Finding success with Smart Bidding: Google Best Practices

Pick the right bid strategy


Your account-wide goals should align with your business objectives. Each campaign should play a role in reaching that larger objective. Set an objective for each campaign (e.g. conversions). Different campaigns can have different objectives. For example, high visibility search terms could have an objective to reach a target impression share, while the objective of another campaign could be to optimize for conversions at a target CPA.

Choose a strategy that aligns with your main business goal

Use a different automated bidding methods to meet the different objectives of your campaigns.

Let's look at some of the automated bidding options available to you. Keep an eye out for the ones that could help you hit your goals. In general, there are four main types of goals, and each type of automation is intended to help you achieve one of those four.

Business Goal

Campaign Goal

Smart Bidding Method

Increase Sales or Leads Get as many conversions as possible at a fixed budget or fixed ROI Max Conversions, Target CPA
Increase Profit Hit a Return on ad spend (ROAS) that is a profitable level for a specific campaign type Target ROAS
Increase Website Visitors Get as many clicks to your websites as possible with the given budget Max Clicks
Increase or stabilize awareness Show in a certain percentage of eligible auctions Target Impression Share

Note

Enhanced CPC isn’t included here, but it can be used if you have specific reasons for setting manual bids and still want to take advantage of some degree of auction-time bidding. While it may not offer the full power of automated bidding like some other strategies, it can work with bids that you set yourself.

Conversions (Smart Bidding)

If you are tracking what happens following a click and you value all of those conversions equally, then this strategy is for you. Only include conversions you want Smart Bidding to optimize for in your “conversions” column. Other actions can still be tracked in the “all conversions” column.

If your goal is to maintain an average CPA across a portfolio of campaigns:

  • Use the Target CPA strategy. You establish a portfolio of keywords and a target CPA for that group. Some conversions in the group may cost more than the target, and some may cost less. This strategy will optimize for an average CPA equal to the target you set. Use this if you have a very specific CPA goal for that portfolio in your account.

If your goal is to drive as many conversions as possible within a set budget:

  • Use the Maximize conversions strategy. Maximize conversions automatically sets bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget.

Revenue (Smart Bidding)

If you’re tracking conversions following a click, you can also track the revenue or value associated with those conversions. This strategy will align your bids directly with the revenue that your clicks generate.

If your goal is to achieve a desired return across your entire portfolio:

  • Use the Target ROAS strategy. You establish a portfolio of campaigns and a target ROAS for that group. The algorithm will then adjust bids to try and maintain that ROAS across the portfolio. Some conversions in the group may cost more than the target, and some may cost less. This strategy will optimize for an average ROAS equal to the target you set.

Tip

Our advice for automated bidding for Shopping campaigns is slightly different. Not all of these options are available.

Automate your bidding based on the most accurate conversion data available

Bids based on detailed conversion data will be better at helping you reach your business goal. Understand what system has your best source of truth and import that data into Google Ads to utilize auction-time bidding.

For Target CPA and Target ROAS bidding, further steps are needed to define your target. You need to understand what a conversion or sale is worth to you and set your Target CPA or Target ROAS accordingly.

Different campaigns using the same strategy can have different performance targets. If you don’t have profitability formulas available, try using your historical average CPA or ROAS.

Clicks

This is all about driving as many clicks as you can within a set level of spend.

  • Use Maximize Clicks if you have a set of keywords that you want to drive as many clicks for you as possible. It can be particularly effective with driving traffic to upper funnel or high visibility keywords.

Impression Share

This strategy is helpful when you want to ensure that your ad is visible on certain queries and even at certain locations on the page.

  • Use Target Impression Share if you want your bids to automatically optimize for the placement you want.

 

Sign up for the Best Practices newsletter to get advanced Google Ads tips and updates right to your inbox.
Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?