How to use Adwords bid strategies to get the most out of your campaign

When you run your ad campaign in Google there are two things that have to be considered. The amount you intend to spend and the best bidding option. The decision for these two depends mostly on what you intend to achieve from the campaign. Therefore your bidding strategy is dependent on the goal you wish to accomplish.

Google Adwords

So what is it that you really wish to achieve?

I want more clicks - CPC

When someone looks at your ad in Google search and clicks on it, Adwords counts it as a click. This is an option you choose when you want someone to take action and come to your website, landing page or a specific offer section you have created. This method will help increase traffic to your website.

I want impressions - CPM

When your ad is shown in a Google search, the person who is searching on that page need not necessarily click on your ad. But your ad is shown to him and therefore is considered as one impression. This is an option to choose when you are looking for visibility AKA brand recognition. It is also an approach to take when you are confident that you have compelling content for someone to take action on your ad.

I want conversions - CPA

Conversions are one step ahead of CPC. Here, the person not only clicks on your ad but also takes an action that you have defined. It could be buying something from your website, leaving an email address or picking the phone and calling you. This method will help you know exactly the value of your ad spends.

Based on the above, you should be able to define the goal of your campaign. Once that is established, we decide if these bids should happen manually or automatically.

Automatic Bidding makes your life easy!

This is the easiest option to choose and is suitable for beginners. All that you focus on is the amount you wish to spend per day. You don't have to worry about the device, the time, the language, the operating system and so many other factors as Adwords will do that work for you. Job made easy right?

CPC campaigns and bidding details

 Let us assume that you want to run a CPC campaign. Like mentioned earlier, you could choose the automatic bidding option or go for manual bidding. If you choose the automatic bidding option, you will be able to determine the daily budget but will have no control on the CPC.

If you sell a variety of products on your website and want more clicks to your website itself without any specific product in mind, automatic bidding option is the best way to go.

Manual bidding for CPC

The beauty about Adwords is that you have an option to create multiple ad sets for one campaign. Each of these ad sets can have different bids too. If you know which keyword is more profitable, you can choose this bidding method and allocate a higher advertising budget for better placements. You get to control your ad spends and the number of clicks with this bidding option.

If you sell a variety of products on your website and are keen to increase the sale of one specific product, manual bidding is the best way to go.

Pro’s of Automatic Bidding

Con’s of Automatic Bidding

Saves your time

Cannot set different CPC’s for different Ad sets

Provides maximum clicks for the Ad spend

No fixed CPC

Suitable for beginners

Cannot maintain a fixed ad position

Pro’s of Manual Bidding

Con’s of Manual Bidding

You control your CPC

Too many parameters and not easy for beginners.

Increases traffic to website

Takes too much time managing manual bids

Campaigns target search network and/or display network.

Sometimes you may not be aware of the most profitable keyword and therefore the ads may not perform well.

Based on the pros and cons you can now decide which bidding option is best suitable for your CPC campaign. If you are interested in visibility then you can choose the manual vCPM bidding option.

Manual vCPM bidding

This is a less sought after route unless you are a big brand and your intention is only to create awareness. Cost per impression model does not necessarily translate to a click/action. With this method, you will be able to set the maximum amount you would like to pay for each time the ad is seen (per thousand). It is also an option to choose if you are confident about the ad you have and know that it is compelling enough for users to click. In that case, you are still paying per thousand impressions but getting the benefit of a user coming to your site :)

Get visitors to convert. Not just click on your ad

Cost per acquisition also referred to as CPA is an advanced option and you can now bid on the conversion based on your goal. In order to choose CPA bidding option you need to have a conversion tracking set up and just like CPC, your campaign must target search network, display network or both.


CPA - Cost / Conversions


For a successful campaign, keep the following in mind

  1. Make the action desired straight-forward. What is that you want? You want the user to give his email address to you so that you can keep writing to him and sell your product or service in the near future? OR Let the call to action on the click lead to a sign-up form? OR Want the user to buy a specific product? Let the call to action for the click lead the visitor to the product description and price page. Throw in a discount or a value-added service to help the visitor convert.
  2. Do not mess with the code. When you run a campaign, ensure that it runs for a period of two weeks before you make changes. Changes in the form of moving your conversion tracking code or changes in the form of redefining your goal or call to action is not good. This would lead to poor performance of the campaign.
  3. Set up conversion tracking sooner than later. Adwords looks into your past data. If you want the best performance, your ad campaign should generate at least 50 conversions in a month. The longer your campaign runs, more data is available to optimize your ad for a better ROI.

Not Sure? Seek Help.

I get it. There are plenty of resources online that teaches the basics of Adwords bid strategy. If you don't have the time and have a less risk appetite, outsource it to marketing companies that manage Adwords for plenty of their clients for a living. When you do something for a long time, it is no longer a stranger, isn't it?