Smart bidding in Google Ads is a constant analysis of whether the selected model will actually best meet your goals. There is no doubt that the role of automation and smart bidding will only increase, so today it is worth considering the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy as well as their optimal use. I invite you to read it!

Smart bidding strategies – types and meaning

Intelligent strategies include the types that are mostly optimized by Google. This means that in the ideal model, we set the budget, define the assumptions in the panel, and the rest with the magic hands of automation fulfills itself.

However, such a scenario is extremely rare for a simple reason – Google receives and processes hundreds of thousands of microdata all time, and thus the conditions in which our campaign is faced with competitors’ auctions are extremely dynamic.

With manual bidding, each keyword is “facing” others for a fixed CPC amount, in the case of slots, this amount is determined by multiple signals and moments (meaning we lose control over the CPC bid). 

The intelligent strategies include:

  • maximizing the number of clicks
  • maximizing the number of conversions
  • target impression share CPA (conversion cost)
  • target ROAS (target ad return)

I will try to briefly characterize each of these types of strategies, but I make a reservation that the list of variants and various settings is not exhausted (I omit some of them due to their little practicality).

Increase your website traffic with maximized clicks

One of my favorite and most frequently chosen strategies, focuses primarily on the lowest possible cost. Like any strategy, it takes from a week to four to learn the target bids, but when it gets up to speed, it has no equal in getting cheap traffic.

The cheap traffic keyword immediately lights the lamp in the mind of an experienced Google Ads user and raises the question of quality. And rightly so – maximizing clicks optimize bids and wins auctions where you can pay less per click. This means less relevant search phrases and more manual work with excluding search terms.

Get more sales with conversion maximization

At this point, I would like to alert you to the mental shortcuts used, dear Ads user, and to refrain from negative comments about this archaic bidding strategy. I am already revealing the secret to the uninitiated – maximization of the number of conversions has gained a step-sibling in the form of maximizing the conversion value.

Given that you can also specify a target cost-per-action (CPA) and value (ROAS), essentially this strategy has absorbed a few other ones.

To the point – the goal is to obtain as many paid baskets as possible, regardless of the cost? Definitely try maximizing conversion, it will work most effectively with one specific type of conversion selected. Disadvantages? The learning phase is usually very expensive. To be on the safe side, I’d start by experimenting with this bidding strategy.

Appear as often as possible with your targeted impression share

It is extremely difficult to logically explain the difference between smart bidding strategies and automated bidding strategies in the current circumstances. The first, in the light of Google algorithms, does not belong to the world of advanced bidding mechanisms and at the same time only automates manual processes.

The perfect example is the target impression share strategy, which I find a very funny type of campaign – I imagine it as a very distant cousin of smart bidding that I see only for holidays.

Target impression share is perfect for brand campaigns in which we want to be displayed as often as possible. We can choose here the placement of the advertisement: in the first position, at the top of the page or anywhere. With this type of strategy, the “Impression Share” and “Loss of Impression Share” columns are extremely useful in the analysis. We are only limited by the maximum rate per click.

Keep your costs in check with your target CPA

A safe type of strategy if we are starting the adventure by working on conversions is the target cost-per-action strategy (also known as tCPA – target cost per acquisition). You choose this type from the settings, enter the maximum amount for a specific conversion and wait for the results. If only it actually worked so perfectly…

How do determine the optimal cost at the very beginning of conversion activities? Theoretically historical data from the panel will help you find a starting point. In practice, the first weeks mean many times overstated costs, which naturally prompt you to return to manual strategies. As in any test, the campaigns should get better and closer to the desired amount over time.

Google is sensitized to prepare for more than double spending of the daily budget at the beginning, which should be evened out on a monthly basis.

An advertising investment that pays off with tROAS

The last and most important king of bidding strategy – target ROAS (return on ad spending). To assess the effectiveness of this strategy, there should be min. 50 conversions.

Target ROAS forecasts the conversion value and aims to achieve the assumed amounts. Of course, a good and effective campaign in Google Ads should earn on itself with ROAS at the level of min. 100%, but this is not always achieved from the very beginning of the strategy.

Which Google Ads bid strategy to choose?

Hope the above article helped you understand the basic uses of the Google Ads bid strategy. There is no single, ideal model for conducting profitable and effective campaigns, it is all a matter of individual business needs and advertising opportunities. I recommend treating my guide as a signpost, not a ready-made model.

For all traffic goals, click maximization, which values the cheapest auctions with the highest clicks, can be reliable. When looking for conversions, three strategies will work, each with a different goal: maximizing the number of conversions (as many sales as possible), tCPA (set target cost-per-action), and tROAS (target conversion value). If we’re struggling to get our ad impressions, Target Impression Share strategy will be the perfect fit.

And which one are you betting on? Read on soon!