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  • PPC
  • by: Kara Whitton on: September 15, 2020

PPC bid strategies: Top tips

In this article, we take a look at the various bid strategies available for PPC marketers and share top tips which you can implement to ensure you’re maximising success on your paid search campaigns.

In this article, we take a look at the various bid strategies available for PPC marketers and share top tips which you can implement to ensure you’re maximising success on your paid search campaigns.

Maximising clicks

What is a maximise clicks bidding strategy?

The main focus of the maximise clicks bid strategy is to get the most amount of clicks for your budget rather than focusing on cost per click (CPC) and conversions. You can control the CPCs within this strategy by setting a maximum budget, and therefore automatically set bids to spend the allocated budget. 

Why would I use this?

You can use maximise clicks for single campaigns or as part of a portfolio strategy that can group a number of campaigns together. Ad scheduling is also available to tailor bids during specific periods. You may also use this bid strategy if your campaign’s objectives are focused on building traffic. 

What platform is this available in?

SA360, Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Yahoo Japan, Baidu

Top tip

The ‘maximise clicks bid strategy’ would not suit campaigns that have goals surrounding profitability as the sole focus for this strategy is on driving traffic, rather than efficiency. 

Maximising conversions

What is a maximise conversions bidding strategy?

The main focus of maximising conversions bid strategy is to get the most conversions for the campaigns associated. It does this by automatically optimising bids to get the most conversions possible for your campaign(s) whilst focusing on spending the budget.

Why would I use this?

Maximise conversions may not be the best bid strategy to use if your goals are centered around profitability, whereby your main focus is the efficiency of your CPCs. Instead, this bid strategy is focused on driving conversions at whatever the cost (dependent on bid modifiers set in place) and will always spend the entire budget given.

What platform is this available in?

SA360, Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Yahoo Japan

Top tip

It is important to note that campaigns using the maximise conversions strategy are on their own budget and therefore not part of a shared budget. This means it will spend the whole budget for all campaigns associated with it, so you must check that conversion tracking is in place to ensure this bid strategy is working to its full potential.

Target cost per acquisition (CPA)

What is a target CPA bidding strategy?

The main focus of the target CPA bid strategy is to gain as many conversions at the target CPA cost (the average amount) that you have set or below. It does this by using auction-time bidding and by tailoring each bid in every auction it enters. Target CPA bid strategies are a target and the actual cost per acquisition (CPA) may be under or over the cost per conversion you have set.

Why would I use this?

This bid strategy would be used if the main focus is to increase the efficiency of your campaigns. This is because the target CPA strategy works towards a cost-effective conversion and is available at campaign level, or as part of a portfolio bid strategy. 

What platform is this available in?

SA360, Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Yahoo Japan, Baidu (named oCPC)

Top tips

  • Although this bid strategy does not have a set amount of required conversions, to achieve the best possible results for your campaign, it’s recommended to have between 10 – 15 conversions in the last 30 days, to ensure that the bid strategy has enough data to work from when optimising for a target CPA.
  • If you have historical data to work from, Google Ads will recommend a target CPA and an ‘average CPA’ figure based on this.  
  • As well as being able to determine the maximum bid, you can also specify the minimum bid, however these are only available at a portfolio level. 
  • If the target set is too low this may impact the number of clicks the bid strategy can bid on, which could result in your campaign missing out on conversions.
  • It is important to bear in mind that when used across a vast number of campaigns, target CPA bid strategies will fall into a ‘learning phase’ for the first few weeks – generally two.  
  • It is recommended to slightly increase targets until your bid strategy has had time to settle, then to reduce these accordingly, to ensure you are not limiting bids.

Target return on ad spend (ROAS)

What is a target ROAS bidding strategy?

The main focus of the target ROAS bid strategy is to get more revenue from the target ROAS budget. Auction time bidding is used, which enables bids to be tailored at every opportunity, optimising towards the target ROAS that have been set. 

Why would I use a target ROAS bidding strategy?

The target ROAS strategy assists in boosting revenue by both adjusting the maximum CPC in order to thereby maximise the conversion value, whilst also focusing on the average return on investment (ROI) spend that you have specified for the campaign. It can be used for single campaigns or as part of a portfolio strategy, grouping multiple campaigns together.

What platform is this available in?

SA360, Google Ads, Yahoo Japan

Top tips

  • To be eligible for this bid strategy you will need a minimum of 20 conversions in the past 45 days. 
  • Once you have applied the bid strategy to the campaigns, Google will recommend a target ROAS amount based on this historical data, excluding the previous few days to include conversions that may not show instantly. 
  • It is recommended to set your target slightly lower than necessarily desired and to increase it over time according to the data accrued, to ensure you are not limiting efficiency. 

Target impression share

What is a target impression share bidding strategy?

The main focus of a target impression share bid strategy is to show ads in the place specified (absolute top of the page, top of page or anywhere on the page) on the Google search results page. Maximum CPCs are available, if this is too restrictive then this will impact how closely the bid strategy can work towards your specified target. 

Why would I use target impression share bid strategy?

Target impression share bid strategies work by using automated bids to reach the desired impression share placement. Using a percentage amount, it works towards positioning your ad where you want it to appear on the search engine results page (SERP). E.g. ‘65% absolute top of the page’ would aim to deliver ads at the absolute top of the page (position two or above) 65% of the time.

You can use target impression share bid strategy for single campaigns or as part of a portfolio strategy. See below the target keyword position in correspondence with target impression share metrics:

What platform is it available in?

SA360, Google Ads

Top tips

  • It is recommended to set your bids lower initially and then raise your percentage by 50% maximum. If this approach is not successful, at this point you can raise your maximum CPC bid in order to avoid overspending dramatically.
  • Unlike many other bid strategies the main focus is to build awareness and reach, this may increase the chances of the bid strategy not being profitable – although it can also be used for performance.

Target keyword position

What is a target keyword position bid strategy?

The main focus of a target keyword position bid strategy is to position your ads at the specified position within the SERP, whilst staying within the target CPC amounts set by the bid strategy. It works by bidding within your constraints (maximum and minimum CPC bid limits) to keep your ads showing in as close to the specified position as possible such.

Why would I use the target keyword position bid strategy?

If your focus is to build awareness and reach then this bid strategy would suit your campaign most, because of its strengths in dictating visibility on the SERP. Google Ads have sunsetted the target keyword position bid strategies and as a result, target impression share is favoured instead.

What platform is this available in?

SA360, Microsoft Ads, Baidu (named Maximised Ad Ranking)

Top tips

  • Keyword position is not only determined by the keyword bid as the quality score also plays a large part in how high a keyword can rank. It is therefore important to monitor and raise the quality score in order to meet your desired keyword position. 
  • Do not rely heavily on target keyword position as it is expected Microsoft Ads will also sunset this bid strategy.

Enhanced cost per click

What is an enhanced cost per click strategy?

The main focus of an enhanced cost per click bid strategy is to aid you in getting more conversions for a specified CPC whilst giving greater flexibility than manual CPC bidding. Enhanced cost per click works by adjusting manual bids that are less likely to result in a conversion and utilises auction-time bidding, tailoring each bid in all auctions entered and differentiates between devices (mobile). 

Why would I use enhanced cost per click?

Bids altered by enhanced cost per click will aim to keep your CPC below the average of the campaigns you have selected and the CPC that you have set, when making adjustments to maximise conversions. Enhanced cost per click allows your bid strategy to optimise based on ‘conversion value’ (available on search only) focusing on efficiency. The main metrics targeted by enhanced CPC are click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate, generally, CPCs will increase to allow an increase in conversions as CPCs are not the main focus.

What platform is this available in?

SA360, Google Ads, Bing Ads, Yahoo Japan

Top tips

  • Allow your bid strategy to run for at least one month, then compare the monthly cost per action CPA to the CPA previous in order to the enhanced CPC bid strategy to monitor efficiency. 
  • Don’t forget – as this bid strategy differentiates between devices you will also have to manually manage device bid adjustments.

Manual bidding

What is manual bidding?

The main focus of manual bidding is that you can set a maximum cost per click (CPC) to boost efficiency and requires upkeep to ensure you are keeping up with the changing CPC amounts. If the CPC is set too low this will restrict and negatively impact impression share target.

When would I use manual bidding?

You would use manual bidding if you had a bid strategy implemented in the advanced search management platform (SA360) so that it does not constrain or conflict with another bid strategy in place.

What platform is this available in?

All platforms

Top tips

  • It is important to regularly monitor the progress of this bid strategy, as it allows you to have total control over bidding. By not keeping on top of the marketing you put your campaigns at risk of missing out on performance opportunities. 
  • It is important to note that SA360 bid strategies override in engine bid strategies. If the bid strategy has been applied in SA360, you will need to have the campaigns associated with Manual Bidding in the engine, so that they do not clash actions.

To find out on how you can better optimise your PPC bid strategies using Serpico's PPC audit tool, get in touch

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