Which Google bidding strategy should you use and why?

To give you the best answer to this question, first, we need to explain Google Bidding strategies that are available at the moment. Since there are quite a few, we won't dive deep into each specific [...]

April 1, 2019

7 min reading time

To give you the best answer to this question, first, we need to explain Google Bidding strategies that are available at the moment. Since there are quite a few, we won’t dive deep into each specific Google bidding strategy. Instead, we’ll share some basic concepts so you can decide which Google bidding strategy will be the best choice for your business goals.

Google Ads platform can automate the way you do your online advertising in a way that will boost your efficiency. If you are just starting out, you might want to consider strategies which will allow you to have more control over your ad spend.

Google bidding strategy goals

Now, before you start, there is an important question for which one you have to have a clear answer before making your first Google Ads campaign. What is your Business goal? Or even better; what is your current business goal that you want to achieve with advertising on Google? If you don’t have a clear answer, here is the list of the most common goals from which you can determine what (bidding) strategy will be the best choice for you.

1. Driving more Conversions

Whether your goal is to have more subscribers to your newsletter, e-book downloads or sneakers sold on your web-shop, they all can be measured as a conversion. Without having a conversion tracking in place there is basically no sense in starting online advertising if your goal is to drive more conversions. You would be just running through the dark as you can’t see what’s working and what’s not. With specific campaign types, like Google Smart Shopping Campaigns, you’ll be able to drive more traffic to your website and increase conversions.

2. Driving more traffic to your website

You might have multiple goals on your website so driving more traffic is something that you can definitely do and optimize within Google Ads in order to get the best possible quality for the lowest possible price.

3. Brand Awareness

So, you are soon launching a local event that you want to everyone know about? If you have a strong budget, Google will definitely be your best friend with letting everybody know.

Hopefully, these most common examples gave you a better understanding of what your goal is or could be, so now we can dive into Google bidding strategies. First, we’ll explain strategies based on CPC (cost per click) then smart bidding, and finally, strategies based on video views, impressions, and interactions.

Bidding strategies for driving more traffic to your website are:

Manual CPC bidding strategy is the best choice if you want to gain more traffic to your website. Ability to control how much you want to spend per click on your AD and to actually be able to set different CPC per AD group is a great way to start with Google Ads while having full control over your advertising. Once you realize which AD groups are the most profitable, you can allocate more of your budget to them by shutting down others or simply lowering their CPC.

Manual CPC bidding strategy.
Manual CPC bidding strategy.

Maximize clicks is an automated and straightforward bidding strategy where Google Ads System manages your bids to provide you with as much traffic as possible. There are not many occasions where you should use this bidding strategy, but if you are in a hurry of filling your campaigns with data and your website with traffic, this is a way to go. Maximize clicks bidding strategy includes a bid limit option which gives you more control over your spend – similar to Manual CPC bidding.

Maximize clicks bidding strategy.
Maximize clicks bidding strategy.

Okay, now let’s assume that you’ve just released a brand-new e-commerce website. Your goal is to drive conversions which are basically purchases of your products. In this case, you want to focus on conversions with Smart Bidding.

Smart Bidding strategies with a focus on gaining conversions are:

Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) is the newest, which requires a robust and stable business model without too many changes that could interfere with Google machine learning. Target ROAS is helping you to increase conversion value while targeting specific Return on the AD spend. Although it’s the newest smart bidding strategy, you won’t be able to use it until you have enough conversion data in your campaigns. That’s why we recommend starting with the rest of the strategies available.

Target ROAS bidding strategy.
Target ROAS bidding strategy.

With Target CPA (Cost per acquisition) method, Google will automatically set your bids based on a specific acquisition cost.

For example, if you are selling t-shirts at a $15 per unit, you may, for example, set up a Target CPA at $5. Let’s say that your total cost to produce a T-shirt is a 10$ and your CPA is $5. Any CPA below $5 will be pure profit and of course, any CPA above $5 will be a loss. So, in this case, we would actually aim at $2.5 – $3 target CPA instead of $5. This way Google knows how much it can bid in order to keep your advertising profitable.

Target CPA bidding strategy.
Target CPA bidding strategy.

Maximize conversions is a simple, smart bidding strategy, but often not so profitable. This time Google will try to get you as many conversions as possible, without targeting a specific CPA which may lead to significantly higher cost per conversion.

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) will give you a bit of control on your cost-per-click while allowing Google to bid more in cases where he thinks there might be a higher chance for conversion.

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) bidding strategy.
Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) bidding strategy.

Target impression share is another smart bidding strategy where you let Google bid for you with a goal of showing your AD on the top, absolute top or anywhere on the first Google search result page. In this case, Google will bid for a specific search term to outrank other advertisers. If you are selecting to outrank 100% of your competitors’, the cost will add up fast.

Target impression share bidding strategy.

For starters, we suggest either ECPC or Target CPA Google bidding strategy.

If your goal is not oriented around generating clicks which will lead to conversions, then the following bidding strategies might be a solution to stick with. In most cases, you’ll use them if you want to raise awareness around your brand, product, service, local event or whatever you need to promote.

Best Google bidding strategies for raising awareness are:

Cost-per-thousand Impressions (CPM) is a bid strategy where you’re paying based on the number of impressions that will be serving on the Google Display Network and YouTube.

Cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) is similar to CPM strategy, where the only difference is that Google is charging you for the 1000 viewable impressions (ads which are not only served but actually viewed) on the Display Network. YouTube is not included.

Cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) bidding strategy.
Cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) bidding strategy.

Cost-per view (CPV) bidding is available only on YouTube, which is charging for video views and interactions (clicks to call to action buttons, companion banners, and cards). This is an effective way of bidding if you are a large company trying to push a new product. Example of this would be the launch of new flagship mobile phones from Samsung, Apple, Huawei, etc., where they use a lot of CPV bidding to raise awareness.

Last two bidding strategies we’ll cover in this blog post are Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking share. Advertisers don’t use these strategies often compared to the rest of the bidding strategies but can be highly effective in specific situations.

Target Search Page Location allows you to increase the chances of showing your ads at the top of the first page or on the first Google results page. This bidding strategy will automatically set your bids to help you in outranking your competitors. If you are, for example, a local restaurant trying to win a potential customer click over your competition, this could be useful.

Target Search Page Location bidding strategy.

Target Outranking share lets you directly choose which domain name you want to outrank. This allows you to stay ahead of your most important competitors. When your competitor ads are displaying, Google will bid more to outrank their ads.

Target Outranking share bidding strategy.
Target Outranking share bidding strategy.

Bear in mind that these strategies are just a glimpse of what needs to be understood to run a Google Ads campaign effectively. There is a lot more to cover which we will be doing in our future blog posts, but this one will hopefully give you an idea on where to start when choosing a bidding strategy.

About Udonis:

We are an award-winning marketing agency specialized in mobile apps & games. We help scale products that people love, keeping the attention on data and results. Have questions, need help? 🤗 Email us at hello@udonis.co!







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Ivan Saric

I'm Ivan, Google Marketing Manager at Udonis. If I'm not making new campaigns or raising budgets to scale our clients' businesses, then I'm probably in the gym or making videos for Youtube.

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