How to Use Google Ads Bid Strategies

With Google Ads, there are several ways to bid for your ads, known as bid strategies. These include focusing on clicks, impressions, conversions or video ad views.

Account Objectives

Different advertisers will have different objectives for their campaigns. Examples include:

  • Conversions, i.e. Getting people to make a purchase or perform an action on your website
  • Traffic. Getting the highest number of people to your website
  • Brand awareness. Increasing brand awareness by maximising the number of views your ads get
  • Video views. Increase videos views or engagements with your videos

Your advertising objectives and the type of campaign will determine the bidding options available.

Bidding strategies

Manual Cost-Per-Click (Search and Display ads)

With Manual bidding, you set your maximum CPC bids. You can specify bids at the ad group, campaign, individual keywords or placement levels. If you find specific keywords or placements more profitable, manual bidding can assign more of your ad budget to those keywords or placements.

Maximising clicks (Search and Display ads)

If your primary objective is to get visitors to your website, then you should use the maximising clicks strategy.

Maximising clicks is an automated bidding strategy that aims to get the maximum traffic to your site for your budget. To use this strategy, set an average daily budget, and Google Ads will manage your bids to get you the maximum clicks within your budget.

With the maximising click strategy, your account will be charged on a CPC basis.

Maximise impressions

Maximising impressions is a good strategy if you are interested in getting your brand in front of many people. If you target the Search Network, Google Ads will automatically set your bids to help achieve your Impression Share goal. Your account will still be charged on a CPC basis.  

If you target the Display Network, you can pay by the number of times your ad is shown instead of paying by the click. This is known as cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) bidding, as you pay for every 1,000 times your ad is shown.

Like CPC manual bidding, viewable CPM bidding allows you to bid at the ad group or individuals placement level.

Smart Bidding Strategies

Smart Bidding strategies use machine learning to optimise for the number of conversions or conversion value. They consider a wide range of signals such as device, location, time of day and language to decide the appropriate amount to bid for each click to reach your advertising goal.

Five Smart Bidding strategies available:

  • Target cost per action (CPA). Target CPA controls bids to target a defined cost per action (CPA).
  • Target return on ad spend (ROAS). Target ROAS controls bids to target a specific return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Maximise Conversions. Use Maximise Conversions if you want to optimise for conversions but want to spend your full daily budget instead of targeting a specific CPA.
  • Maximise Conversion Value. Use Maximise conversion Value if you want to optimise for the number of conversions but want to spend your full daily budget instead of targeting a specific ROAS.
  • Enhanced cost per click (ECPC). ECPC is used with Manual CPC bidding, to increases bids if Google thinks there is a higher likelihood of conversion

For Smart Bidding to work, you must enable conversion tracking on your site.

Maximising views (video ads only)

If your goal is to understand how engaging your video content is, use cost-per-view (CPV) bidding. With CPV bidding,  you pay for video views and other video interactions, including clicks on the calls-to-action overlay (CTAs), cards and companion banners.

If you want to focus on visibility, the following bidding options available to maximise visibility.

  • Target Impression Share. This automatically sets bids with the goal of showing your ad anywhere on the page of Google search results.
  • CPM. With this bid strategy, you are charged based on the number of impressions (times your ads are displayed) received on YouTube or the Google Display Network.
  • tCPM. With tCPM you specify the average you want to pay for every 1000 impressions and it optimises bids to maximise your campaign’s unique reach.
  • vCPM. This manual bidding strategy is suitable if your ads are intended to increase awareness but not specifically generate clicks or traffic. You set the highest amount you are want to pay for each 1000 viewable ad impressions on the Google Display Network.

Bid Adjusters

Bid adjustments are percentage bid increases or decreases. They enable you to serve your ads more or less often based on search behaviour.

For example, a campaign does well on mobiles with a max CPC bid of £1. To serve your ad to more mobile users, you up your bid by 20% mobile searches, resulting in a final bid of £1.20.

Starting bid: £1

Mobile adjustment: £1 + (£1 x 20%) = £1.20

Resultant bid for mobile searches: £1.20

Multiple bid adjustments

Adjustments are usually multiplied when a campaign has more than one bid adjustment to calculate how much your bid will increase or decrease. For example, if you set a 110% mobile device adjustment and a 120% France location adjustment, then someone Google will bid 110% * 120% = 132% for a customer on a mobile in Paris.



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