In recent Marketing Mondays blog posts, we’ve zoomed in on all manner of aspects of pay per click (PPC) – including what it actually is, what Google Ads is, why you might wish to invest in a PPC campaign for your brand, and how much it could cost you to use it.
There’s something else we haven’t quite covered in-depth yet, though – exactly how you might go about implementing a PPC campaign.
Well, that’s the subject we’re going to start delving into with this week’s piece, with a particular focus on what PPC bidding strategies might serve your brand best.
But What is PPC Bidding, Anyway?
Key to understanding how Google Ads works is understanding how its auction and bidding processes work – so here goes.
If you’ve identified some keywords that you would like to focus on for your PPC activity, but there are other advertisers competing with you to use those same keywords in their campaigns, Google needs to hold an auction to determine the ads that will appear whenever someone performs a relevant Google search.
This auction takes place instantaneously every time a Google user performs such a search. But of course, to have a chance of placing first in this auction, you’ll need to have a strong ‘bid’. This bid is the maximum amount that you tell Google Ads you’re willing to pay for each click you get on your ad.
While, unlike the situation with a conventional auction, your bid isn’t the only factor that will dictate where your ad is placed and indeed, whether it is placed on a particular search results page at all, it is nonetheless an influential one. Another factor in your ad’s performance, for example, will be how relevant and useful Google assesses it to be.
So, What Are PPC Bidding Strategies?
When it comes to pretty much anything in life, you’ll have a much stronger chance of success if you know what you are specifically aiming to achieve – because you’ll then adjust your approach to maximise the likelihood of you fulfilling this goal.
It’s much the same situation with PPC. There are many different types of bidding, geared to different objectives that you might have for your PPC campaign. Some businesses specifically wish to optimise for clicks, while for others, it may be a high level of conversions or impressions that they desire to attain.
There is, though, another key distinction to be made across the broad range of possible PPC bid strategies: manual or automated bidding. Manual bidding can certainly still have a place in PPC, with a good example of such a strategy being Manual Cost Per Click (CPC), which simply involves the advertiser manually picking a fixed bid for a particular keyword, and then leaving Google to do the rest.
There are a fair few reasons why you might not want to take a manual approach, though – or at least, not at first. These include that you may not exactly feel confident doing things so manually when you’re just starting out, as well as that it could be very easy to end up setting your bid too high – and therefore overspending – or too low, which could mean you get no clicks.
Here at Success Local, we usually recommend automated PPC bidding strategies to our clients, unless they have a completely different objective in mind for their campaign. This is partly because automated bid strategies use machine learning to optimise for your chosen goal in each and every auction, and can, therefore, save you a lot of time.
The 5 Most Popular Automated Bidding Strategies
You may find one or more of the following automated PPC bidding strategies to be invaluable at various stages of your own brand’s involvement with paid search:
Unlike the other four PPC bidding strategies in this rundown, this strategy is geared towards trying to bolster clicks rather than conversions.
There’s no simpler way to bid for clicks if you’re interested in automated bidding. You just have to set a daily budget, and then leave the Google Ads system to do its thing, automatically managing your bids to get you as many clicks as possible without going over your budget.
Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
This bidding strategy has also been referred to in the past as target cost per action or Conversion Optimizer. It’s a smart bidding strategy that sets bids to assist you in getting as many conversions as possible at or below a specific target cost per action (CPA).
That ‘action’ or ‘acquisition’ in question could be something like a click, app download or registration. Nonetheless, the focus with this bidding strategy is on the automatic optimisation of bids for each and every auction, using advanced machine learning.
Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)
ECPC is an optional feature that you can turn to when your strategy is otherwise the aforementioned Manual CPC bidding. It automatically adjusts your manual bids in an attempt to maximise conversions, by looking for ad auctions that are more likely to lead to conversions, and raising your maximum cost per conversion (CPC) bid accordingly, in order to compete harder for those clicks.
Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)
If you want to bid based on a target return on ad spend (ROAS), this is the smart bidding strategy to go with. As its name suggests, it helps you to boost conversion value or revenue at the target ROAS that you set. The automatic optimisation of your bids at auction time enables you to tailor bids for each auction.
Unlike the Target CPA strategy, the Maximise Conversions strategy enables you to optimise for conversions without targeting a specific CPA.
Instead, this strategy is aimed at automatically setting bids to get the most possible conversions for your PPC campaign, while spending your entire budget. This is another strategy where advanced machine learning is used to automatically optimise bids, tailoring them to each and every auction.
So, Which Would Be The Right Strategy For You?
The answer to this, of course, will depend on a wealth of factors. If it’s optimising for clicks that you’re most interested in, then Maximise Clicks or Manual CPC could both be suitable. For conversions, meanwhile, the aforementioned Enhanced CPC, Target CPA, Maximise Conversions and Target ROAS strategies could all be valid.
If it is impressions, that is your ad simply appearing on search engine results pages (SERPs), you have various other options. These include cost per thousand impressions (CPM), whereby you pay based on the number of impressions your ads receive on YouTube or the Google Display Network, as well as cost per thousand viewable impressions (vCPM).
The latter is a manual bidding strategy that enables you to set the highest amount you wish to pay for each 1,000 viewable ad impressions on the Google Display Network. It’s the strategy that you might choose if you wish to heighten awareness with your ads, but not necessarily generate clicks or traffic.
Other options for those interested in increasing impressions above all else, include Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking Share. These are both automated bidding strategies, with the first automatically setting your bids to help to boost the likelihood of your ads appearing at the top of the page, or on the first page of the search results.
Target Outranking Share, meanwhile, allows you to choose a domain that you want to outrank. This enables you to get your ad to display above that domain’s ads, or even show when that domain’s ad doesn’t. You are able to stipulate how frequently you wish to outrank the specific domain so that Google Ads can automatically set your Search bids to assist you in meeting this target.
Strat You Journey In the Bewildering World Of PPC
Phew! As you’ve probably got a sense of when reading this blog post, there’s a lot to get your head around when it comes to PPC.
Choosing from the wealth of available PPC bidding strategies can certainly be one of most overwhelming and confusing aspects. However, such a wide range of possible strategies also shows how much scope there is to fine-tune your next PPC campaign to ensure it achieves exactly what you want it to achieve.
Why not get in touch with the Success Local team today, by calling 01455 367100, for a more in-depth discussion about how we can power your brand to new heights of success on Google Ads?