Best Google Ads Conversion Bid Strategies

Best Google Ads Conversion Bid Strategies

Using the wrong bid strategy for your campaign’s goal will lead to inefficient spending driving your costs up. This article explains our Three Step Bidding Strategy which will help you choose the best bid strategy/when & how to use them to squeeze the most ROI out of your conversion based Google Ads search campaigns!

To determine your bid strategy you must first consider your goal. Let’s take a look at the common ones:

To maximise brand awareness, we would choose one of these strategies that focus on driving impressions.

  • Target Impression Share: Automatically sets bids to try and show your ads at the top of the page.
  • Cost Per Mile (CPM): Also known as cost per thousand impressions, you pay for the number of thousand impressions your ad received. 
  • Target Cost Per Mile (tCPM): You set the average you would like to pay for a thousand impressions.
  • Viewable Cost per Mile (vCPM): You set the maximum cost you would like to pay to reach a thousand views.

If you want to concentrate on increasing traffic to your website, the focus would be on clicks with CPC bidding.

  • Maximise clicks: Automated strategy that brings in the most amount of clicks possible for your budget.
  • Manual CPC bidding: You set the maximum CPC you would like to pay for each keyword.

Finally, if your campaigns are based on increasing sales or profitability, the spotlight is on conversion based strategies. We’ll further break down our favourite ones.

  • Target cost-per-action (CPA): Automated strategy to optimise towards conversions while aiming for a target cost-per-action. 
  • Target return on ad spend (ROAS): Automated strategy for optimising towards conversion value while targeting a specific return on ad spend.
  • Maximise conversions: Automated strategy that brings in the most conversions possible for your budget.
  • Maximise conversion value: Optimises for conversion value while spending your whole budget without targeting a specific ROAS.
  • Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC): A semi-automated strategy that you can set the maximum CPC for each keyword & the system will slightly adjust your bids for keywords that seem more or less likely to lead to a sale or conversion.

Manual vs Automated Bid Strategies

Manual strategies allow you to simply click on the Max CPC beside each keyword to adjust it, the bids will stay where they are until the Advertiser decides to increase or decrease it depending on its performance. This is beneficial when there are specific keywords you would like to target.

Automated bidding removes the advertiser control to adjust individual keyword bids, instead, Google’s machine learning algorithm will automatically set a bid on each keyword every time it enters an auction which is also known as ‘real-time bidding’.

It works by taking into account a wide range of data points such as device, location, time of day & the competition to determine your keyword bid for every search to help you reach your performance goals.

Allowing Google to do some of the heavy liftings can be handy as no one likes to manually adjust hundreds or thousands of keyword bids one by one, especially if you are managing multiple accounts. No-one!

Portfolio Bid Strategies

Google provides the option of placing a bid strategy on the campaign level or portfolio level which groups together multiple campaigns.

Campaigns with the same performance goals can be grouped into a portfolio bid strategy which will provide the algorithm with the most freedom to optimise across a wider range of campaigns.

Campaigns with a unique goal are more suited to a campaign level bid strategy which will optimise the bids across the keywords in that campaign only.

The bid strategies supported in a Portfolio are automated & include: Target CPA, Maximise conversions, Maximise conversion value, Maximise clicks, Target impression share, and target ROAS.

Three-Step Bidding Strategy

Each bidding strategy provides better performance than the previous one as they leverage your campaign’s historical data.

We are providing these in steps as there are prerequisites to achieve before our favourite bidding strategies can function at its fullest potential. These prerequisites can be achieved on a campaign or portfolio bidding level, we recommend using a portfolio bid strategy where possible to help your campaign progress faster.

Important: Conversion tracking needs to be set up before starting a conversion-based campaign. This allows the advertiser & the algorithm to see what happens after a user interacts with your ad eg if it resulted in a purchase.

    1. Begin your campaign with the Maximise Clicks strategy. This is an automated strategy that will drive as many clicks as possible to deliver out your set budget. The downside is that if the CPC starts to increase it will still work to spend your entire budget which can sometimes lead to expensive clicks. As this automated strategy takes away our ability to set keyword bids, a tip is to set a Max CPC on your campaign or portfolio level to combat this. Setting a Max CPC can restrict the number of auctions where your ads will bid causing the campaign to underspend your set budget. If this occurs consider increasing your Max CPC & optimising other areas of your campaign, device, audiences & demographics etc to help bring the CPC back down.Yes.

      This is a bid strategy focused on driving clicks although we want to get conversions. The conversion strategies do not yet have the data to recognize which keywords will provide the highest conversion based performance. They require a larger amount of traffic through clicks initially gathering data before being able to make better-informed bidding decisions.

 

  • Next, the Maximise Conversion bid strategy (No data thresholds are required to be able to kick start this bid strategy effectively). This is an automated bid strategy that will drive as many conversions as possible while spending out your budget. Prematurely moving to this bidding strategy can cause the campaign to obtain a high CPA for a prolonged period. This is due to the fact a conversion cost is higher than a click, it takes longer for a conversion based strategy to gather enough traffic for the algorithm to know which keywords are providing the most conversions.

 

 

  • Finally, we recommend reaching 50 conversions in 30 days before switching to our favourite conversion-based bidding strategy, Target cost-per-action (CPA). This is a fantastic bidding strategy as Google’s algorithm works to provide as many conversions as possible at or below your set CPA (the average you would like to pay for a conversion). The difference to Maximise Conversions is that this strategy is less likely to spend all of your budgets as it is a little shy & will exclude itself from the auctions that it thinks will push the CPA over the set target. Whereas Maximise Conversions works more aggressively to provide as many conversions as possible for your budget without regard to your CPA.As a result of these strategies leveraging your historical data, reaching 50 conversions in 30 days will provide the Target CPA strategy with a wide range of data to comfortably enter more auctions & spend a higher budget than if it did not start with the previous two steps.

 

Setting Up A Portfolio Bid Strategy

To create a portfolio bid strategy:

                1. Simply click on Tools & Settings > Bid Strategies > The Plus Button
                2. Select your bid strategy.
                3. Simply add the name of the strategy for your reference, select the campaigns to add & hit save. When progressing to the next step, create a new portfolio to add the campaigns as the bid strategy can not be edited in existing portfolios.

Setting A Campaign Level Bid Strategy

The campaign level bid strategy can be selected in step one of creating a new campaign.

            1. Select the goal of Conversion.
            2. Select Maximise Clicks if you are starting step one of the Three-Step Bidding Strategy.

The bid strategy can be changed by selecting Settings > Change bid strategy.

Final Thoughts

Although these are automated bid strategies, they are not set & forget. To meet your performance goals… Never stop optimising!

Keeping your competitive edge requires continuous monitoring while testing out new changes.

Bid strategies are one aspect of Google ads and a great place to start, combine this with optimising all aspects of your account & hopefully you will be seeing month-on-month improvement!

Feel free to contact us for any questions or to enquire about our PPC services. Have a nice day!

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