Insights From a Google AdWords Management Agency
Within the PPC industry, bid strategies are often a debated topic. Some Google AdWords Management Agencies prefer one set of strategies while others might prefer the other. For those outside the industry, it can be a very confusing topic.
But even with the debating, one must keep an objective view of what bid strategy to use and when to use it. Every account and business will perform differently. Some bid strategies are excellent in some situations and lacking in others. In this post, I will go over the basics of bidding and provide examples of when to use which. Any information here is from my experience as a Google AdWords consultant and the documentation from Google’s support articles. There is a lot of speculation regarding bidding strategies, and I will do my best to refrain from that here.
Manual or Automatic Bidding – What do Google Adword Consultants use or recommend?
When discussing bid strategies, manual vs. automatic gets the majority of the debate. For those unaware, Google AdWords offers multiple bid strategies, but they can be boiled down to two types. Manual or automatic bidding. With manual bidding, you are in control of all your bids. You can do this on the ad group level or, more commonly, on the individual keyword level. This strategy allows you to set appropriate bids for each keyword and gives you ultimate control.
Automatic bidding lets Google do the bidding for you. You pick one of the multiple bid strategies offered and Google will do the work. This gives you less control over the bids and focuses on other parts of the account.
When and why to use Manual bids?
Manual bids are an excellent option for many accounts. For this Google Adwords Management service, it is our preferred strategy. You can set bids based on individual keyword performance and bid appropriate for your CPA or ROI goals. Most new accounts should start with manual bidding. This will give you a chance to gather the data.
There can be quite a learning curve when it comes to bidding. Make sure to start slow and bring your campaign to spend up gradually. With manual bidding, you can evaluate the traffic each keyword brings and set the bids. This might be all you need for some accounts. But after a few weeks to months, you may want to consider moving to automatic bidding.
What is automatic bidding, and why to use is?
After your campaigns have acquired a fair amount of data, you can transition over to automatic bidding. There are multiple types of automated bid strategies, and these include: Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions, Maximize Conversion Value, Maximize Clicks, and Target Impression Share.
These “Smart bidding” strategies use Google’s machine learning algorithm to set the bids for you. Since Google is basing so much of this off your conversion data, ensure you have accurate conversion tracking in your account. Your Google Adwords Management agency can help set this up, or you can find tutorials on how to do this online.
The smart bidding strategies can be highly successful, especially for large accounts with a long history of conversion data. If keeping up with the traffic volume is too much and can’t adjust the bids fast or accurately enough, it might be time to switch to smart bidding. Similarly, smart bidding can free up time for a business owner that does not have the advantage of working with a Google Ads consultant. Even for smaller accounts with less data, smart bidding can provide a unique advantage as Google can access information that we do not as the advertiser.
The main disadvantage of smart or automated bidding is the loss of control. Not only do you lose the ability to change keyword bids, but you also lose access to device, location, demographic, and other bid adjustments. Make sure to review the details of the bid strategy you choose before switching or creating a new campaign.
No matter what bid strategy you decide, you can find success in Google AdWords. Some campaigns have been running manual bidding for years and with great success. And the same can be said for smart bidding strategies. It comes down to watching the account closely and making it work for the goals of your business.