There are a lot of manual and automated bidding strategies to choose from, but any AI bidding requires a good and relevant conversion measure to be effective for any given campaign.
Here are the types of bidding strategies within search campaigns:
Allows you to set bids manually and is generally a good place to start until you have a good number of conversion actions for the AI to take over. Google can guide you on what bids work. It’s generally good to bid high in the beginning so you start out with a better CTR and thus quality score in new campaigns.
Example of bidding adjustment around a targeted area:
Tells Google to go after the maximum number of clicks it can get. Be careful here as this only works if you have done your research and are using the right keywords for your business. If you are mixing cheap, non-converting keywords along with expensive converting keywords, your budget could be used up quickly on the wrong keywords.
Goes beyond manual CPC and allows Google to up bids if it makes sense to its AI algorithm to get conversions. You can still set max CPCs, but Google will chase conversions where it thinks it is effective.
Attempts to maximize the conversion actions you have assigned to your campaign given the budget you are providing. The key to success with this bidding strategy is having good conversion actions and enough budget for Google to learn and optimize. Products or services that sell online such that you can optimize for actual sales as the conversions you want to maximize are the best way to support success.
Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Gives you a way to maximize conversions, but with a target cost per acquisition in mind. Here you need to understand the cost structure of your business, and perhaps the lifetime value of a new customer to your business.
Target Return on Ad Spend (RoAS)
Here Google tries to maximize your conversion value based on the rate of return you want on your ad spend. Again, you need to have good conversions to measure and historical information can give you some starting targets.
Target Search Page Location
Lets you tell Google to go after the top of page or absolute top of page with its bidding.
Target Outranking Share
This can be used in competitor targeting where you can tell Google how frequently you want to outrank your competitor or show when your competitor is not advertising. Beware though, in competitive environments costs can be hard to control with this strategy. Here is an example of what you can set up:
Target Impression Share
Here you are focused on just having your ad show to searchers a certain percentage of the time, but not necessarily optimizing on clicks or conversions. This might be a useful strategy if you want to ensure your ads are highly visible, independent of your other ad strategies.
This can work well but it can also lead to overspending, or even under showing depending on how it’s used and how stable the conversion environment is in an individual campaign’s niche. It’s good to test out automated bidding but only if you have good, measurable conversion actions you know are right for the campaign and you monitor results constantly to make sure the AI bidding is continuing to work for you. You want to monitor all of these elements:
- Volume of impressions
- Volume of clicks
- Volume of conversions
- Your competitive position vs. others competing for similar keywords.
Insights from Auction Insights Report
Google actually tells you who you are competing against in PPC. You will see the URL of your competitors for each campaign in the Auction Insights report and see how aggressive you and your competitors are in positioning your ads. In competitive environments, you might see as many as 15 URLs, representing competitors going after a given theme.
Here is an example of Auction Insights where only two other competitors are participating.
Budget setting and max/default CPC
Google lets you set daily budgets at the campaign level or in buckets that multiple campaigns can pull from. The challenge with buckets is that often a “hungry” campaign can consume most of the money from the bucket, leaving no budget for other campaigns. We find it’s best to set budgets on individual campaigns and move max budgets at that level to balance spend.