AdWords, PPC

Innovate your AdWords Bidding Strategies. Don’t Hate, Automate.

Stop Wasting Time & Money with Non-Optimized AdWords Bidding Strategies

“To automate or not to automate, that is the question.”

What’s the secret to minimizing wasted PPC budgets in Google AdWords? That’s the billion-dollar question these days, and every AdWords agency thinks they have the answer. Some PPC gurus will tell you success lies in relevant content, others will swear by extensive keyword research, and while both of those are incredibly vital aspects to profitable PPC campaigns, it’s really your AdWords bidding strategies that determine whether or not your digital advertising will see profitable ROI, let alone see the first page of Google search results.

No matter how advanced your targeting and creative assets are, if your organization bids too low in the auction, Google won’t put your ads in front of your true market audience. If you bid too high, your team can risk draining your budget on an audience that isn’t really interested in buying.


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Both are massive issues that plague the world of Google AdWords waste.

So, how can your team be certain that your bids are benefitting your budget and putting your Google Ads in front of the right customers at the right time?

Pardon my quick tangent, but I promise it holds meaning. My coffee maker is automated so I have fresh coffee waiting for me when I wake up in the morning. My fridge tells me when I’m low on eggs and automatically alerts Amazon to place an order. Even my car has an automated starter, because who enjoys getting into a cold car with a cold seat on a frigid winter morning?

Why am I mentioning these things?

In every part of our daily lives, we use automated tools to make our days and nights run easier.

The same goes for Google AdWords management. This is why we’re seeing even the most advanced PPC specialists turn to automated and smart bidding strategies to make managing PPC campaigns a more efficient and lucrative process.

However, before your organization starts switching all of your campaigns from manual CPC to automated or smart bidding strategies, remember, just like your customers aren’t one-size-fits-all, there isn’t a “set-it-and-forget-it” bidding strategy that works for every account or campaign.

Sure, automated bidding like Target CPA or Max Clicks can free up some time on your schedule to devote to additional keyword research or strategizing your campaign goals, but, in order for an automated strategy to truly work, you have to align automated bid strategies with your client’s goals and campaign KPIs.

In today’s blog, we’ll cover the many different automated and Smart Bidding strategies that Google offers and we’ll give a better understanding of when it’s appropriate for your company or clients to use each strategy so you can minimize your AdWords waste and increase conversions.

Before any decisions are made on your bidding strategy, your organization needs to strategize in-depth goals for each campaign. If your goal is to drive conversions, your bidding strategy will differ than if your goals were to gain brand visibility.

The first step to AdWords success, understand your customer’s “jobs-to-be-done.”

Understanding Google’s Data & Your Customer’s “Jobs-To-Be-Done”

Think about how your customers search Google. It’s a free education in psychology. Every user, including you and me, type in a search term or phrase, then millions of offers for products and/or services show themselves.

Since Google wants to deliver the optimal experience for every user, they serve up ads that are most relevant to completing each user’s “jobs-to-be-done.”

When your PPC specialist or creative team know what your customers are asking and searching for, your organization will know strategically how to produce advertising that reaches them with the right message at exactly the right time in their education or purchase journey.

With the right bid behind that messaging, you’re sure to see increased AdWords success.


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Choose AdWords Bidding Strategies That Align with Your Business Goals

For the most part, Google offers four different categories of goals that will help segregate or determine which automated or smart bidding strategy is right for your organization.

They’re broken down into:

  • Visibility
  • Clicks
  • Conversions
  • Revenue

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Automatic Bidding Strategies to Increase Brand Visibility

If your organization is looking to spread brand awareness, gain more prominence in search engine result queries, or guarantee that your ad is being placed at certain locations on a Google page, these two automatic bidding strategies are an efficient and cost-effective avenue.

  1. Target Search Page Location
  2. Target Outranking Share

Target Search Page Location

Target search page location is an automated portfolio bid strategy that uses machine learning to raise and lower your organization’s bids so your AdWords campaigns can appear at the top of Google’s search results or anywhere on the first page depending on your preference.

Do keep in mind that Target Search Page Location only attempts to get your organizations ads on the first page of Google. The true success of your ad auction is ultimately influenced by your competitors bids and your account’s Quality Score. (link to Quality Score blog)

There are two different placing options that are at your disposal:

  • Appear at the top of the first page
  • Appear anywhere on the first page

Both of these time-and-money-saving strategies estimate your keyword’s cost-per-click (CPC) and base your bids around those estimates so your ad can either reach the top of the page or appear on the page and increase brand visibility.

AdWords tip: If you’ve ever seen a “limited by budget” notification on your campaigns, this may be a data-proven alert to help maximize the efficiency in your budget.

Target Outranking Share

Target Outranking Share is a portfolio bidding strategy that helps your AdWords campaigns outrank ads from competitor’s domains.

When your organization switches from manual CPC to Target Outranking Share, AdWords machine learning will automatically raise or lower your organization’s bids with the sole objective of gaining higher positions than your competitors domain’s on Google’s search result pages.

By using Target Outranking Share and combining that with Google’s Auction Insights Report, your PPC specialists have the power of Google machine learning behind them to set customer-centric bids around your competitor’s domain names, so you can ensure you’re reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time, and doing it more efficiently than the competition.

For more on how to gain visibility & increase sales, check out our article on creating strategic AdWords objectives.


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Automatic AdWords Bidding Strategies to Increase Clicks

If your organization is looking for an incredibly fruitful top-of-funnel strategy to effectively increase clicks and accomplish that surge without breaking a set budget, this automatic bidding strategy might be an efficient and cost-effective avenue.

Maximize Clicks

Maximize clicks is an automated bidding strategy that uses AdWords machine learning systems to position your ads to receive as many clicks as possible within your set budget.

Your organization can seamlessly control the maximum amount you’re willing to spend per click, and if you don’t want to set a max limit, Google will simply make bids based on your target spend.

Combine the power of custom ad scheduling and maximize clicks so your organization’s ads will:

  • Appear to your true market audience on the days and specific times that they’re reachable
  • Appear due to the maximum bid so you can ensure your ads are receiving clicks

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Smart AdWords Bidding Strategies to Increase Conversions

If your organization is looking to keep a steady cost-per-acquisition (CPA) across your arsenal of keywords, or if your team is looking to successfully maximize your conversions without exceeding your set budget, these two smart bidding strategies might be your answer to higher AdWords ROI.

  1. Target CPA
  2. Enhanced CPC

Target CPA

Target CPA is one of the smart AdWords Bidding strategies that allows your organization to set bids so your ads can acquire as many conversions as possible without exceeding your target cost-per-acquisition (CPA).

As you’re well aware, conversions based on keywords will sometimes cost more than your target CPA and some chosen keywords may cost less. For even the most experienced PPC strategists, it can be a lot to juggle. With Target CPA on your side, AdWords will use algorithms to keep your cost-per-conversion equal to the target CPA you set.

When you hand the controls over to Google, you’re allowing the power of advanced machine learning to automatically optimize your campaigns to hit the most effective CPC bid every time your ad is able to appear in search results. It will also leverage the power of real-time bidding that specifically tailors your bids to specific auctions.

If you wish to get a bit more hands-on with this smart bidding strategy, you can add specific elements of focus and targeting to produce further granularity:

  • Device
  • Location
  • Time of day

So, what should your Target CPA be?

Use your AdWords historical CPA data to allow Google to recommend a target CPA based off your accounts most successful conversions.

Google Partner Tip: Target CPA does require that your campaign has at least 30 conversions in the last 30 days.

Enhanced CPC

Enhanced cost-per-click or (ECPC) is an AdWords smart bidding strategy that will aid your campaigns in acquiring more conversions from manual bidding. If you still like having control of the reigns but want some machine learning help, this could be a great bidding strategy for your organization.

By enabling ECPC, you’re allowing Google’s machine learning to automatically adjust your manual bids for clicks that seem more or less likely to convert on your website.

ECPC hunts for ad auctions that are more likely to lead to conversions and then raises your max CPC bid in attempts to garner those clicks. However, if Google’s algorithm notices a click is less likely to convert, Google Ads will lower your bid.

ECPC is limited by your max CPC bids when optimizing for conversions
ECPC does deliver a level of manual control that some PPC specialists prefer

Do keep in mind that ECPC will automate your manual bids by adjusting your max CPC, but unlike Target CPA, ECPC won’t allow you to set a clear CPA target.

If you’re running Search and Display campaigns: ECPC will aid your organization in increasing conversions while maintaining your cost-per-conversion.

If you’re running Shopping campaigns: ECPC will increase your campaign conversions while maintaining a consistent overall spend.

When you had the controls off to Google’s machine learning systems and enable ECPC, you are allowing them to:

  • Work with your campaign settings and max CPC bids
  • Raise or lower your manual bids to help gain an increase in conversions
  • Work in unison with third-party bidding systems
  • Pull conversion tracking & Google Analytics data from your account
  • Predict a conversion rate for each auction
  • Adjust your bids to help win the best quality clicks

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Smart Bidding Strategies to Increase Revenue

If your organization is looking for a smart bidding strategy focused on increasing profits or revenue, then this Smart Bidding strategies might be your answer efficiently creating higher AdWords ROI.

Target ROAS

Target ROAS (a.k.a. return-on-ad-spend) is an advanced smart bidding strategy that uses Google’s machine learning to schedule your organizations bidding around a target return-on-ad-spend.

AdWords will set maximum cost-per-click bids so you’re getting the most out of your conversion value, as well as setting a baseline return on ad spend that fits your budget and goals.

When you harness the power of this automated AdWords strategy you’ll also be able to optimize at auction time, which allows you to tailor bids for each auction around targets like:

  • Device
  • Time of day
  • Location

Still on the Fence about AdWords Automated & Smart Bidding? Don’t be.

As you know, running multiple AdWords campaigns, let alone multiple accounts can be a grueling task, especially if you have a significant number of keywords and are attempting to optimize them across multiple targeting strategies such as match type, device or location.

This constant evolution of PPC campaigns makes it increasingly difficult to nail down your optimal AdWords bidding strategies.

This is why many PPC specialists and digital marketers are allowing Google to take the reins on their bid optimizations.

Using Google’s comprehensive data models will give your organization the ability to make better bidding decisions that are not only focused on your highest-volume terms, but also on your low-volume terms that could drive significant performance increases.

If the enhanced bidding accuracy wasn’t enough to entice you to use these strategies, transitioning from manual to automated bidding will allow your team to streamline its bidding process and reinvest that time to focus on additional optimizations.

Google’s automated smart bidding strategies give your company four simple reasons to work smarter, not harder. Whether you’re an AdWords amateur or a PPC pro, Google’s advanced machine learning was built to help maximize your budget and have it focused on your audience that will create the highest ROI.

  1. Get The Help Of Advanced Machine Learning
  2. Receive A Wide Array of Contextual Signs
  3. Use Flexible Performance Controls
  4. Get Transparent Performance Reporting

Or, you can do the same thing you’ve always done, and spend countless hours manually managing your AdWords accounts.


To Sum Up Automated & Smart AdWords Bidding Strategies

When it’s all said and done, the purpose of any PPC campaign is to improve your customer’s life and complete their “jobs-to-be-done” better than the competition.

With the right automated or smart bidding strategy put in place, your team can be confident your digital marketing content is adding value to your customer’s lives while solving their pain points without wasting your budget.

If your organization is still shaking its head over what automated bidding strategies you should use to increase brand awareness and maximize profits, reach out to one of ClickScore’s AdWords Specialists or connect to ClickScore for your FREE Google AdWords audit.

A minute of your time could improve user experience and save you thousands in ROI.

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About ClickScore

Your ClickScore is a summary of overall AdWords performance that considers industry, number of keywords, campaign age, quality of keywords and more.