Of all of the technical aspects of PPC, none confounds both pros and novices more than bid strategy.

This is partly because there are so many bid strategy options in Google Ads, each with its own nuances.

Even when you think you understand how they work based on their descriptions, that doesn’t always translate into how they work in practice. As a result, you’re never entirely sure of your footing.

Determine a bid strategy based on your goals

Google Ads offers several bid strategies that are tailored to different types of campaigns.

Depending on which networks your campaign is targeting, and whether you want to focus on getting clicks, impressions, conversions, or views you can determine which strategy is best for you.

In this article, we’ll describe how to use your advertising goals to choose your bid strategy.

Setting Your Initial Google Ads Bids

When it comes to setting up those initial bids in Google Ads, the last thing you want to be doing is shooting in the dark and crossing your fingers in hopes that your bidding assignments work out.

You have tons of data at your fingertips—use it!

Should You Choose Manual or Automated Bidding?

Manual bidding lets you set your own maximum cost-per-click (CPC) for your ads.

In contrast, automated bidding sets the bid amount for you based on different factors.

Many paid search account managers continue to rely heavily on manual bids instead of automated.

In fact, there are four main reasons why PPCers continue to use manual bid strategies in Google Ads.

Reason 1: Automated bidding requires volume

In accounts with large conversion volumes, automated bidding can work well. These accounts generate lots of data that Google’s bid algorithm can use to calculate the best bid amount.

But without this volume, the algorithm can jump to the wrong conclusions.

This is why Google requires a minimum of 30 conversions in the past 30 days for some automated bid strategies.

Reason 2: Automated bidding requires history

Even if your account has sufficient volume, an uneven history can also be a problem.

If your account is subject to swings due to seasonality or other reasons, these swings can make bid automation a challenge.

Reason 3: Automated bidding may require flexible budgets

With automated bidding, Google needs the flexibility to make adjustments and optimizations on the fly.

This can sometimes result in significant periodic jumps in ad spend — and your budget needs to be open enough to absorb them.

Reason 4: Manual bidding can give experienced PPCers an edge

We find that many of our client campaigns perform better when we set bids manually rather than automatically.

This can happen for a variety of reasons.


  • Manual bidding gives us a competitive edge because we can react more quickly to marketplace changes.
  • The campaigns are simply too complex, low volume or nuanced for the algorithms to handle.

Adjusting Your Bids

Setting your starting bids is just the beginning. The real challenge comes a little later down the line, when it’s time to tweak them.

Before you start changing your bids, be sure that you have established your campaign goals. Do you want to score more conversions, at any cost?

Do you have a specific CPA goal in mind? Are you dead-set on position one? Your goals should drive all of these bid changes.

Short conclusion

Approach Google Ads Bidding with caution.The intent of all this information isn’t to scare you off bidding entirely.

But it pays to know your options, be aware of some of the pitfalls, proceed with caution and make a dozens of tests.