Automated bidding on Google Ads is evolving so it's important to keep up with the changes and know exactly how it works and the best strategy to use for your business.
Over the last couple of years, the Google Ads platform has changed to allow advertisers to use more automated features than ever.
A key feature is automated bidding, but many advertisers have mixed feelings about its effectiveness and the best ways to use it. There are several different types of automated bidding strategies, and each has its pros and cons.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the types of automated bidding strategies available to you, the best times to use them and their pros and cons.
When you’re running Google Ads for your business, you tell Google how much you’re willing to pay to show your ads to your target audience. This is a bid, and you can either bid manually or automatically.
Manual bidding means telling Google manually how much you want to pay per click (CPC) for your ads. You can then manually adjust these bids based on performance.
On the other hand, when you use Google’s automated bidding tool, Google adjusts your bids for you, based on your ad’s likelihood of a click or conversion.
Learn more about Automated Bidding in our blog: Google Ads: Automated Bidding and what you need to know.
Here’s our rundown of the types of automated bidding you can use to get the most from your Google Ads campaigns:
Goal: The key goal of maximise clicks is to drive as many site visits as possible within your daily budget.
When to use this strategy: If you want to drive a higher volume of traffic to your website to increase brand awareness or build list, maximise clicks will help you. You can also use it if your campaigns are performing well and you want to increase volumes.
The benefits: Maximising clicks is a great way to drive more clicks for your business and helps you save time manually adjusting your bids. In addition, automation helps to improve the efficiency of your campaigns to make sure you’re driving the best results.
What to look out for: You’ll need to keep a close eye on CPC performance when you use maximise clicks to make sure it’s not getting out of control. Google will optimise your campaigns to drive as many clicks as possible but it will also spend your full daily budget, even if the CPC increases.
Goal: Maximise conversions will increase conversions within your daily budget.
When to use this strategy: Use this strategy when you want to drive as many conversions as possible, no matter the cost per conversion. If you’re consistently driving high volumes of conversions and want to get the most from your budget, this is the best strategy to use.
The benefits: Maximise conversions can help to save time because you don’t need to go through ad groups or individual campaigns to set your bids manually. It also utilises machine learning to review the performance of your campaigns over time and ensures that they’re optimised to help you achieve your goals.
What to look out for: This strategy uses historical performance data to learn more about what works well for your ads and target audience and what doesn’t. So, if you’ve only just started running Google Ads, this probably isn’t the best approach. Again, as with maximise clicks, you’ll need to keep an eye on your CPC because Google will bid aggressively to help you reach your target.
Goal: This strategy will aim to deliver the target return on ad spend you tell Google you’d like to achieve through your budget.
When to use this strategy: You can use this strategy across your Search, Shopping and Display campaigns. Google recommends achieving at least 50 conversions within a campaign in the last 30 days to get the most from this strategy, so only use this strategy if you’re driving a decent number of monthly sales.
The benefits: Google predicts future conversion and conversion values based on the past performance of your campaigns to adjust bids in real-time. This will not only help you to achieve maximum conversion values, but it will also help you to achieve your goal for ROAS.
What to look out for: You need accurate conversion tracking and more conversion performance to get the most from Target ROAS.
Goal: Maximise Conversion Value is a little bit like Maximise Conversions, but it’s more advanced. This strategy looks to drive conversions that will provide the highest returns. It doesn’t look at the volume of conversions being driven, it looks at the value that each conversion will provide.
When to use this strategy: If you want to drive a high ROAS and don’t tend to drive repeat customers, Maximise Conversion Value can help you to drive high-value conversions. This strategy is also helpful if you want to drive more customers over a long period of time so you’ll be driving lower sales volumes but making a bigger profit.
The benefits: Maximise Conversion Value can be used alongside target return on ads spend too, which means you can maximise the total revenue of your campaign alongside a specific ROAS goal.
What to look out for: Stay away from Maximise Conversion Value if you’re starting a new account and don’t have any conversion data yet. This strategy will only work if you already have data for the algorithm to use. You’ll also need to be generating a fairly high number of sales and a good average order value.
Goal: This bidding strategy uses machine learning to drive as many conversions as possible within a set cost-per-acquisition. It automatically optimises your bidding strategy to provide you with the best results from your spend.
When to use this strategy: Use this strategy to drive conversions within your set CPA for either the Search or Display Network.
The benefits: Target CPA can help you to drive more conversions within your budget and drive more sales while paying less for the clicks that lead to those purchases.
What to look out for: Google will decide how much you pay for each click when you use this bidding strategy. If you want to maintain full control over your campaigns, then stay away from this. Target CPA doesn’t consider conversion value, so if you’re an e-commerce business where this matters, it probably won’t be as effective for you.
Goal: ECPC allows you to increase the number of conversions you drive for your business but stay in control of individual keyword bids. It uses the maximum cost per click set in your ad groups or keywords but then utilises machine learning to increase or decrease the bid according to the likelihood that a click will lead to a sale.
When to use this strategy: Enhanced CPC will work for most campaigns. It’s particularly helpful if you want to generate more conversions while keeping your CPA low.
The benefits: ECPC gives you more control over individual bids than other automated bid strategies, so you’ll still benefit from Google’s machine-learning capabilities, but you’re not giving up full control. This allows you to monitor your budget and make sure you’re driving the right number of conversions for your business without wasting your budget. It can also save you a huge amount of time.
What to look out for: When you use this bidding strategy, you’re giving Google some control over the amount you bid on your keywords and campaigns, so you need to trust Google’s machine-learning capabilities to provide you with the best results.
Automated bidding strategies in Google Ads are a great way to get the most from your campaigns and the best results from your budget. They help you to save time while helping you to meet your business goals.
These strategies need less maintenance than manual bidding, but you shouldn’t just set them running and leave them. You’ll still need to check in on your campaigns to make sure they’re still helping you reach your business goals.
If you need help with your paid search campaigns, why not contact us for a free digital marketing audit? We can show you how to improve your campaigns to drive results for your business.