Auto Bidding Strategies
Automated bidding is a bid strategy that allows you to automatically set the bids for your ads, all entirely based on that predicted performance, clicks and conversions. There are 6 different kinds of auto bidding strategies out there, all aimed towards achieving a specific goal for your ads campaign. Auto bidding has become an important part of most PPC campaigns because of the way in which it removes the heavy lifting and allows an ads campaign to be more easily set up and managed.
Fortunately, auto-bidding strategies for pay-per-click marketing no longer rely upon educated guesswork when bidding and painstaking manual adjustments to ongoing campaigns. Thanks to the advancements made by Google and machine learning, we’re now able to use this information to more accurately set up auto-bidding strategies that provide value and return on investment. This kind of smart bidding can get your campaign off the ground faster while driving results.
Why Do We Use Automated Bidding For Our PPC Strategies?
Setting bids can be a difficult and time-consuming process. But unlike manual bidding, there’s no need to keep manually maintaining and updating your bids for different keywords and ad groups. Automated bidding strategies learn the longer they are active. This means that they can use the information gathered about a bid’s performance in order to then update, inform and adjust future bids. This new level of automation is what gives auto bidding its strength and makes it a viable and powerful PPC strategy for many campaigns.
But the world of auto bidding can be complicated and confusing – especially for those new to PPC.
There are a lot of different types of automated bidding to choose from, all of which we utilise in our campaigns here at Embryo Digital. Knowing which type is right for the campaign is crucial – getting it wrong can damage advertising performance and waste time and resources in a campaign.
Different automated bidding strategies can be used in order to help generate clicks, conversion quantity or conversion value, search visibility, and more. Using information such as the time of day, the performance of past bids, the specific ad, the location of the user, the browser and more, automated bidding is designed to provide efficient and reliable results.
The Different Auto Bidding Strategies And How We Use Them
Auto bidding is an enticing prospect. After all, being able to set up a Google Ads campaign that essentially looks after itself by using updated data and machine learning without much manual maintenance is both a time saver and an efficient option. But it is absolutely crucial that you don’t jump in without fully understanding the needs of your campaign.
Here at Embryo, we always keep our finger on the pulse of PPC and make sure that we’ve got a clear and solid understanding of what it is you want to achieve with your campaign. This allows us to accurately set up your automatic ads campaign for the best results possible. Here are some of the auto-bidding strategies we employ regularly for our clients:
1. Maximize Clicks
If your aim is to drive more traffic through to your website, then we will set up a Google Ads campaign that is automatically designed to maximise clicks. This strategy is all about quantity and netting as many new and unique viewers as possible. Got a new piece of content or an asset or a new offer that you want to be seen by as many people as possible? An auto-bidding strategy that maximizes clicks is a fantastic way of accomplishing this.
The maximizing clicks strategy will set up bids that aim to attract as many clicks as possible within your daily budget. It can be done either over a single campaign or across multiple campaigns, keywords and ad groups.
The maximizing clicks strategy is best used if you: have a particular piece of content or a conversion funnel you want to drive traffic into. If you have a strong conversion history and want to drive further traffic through your site or a specific landing page, maximising clicks is a great option.
One thing to keep in mind with maximizing clicks is that Google Ads has a tendency to aggressively chew through your budget. Google wants you to get as many clicks as possible too, so it’s good to keep bid limits reasonable in order to maintain efficiency and return on investment. You want clicks, but you don’t want Google to go through your budget in a sub-optimal manner.
2. Target Impression Share
Target impression share is one of the newer kinds of automated bidding options. It prioritizes your bidding in order to reach a specifically identified target percentage of the impression share. It’s all about visibility. Target impression share allocates bids to make sure that your ad is appearing exactly where you want – whether that’s the first result, second result, or anywhere else in the SERPs.
For a lot of businesses, especially new or growing businesses, building brand awareness can be a laborious process. Target impression share-based bid strategies are great for improving your overall visibility for target searches and getting in front of the eyes of your potential consumers. When it comes to PPC and Google Ads, target impression share might be the best strategy for nipping ahead of your competition and winning brand coverage.
The target impression share strategy is best used when: you want to appear at or near the top of Google’s SERPs. It’s simple. For clients who want that extra visibility, we’ll be able to set a goal impression share percentage and ensure that your budget is well spent. Impression share will also tell you what percentage of searches you are currently appearing in against those you could be appearing in, all based on target keywords. Impression share can also generate clicks and conversions, making it a great all-round bidding type.
Of course, it’s still important to maintain control over your bidding. We can set a max CPC bid in order to prevent overspending – you don’t necessarily want your budget to be used up for impressions that might not go anywhere. On the other hand, Google warns against setting it too low and sabotaging your own performance. As with anything, it requires balance and an experienced hand to set up the best performance.
3. Target CPA
For businesses at the stage where they can prioritize driving leads at a set and understood cost, the target CPA (cost per acquisition) auto-bidding strategy can be extremely effective. This strategy uses Google’s machine learning in order to generate leads based on a certain cost. It essentially gives you more control and will employ a bidding method that targets as many conversions as possible at your target cost.
Individual conversions through the target CPA bidding method may acquire conversions either above or below your given CPA, but it will always try to balance out to hit your average cost. To help secure this, we often set minimum and maximum bids in order to ensure that Google doesn’t overdo it when it comes to your CPA – but this option is only available at the portfolio level.
Target CPA bidding is best used if: You have an established CPA that you are willing and eager to spend in order to acquire new customers. For established businesses and those with clear profit margins, it’s easier to know exactly how much it is worth spending on an acquisition in order to maintain a healthy profit. Target CPA bidding is a good option here.
4. Target ROAS
Want to get the most bang for your buck? Target ROAS (return on ad spend) bidding is the chosen strategy for those aiming for the best long-term value when it comes to ad spend. Target ROAS is all about efficiency. It’s very similar to the target CPA bidding strategy, but it will instead focus on getting the most out of what you’re spending on ads.
With target ROAS, Google will automatically predict your future conversion value performance and will adjust bids in order to consistently maintain a high return on your ad spend.
You should use target ROAS when: Your focus is on driving the highest value on conversions over a longer period of time. Whereas target CPA will attempt to yield a higher number of conversions at a set budget, target ROAS will try to earn you conversions at the best cost possible against your ad spend.
As with target CPA, target ROAS auto bidding strategies will generate conversions both above and below your goal but will try to balance these to an average cost over time. Also like target CPA, you can attempt to control this with maximum and minimum bid limits, but this is only available at the campaign and portfolio levels, not at the individual level. But Google always warns against this as it limits the machine learning decision-making process.
5. Maximize Conversions
The maximize conversions bidding strategy operates and functions very similarly to the maximize clicks strategy, with one important and obvious difference: the [maximize conversions strategy aims to generate as many conversions as possible](https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7381968?hl=en-GB#:~:text=Maximise conversions automatically sets bids,for each and every auction.), rather than just clicks. If you have a problem in that you’re not always spending your daily budget, the maximize conversions strategy can help rectify this.
This strategy will always prioritise driving the highest number of conversions possible and will adjust bids automatically to suit this goal. There are fewer options and additional settings with which advertisers can control this strategy – we’re also unable to set a bid cap, which can mean there’s a risk of Google burning through the budget in order to acquire conversions at a high cost.
The maximize conversions strategy is right for your campaign if: You simply want to automate your ads to generate as many conversions as possible each and every day. For businesses that aren’t getting through their daily budget, the maximize conversions strategy can be one of the best options. Compared to other bidding options, the maximize conversions strategy is particularly suited to larger businesses with big budgets.
One of the main things to take into consideration when setting up an auto-bidding strategy aimed at maximizing conversions is your budget. A lot of advertisers make the mistake of not setting an individual daily budget for each of their campaigns. This is a problem because Google will simply eat through your entire budget each day in order to generate conversions, leaving the budget of shared campaigns empty.
6. Enhanced CPC
Enhanced cost-per-click (or ECPC) bidding is actually very close to manual bidding strategies, but it differs in that it allows the Google Ads algorithm to make adjustments to your set keyword bid. This is a bidding strategy that can be easily applied to ongoing manual bidding campaigns in order to augment your campaign with automated adjustments.
Google Ads will be able to increase and decrease the bid for a keyword based on the assessed likelihood that that click will in fact lead to a conversion. There used to be a cap on this change, but Google Ads now has the ability to make these adjustments to any level. Done well, an enhanced CPC strategy will lead to both an improved click-through rate (CTR) and an improved conversion rate (CVR).
There is generally an increase in the cost per click (CPC) when employing an ECPC strategy, but it’s a great method if your campaign objective is to increase conversions while maintaining in control of your keyword bidding. Enhanced CPC will attempt to generate a greater volume of conversions while staying at an average cost per conversion.
Enhanced CPC is a good fit if you: are currently running a manual bidding strategy but want to augment it with some of the great advantages of automated bidding. ECPC is known for boosting click-through rates and conversion rates – if your current goal is to increase these and you don’t mind seeing a higher cost per click, then enhanced cost per click might be the best option to use.
When Is An Automated Bidding Strategy Right For You?
One of the best things about using an auto bidding strategy for your Google Ads is that, while it means to some extent handing over the reins to Google, we are still able to pick and choose which PPC strategies we want to use where. We can set automated strategies at the ad group, portfolio or campaign level – depending on your goals and strategy we’re able to use different strategies at different levels for the best success.
Because bids are set automatically, we don’t need to manually set the bid amounts for individual keywords and ad groups, giving us more time to get more done. And because automated bidding uses Google’s (now very sophisticated) machine learning, we’re able to benefit from performance evaluation over time and automatic optimisation based on your specific campaign goal. Auto bidding can result in more conversions and more clicks for your ads.