Adjust your keyword bids

When you select each keyword, you can choose how much you're willing to pay whenever a customer searches on that keyword and clicks your ad. This is your keyword's maximum cost-per-click, or max CPC, bid amount. Some advertisers like the control they maintain with manual bids, while others are comfortable letting the AdWords system make bids for them.

Use automatic bidding to simplify bidding

Automatic bidding is ideal for advertisers who don't want to spend a lot of time setting bids, but would like to get the most clicks possible for their ads within their budget. You don't need to specify individual bids for your keywords, ad groups, or placements. All you do is set a daily budget, and the AdWords system automatically adjusts your max CPC bids to bring you the most clicks possible within your budget. For more control over your bids, you can set a CPC bid limit if you don't want to exceed a particular price per click. Learn more about automatic bidding.

Use manual bidding for more control over bidding

This is the default option to let you manage your max CPC bids yourself. You can set bids at the ad group level, or for individual keywords. Your ad group's default bid amount will be applied to all keywords in your new campaign's ad group. You may change your bid amount at any time for any or all keywords. You also may change this value for individual keywords via the max CPC column on the Keywords tab.


  • New to Adwords and not sure what keyword bid amount to set? Many advertisers start with a max CPC bid of US$1.
  • When using automatic bidding you can easily switch to manual bidding which gives you full control to set the bid amounts yourself.

Use AdWords tools to help choose a keyword bid

Some tools help you identify keywords that you may want to adjust manually. Other more advanced tools do the bidding for you, based on an amount you select.

  • The Opportunities tab in your account can help you identify which of your keywords seem to be good candidates for bid changes. Suggestions are for increased bids (to help capture more clicks) and decreased bids (to help lower your costs). Find out how to use the Opportunities tab.
  • The Bid Simulator runs "what-if" scenarios such as: "How many more impressions would I have received if I had raised my bid by US$0.10?" so you can adjust your bids to the right level for your budget. The simulator doesn't predict the future, but it does estimate the click, cost, and impression data that your ads would have received in a typical week had you set higher or lower keyword bids. You can also add bid simulator columns to the statistics table on your Keywords tab to see click and cost estimates for all of your keywords at once.
  • Enhanced CPC is a bidding feature that looks for ad auctions that are more likely to lead to sales for you, and then raises your max CPC bid up to 30% (after applying any bid adjustments you've set) to compete harder for those clicks. When it sees auctions that don't look promising, it lowers your bid as much as 100%. That way you get more sales and conversions out of the ad dollars you spend.
  • Conversion tracking is an advanced feature that shows you which keywords most often lead customers to take the actions you want them to take (these actions, such as a purchase or newsletter signup, are called conversions). Tracking your conversions can help you decide whether to increase your max CPC for keywords that are performing well, and decrease it for those that are underperforming.

Get your ad on the first page with keyword bid estimates

If it's important for you to have your ad show on the first page of Google search results, there are 3 different types of keyword bid estimates available to help you get there.

  • First page bid estimates show the bid you likely need to get your ad on the first page of search results. 
  • Top of page bid estimates go a step further, estimating the bid you likely need to get your ad among the top ad positions on the first page of search results. 
  • First position bid estimates go further still, estimating the bid you likely need to get your ad in the top spot.  

These estimates are based on an exact match for your keyword. Ad position also depends on the keyword's Quality Score and current advertiser competition for that keyword, so there's no guarantee your ad will consistently be in your preferred position. Learn how to get your ads to show on the first page of search results

How to change your keyword bids

If you'd like to replace some of your original bids with new bids, here's how: on your Campaigns tab, click the Keywords tab. Then, in the "Max. CPC" column of the table, click the bid you want to change and enter a new bid amount.

See how to change a bid


If you have a "Search Network with Display Select" campaign, we use your keyword bid for both networks. We encourage you to keep this setting. However, if you prefer, you can set a Display Network bid that will override all keyword bids for the Display Network.

If you have a "Display Network only" campaign, we suggest setting ad group bids. We also encourage you to set specific bids for your keywords based on how they're performing.

Using Google Trends for keyword bidding insights

While Google Trends can help compare potential keywords, there are caveats to using this tool to plan your keyword bidding strategy because Trends data contains normalized, not total, search volumes. Learn how Trends data is normalized.

For example, Carrie owns a bakery in San Francisco and wants to build a second location in Mountain View. She uses Trends to compare searches for “bakery” in both cities and finds that the search numbers are nearly identical. This indicates that customers in San Francisco and Mountain View are equally likely to search for a bakery. However, this doesn’t indicate that an equal number of total searches were performed in both cities for this term because Mountain View’s population is 1/10th of San Francisco’s. On the other hand, Carrie can use Trends to compare searches for “red velvet cake” and “carrot cake” in San Francisco to determine which search term is more popular in that city.


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