When running a Google pay-per-click campaign, you need to understand the different types of PPC bidding strategies to avoid spending too much money.
It can be tempting to just pick five of your best performing keywords and set a budget, but it’s important to remember that you’ll need to monitor your progress to see what’s working. You will have the best chance of success if you keep in mind your business model, marketing goals, and budget.
So, what is a PPC bidding strategy? When you sign into your Google Ads account, you have different options that allow you to control or automate your keyword bids.
A fully automated strategy might be best when starting out, before transitioning to a more hands-on approach as you become more confident with the platform.
Finding Your PPC Campaign Goals
Having a goal in mind will help you focus. After all it’s not always about boosting sales. If you’re looking to find your campaign goals, ask yourself a couple of questions.
What do you want your audience to do? Do you want people to contact you or to sign up for an event? You could be trying to build a buzz and increase brand visibility.
Perhaps you are only seeking to produce leads, and you are offering something that interests a specific audience. What is the goal of your PPC campaign?
What is the amount of money you have allocated for marketing purposes and are you able to exceed that amount if necessary? Some PPC campaigns can be quite expensive, depending on how much money is put into them.
There are more rigid options available if you need to stick to a tight budget. Make sure to check in on your campaign’s progress often and swap out any elements that aren’t performing as intended.
The goals of your marketing campaign may change over time or you may have multiple campaigns running simultaneously. It is important to keep track of your goals so that you can stay focused and avoid going off course.
Now that your campaign goals and marketing strategy are planned out, we can look at the most popular PPC bidding strategies.
1. Manual Cost Per Click
- Set your maximum cost per click.
- Often CPC is much lower than your maximum.
- Easy to change and manage.
- Can overpay or underpay if not researched properly.
If you have researched your keywords effectively and know which ones are most effective, then you can choose to use manual cost-per-click. With this strategy, you can manage bid prices across multiple campaigns by setting your maximum cost per click (CPC).
The benefit of this system is that you will never pay more than your specified bid price per click.
If you’re not careful with your PPC bid price, you could either end up paying too much for your chosen keyword, or not getting enough clicks because you didn’t bid high enough.
Some people believe that you don’t need to ever do manual cost per click (CPC) because the automated options are much better than before.
This is the most basic option, and it can come in useful on occasion for specific or perhaps secondary keywords, although it isn’t the best option for beginners.
2. Automatic Cost Per Click
- Google finds best CPC based on your daily budget.
- No need to set maximum CPC.
- Not ideal for low volume keywords.
This PPC strategy is easy to manage and lets Google do the work. Google aims to get you the best deals on the keywords you’ve chosen based on your daily budget.
If you set your cost per click at your desired amount, the campaign will run smoothly.
If you fully automate your Google Ads, you may end up paying too much for some clicks if Google decides that’s what you should do.
Your maximum CPC can be easily exceeded. There are several factors that can cause your bid price to increase, such as a surge in popularity or a competitor paying a high price for a keyword.
You should keep in mind that if your search terms are not very specific or are not used often, then using the automatic cost per click might not be the best PPC strategy.
If you use general search keywords, you may attract clicks from people who are looking for something else, or you may show up incorrectly on search engine results pages.
3. Enhanced Cost per Click (ECPC)
- Allows you to set your maximum CPC.
- Can exceed your maximum CPC for best chance of conversions.
- Uses smart bidding technology to find the auctions most likely to convert.
This optional feature is only available if you’re using manual CPC bidding. It can help improve your results.
The idea is that setting your cost per click higher than usual will improve your chances of getting a sale, even if it means spending more money than you wanted to. Keywords can be bought at both high and low prices.
ECPC uses a combination of your own conversion history and Google’s analysis to choose the best time to bid. By analyzing this data, ECPC can place your bid at the optimal time so you don’t overspend or miss out on potential conversions.
In order to be eligible for this, you must have been using a CPC bidding strategy for the last 30 days and have converted at least 15 times. ECPC will examine when, where, and who is searching for what, and place bids accordingly.
If you set a maximum CPC price, ECPC may still bid higher if it believes doing so will result in a conversion. The bid cap was recently increased from 30% to an unspecified amount, although the average CPC will still be kept at or below the specified amount.
4. Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
- Set your average target price for individual acquisitions.
- Google will try and get as many conversions as possible at target CPA.
- Target conversions by device: choose to focus on mobile or desktop as you wish.
- Works well on high volume searches and large ad campaigns.
ECPC bidding is a strategy that allows you to set a target price for acquisitions and uses smarter bidding for the best chances of success.
Google will charge you around your desired Cost-Per-Action as long as your target price is met frequently. Otherwise, your target price is more like a suggestion.
Using target CPA can be an effective way to manage your budget if you have been running a CPC campaign for a while and you know what works.
You can change the settings to target particular devices, which is great if you find that most conversions come from mobile or tablets. The aforementioned text speaks to the efficacy of larger businesses with more expansive advertising budgets and a broader range of keywords, as opposed to smaller businesses with more specific search terms.
5. Revenue/Conversion Strategies
PPC bidding strategies often drive bottom-line revenue. Today’s platforms are able to measure and predict the revenue and profit your campaigns are driving with accuracy.
A ROAS bidding strategy sets a bid to deliver a specific amount of revenue over your advertising costs. You set a target multiple of your costs that you would like to see returned to you in revenue. PPC bidding platforms follow the traditional ROAS formula:
ROAS = (Revenue)/(Cost)
Many PPC management platforms are designed to help you achieve a specific ROAS for the money you spend on your campaigns. The average cost of conversion will meet the ROAS you set.
You should keep track of your campaigns using ROAS techniques to ensure that you are not preventing growth in areas where you can afford to spend more.
Marketers often discover that when they bundle together conversions with low ROAS and conversions with high ROAS in the same campaign, the conversions with low ROAS end up dragging down the overall performance of the campaign. It is beneficial to place together campaigns or ad groups that have comparable ROAS objectives.
You would need to ensure that your website generates at least five conversions in order to spend five dollars on each one. You expect to receive $25 for every conversion. If you generate five sales, then your ROAS formula will look like:
($125)/(25) = 500% ROAS
This type of bidding strategy is good for businesses whose products or services are worth different amounts.
If you sell car parts, for example, implementing a ROAS strategy will ensure that the revenue you generate is evenly distributed across all of your products. By grouping together products that should generate similar amounts of ROAS, you can let your PPC tool do the work.
6. Visibility Strategies
You can use search engine advertising in order to help out with nearly any overarching strategy that you might have. It’s not always about conversion goals. Sometimes increasing visibility in strategic areas is more important.
Search Page Location Strategy
You don’t always have to be careful about how much you spend for each conversion. Strategies that target locations in the search results will spend whatever it takes to maintain a position in the search auction. This means that companies will continue to invest in search engine optimization and paid search ads in order to ensure that their website appears as the top result for relevant keywords.
This search strategy lets you set your bids and then not worry about them again. The management platform will keep changing the bids until the budget limit is reached.
This strategy, while convenient, can quickly increase your costs and lower the profitability of your campaigns. Auctions for search results are constantly changing; the cost-per-click can vary greatly depending on factors like the type of device being used, the time of day, and how many other people are participating in the auction.
You should only spend money on a target search page location strategy when you are comfortable with the fact that it might not result in direct revenue. If you don’t want to be stressed out, you should change your strategy.
If you have money to spend, search page location strategies are great. The problem is that you might not be able to make a profit, or that your profit might shrink.
This strategy is useful when your primary goal is to be seen and recognized. If you want to avoid a headache, you should have different standards for these kinds of campaigns than the rest of your account.
You should focus on metrics such as impression share and assisted conversions, rather than direct conversions and ROI. You should focus on getting your name out there with the goal of influencing conversions in the future. Take a step back and think about what you need to do in the long term to make this happen.
7. Outranking Share Strategies
Sometimes the goal is to outperform an opponent. An outranking share strategy is used when you want to outrank a competitor by having more people click on your links than theirs. You should implement this so that your ads will be shown more frequently than a competitor’s ads in search results.
Outranking share strategies generally involve three components:
- The competitor’s domain: It is important to remember that this strategy focuses on outperforming a single, specific competitor. Most PPC platforms will not let you enter a batch of domains you want to beat in the auctions. Position yourself against the domain that makes the most sense financially and from a branding standpoint.
- Target outranking share: The percentage of auctions that you aim to dominate. Mastering this part requires you to take a hard look at why you are pursuing this strategy and the target domain. Can you afford to outrank them in the vast majority of auctions? If you can afford to, should you? Run your numbers to see what share of auctions you are comfortable pursuing.
- Max bid limits: Much like the position bidding strategies, outranking a specific domain can become incredibly expensive quickly. Many advertisers make the mistake of underestimating a competitor’s advertising budget and reach, and wind up biting off more than they can chew. Platforms like AdWords will set your max bid limits for you if you would rather not work through the math, but be sure to keep an eye on your costs over time.
8. Click-Based Strategies
Maximize Clicks Strategy
This strategy will give you the most bang for your buck by providing the most clicks for your budget. Although you will not be able to establish any CPA or ROAS targets. You need to monitor your campaigns to ensure they are making money.
There is still potential for a marketer to maximize clicks if they have deep knowledge of their account.
Most PPC platforms will require two pieces of information from you:
- Budget: How much are you willing to spend on the campaign? Remember that you pay for every ad click, so you are essentially telling your tool to charge you are much as possible.
- Max CPC: How much are you willing to pay-per-click? Your max CPC will determine the amount of clicks that you will receive.
A click strategy is a simple advertising strategy that can be used in a variety of ways. It would be easier to write about situations when it would work for you. This means that accounts with small profit margins would not be good candidates.
If you spend too much money in areas where you’re not making a profit, you could end up in financial trouble, especially if you’re bidding on head terms or other expensive keywords. Make sure you keep your CPCs in check.
Making a lot of money from ad impressions on websites is all about getting a lot of people to visit the site. That’s why marketers who are trying to get as many people as possible to visit a website use this strategy.