An Expert’s Guide to Google Ads Automated Bidding Strategies

August 17, 2021

google ads logo on phone


So you’ve decided to take the plunge into the wonderful world of Google Ads… You’ve constructed your campaigns, created your ad groups, put together a range of punchy adverts and assembled a selection of kick-ass ad extensions; all before implementing your desired targeting and bid adjustments. Now, before you press the big red ‘LAUNCH’ button (if only Google Ads actually offered this feature), all you have to do is make a decision on the bidding strategy you would like to apply to each of your campaigns. Simple, right? Sadly it’s just not that easy. Selecting the right bidding strategy is an incredibly important decision that requires careful consideration and a solid understanding of the options available.

When you go to choose a bidding strategy for your Google Ads campaign you’re presented with a dropdown that contains a list of their automated bidding strategies. If you’re someone who isn’t up to date with Google Ads jargon and the latest technical terms (everyone except PPC super nerds like us), you could be mistaken for thinking that the options Google has given you are in another language. How on earth are you going to decipher which automated bidding strategy is best for your campaign? Don’t worry we’re here to help you…

In this article we will outline the various automated bidding strategies that are on offer. Not only will we define what they are, we will also explain when it is appropriate to use them.

google ads logo on phone

Before we board the HMS PPC and set sail through the choppy automated bidding ocean,  it is first important to explain what ‘automated bidding’ actually is. Essentially if you opt for an automated bidding strategy you are, to an extent, handing the reins over to Google. Unlike manual bidding strategies where you are in control of pretty much everything in terms of how much you bid on keywords and who your ads are put in front of, with automated bidding you put your trust in the hands of Google’s algorithm. 

Taking your end goal into account, Google will allocate spend to the areas of your campaign it feels will help you achieve it. Ultimately, this will help you save time as you won’t have to manually change every budget and bid yourself, Google will do all the donkey-work! Also Google bidding algorithms tailor bids to each user’s unique context, using relevant signals present at auction time. This increases the chances of reaching the right user with the right message at the right time


The automated bid strategy you select for your Google Ads campaign is dependent on what your overall objective is. To help you make sense of what each bid strategy entails and what it aims to help you achieve, we have listed each under the ‘end goal’ relevant to them. 


End Goal: Generate Awareness


For those who are using Google Ads to get the name of their business / product under the nose of as many people as possible, ‘Target impression share’ is the automated bidding strategy for you. As an ‘impression’ is registered when your advert is seen by a user, the aim of this bidding strategy is to make sure that your ads are visible for particular queries and on certain locations on the page. 


With this bid strategy you set an impression share threshold so Google knows how often you want your ads to show up in a specific location on the search results page. 


End Goal: Bring in Clicks


If you are looking to use Google Ads to drive clicks and get as many users as possible on your website within your allocated budget then maximise clicks is the strategy you should look to implement. 

With this bidding strategy Google will take control of how much you bid on the keywords in your campaigns, allocating spend towards those it feels will generate the most clicks.


End Goal: Generate Conversions

For most using Google Ads the ultimate objective is to generate ‘conversions’ on their website. Whether that’s a user completing a purchase, filling out a form, or getting in touch via email or phone, the purpose of Google Ads for such advertisers is to get people onto their website to complete a particular action.


There are 3 automated bidding strategies that can be used to generate conversions:

  • Maximise Conversions: Google will drive as much conversion volume as possible within your budget, favouring the keywords it feels will help you achieve it. This is for advertisers who have a fixed budget and don’t have an explicit CPA/ROAS goal.
  • Target cost-per-acquisition (tCPA): This strategy automatically sets bids to help you increase conversions while reaching your average Cost-Per-Acquisition goal. (CPA = Cost / Conversions). This is great for lead generation and eCommerce businesses that don’t need to take into account order value.
  • Enhanced cost-per-click (eCPC): This strategy automatically adjusts your manual bid up or down based on each click’s likelihood to result in a conversion.

google ads graph

If you track the revenue or value that is associated with a conversion on your website it is likely you will be looking to measure the success of your Google Ads campaign by return on ad spend. Google Ads’ automated bidding strategy, Target return on ad spend (Target ROAS) allows advertisers to specify what their desired ROAS is prior to their campaign going live. Google then controls bids to help get as much conversion value as possible at the target return on ad spend (ROAS) you have set.

So there you have it, an expert’s guide to automated bidding! Next time you create a campaign on Google Ads you hopefully won’t be baffled by the automated bidding strategies listed in the dropdown. Using the information provided in this article you will be able to make an informed decision so you choose an automated bidding strategy that is in line with your end goal. Now all you have to do is get that campaign running and see the results for yourself!


Kieran Press Signify



“Our Google Ads experience spans many sectors and organisations. Whether you are a start up or a global organisation, maintaining an effective Google Ads strategy could be the key to increasing your online presence and lead generation. Looking to find out more? Get in touch!”


With an eye for analytics, data analysis and optimisation, Kieran supports the build and success of our client campaigns.
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