Skip to content
google ads bidding strategies

What Are The Google Ads Bidding Strategies?

Google Ads bidding strategies are an important part of advertising on Google. They help determine where your ads appear, how much you’ll pay for each click, how competitive your ads are, what budget to set and much more.


So, setting a bid strategy is an important part of setting up a Google Ads campaign and managing it. And as you do so, you’ll often have to change from one bid strategy to another as you promote your products or services.


There are a number of ways to set your bids. You can set an individual bidding strategy at the campaign level. Or you can set a portfolio bidding strategy at the account level and apply it to multiple campaigns in your account.


In this article I list all the Google Ads bidding strategies available to you that you can use in your Search, Display, Remarketing, Video and other campaign types. As a Google Ads expert I’ve worked with all these bidding strategies for various businesses and campaign types. And feel free to contact me at the end of this post to discuss how I can help.


Automated Bidding


Automated bidding is one of the two types of Google Ads bidding strategies. The other is manual bidding which is mentioned below. With automated bidding, the Google Ads system sets bids for you automatically based on your objectives and goals. So, the bids are set at auction-time to bring the best clicks and conversions for your ads.


Maximise Clicks


This bid strategy aims to get you as many clicks as possible for your budget. The Google Ads machine learning system automatically sets bids to help your campaign get as many clicks as possible.


Maximise Clicks Bidding Strategy


Setting a bid cap helps to control the maximum amount that you’re willing to pay for each click. However, that can often limit the system from bidding effectively so you should test this and keep adjusting to see how it works for you.


You can use it as your bid strategy for one campaign or use it as a portfolio bid strategy and group multiple campaigns into a single strategy.


When to use: It’s best to use Maximise Clicks when you’ve just created your campaign and launched it. Because you won’t have any conversion data at this point, the system helps you see which of your assets are converting and then later you can change to a Conversion-focused bid strategy.


Maximise Conversions


Maximise Conversions is an automated bidding strategy that focuses on getting you as many conversions as possible for your budget. It is one of the Smart bidding strategies that focus on conversions and uses machine learning to achieve its objective.


Maximise Conversions Bidding Strategy


When to use: The best time to use this bid strategy is when you’ve been running your ads for some time and have some conversion history. So, if you’ve had at least 30 conversions in the past month in your Search campaign, now may be the time to change to Maximise Conversions.


Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)


Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is related to the Maximise Conversions bid strategy mentioned above, in your Search campaigns. When you select Maximise Conversions you have the option to set your target cost per acquisition.


For other campaign types like Video, this is a stand-alone bid strategy and is separate from Maximise Conversions.


Target Cost Per Acquisition Bidding Strategy


When to use: If you’ve been running ads for some weeks or months and have been getting conversions, you’re likely to see a recommended CPA based on your past average cost per conversion. You can use this one or set one that is appropriate for your business. However, bear in mind that if you set the CPA too low your ads many not appear when they are set to perform well and this will affect performance.


Maximise Conversion Value


Maximise Conversion Value is one of the Smart bidding strategies that focus on conversions. As one of the Google Ads automated bidding strategies, it sets bids automatically to help you get the most conversion value within your budget.


Maximise Conversion Value Bidding Strategy


You can use this bid strategy with Target Return On Ad Spend and it will optimise to get the best value for your ads while aiming for a specific return that you’ve set.


When to use: If conversion value is as important or more important than just getting sale or lead conversions, then this bid strategy is for you. It will bid automatically and prioritise ads that will bring you the most value based on your goals.


Target Return On Ad Spend


As mentioned above, Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) is a bid strategy that works with Maximise Conversion Value to help you achieve your objectives. It’s an option that you can select as the screenshot below shows. And if you’ve been running your campaign for some time you’ll see a recommended target ROAS.


Target Return On Ad Spend Bidding Strategy


This is the average conversion value that you’d like to achieve for every pound you spend on your ads. So, you’ll enter a percentage value like 500% if your goal is to get £5 in sales for every £1 you spend on your ads.


When to use: Use ROAS when you’ve been running your ads for some months and have achieved at least 50 conversions in the past month for your Search campaign. And then set your target return on ad spend in line with the performance you’ve had and what you want to achieve. And you can test various percentage returns but allow the system to run for at least two weeks after a change.


Target Impression Share


Target Impression Share is an awareness-based bidding strategy. The aim is to get you as many impressions as possible and to make your ads more visible for your budget. So, it bids automatically and places your ads in one of the three locations that you choose: anywhere on the results page, top of the results page or absolute top of the results page.


Target Impression Share Bid Strategy


You must set a percentage impression share target that states how often you want your ads to appear in the search page area you choose. For example, you can set it to 50% if you want it to appear in that location half of the time.


When to use: This bid strategy can help you to be more competitive on the results page. For example, if you have some competitors you want to outrank, you can set it to appear in the ‘absolute top of results page’ for 100% of the time, or other percentage you choose. It also helps you to be visible especially when your audiences are not seeing your ads as often and you are not spending up to your budget limit.


Enhanced CPC


Enhanced Cost Per Click (CPC) is slightly different from the other Google Ads automated bidding strategies in that it works with Manual CPC to get more conversions. So, your core bid is set manually and Enhanced CPC raises your maximum CPC bid for clicks that are likely to lead to conversions. And lowers for those that are least likely to convert.


Enhanced Cost Per Click Bidding Strategy


When to use: When you want to set bids manually and have more control but also want to leverage the power of automated bid strategy. This combination usually results in greater performance than just using manual bidding.



Manual Bidding


With manual bidding you set your bids individually at the ad group or keyword levels. So, you’ll set a maximum CPC bid limit to cap the amount you’ll pay for each click.


Manual CPC


There is only one manual bid strategy, Manual CPC. And it differs from the other bid strategies above, that do auction-time bidding, and not ad group and keyword level bidding. So, it gives you more control over the maximum amount you want to pay for each click, because you can set a maximum CPC.


Manual CPC Bid Strategy


When to use: Use Manual CPC when you want to have more control of your bidding especially at the keyword level. This gives you greater control than automated bidding strategies but can also lead to inefficiencies and underperforming ads when not done correctly and monitored. So, it takes more time to manage and monitor.


Get In Touch


Want to know how I can help you with Google Ads bidding strategies? I have worked with many businesses and industries to set the right bids at different times. Please contact me below to discuss your requirements.


    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.

    Back To Top