You may have heard of Google Ads automated bidding strategies, with names such as 'Maximize Conversions' or 'Target CPA', but what exactly are these automated bidding strategies and how can you benefit from them?
These are very good questions, frequently asked by our Clients when we are approached to audit their Google Ads accounts and suggest improvements.
So let's dive straight in, how many Google Ads bidding strategies there are, what do they do and which one should your pick for your business?
What are these Bidding Strategies?
The purpose of an automated bidding strategy is to define a set of rules, targets and constraints for Google to work within, and set it running to automatically optimise your Google Ads campaign to hit those targets. It does this by constantly varying the bidding, to deliver an outcome that you want.
Google Ads offer six automated bid strategies for search campaigns, and each bid strategy serves a different purpose or goal.
Some strategies even allow you to segment new and returning customers, giving you the ability to be more aggressive on new customer acquisition or opt to serve more ads to existing customers to activate the warmest prospects.
Types Of Google Ads Bid Strategies:
- Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
- Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)
- Maximize Clicks
- Maximize Conversions
- Maximize Conversion Value
- Target Impression Share
How do these Strategies Work?
Each automated bid strategy serves a different purpose depending on the campaign goals and business needs, for example:
If we are working with a Client who is very ROI focused, we might start using Target CPA or Target ROAS to get the most out of the budget whilst still hitting their target ROI goals.
On the other hand if we are running a campaign to push hard for acquisition and new customer growth, Maximize Conversions may be a more beneficial strategy as it's sales focused and less ROI driven.
If you are aiming for maximum visibility, Target Impression Share or Maximize Clicks may be the best routes to choose, as these campaigns focus on visibility within the SERP's over and above purely the sales data.
Controlling Spend with Automated Bidding
Can you still keep control of spend with Google Ads while using automated bid strategies?
Yes! The beauty of the bidding strategies provided by Google Ads is the ability to set rules, targets and budgets. You can control your rate of spend, and ensure you're getting value for it.
Target CPA and Target ROAS give you ability to set goals for your campaigns. For example, you can tell Google Ads that you do not want to spend more than £100 a day, and are comfortable paying £10 for each sale that a campaign generates. Or you could configure it such that for every £50 you spend in Google Ads, you are looking to receive £200 back in sales revenue.
With these given rules, targets and budgets, Google will constantly update your CPC's automatically on your behalf to achieve your desired goals, eliminating the need to constantly and manually update your CPC's (bidding) multiple times per day. This is the real power of automation, within a defined set of parameters or boundaries.
Target Impression Share is another great example of an automated bidding strategy where Google gives you control, and allows you to select where you would like to be visible within the search results page on Google.
For example, you can tell Google that you would like to always be in the absolute top position within Google Search Results for the keywords in your campaign, and appear 50% of the time in all search results that match your keywords, with a maximum bid of £3.00 per click, and not exceeding your daily budget of £100. Again, Google will take all of that information and constantly update your bidding within the set of rules and budgets defined, to achieve your desired outcomes.
Which Bid Strategy to Use?
We've talked about how automated bid strategies work, now you need to know which strategy to choose for your campaign.
The answer depends on the structure and theme of your campaign, your business goals and on the quality and scope of the data within your Google Ads account.
If you're a lead generation company for example, the Target Impression Share strategy will probably be more beneficial to you, as it's all about visibility and ensuring your website is put in front of your target audience.
If you're an e-commerce business and highly ROI focused, you will more likely benefit from Target CPA's, Maximize Conversions, Maximize Conversion Value or Target ROAS, as these automated bid strategies will pick the best CPC based on the e-commerce behaviour data from your Google Ads accounts such as locations, age range, audiences, time, interests, device and many more factors.
If you're brand new to setting up bidding strategies for e-commerce businesses we recommend starting with a Manual CPC + EHCPC for 30 or more days to gather some good quality data, then work through the following bid strategies in turn: Maximize Conversions / Conversion value (dependent on your goals), Target CPA and then Target ROAS.
Account Data Health
Google Ads automated bidding strategies are a great help to many businesses advertising on the Google Ads platform, eliminating hours of manual effort to keep a campaign on track and target. However, these automated bidding strategies will only work as well as the data that is available for them in the account. That's why it's extremely important to structure your campaigns, keywords, budgets and bidding strategies in the right way to really gain that all important competitive advantage.
Your account's data health will have a big impact on your automated bidding strategies, and your ability to interpret data into insightful actions.
If you have an unhealthy and unmanaged account, you will not benefit nearly as much as an account that is in optimal shape in terms of campaign structure, budget levels and keyword quality scores.
If you want to whip your Google Ads account into good health, and reap the rewards of automated bidding strategies, give us a call and we'll be more than happy to advise.
by PPC Consultant Mike Walker
Mike is a Paid Search expert with over a decade of experience in digital marketing.
Managing PPC budgets of 6-figures per month, Mike is used to structuring and managing large campaigns on a global scale.
Continually developing his knowledge, Mike is at the forefront of trends in the PPC industry.
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