Google Ads Bidding Strategies

May 11, 2020 PPC

Choosing the right Google Ads bidding type and implementing a solid strategy for adjusting bids is critical to driving your ad costs down. Doing the opposite will make you pay more than your fair share.

While bidding strategies have evolved over time, there are several core bidding types available in Google AdWords. If you aren’t deeply familiar with the different options you have, blindly choosing one type of Google Ads bidding is like placing your entire paycheck on red.

Use this guide to skillfully navigate the advanced and complicated world of Google Ads bidding.


Different Google Ads Bidding Strategies

There are a variety of automated bidding options in Google Ads. Some may be great for your account, but others might be terrible. You might find you have a use for every bidding strategy somewhere in your account, or you might not be able to use any. Until you understand how each bidding strategy works, this is impossible to determine.

Here’s a look at the different Google Ads bidding strategies available today.

Manual Cost Per Click (CPC)

Manual CPC Bidding gives you more control over your bidding strategy. But, more control means more time spent monitoring costs and adjusting on your own. If you aren’t well versed in Google Ads yet, this strategy isn’t your best bet.

Manual CPC is where you set bids for different ad groups or placements on your own. If specific campaigns are more profitable than others, you can quickly adjust budgets to add money or remove them from other campaigns.

Automatic Cost Per Click (CPC)

Automatic cost per click gives Google control to adjust your bids up or down. This helps give you the most clicks within your daily budget for that specific campaign. This is a decent bid strategy if you need to drastically reduce budgets and don’t want to lose impression share too fast.

One of the downsides to this bidding strategy is that it doesn’t allow you to set max CPC bids at the individual keyword level. If some keywords are performing better than others, for example, you may want to increase those specific bids. But if you use automated bidding, you won’t have that level of control.

Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)

Enhanced CPC (ECPC) gives Google the freedom to increase or decrease your bids by 30%. Google has the right to increase or decrease your bid amount based on the likelihood of driving the sale.

If a search is too competitive and CPCs are outrageously high, Google can lower your bid to cost less due to decreased chances of converting. If it’s an easy steal by increasing bids, Google will make the call.

CPM Bidding (Cost Per Thousand Impression)

Cost per Thousand Impressions, otherwise known as CPM, is bidding solely based on impressions.

This option is reserved for the Display Network and YouTube campaigns and is not for use on the Search Network.

vCPM Bidding (Cost Per Viewable Thousand Impression)

vCPM bidding is a tactic of manual bidding best reserved for brand awareness campaigns.

Again, like CPM bidding, it is reserved for the Display Network.

This bidding type is setting your maximum costs on a viewable 1,000 impressions.

CPV Bidding (Cost Per View)

Cost-per-view bidding is strictly reserved for video advertising on Google Ads. Using CPV bidding, you pay for video views or interactions.

A “view” is determined by how long someone watches your video ad for, otherwise known as the duration. In this case, with CPV bidding, a view is counted when someone watches 30 seconds of your ad, or whenever they decide to engage!

Target Search Page Location

TSPL (Target Search Page Location) bidding is the strategy of letting Google automatically adjust your bids to always show your ads either:

  • On the first page results of Google
  • At the top of the first page of Google (1-4)

While Google has the disclaimer that this strategy “doesn’t guarantee placement,” you won’t have issues if your quality scores are solid.

Target Outranking Share

Target Outranking Share is another automated bidding tactic that’s perfect for competitor targeting on Google Ads.

You can choose a specific website or competitor that you want to outrank. When your ads and your competitor’s ads are both displaying, Google will increase your bids to outrank their ads.

Google also will show your ads when your competitor isn’t showing up to give you better brand awareness.

Target Impression Share Bidding

This smart bidding strategy is focused on brand awareness and helping you reach as many people as possible.

Beware! While this is great to build brand awareness, the costs can really add up fast if you’re selecting 100% on your targets. This means you are always bidding to show your ads for a given term. Be sure to set a maximum limit and restrict your daily budget for this bidding.

Target CPA

Target CPA bidding is a bidding strategy you can use if you want to optimize conversions. If driving conversions are your primary goal for the campaign, selecting Target CPA bidding will focus on trying to convert users at a specific acquisition cost.

With this method, Google Ads will automatically set your bids on each campaign based on your CPA. While some conversions may cost more, others may cost less to even out and align with your acquisition costs.

Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)

Target ROAS is the bidding strategy where Google Ads will set your bids to maximize conversion value based on the return you want from your ad spend. This number is percentage-based.

Using this bidding strategy requires MATH…

Here’s the formula: SALES / Ad Spend * 100% = Target ROAS

Maximize Clicks

Maximize Clicks is an automatic bidding strategy based on your maximum daily budget. Google Ads will attempt to drive the most clicks possible with your daily budget.

Maximize Conversions

Maximize Conversions is one of the simplest bidding strategies that Google Ads offers. Using the maximum daily budget that you set, Google will automatically run your bidding for you to get you the most conversions for your money.

Before selecting this bidding method, be sure to check that you set your daily budget amount at a reasonable level that you are willing to spend. At the end of a campaign, check your return on investment to see if maximizing conversions lead to profitable sales.


Determine Your Google Ads Campaign Goals

Now that you have a variety of bidding strategies on Google Ads, how do you decide which option is the best for your campaign?

It all depends on your campaign goals.

Every campaign you choose should carefully select a bidding strategy based on desired outcomes.


If your goal on a specific Google Ads campaign is conversions, or driving traffic to your website or store with the sole purpose of turning them into a sale, consider the following bid types:

  • Maximize Conversions
  • Target CPA
  • Target ROAS
  • Target Outranking Share

Website Traffic

If you want to concentrate on driving more traffic to your site with goals other than merely converting, here are a few great bid types to choose from:

  • Maximize Clicks
  • Target Search Page Location
  • Manual CPC Bidding

Brand Awareness

While brand awareness alone is a less common goal on the search network, there are a few great bidding tactics to utilize for maximum branding:

  • Target Impression Share Bidding
  • Target Search Page Location
  • Target Outranking Share
  • CPM and vCPM for YouTube and Display Networks



When launching a new campaign on Google Ads, choosing the perfect bidding format is complex.

Automated bid strategies in Google Ads are a fantastic way to save time while leveraging algorithms to optimize an account, but only when evaluated and chosen wisely. On the other hand, manual bid strategies give you more flexibility and total control.

Want to take your Google Ads campaigns to the next level? Contact our experts at Avamia today!

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