Finding Success with AdWords Smart Bidding: Google Best Practices

Pick the right bidding strategy


When choosing your automated bidding strategy, choose a strategy that aligns with your main business goal. 

Automate your bidding based on the most accurate conversion data available

Make sure you're working on a platform that gives you an accurate picture of conversions — not just clicks — so that automated bidding can do its job with the best possible results. More data is better, and 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. Either use that system for bidding or import that data into Google Ads to utilize auction-time bidding.

Choose a strategy that aligns with your main business goal

Use a strategy that makes the most sense for each of your campaigns and their accompanying goals.

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.

Automated Bidding Strategy by Goal
Visibility Clicks Conversions (Smart Bidding) Revenue (Smart Bidding)

-Target search page location
-Target outranking share

-Maximize clicks -Target CPA
-Maximize conversions
-Target ROAS
 

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, including bids set with third party tools.

 
Visibility  (automated bidding, but not Smart Bidding)

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

If your goal is to have your ads appear on the top of the page or the first page of results:

  • Use the Target Search Page Location strategy. Your bids will be automatically adjusted to optimize for the placement that you want.

If your goal is to outrank the ads of a competitor, or have your ad show when theirs don’t:

  • Use the Target Outranking Share strategy. Specify what percentage of auctions you’d like to appear higher than another domain’s ads and let the system help you achieve that goal.
Clicks (automated bidding, but not Smart Bidding)

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.
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.

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

  • 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 keywords 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.

 

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