The first step in selecting a bid strategy for Google AdWords is to decide on your company’s or project goals.
Since bid strategies are set at the campaign level, you’ll need to decide on one main goal for each campaign. Do you want to drive traffic to your website or to a specific page within your site? Do you want customers to fill out an online form, complete a purchase, or make a phone call? Or perhaps, you simply want to increase your brand awareness and appear above your competitors in search results?
What is your key performance indicator?
After you decide on your goals, use this goal to select a key performance indicator (KPI) on Google AdWords. Your bid strategy will be based on this KPI.
• Focus on Clicks: Focus on clicks to drive website traffic to your site, or a specific page on your site. To focus on clicks, use Cost-per-Click bidding. CPC bidding allows you to set a Max. CPC (Maximum Cost-per-Click) for a campaign, an ad group, or an individual keyword.
• Focus on Conversions: Focus on conversions if you want your audience to perform an action, such as filling out a website form, completing an online purchase, or making a phone call. To focus on conversions, use Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA) bidding. CPA bidding lets you set a Target CPA, or the average amount you are willing to pay for a conversion. Google then analyzes historical conversion data to determine who should see your ad based on their likelihood of converting. You need to have installed conversion tracking and have received at least 15 conversions in the past 30 days in order to use CPA bidding.
• If you haven’t collected enough historical data for conversion tracking, or you don’t feel comfortable letting Google determine how much you will pay for a click, try Enhanced CPC (ECPC) biding. If that sounds easy-peasy to you, that’s because it is. Using ECPC allows Google the flexibility to raise your Max. CPC bid up to 30% when Google believes a sale, or a click, is likely. ECPC factors in real-time details such as device, browser, location, and time of day.
• Focus on Impressions: If your goal is creating greater brand awareness by simply appearing in the search results, or appearing above your competitor, reaching your goal has more to do with the keywords you use than a specific bid strategy. You should default to regular CPC bidding (and bid mostly on broad match keywords).
Bid adjustments for CPC and ECPC bidding
Bid adjustments allow you to instruct Google whether to show your ad more or less frequently depending on a particular factor. When deciding whether to set a bid adjustment, it’s important to keep in mind your goal. For example, mobile bid adjustments would work well toward getting more phone calls, while ad scheduling would help if people who shop on Mondays are more likely to purchase your product. Note that CPA bidding will override all bid adjustments.
• Mobile bid adjustments allow you to adjust your bid -90% to +300% based on whether you want to target (or avoid) someone using a mobile device. You can set a mobile bid adjustment at the campaign or the ad group level.
• Location bid adjustments allow you to adjust your bid -90% to +900% based on a geographic location. You can also use location extension targeting to raise bids for when someone is nearby. You can only set a location bid adjustment at the campaign level.
• Ad Scheduling allows you to adjust your bid -90% to +900% depending on the time or day of the week you would like your ads to show. You can only set ad scheduling at the campaign level.
In order to select a bid strategy that aligns with your company’s goals, first decide on a goal and its respective KPI. If you decide to focus on clicks, use Enhanced CPC bidding and/or apply bid adjustments to help your ad reach a more targeted audience. Most importantly, make sure to measure your KPI to determine whether your company’s goal is actually being met.