19 Mar Increase Paid Search Conversions: Bid Strategies In Google Ads
Google Ads (formally called Google Adwords) is one of the most widely used search engine marketing platforms in digital marketing. However, it can still be confusing for marketers who are new to the platform or paid search in general. Understanding each type of bidding strategy, and when to use it, is important so that you can prepare for and make changes quickly when executing your paid search and overall marketing implementation and strategy.
The Google Ads UI features a wide range of various automated bidding and manual bidding strategies. So how do you know which type of bid strategy will increase conversions in your campaign? Read on as we cover each bidding strategy and how they apply to different SEM campaign goals.
Manual CPC Bidding
– Manual CPC is the only type of manual bidding strategy in Google Ads. Since the advertiser sets the cost-per-click for each keyword, success with manual CPC relies heavily on advertiser participation.
– Manual CPC works best in the beginning stages of a paid search campaign to help marketers gain initial insights into successful keywords.
Enhanced CPC Bidding
– The Enhanced CPC strategy complements the manual CPC strategy, and you can activate it in the platform by checking the enhanced CPC box within the bidding menu.
– Enabling enhanced CPC allows Google’s algorithms to raise or lowers bids based on the probability of conversion. However, it’s important to note that Google primarily raises bids in this case, so you may see higher CPAs compared to the CPAs in the manual CPC strategy.
Maximize Clicks Bidding
– Maximize Clicks Bidding is a type of smart bidding strategy where the primary goal is to get as many clicks as possible using a given budget.
– This type of bidding strategy works best for advertisers who want to focus on branding, or feel confident in the conversion performance on their landing page
You can also set up a bid limit to control the CPC, a valuable feature if cost efficiency is more important than volume.
Maximize Conversions Bidding
– Maximize Conversions is an automated bidding strategy focused on achieving the most conversions possible.
– While it’s enticing to select this strategy right off the bat, you should avoid this bidding strategy if you’re lacking conversion tracking or have a low conversion volume. The machine learning algorithms need to be able to work with a baseline of conversion data.
Make sure you are also only tracking valuable conversions since ML algorithms do not distinguish between assigned and secondary conversions. If you set up secondary conversions, you will likely be dissatisfied with the results of the paid search campaign.
Target CPA Bidding
– Target CPA is another automatic bidding strategy where advertisers set a target cost per lead. Then Google drives leads at the target cost while spending within the fixed daily budget.
– Google recommends having at least 15 conversions for the past 30 days, but ideally, you should obtain at least 30 conversions for best results.
Make sure you also avoid setting unrealistic CPAs. For example, if your account drives leads with an average CPA of $100, do not set the CPA at $30. Unrealistic CPA’s artificially limit your paid search conversion volume since it only captures the lowest cost leads.
Target ROAS Bidding
– Target ROAS is a similar bidding strategy to Target CPA, however, it measures return on ad spend (ROAS) in terms of conversion value (aka revenue).
– This strategy works well if you know exactly what ROAS you need. Remember that ROAS = Revenue / Cost * 100%. If you want to see your current ROAS add the following metric to your columns:
The target ROAS bid strategy is the most sophisticated of all the smart bidding strategies, and it requires accurate revenue tracking to work properly.
Target Impression Share Bidding
– Target Impression Share is the last noteworthy bid strategy in Google Ads. It includes three possible variants where your ad could appear:
- Absolute Top of Page
- Top of Page
- Anywhere on the Page
– This is an ideal strategy to increase brand awareness. It also helps “protect the brand” by ensuring your ad remains visible 100% of the time, if, for instance, competitors bid on your brand terms.
Viewable CPM Bidding (Cost Per Thousand Impressions)
– This bid strategy is only available for display ads.
– Using the VCPM Strategy allows you to pay only for viewable impressions. How does Google define a viewable impression?
An ad is counted as “viewable” when 50 percent of your ad shows on screen for one second or longer for display ads and two seconds or longer for video ads.
This is a useful strategy for improving the cost-effectiveness and visible reach of your display campaigns. It makes the most sense for a campaign that’s previously had issues with display traffic quality, or where brand awareness is a primary goal.
How To Choose Bidding Strategies For PPC Management
You can test a plethora of new smart bidding strategies in Google Ads. Some focus on maximizing metrics, while others let you set target values for your ad set.
When deciding which bid strategy to use, note that some strategies will make more sense than others, depending on your business and your unique goals for marketing implementation. But no matter what you choose, ensure you run clean tests so that you can prove that your selected bid strategy improves campaign performance.
How can you ensure clean testing? We recommend launching drafts and experiments so you have a clean 50/50 split between your control campaigns using manual or enhanced CPC while setting your experiment campaign to the smart bidding strategy of your choice.