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About automated bidding

Automated bidding takes the heavy lifting and guesswork out of setting bids to meet your performance goals. Each type of automated bid strategy is designed to help you achieve a specific goal for your business. This article outlines the 6 different types of automated bid strategies and when to use them.

Before you begin

If you’d like to automate your bidding for a Shopping campaign, read About automated bidding for Shopping campaigns.

Example

Let’s say you want to maximize conversions across your campaigns but don’t have the time to set an individual max. CPC for each individual keyword. By adding those keywords to a portfolio Target CPA bid strategy and setting a CPA goal you want to hit, you allow AdWords to automatically optimize bids across keywords using advanced machine learning to get you more conversions within your performance target.

Types of automated bid strategies

Goal Bid strategy Range

Increase site visits.

Increase clicks on low-traffic terms while keeping within a certain spend.

Maximize Clicks automatically sets your bids to help get as many clicks as possible within your budget. 

Maximize Clicks is available as either a standard strategy in a single campaign or portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns, ad groups and keywords.

Learn more about Maximize Clicks.

Learn more about Maximize Clicks for Shopping campaigns.

Campaigns, ad groups, keywords

Increase visibility on the first page of Google search results or in the top positions.

Target Search Page Location automatically sets your bids to help increase the chances that your ads appear at the top of the page or on the first page of search results.

It's only available as a portfolio bid strategy on the Search Network.

Learn more about Target Search Page Location.

Campaigns, ad groups, keywords

Get more visibility than other domains in search results.

Target Outranking Share: You choose a domain you want to outrank in search results and how often you want to outrank it, and AdWords automatically sets your Search bids to help meet that target.

It's only available as a portfolio bid strategy.

Learn more about Target Outranking Share.

Campaigns, ad groups, keywords

Get more conversions with your target CPA.

Target CPA automatically sets Search or Display bids to help get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) you set. Some conversions may cost more or less than your target.

Target CPA bidding is available as either a standard strategy in a single campaign or portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns and ad groups.

Target CPA bidding was previously referred to as “Conversion Optimizer.”

Learn more about Target CPA.

Campaigns, ad groups

Increase conversions while staying in control of your keyword bids.

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) automatically adjusts your manual bids to try to maximize conversions.

ECPC is available as an optional feature with Manual CPC bidding or as a portfolio bid strategy. It is fully compatible with third-party bidding systems, including those that automate your bids.

Learn more about Enhanced CPC.

Learn more about ECPC for Shopping campaigns.

Campaigns, ad groups

Meet a target return on ad spend (ROAS) when you value each conversion differently. 

Target ROAS automatically sets bids to help get as much conversion value as possible at the target return on ad spend (ROAS) you set. Some conversions may have a higher or lower return than your target.

Target ROAS bidding is available as either a standard strategy in a single campaign or portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns, ad groups and keywords.

Learn more about Target ROAS.

Learn more about Target ROAS for Shopping campaigns.

Campaigns, ad groups, keywords

The power of AdWords Smart Bidding

Smart Bidding is a set of conversion-based bid strategies—Target CPA, Target ROAS and Enhanced CPC—that use advanced machine learning to help you tailor the right bid to each and every auction. It factors in a wide range of auction-time signals including device, location, time of day, remarketing list, language, and operating system to capture the unique context of every search.

For more information on how AdWords Smart Bidding works, download our guides for Search and Display.

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A Bid For Every Auction

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