as many clicks as possible, potentially targeting times of day when users are more likely to engage with content. This strategy helps the blog reach a wider audience, increasing its visibility and readership.

6. Cost Per Mille Bidding Strategy

Maximize CPM (Cost Per Mille, or Cost Per Thousand Impressions) is a strategy focused on maximizing the number of impressions your ad receives. 

It’s typically used for campaigns where the goal is to increase brand awareness and visibility.

This is the ideal bidding strategy in Google ads if you plan on a new product launch or large-scale rebranding for your business.

Pros:

  • Excellent for campaigns that aim to increase brand recognition and visibility across a broad audience.
  • Since you’re charged per thousand impressions, predicting and controlling costs is easier.

Cons:

  • This might not be the most effective strategy if your campaign is conversions-focused.
  • You’re paying for impressions, not interactions. There’s no guarantee that people who see your ad will visit your website or take any specific action.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A fashion brand launching a new line.

How This Strategy Works: With the CPM Bidding Strategy, the fashion brand pays for every thousand impressions its ad receives. This approach is beneficial for the brand’s new line launch, as it focuses on maximizing exposure rather than direct conversions. 

The brand can set a specific budget to ensure its ads are seen by a large number of people, helping to build awareness and interest in the new fashion line.

7. See If The Viewable CPM Bidding Strategy Works For You

Maximize Viewable CPM (vCPM) focuses on increasing the viewable impressions your ad receives. 

Unlike traditional CPM, vCPM ensures that users see your ads. This is mainly used for brand awareness video ads/awareness campaigns.

Pros:

  • You pay only for ads that are actually viewed, which can increase the effectiveness of your awareness campaigns.
  • This is particularly beneficial for video ads, as you’re not charged for videos that are skipped.

Cons:

  • Like Maximize CPM, it’s not designed for campaigns with direct conversion goals.
  • Mainly applicable to Google Display Network, limiting its use for search-focused campaigns.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A software company promoting a new product.

How This Strategy Works: The vCPM Bidding Strategy is used by the software company to pay only for ad impressions that are actually seen by users.

This strategy ensures that the company’s ads for its new software product are not just displayed but are visible to potential customers, enhancing brand awareness and product visibility.

8. Apply Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC) Bidding To Manual CPC

Enhanced CPC (ECPC) is a smart-bidding option that adds a layer of Google’s machine learning to your manual CPC bids. 

This strategy allows Google to adjust your bids up or down based on the likelihood of a conversion. 

It’s a middle ground between full manual control and complete automation, offering a blend of both worlds.

The way the Google ads model is built doesn’t reward people who spend more on their ads. There are so many other factors to consider other than just ad spend, such as:

  • Location: Where your potential customers are located can impact the effectiveness of your ads.
  • Time of Day: Certain times may yield better results based on your audience’s online habits.
  • Mobile or Desktop: Whether your audience is on mobile, desktop, or tablet can influence ad performance.
  • Behavior and Intent: The intent behind a user’s search and overall online behavior plays a crucial role.
  • Target Audience: The specific groups your potential visitors belong to, including their browsing behavior and interests.
  • Expected CTR (Click-Through-Rate): How likely someone will click on your ad.
  • Quality Score: A metric that reflects your ads, keywords, and landing page quality and relevance. 

These factors mean that you can still achieve significant results even with a modest budget. 

Google’s auction system is designed to level the playing field, allowing for strategic success without necessarily requiring the highest bid.

Pros:

  • Can increase both CTR and CVR more effectively than manual CPC alone.
  • This strategy can help you tap into a wider audience, increasing your ad’s exposure.

Cons 

  • Without bid caps, you might see an increase in cost per click, impacting profitability.
  • The automated nature of ECPC means you have less direct control over individual bid amounts, which could lead to higher-than-expected daily spending.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A local restaurant looking to increase online reservations.

How This Strategy Works: ECPC combines manual bidding with a smart bidding approach. The local restaurant sets a maximum cost per click but allows Google Ads to adjust bids for clicks that seem more likely to lead to reservations. 

9. Consider Viewable CPM (vCPM) Bidding Strategy

This bidding strategy is limited exclusively to the Display Network, but it involves paying for every 1,000 times your ad is visibly shown to the users. 

This approach means you’re paying for actual views, enhancing the value of each impression:

The Evolution Of CPM Bidding:

Previously, traditional CPM bidding meant paying for impressions regardless of visibility. 

However, with vCPM, the focus has shifted to ensuring your ad is not just present but also seen, eliminating the inefficiency of paying for ads that are never viewed by the audience.

Pros:

  • Ideal for campaigns aimed at increasing brand visibility.
  • You pay only when your ad is viewable, ensuring better use of your budget.
  • Knowing the cost per thousand viewable impressions makes budgeting more straightforward.

Cons 

  • The return on investment can be less impressive on sites with lower traffic.
  • This strategy is more about visibility than driving direct conversions.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A luxury car brand launching a new model.

How This Strategy Works: The luxury car brand opts for the Viewable CPM (vCPM) Bidding Strategy to ensure its ads are not just displayed, but actually seen by potential customers. This approach is particularly beneficial for their high-end product, where brand visibility and perception are crucial. 

The brand sets a budget to pay for every thousand viewable impressions of its ad, focusing on high-traffic websites and platforms frequented by its target demographic. 

10. Maximum CPV Bidding For Higher Video Engagements (YouTube Campaigns)

This Google ad bid strategy is primarily for YouTube campaigns. It allows you to set the upper limit on the budget you’re willing to pay for a view or interaction on your video ad. 

A view is counted when a user watches 30 seconds of your ad or the entire ad if it’s shorter.

Pros:

  • You only pay for viewers who engage with your ad, not those who skip it.
  • More likely to reach interested audiences, enhancing brand awareness.
  • CPV rates are generally affordable, often below $1, though this can vary by industry.

Cons:

  • While great for views, it doesn’t necessarily translate to higher conversions.
  • Shorter ads may be more effective in retaining viewer attention.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A new fitness app aiming to increase its user base.

How This Strategy Works: The fitness app company uses Maximum CPV Bidding for its video ads on YouTube. They set a maximum amount they’re willing to pay per view, focusing on engaging, short video ads that highlight the app’s features. 

This strategy is cost-effective, as they only pay when viewers watch at least 30 seconds of the ad or interact with it, ensuring that their budget is spent on engaged viewers. 

The goal is to capture the interest of health-conscious individuals who are likely to be interested in a fitness app, thereby driving app downloads and user engagement.

11. Target CPM Bidding Strategies To Maximize YouTube Impressions

Another Google ad bid strategy specific to YouTube, Target CPM Bidding, charges you a predetermined average cost for every 1,000 times your ad is displayed, regardless of whether viewers watch the entire ad or skip it.

Pros:

  • Excellent for boosting brand awareness by reaching a broad audience.
  • Ensures numerous viewers see your ad.

Cons:

  • You pay for each impression, even if viewers skip your ad, leading to possible inefficiencies.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A software company launching a new project management tool.

How This Strategy Works: The software company employs Target CPM Bidding for its online advertising campaign, focusing on tech and business-oriented websites. 

They set a target cost for every thousand impressions, aiming to maximize visibility among professionals who are likely to be interested in project management tools. This strategy is particularly effective for the company’s goal of brand awareness and product introduction in a competitive market. 

12. Streamline Multiple Campaigns With Portfolio Bid Strategy

Portfolio bid strategies are a holistic approach that applies a single bid strategy across multiple campaigns. 

This method is handy for managing several campaigns with similar goals. Available portfolio bid strategies include target CPA, maximize conversions, maximize conversion value, target ROAS, and target impression share.

Pros:

  • By pooling data from multiple campaigns, these strategies can learn and adapt more quickly, improving overall performance.
  • Managing bids across multiple campaigns becomes more streamlined, saving time and effort in campaign adjustments.
  • Ensures a uniform bidding approach across various campaigns, which can be particularly beneficial for brands with a consistent marketing message.
  • Spreads out the risk across multiple campaigns, reducing the impact of underperformance in any single campaign

Cons:

  • Campaigns grouped under a portfolio bid strategy must have aligned objectives and target audiences to be effective.
  • Some campaigns may receive more focus and perform better, while others might see a dip in performance.
  • Managing and analyzing the performance of multiple campaigns under one strategy can become complex, especially if the campaigns have different KPIs.

Example Scenario:

Scenario: A multi-brand online retailer with diverse product lines.

How This Strategy Works: The retailer implements a Portfolio Bid Strategy to manage bids across several campaigns simultaneously. This strategy is particularly beneficial for their varied product lines, such as electronics, clothing, and home goods. 

By using a Portfolio Bid Strategy, the retailer can set a collective target CPA or ROAS across all campaigns, ensuring that the overall advertising spend is optimized for the best possible returns. 

This approach allows for more efficient allocation of the budget, as the system automatically adjusts bids across different campaigns based on performance. 

For instance, if the electronics campaign is performing exceptionally well with a high ROAS, the system might allocate more budget there, while reducing spend on less profitable campaigns. 

This holistic approach ensures that the retailer’s overall advertising objectives are met, maximizing the impact of their Google Ads investment.

Conclusion About Google Ads Bidding Strategies

Google Ads bidding isn’t just setting bids and hoping you get results. It’s a strategy that demands ongoing attention and adjustment.

We’ve explored various bidding strategies in this guide, with their strengths and applications. The success of your Google Ads campaigns hinges on choosing the right strategy and constantly refining it based on performance data.

Apply these principles and turn your Google Ads campaigns into a powerful tool to reach your target audience and achieve marketing objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions About Google Ads Bidding Strategies

What Are The Benefits Of Google Ads Smart Bidding Strategies?

Smart Bidding strategies in Google Ads leverage machine learning to optimize for conversions in each auction. 

They offer several benefits, including time-saving automation, advanced performance prediction, and the ability to adjust bids for each auction based on many signals, leading to improved conversion rates and ROAS.

How Do I Choose the Right Bidding Strategy For My Campaign?

Selecting the right bidding strategy depends on your campaign goals, budget, and the level of control you desire. 

CPM might be ideal for brand awareness, while CPA or ROAS strategies are better for conversion-focused campaigns. Understanding and aligning each strategy’s nuances with your specific objectives is essential.

Can I Change My Bidding Strategy Mid-Campaign?

Yes, you can change your bidding strategy mid-campaign. However, it’s advisable to allow enough time for each strategy to gather data and show results before making changes. Frequent changes can disrupt the learning phase and impact performance.

Is Manual Bidding Better Than Automated Bidding?

Manual bidding offers more control and is often preferred by advertisers who want to manage their bids closely. 

Automated bidding, on the other hand, saves time and utilizes Google’s machine learning to optimize bids. The choice depends on your campaign’s complexity, available time for management, and comfort with automation.

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