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ppc bid strategy

How to Choose the Best PPC Bid Strategy


One of the main challenges many new Adwords advertisers struggle with is which Adwords bidding strategy to use for their search campaigns. The answer to that will depend on what your goals are and how much knowledge you have about the different strategies.


Because manual bidding is the default strategy when you first setup a campaign, it’s not surprising that many advertisers stick to this strategy for a long time without exploring other options.


However, this can be a mistake and is one of the main reasons why many campaigns never reach their full potential. So, if you are considering changing your Adwords bid strategy, here are 4 goals that will help you decide which one to use:


To outrank competitors


Most advertisers would like to rank higher than their competitors and appear higher in the results and that’s expected considering the benefits this brings. It can lead to significantly higher click through rates and therefore more clicks and that usually translates into more conversions.


There are a number of Adwords bidding strategies that make that possible and these include:

  • Top of the first results page – this is an automated Adwords bid strategy and it works to get you the highest position possible. I’ve seen mixed results with this strategy and if competition levels are high as they are with many service related keywords, then it is unlikely to get the desired result


  • Manual bid strategy – as the name states, this a manual strategy and means you have to adjust bids accordingly to outrank your competitors. This can be a time consuming option because you have to keep an eye on your bids, even on a daily basis in some cases, and increase them as competitors outrank you.


  • Target outranking share strategy – this too is an automated strategy and perhaps the most effective of all of them. It’s very effective because you target a specific competitor that is consistently ranking higher and then tell the Adwords system how often you want to rank higher. So if you want to outrank them all the time, you set it to 100%, but make sure you put a bid cap to avoid the bids spiralling out of control


Target Outranking Share Bidding


To reduce spend 


  • Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) – with this bid strategy Adwords will automatically set bids to get you as much conversion value as possible and help reduce wastage on keywords are unlikely to convert for you. When this is setup correctly you will realise a more efficient account and then spend less than you normally would and get good quality conversions.


  • Manual – manual bidding gives you more control than automated bidding and means you can easily control your spend. With your budget settings, you can significantly reduce ad spend


To increase clicks and volumes


For some advertisers, getting as much traffic as possible is the primary goal and this is usually to reach a wider audience and raise awareness and therefore increase conversions. The best Adwords bid strategy for this is ‘Maximise Clicks’ and its job is to get you as many clicks as possible for your budget.

Maximise Clicks also happens to be the best Adwords bidding option when you are launching your campaign for the first time. Reason being you want to normally get as many clicks as possible to test performance quicker and then adjust based on performance.

Later you can change to another bidding option when the campaign is well optimised and is bringing in some good searches and conversions.

Google advises not to put a bid cap at the campaign settings level because it restricts the bidding strategy from optimising performance and there is some sense in that – however, you may want to put a cap just to make sure you don’t go over a certain Cost Per Click (CPC) amount.


To increase conversions 


  • Maximise Conversions – this Adwords bid strategy has the goal to get you as many conversions as possible for your budget. As an automated strategy it will set the bids for your ads and keywords and you will appear in the positions in the results that will bring you the most customers. To use this bidding option you should have sufficient data for the system to be as accurate as possible.


  • Maximise Clicks – more clicks usually means more conversions. In fact, it would often not make sense to increase your budget just to get more clicks if the ultimate goal was not to get more conversions. So, if your campaign is now fully optimised and well targeted you can continue to use this strategy to increase volumes.


  • Target ROAS – this will help you to get more conversions at a return that is acceptable or good for your business. So you won’t sacrifice your profitability but again you should implement this when you have sufficient conversion data to help you set the right ROAS.


  • Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – this bid strategy allows you to enter a target amount to spend for each conversion and it helps you get as many conversions as possible. Bear in mind that some conversions may cost more or less than your target CPA.



Need help launching an effective Adwords bidding strategy? Contact me to discuss my Adwords services and to find out how I can help.

I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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