Google Ads Bidding Strategies Explained

What is a Bidding Strategy?

Let’s start by defining that a bidding strategy is a campaign with a specific focus to help you to achieve specific goals depending on your audience target. You can use them to get more clicks, impressions, views or increase your conversions. There are different types of bidding strategies and below we will show you all the different options and features based on your goals.

The Different Google Ads Bidding Strategies

Focus On Conversions

If you want to focus on conversions or conversion value in each and every auction — a feature known as “auction-time bidding”. This takes into account signals such as device, location, time of day, language.

There are five different Smart Bidding strategies that you can use.

1. Target Cost Per Action (CPA): If you want to optimise for conversions. This type of strategy will focus on trying to create more conversions at a specific acquisition cost that you have set up. Google Ads will automatically set your bids based on your average CPA. Based on your historical data and conversion volumes, CPA bidding needs at least 15 conversions over a span of 30 days to become active.

2. Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS): If your goal is to optimise for conversion value, Google Ads will set your bids to maximize conversion value based on the return that you are looking for from your ad spend. You can calculate a Target ROAS as per below

(Sales ÷ ad spend) x 100

3. Maximise Conversions: If your goal is to optimise for conversions, but just want to spend your entire budget instead of targeting a specific CPA, you can use Maximise Conversions. This strategy is tailored to spend your entire budget and achieve as many conversions as possible. The only thing you can manually control is the CPC but ensure you are bidding high enough to give Google’s Algorithm rooms to play. If you set a low CPC, you will be restricting yourself just as you would with manual bidding!

4. Maximise Conversion Value: If your goal is to optimise for conversion value, but just want to spend your entire budget instead of targeting a specific ROAS, you can use Maximise Conversion Value. This strategy is very much tailored for e-commerce clients. Google’s algorithm is going to go after conversions likely to bring in the most money. This strategy will maximize the revenue from sales generated through PPC.

5. Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC): your manual bids will automatically be adjusted to try to maximise conversions, you can use ECPC. this setting gives Google some freedom in changing those bids at auction time.

Focus On Clicks With CPC Bidding

If your objective is to generate traffic to your website, there are two cost-per-click bid strategies to consider:

1. Maximise Clicks: this is an automated strategy that sets your bids to get as many clicks as it can within your specified budget. All you need to do is set an average daily budget, and Google automatically manages your bids to bring you the most clicks possible within your budget.

2. Manual CPC Bidding: you will be able to manage your maximum CPC bids yourself. You can set different bids for each ad group in your campaign, or for individual keywords or placements. Setting individual bids at the keyword level allows having the highest level of control.

Manual CPC Bidding

Focus On Visibility

If you want to focus on visibility, below are the bid strategies to help maximize visibility.

1. Target Impression Share: This strategy automatically sets bids with the objective of showing your ad on the absolute top of the page (the first ad on the page), on the top of the page or anywhere on the first page. Below are the placement options you have to bid for with Target Impression Share:

  • Absolute Top of Page
  • Top of Page
  • Anywhere on the Page

You can set a max CPC bid with Target Impression Share bidding in order not to overspend, but Google cautions against setting it too low and throttling performance.

Always trying to set a max CPC bid to make sure you don’t pay end up paying too much for any individual click.

Try setting it at a percentage increase over your current bid of 20%-50%. If that works well, then leave that cap. If you’re not seeing the volume you’d like, increase the max CPC.

CPM: You pay based on the number of impressions (times your ads are shown) that you receive on YouTube campaigns like TrueView or the Google Display Network. You can’t use it on a Search Network as it is a display only bid strategy.

tCPM: You can set an average for how much you’re willing to pay for every thousand impressions. It optimises bids to maximise your campaign’s unique reach. With tCPM, you can keep your campaign’s average CPM lower or equal to the target that you set (although the cost of impressions may vary).

vCPM: This is a manual bidding strategy you can use if you are trying to expand your brand awareness. It lets you set the highest amount you want to pay for each 1,000 viewable ad impressions on the Google Display Network. You only pay for ads when they’re seen.

Focus On Views or Interactions (for video ads only)

This strategy (CPV bidding) is for you if you run video ads. With CPV bidding, you’ll pay for video views and other video interactions, such as clicks on the call-to-action (CTA) overlay, cards, and companion banners. You just enter the highest price that you want to pay for a view.


As seen above, there are so many bidding strategies that you can use to enhance your marketing in some way. Each strategy has its pros and cons, so it is going to depend on what you are hoping to achieve as to which bidding strategy you should choose.

Once you have chosen the best strategy for you, make sure you are checking on them frequently to ensure they are still achieving the goals you set out.

If you would like to learn more about how different bidding strategies could benefit you, or discuss any other aspects about Google Ads, get in touch with us.

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