Choose The Right Google Ads Bid Strategy: Maximise Clicks, Conversions & ROI

Match your ad goals to the perfect Google Ads bid strategy. With this comprehensive go-to guide, you can learn how to select the right strategy, implement it at the right time, and achieve all your campaign goals.

Google Ads offers a variety of bid strategies, each suited to specific campaign objectives. Whether you prioritise clicks, impressions, conversions, or views, there’s a strategy to help you achieve them. With over seven different options, each tailored to specific goals and situations, many seasoned PPC advertisers get overwhelmed and forget which one is best suited for a particular campaign.

Looking for instructions on how to change your bid strategy for an existing Search campaign? Think of each bid strategy as a unique set of instructions for Google’s algorithm. They dictate how your campaign budget is allocated, what metrics are prioritised (impressions, clicks, conversions, etc.), and ultimately, how much profit you aim to generate. 

By understanding the nuances of each bid strategy, you can ensure your Google Ads campaigns are set up for success. Bookmark this guide as your one-stop shop for mastering Google Ads bid strategies. 

What Are Your Campaign Goals?

Before you begin, consider your campaign goals and align your bidding strategy strategically. The best bidding strategy depends on what you want to achieve with your campaign. Here's a breakdown to help you choose:

Goal 1: Drive Actions on Your Website

If you want visitors to take specific actions, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, prioritise conversions. Smart Bidding is a great option for this, as it automatically sets bids to maximise conversions based on your budget.

Goal 2: Increase Website Traffic

Looking to get more eyes on your website? Focus on clicks! Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding lets you set a maximum amount you're willing to pay for each click on your ad. This helps drive traffic at a controlled cost.

Goal 3: Boost Brand Awareness

Want to get your brand name out there? Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) bidding is your friend. This strategy focuses on showing your ad to a wider audience, increasing brand recognition.

Goal: Maximise Video Ad Engagement

For video ads, consider your specific goals:

  • Increase Views or Interactions: Use Cost-per-view (CPV) bidding to prioritise getting your video seen and interacted with.
  • Drive Product/Brand Consideration: While CPV works here too, Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) can also be effective. This focuses on maximising the number of times your video is shown, potentially leading to increased brand recognition and product awareness.

By aligning your bidding strategy with your campaign goals, you can optimise your ad spend and achieve the results you desire.

Manual CPC Bidding: When and How to Use It?

Manual CPC bidding gives you granular control over your ad spend, but it requires constant monitoring and adjustments. Here’s a breakdown of when it might be the best option, along with pointers for success:

Ideal Situations for Manual CPC

Brand campaigns prioritise brand awareness and ensure your website appears for relevant searches. Here, manual CPC bidding excels:

  • Impression Share: Track how often your ads appear for branded searches (ideally aiming for 95-100%).
  • Capturing Intent: Manual bidding allows you to control costs for brand terms while ensuring you capture valuable traffic.

Low-Volume, High-Value Keywords

Lead generation campaigns often involve niche keywords with lower search volume. Here’s how manual CPC shines:

  • Balancing Budget and Bids: Start with a conservative bid (e.g., $10) and gradually decrease it until your daily budget is fully utilised. This helps identify the optimal cost-per-click for these valuable leads.
  • Device and Time Targeting: Analyse performance by device and time of day. Implement bid adjustments to prioritise placements with higher conversion rates.

Transitioning Away from Manual CPC

While manual CPC can be effective in these scenarios, aim to transition to Smart Bidding once you have enough traffic / conversion data.

  • Sufficient Conversion Data: Once you have a good volume of conversions, consider switching to automated bidding strategies like Maximise Conversions or Target CPA. These leverage Google's machine learning for more efficient optimisation.
  • Limited Budget, But Not Forever: While manual bidding can work with limited budgets, aim to gather enough conversion data to transition to automated strategies eventually.

Remember: Manual bidding is a time-intensive approach. If you lack the resources for constant monitoring and adjustments, consider automated bidding for long-term efficiency. 

By understanding these strategic uses of manual CPC bidding, you can ensure your campaigns are well-positioned to achieve their goals, even with limited budgets or specific targeting needs.

Maximise Clicks: When and How to Use It?

Maximise Clicks is an automated bidding strategy offered by Google Ads. It prioritises driving the most clicks possible for your ad campaign within your set daily budget. It’s a good starting point for specific campaign goals, but it’s crucial to understand its strengths and limitations.

When to Use Maximise Clicks

Here’s when to use Maximise Clicks and how it can benefit your campaign.

  • Initial Campaign Launch: This strategy shines when you’re launching a new Shopping, Search, or Dynamic Search Ads campaign. It helps Google’s algorithm gather data on audience behaviour and keyword performance quickly, allowing you to optimise bids later for better results.
  • Data Collection for Conversion Tracking: Maximise Clicks can accelerate the learning phase for conversion tracking. By generating a high volume of clicks, it provides Google Ads with more data points to understand what types of clicks convert into sales or desired actions.

How Maximise Clicks Works

What are some of the biggest benefits of using Maximise Clicks and how is it better than Manual CPC?

  • Automated Bidding: Unlike Manual CPC where you set specific bids for each click, Maximise Clicks takes control. The algorithm analyses various factors like auction dynamics, historical data, and audience signals to determine the optimal bid for each impression, aiming to get the most clicks within your budget.
  • Budget Flexibility: This strategy prioritises spending your entire daily budget. While you can set a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit, the core purpose is to maximise clicks, potentially leading to higher CPCs than you might see with Manual CPC.

Use Cases for Maximise Clicks

Maximise Clicks is a powerful tool for driving initial traffic and gathering data, but you must use it strategically.

  • Upper Funnel Prospecting: This strategy can be valuable for brand awareness campaigns or those focused on lead generation (Demand Gen campaigns). By driving a high volume of traffic, you can increase brand exposure and gather data on potential customers.
  • Specific Search Campaigns: In certain Search campaigns where your primary goal is to attract new users from targeted demographics, Maximise Clicks can help expand your reach. However, remember, more clicks don't necessarily translate to qualified leads.
  • Click Quality: Maximise Clicks prioritises quantity over quality. There’s no guarantee the clicks you receive will be from your target audience or likely to convert. Monitor campaign performance closely to ensure you're attracting the right kind of traffic.
  • Limited Control: With Maximise Clicks, you relinquish some control over your bids. While you can set a maximum CPC, the automated system ultimately determines the final cost per click.

For campaigns focused on conversions or high-value leads, consider other bid strategies that offer more control over cost and click quality. Remember to monitor campaign performance closely and adjust your strategy as needed to achieve your advertising goals.

Target Impression Share: When and How to Use It?

Target Impression Share (TIS) is an automated bidding strategy in Google Ads that prioritises showing your ads at specific positions in search results. While it has various use cases, here’s a breakdown focusing on its effectiveness for branded search campaigns.

Primary Use Case: Maintaining Brand Visibility

  • Goal: Ensure your brand appears at the top of search results for branded terms (your company name, product names, etc.) This prevents potential customers from landing on competitor sites.
  • Limited Impact of Smart Bidding: Branded searches often indicate high purchase intent. Since users are likely familiar with your brand, factors like Smart Bidding’s conversion focus might not significantly influence their decision.

Strong Performance with Clear Targets

  • Focus on Visibility, Not Conversion Rate: When your ad shows for 90% of branded searches and captures a similar click-through rate, Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) or Return-On-Ad-Spend (ROAS) targets become less relevant. Aggressive bidding through these strategies might inflate costs for clicks you could acquire cheaper.
  • Maintain Control with Keyword Match Types: Restrict your branded campaigns to Phrase Match and Exact Match keywords. This prevents the system from showing your ads for irrelevant searches with similar terms, potentially leading to wasted spend.

Avoid Competitor Targeting Pitfalls:

  • Costly Competition for Non-Branded Terms: Target Impression Share might not be ideal for trying to steal impression share from competitors. Your brand naturally has higher relevance for your own branded terms, leading to lower Cost-Per-Click (CPC).
  • High Bids for Irrelevant Targeting: Remember: Targeting a competitor’s brand name comes with lower relevance for your product. This can lead to significantly higher bids needed to secure impressions, potentially negating the profitability of this tactic. In such scenarios, consider using CPA or ROAS targets to ensure this strategy remains cost-effective.

In essence, leverage Target Impression Share strategically to maintain top visibility for branded searches while keeping a close eye on costs for non-branded targeting.

Smart Bidding: When and How to Use It?

Gone are the days of relying solely on manual bidding. Even as some advertisers remain sceptical, the vast amount of user data Google possesses gives Smart Bidding a significant edge. This data allows Google’s AI to optimise your campaigns far more effectively than manual adjustments ever could.

There are two main flavours of Smart Bidding you should be familiar with:

  • Maximise Conversions (Target CPA): This strategy prioritises quantity, aiming to generate the most conversions (purchases, sign-ups, etc.) possible within your budget. Here, you set a Target CPA (Cost-per-Action), essentially telling Google the maximum you're willing to pay for each conversion.
  • Maximise Conversion Value (Target ROAS): This strategy focuses on efficiency, striving to deliver the highest total value of conversions (revenue generated) within your budget. You set a Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), indicating the desired amount of revenue you want to see for every dollar spent.

Choosing the Right Strategy: Focus on Value, Not Just Volume

The traditional approach often sees lead generation services prioritise Maximise Conversions, while e-commerce prioritises Maximise Conversion Value. However, the lines can blur. Even lead generators can leverage Maximise Conversion Value if they import offline conversion data (sales figures) into Google Ads.

The Ultimate Goal: Bidding Based on Profitability

The ultimate goal of any Google Ads campaign is to maximise ROI. This means ensuring your ad spend generates revenue that exceeds your costs. Smart Bidding strategies in Google Ads empower you to achieve this by:

  • Target CPA: This works with Maximise Conversions, ensuring you don't exceed your desired cost per conversion.
  • Target ROAS: This goes hand-in-hand with Maximise Conversion Value, guaranteeing you achieve your desired return on ad spend.

Without target goals, you're essentially handing Google your entire budget (be it $100 or $100,000) and telling them to maximise conversions or conversion value. Their primary objective becomes spending your budget completely, not necessarily achieving your desired outcome.

Target CPA and Target ROAS: The Path to Profitability

For most campaigns seeking profitability, Maximise Conversions with Target CPA or Maximise Conversion Value with Target ROAS are the go-to options. These strategies prioritise achieving your goals while efficiently utilising your budget. 

However, if your campaign focuses heavily on brand awareness, reach, or frequency, other bidding strategies might be more suitable.

By following these steps and remaining data-driven, you can unlock the full potential of Smart Bidding and achieve optimal return on your advertising investment.

Need a fresh perspective? Let’s talk.

At 360 OM, we specialise in helping businesses take their marketing efforts to the next level. Our team stays on top of industry trends, uses data-informed decisions to maximise your ROI, and provides full transparency through comprehensive reports.

Get Your Performance Marketing Audit
Unlock the Growth of your digital marketing strategy
Thank you!
Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Talk to us
Get Your Performance Marketing Audit
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related Posts