12 Effective Google Ads Bidding Strategies For 2024 (+7 Additional Tips To Supercharge It)

Coming out on top of Google Search results, whether through SEO or PPC, isn’t a happy accident. It takes strategy, creativity, and a dash of digital wizardry to vault your business website to the top of search engine results. There’s a lot more to Google Ads bidding than just slapping in a bid and hoping for the best. Ever thought about audience conversion intent? Yup, it’s crucial! And what about those handy bid adjustments—are they set up yet? 

Oh, and don’t forget about Smart Bidding; it can make a huge difference! The list of things to consider might seem never-ending, but that’s what makes it all so exciting. Dive in, tweak, and watch your campaigns thrive. Even if you’re still hunting for that first big win with Google Ads and haven’t yet felt the sweet victory of toppling your wealthy competitors, don’t worry—good news is on the horizon. 

The secret recipe? Equip yourself with the right tips, tools, and strategies—19 of them, to be exact — and you’ll be ready to unleash the almighty Google Ads bidding beast. 

How Google Ads Bidding Works

Ever wondered, “How much does Google Ads cost?” Well, we wish there was a straightforward answer, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Different keywords come with their own price tags, ranging from a mere $0.20 per click to, believe it or not, over $100 per click.

That might sound wild, but there’s a method to the madness—it’s all about the auction-style bidding system at the heart of Google Ads. Fun fact: It’s this very system that keeps the playing field level and competitive. We get it, though. Bidding can be a bit of a head-scratcher for many clients and even seasoned advertisers. It’s like mastering a game—tricky but incredibly rewarding once you get the hang of it.

What’s Google Ads Bidding?

Let’s dive right into it.

When we mention “bidding” on Google Ads, we’re talking about the exciting process advertisers undergo to get their ads in front of potential customers. Think of it as a digital auction where ads compete for visibility. Your bid determines the maximum amount you’re willing to spend per click or set of views, and you have a bunch of different bidding options to choose from. 

It’s like picking the right strategy in a game. Google’s ad system thrives on this auction mechanism. Sure, plenty of factors influence your ad ranking, but a strong bid can give you a real edge.

Here’s an example: Imagine this: in my area, there are probably tons of companies vying for attention with the keyword “electricians near me.” Seriously, there could be dozens. But guess what? Out of all those contenders, you’ll only see four. So, why is that? 

It all boils down to a mix of relevance and cash. These sites have cleverly used “my keyword” in a way that Google loves, so that’s one piece of the puzzle. Plus, they were ready to part with a bit more money to snag those prime spots more frequently. That extra bid, along with other ranking tricks, shot them right up the ladder. It’s a blend of savvy strategy and deep pockets if you ask me.

Google Ads Bidding

Factors That Influence the Google Ad Auction

Your bid plays a crucial role in how well you can expect to perform in the Google Ads auction. But hold on! It’s not the lone ranger in this wild west of online advertising, nor is it always the most pivotal factor by itself. Other elements come into play, and together, they determine the ultimate victor.

Looking to boost your ad ranking and capture those precious impression shares? Well, aside from your bid, here are two major players you’ll want to focus on:

  • The quality of your ads: This is all about your Quality Score. Think of it as Google’s report card on how relevant your ad is.

Are you sprinkling in those golden keywords? Is your landing page a perfect match for your ad? And how’s your CTR—click-through rate—doing? All these juicy details contribute to your Quality Score and can make or break your ranking.

  • The “expect impact” from ad extensions and other ad formats: Variety is the spice of life, and it seems Google agrees. Mix it up with multiple ad versions or throw in some juicy details with ad extensions. This can mean more copy options for Google to test, or handy links to your top pages, and even phone numbers. If Google’s algorithm gets the vibe that these extras will help users or ramp up your CTR, you’ll be sitting pretty.

So, get creative, connect with your audience, and watch your ads shine.

Figuring Out the Right Bid for your Google Ads campaigns 

Figuring out the right bid for your Google Ads campaigns might seem like a daunting task at first. But fear not! There are some handy strategies to help you decide how much you should be shelling out, or what you can expect to pay. 

By breaking it down into manageable steps and understanding the tools at your disposal, you can set bids with confidence and maybe even have a bit of fun while you’re at it.

That said, let’s dive in and explore the options that’ll make your ad game strong.

Option 1: Letting Google Handle Your Bid and Bidding Strategy

Option 1- Letting Google Ads Handle Your Bidding and Bidding Strategy

The first option when creating Google ads is getting them in the driver’s seat. 

These bid strategies use machine learning to adjust your bids for you based on the campaign goals you’ve set for yourself. The way Google optimizes your bids depends on the chosen strategy and its specific goal. 

You enter your daily budget, which limits your total spending.

Bidding determines the cost per action, like the cost per click on an ad. You can maximize either the number of conversions or the value of each conversion. If you want, you can set a target cost per action (CPA) to tell Google your preferred cost per conversion. 

However, you don’t need to set a bid as Google will automatically place competitive bids and has chosen the “maximize conversions” strategy for you. 

Option 2: Manual Bidding

Manual bidding is as straightforward as it sounds—you manually adjust your bids at the keyword or ad group level. This means you tell Google the maximum amount you’re willing to bid for your keywords in an auction. You can either set a single bid for all the keywords in an ad group or adjust bids for each keyword individually. We recommend a granular approach if you choose manual bidding.

What’s Google Ads Smart Bidding?

Smart bidding is a type of automated bidding that uses machine learning to optimize for conversions or conversion value in every auction. This is called “auction-time bidding.” 

Smart bidding strategies include target CPA, target ROAS, maximize conversions, maximize conversion value, and enhanced CPC (ECPC).

12 Google Ads Bidding Strategies You Should Know: And All There’s to Know

Do you like to do things the hard way (manually) or the smart way (automatically)? If you’re leaning towards efficiency, you’re in for a treat.

Let’s dive into the world of Google Ads bidding strategies designed to bring you closer to your goals. But remember, you shouldn’t set things to auto-pilot and forget about them.

You (or your agency partner) should always monitor performance swings. If you boost your conversion rates through landing page testing, be prepared for your bidding goals to evolve quickly. Higher conversion rates might just enable you to adopt more aggressive bidding strategies. 

Fun fact: there are a whopping 12 different Google Ads bidding strategies to explore:

#1. Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) Bidding

Do you have a specific ROI goal for your PPC spend? If so, consider using return on ad spend (ROAS). ROAS measures your conversion values or Google Analytics eCommerce revenue.

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For instance, if you want an ROI of 7, you expect $7 for every $1 spent. Hence, the target ROAS would be 700%.

Pros

  • Easy for e-commerce platforms with lots of products to balance high-margin winners and volume sellers
  • Best suited for ads that target ready-to-buy audiences

Cons

  • Requires providing Google with product revenue data to identify the most profitable keywords for optimal ROAS
  • Optimizing for ROAS may lead to reduced ad spend since it focuses on achieving revenue with less expenditure
  • ROAS is the sole focus, not maximizing total revenue

#2. Maximize Conversion Bidding

For boosting sales or leads, you can let Google automatically adjust your bids to maximize conversions within your budget. This approach ensures you use your whole budget effectively in one day.

Pros

  • Increases conversion volume
  • Identifies high-potential converters and optimizes bids for them

Cons

  • Without bid limits, clicks can become very expensive, potentially exceeding your daily budget.
  • Google aims to maximize conversions, which may increase costs, raise your CPA or lower your ROAS.

#3. Target Impression Share Bidding

Target Impression Share bidding helps you automatically set bids to reach your Impression Share goals for all campaigns. There are three placement options for this strategy:

  • The absolute top of the SERP 
  • The top of the SERP
  • Anywhere on the Google SERP

This approach allows you to set a cap on your maximum CPC bid. Setting this limit too low might restrict your bids and impact your goals, whereas not setting a limit at all could lead to high CPCs and quickly deplete your budget.

Pros

  • Optimize for brand keywords to maximize visibility (aim for 95% impression share)
  • Secure precise control over your search top impression share (IS)

Cons

  • Often costly, and still hard to achieve desired impression shares
  • May not effectively boost conversion rates

#4. Target CPA Bidding

Maximize your conversions within your set CPA. Ideal for achieving targets and boosting lead generation.

Pros

  • Automatically increase conversions (sales, signups, or app downloads) within your CPA goal.
  • Utilize conversion tracking data to minimize unprofitable clicks and reduce overall costs.
  • Generate bids automatically to align with your target CPA.

Cons

  • No setting a max CPC bid cap here, folks! Not on a campaign-by-campaign basis. But wait, there’s a twist: you can do it if you’re using it as a portfolio strategy
  • Want tCPA to shine? It needs a hearty budget. Think double your tCPA goal for daily spending—at least, but honestly, the higher, the better.

#5. Manual CPC Bidding

Manual cost per click (CPC) gives you the power to set your bids just the way you want, whether at the ad group level or down to each keyword. It’s like having the master keys to your advertising kingdom.

When you go for keyword-level bids, you get the ultimate control—perfect for the detail-oriented strategist. On the flip side, setting bids at the ad group level is a breeze, applying the same bid to all keywords or placements in that group. 

New to the game? Manual CPC is your best buddy—it’s the ideal starting point for fresh advertisers, brand-new accounts, or shiny new campaigns. This way, you can keep a close watch on your ad spend, ensuring none of your ads go rogue and overspend.

Pros

  • Get ready to be the boss of your bids like never before!
  • Set your max CPC bid and that’s the most you’ll ever pay for a click. But here’s the fun part – you usually end up paying even less. (Unless you’ve got those fancy bid adjustments turned on).

Cons

  • Rolling up your sleeves: It takes more work, time, and experience to keep those bids competitive and snag the best results.
  • Paint by numbers: The reports aren’t as detailed as what you get with automated bidding.
  • No robot magic: You miss out on Google’s machine learning, which could help you find users who are more likely to convert.

#6. Portfolio bidding strategy

Think of this as a one-size-fits-all approach where you create a single bid strategy and sprinkle it across multiple campaigns. No more juggling different strategies for each campaign – how neat is that?

So, what kinds of portfolio bid strategies can you play with? Here are your options: target CPA, maximize conversions, maximize conversion value, target ROAS, and target impression share. Each one is like a unique tool in your marketing toolbox, ready to be wielded for maximum impact.

Pros

  • Sometimes you can’t set a maximum CPC bid cap for each campaign, but guess what? You can totally set one when using a portfolio strategy, like tCPA.
  • One cool thing about this strategy is it learns super fast. Why? Because it pulls data from all your campaigns, making it a speedy learner.

Cons

  • To dive into portfolio bidding, make sure your campaigns share similar tCPA goals—think of it as syncing up your playlists for the best jams. 
  • Remember, in the world of campaigns, there’s always a favourite child. One might shine brightly, while another takes a bit of a backseat. It’s all part of the fun juggling act.

#7. Target CPM Bidding

Remember how we used to rock this strategy for display campaigns? Well, those days are behind us. 

Now, it’s all about YouTube. Yep, that’s the only place you can flex this particular strategy. So, what’s the deal now? You get charged based on your target CPM. 

No, not the highest you can go—just the average you’re happy to shell out every thousand times your ad pops up. And here’s the kicker: it doesn’t matter if folks watch the whole thing or skip right past. Your cost hinges on the ad simply showing up.

Pros

  • Your ad reaches unique viewers.
  • Boosts brand awareness.

Cons

  • You pay for an impression whether someone skips your ad or not. That means you might be spending money on wasted views

#8. Maximum CPV Bidding

If you’re looking to boost brand awareness through a YouTube campaign, you’ve got two main bidding options to consider. One of them is the Maximum CPV strategy. 

With Maximum CPV, you decide the maximum amount you’re willing to shell out for a view or an interaction. Here’s the fun part: a view counts if someone watches 30 seconds of your video, or the whole thing if it’s shorter. But wait, there’s more! If someone interacts with your ad by clicking on overlays or other clickable features, you’re charged your CPV bid. 

And guess what? You won’t be paying for folks who breeze past your ad or close the video early. So, your budget is going towards interested viewers. Neat, right?

Pros

  • You only pay for actual views, not skips
  • Increases visibility among interested audiences, boosting brand recognition
  • Cost-effective with CPVs usually under $1, though it can differ by industry

Cons

  • More views don’t always lead to more conversions; this approach is mainly for raising awareness.
  • Getting someone to watch a 30-second ad can be challenging; a 15-second ad may convey your message more effectively.

#9. Enhanced CPC (ECPC)

Enhanced CPC (ECPC) is like having a savvy sidekick for your manual CPC bids. This smart-bidding setting lets Google flex its muscles by tweaking your bids up or down based on the likelihood of landing a conversion. Pretty nifty, right? Now, with all the options at your fingertips, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in choices.

You might think success is all about who’s got the deepest pockets, but breathe easy—it’s not just a cash contest. Google Ads auctions are more nuanced than that, taking into account a different mix of elements such as:

  • Time of the day
  • Device
  • Intent
  • Geographic Location
  • Your quality score
  • Expected CTR
  • Your target audience
  • Browsing behaviour
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So, don’t worry if your budget’s on the tight side. Google has all sorts of clever tricks up its sleeve to help you hit those targets.

Pros

  • Boosts click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate (CVR) more effectively than manual CPC bidding
  • Expands reach to a wider audience

Cons

  • Higher CPCs due to no bid caps might hurt your profitability.
  • Without bidding control, you might exceed your daily budget.

#10. Viewable CPM Bidding

Ever feel like you’ve been throwing money down a digital drain with your ad spend? Well, those days are over! Only available for the Display Network, viewable CPM bidding is here to save the day. Think of it as setting target bids for every 1,000 impressions where your ad actually gets noticed.

Remember how frustrating it was with target CPM bidding? You’d shell out for 1,000 impressions, even if most of your ad was hiding below the fold like a shy turtle. Thankfully, those dark days are behind us. Now, you’re only spending your hard-earned cash when your ad is fully visible to the audience. No more playing peek-a-boo—just pure, unadulterated visibility. Now that’s smart spending.

Pros

  • Boosts brand awareness
  • Consistent pricing
  • Cost-effective per 1,000 viewable ads

Cons

  • Lower ROI on low-traffic sites
  • Not optimal for driving conversions

#11. Maximize clicks bidding

With “Maximize clicks,” Google Ads swoops in, automatically adjusting your bids to snag as many clicks as possible without blowing your budget. It’s like having a savvy digital assistant who’s always hunting down the best deals for you.

This strategy is perfect when your conversion performance is already top-notch, and you’re ready to scale up and catch even more action. More clicks mean more chances to shine, and who doesn’t want that? 

So, if you’re looking to boost your engagement and tap into greater volumes, let Google Ads work its magic with this handy feature.

Pros

  • Straightforward and easy to implement
  • Often reduces CPCs and increases SIS
  • Shorter learning period due to the higher ease of obtaining clicks
  • Highly effective for driving traffic

Cons

  • May result in lower-quality clicks and conversions
  • Not focused on targeting conversions

#12. Maximize Conversion Value (CV) Bidding

Google Ads is your trusty sidekick, setting your bids like a pro to get you the most bang for your buck. It’s not just guessing either; it’s got a bag of tricks up its sleeve! By gathering juicy bits of info about devices, locations, times of day, demographics, search queries, and more, it calculates the perfect CPC bid for every auction. 

So, sit back, relax, and let Google Ads handle the heavy lifting while you reap the rewards.

Pros

  • Maximum revenue from ads
  • Targets high-value purchasers

Cons

  • Higher potential spending (lower ROAS)
  • Prioritizes value over conversion count

7 Fantastic Tips to Supercharge Your Ad Strategies 

Now that you’ve got a grip on the various ways to set up bidding for your Google Ads, let’s dive into the exciting stuff.

Here are 7 fantastic tips to supercharge your ad strategies:

#1. Bid Adjustments

Did you know your ads can perform differently depending on the device, day of the week, time, or even location? That’s right—your campaign could be shining on mobile phones but not doing so hot on desktops. Google Ads has a nifty feature where you can run reports to check out all these metrics.

Simply head over to the devices tab, and you can segment your campaigns or ad groups to dive into individual device performance. This way, you can easily decide where it might make sense to crank up or dial back your bids based on how things are going.

Imagine discovering that mobile devices are turning clicks into sales more cheaply than other sources.

Exciting, right?

In that case, why not crank things up with a 20% boost on your mobile bids for that particular campaign? More clicks, more sales—everybody wins!

But here’s the cool part: modern smart bidding strategies are pretty savvy. They can automatically tweak your bids to maximize your results, saving you the hassle.

#2. Set up Bidding Rules that Can Pause, Enable, or Adjust Bids

Ever wished you could automate some of those tedious tasks in Google Ads? Well, you can! Google Ads makes it easy to set up bidding rules that can pause, enable, or adjust bids and budgets based on the criteria you choose.

Picture this: you can tweak settings at the campaign, ad group, ad, or keyword level. For example, you could set a rule to automatically increase your bids by a certain percentage if your average cost per conversion falls below your target. It’s like having a virtual assistant. 

#2. Set up Google Ads Bidding Rules that Can Pause, Enable, or Adjust Bids

Ready to dive in? Head to “rules” under tools and bulk actions, or select a campaign, ad group, or keyword, then click “Edit” > “Create an automated rule.” From there, you can specify the kind of rule you want.

Click on the + sign and you’ll see all the rules you can create. 

Click on the + sign and you’ll see all the rules you can create.

#3. Bidding Scripts

Bidding scripts is how you take your Google Ads game to the next level.

These handy tools let you automate your ad activity based on specific times or other key metrics.

 Imagine tweaking your bids according to weather patterns—cool, right? 

Scripts open up a world of customization far beyond the usual Google Ads rules.

#4. Bid For Sales, Not Just Conversions

Many people dive into a Google Ads account aiming to rack up conversions. But here’s the deal: conversions alone shouldn’t be your end game. If you’re trying to generate leads or attract users to your SaaS business, remember that not all keywords pack the same punch. 

You need to track which keywords are actually driving sales, not just leads. Otherwise, you’ll lump all PPC traffic together with a generic cost-per-conversion target. Some keywords convert better, and when they do, it’s smart to bid more aggressively on them, even if it means a higher cost per conversion. 

This approach can boost your sales and revenue, which is what you’re really after, right? And if you’re clueless about which leads are turning into sales, offline conversion tracking is the tool you need.

#5. Bumping Up Your Bid

Many folks kick off a new campaign with cautious, low bids, thinking it’s the safest approach. But what if you flipped the script? Introducing bid bumping—a clever tactic designed to give your keywords a VIP spot in search results. 

Here’s how it works: start by paying a slightly higher CPC to boost your click-through rate sky-high. Once you’ve achieved that, you can gradually reduce your bids. Amazingly, your performance often stays strong, while your average CPC and conversion costs drop.

#6. Bid on Branded Keywords

Bidding on branded keywords does so much more than just letting you control your brand’s ad message. The idea is to send branded visitors straight to a dedicated landing page instead of a dull, static homepage. 

This simple tactic can actually boost your overall account health and elevate the performance of your other keywords. You don’t even need to fiddle with changing bids at the branded keyword level. It’s something worth thinking about, even if you believe you’re getting those organic clicks for “free.”

#7. RLSA Competitor Bidding

RLSA competitor bidding is a clever way to bid more confidently when someone who has already checked out your site or landing page goes searching again. Think of it like this: combining a remarketing audience with your existing competitor search campaign and tweaking your bid specifically for that audience.

This nifty strategy lets you be bolder and boosts your chances of winning over a previous visitor who already knows your brand but might be considering other options.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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