19 Google Ads Bidding Strategies Your Competitors Don’t Know

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19 Google Ads Bidding Strategies Your Competitors Don’t Know

Your bids are the most important part of your Google Ads campaigns. They play a key role in determining the queries you show up for, and how profitable your campaign is overall. If you bid too much, you’ll kill your efficiency. If you bid too little, you’ll never gain any traction.
You don’t have to be a mad scientist or a mathematician to effectively bid for profitable keywords – under the right circumstances. But you will need some tips, some strategies, and some best practices.

An Overview of the Google Ads Auction

The auction is defined by Google as a process that decides which ads will appear and where they will appear with each search query.
Every single ad goes through the auction. One of the many factors that determine whether your ad will run and make it to the first spot is your bid.
Google Ads has multiple bidding strategies for advertisers. The three critical factors that the auction considers when  determining your ad’s appearance and position are:

  1. The bid for that keyword.
  2. Quality score.
  3. Relevancy.

The bid is crucial. This is why you should have a solid bidding strategy in place to beat the competition.
A solid bidding strategy is the simplest way to lower CPC. When your strategy is optimized, you’ll see a significant decline in average CPC.
The following bidding strategies will show you how you can achieve this.

1. CPA Bidding

After running an Google Ads campaign for a few months, you might qualify for a CPA bidding feature. If your campaign received 15 conversions in 30 days, the CPA bidding will activate.
How does it work?
Based on your conversion history, Google Ads will predict conversions. The Conversion Optimizer will apply its own bid. You’ll be charged on the basis of conversions.

CPA bidding could be more effective than other types of bids since your ads and bids are now optimized for conversions on the basis of account history. Like anything else. give it a try, don’t just assume that it will work for you.

2.  CPM Bidding (Cost Per Thousand Impression)

CPM bidding charges you based on the number of your ad impressions. The standard unit is a thousand impressions. Therefore, you’ll be charged for every thousand impressions that your ad receives regardless of the number of clicks. You’ll be charged even if you don’t receive any clicks.

CPM bidding is only available for the display network. It is therefore best for creating brand awareness, such as those times when you just want to expose a lot of people in your target location to your brand name. In addition, CPM bidding helps reduce CPC. After running your campaign for a few months, you’ll be in a position to figure out how many clicks your ads receive per thousand impressions. Converting an ad to CPM bidding will reduce its cost because you’ll still receive the same number of clicks, but you won’t pay for them.
This is a nice way to avoid high CPC.

3. Manual vCPM Bidding

With manual vCPM bidding, you’ll bid for viewable impressions.
You must adjust the bid manually.  Listed below  are certain cases where this type of bidding makes the most sense and is recommended:

  1. If brand awareness is the purpose of your ad
  2. If the ad contains the message, but visitors do not want to click it.
  3. If you’ve optimized your ads for CPC.

Manual vCPM bidding is perfect for brand awareness and information ad campaigns when you just want to focus on the number of eyes that see your brand name or logo.

4.  Flexible Bid Strategies

Flexible bid strategies are customized and can be applied to campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. Google Ads offers six different types of flexible bid strategies.

  1. Enhanced CPC lets you increase or decrease your bids for optimization and conversions. You can increase (or decrease) CPC bids by 30%, which will allow you to make your ads more customized.
  2. “Target search page location” is an interesting bid strategy that allows you to place your ad at specific positions within the search results, such as the top or anywhere on the first page of the search results.
  3. “Target CPA” lets you share a common CPA goal with multiple campaigns.
  4. “Target outranking share” helps you outrank your competitor(s). Google will set your bid higher than your competitor’s. You must set an outranking share and a maximum bid. “Outranking share” determines the number of times your ad should outrank your competitor’s ad. For instance, at 50% share, your ad will outrank others in 50% of auctions.
  5. “Maximize clicks” helps you get a lot of clicks, including low-quality clicks that won’t convert at the same rate. This bidding strategy is helpful in testing a landing page, or maybe a product.
  6. “Target return on ad spend” is known as ROAS. This is a suitable strategy for businesses that intend to rely on ROI. You can set a certain ROI percentage in the bidding and your ads will be optimized for ROI. You must have  “conversion tracking” enabled and/or  “ecommerce revenue” entered to make it work.

5.  Enhanced Cost Per Click (CPC)

Google Ads uses your campaign’s history to reduce or increase the CPC by 30%. This bidding strategy is known as ECPC.

Here’s how it works.

  1. When your ads are expected to convert for a certain search query, Google increases the CPC by 30% (maximum).
  2. When your ads aren’t expected to convert, the CPC bid is reduced by 30%.

This bidding strategy is for those advertisers who are interested in getting conversions at any cost. If your campaign’s goal is to get conversions regardless of budget, choose ECPC.
This is not a bidding strategy for beginners. Use it carefully. Otherwise, you might end up with nothing at the end.

6.  Use Bid Modifiers

You can reduce or increase your bid for certain devices, location, days, and time of day. There are certain devices that perform better than others (such as the desktop), and there are certain cities that convert better than others. Consequently,  it is good strategy to use bid modifiers to adjust bids.

There are four types of bid modifiers:

  1. Device
  2. Location
  3. Day
  4. Time of day

Before you start using a modifier, you must run reports and analyze them. This allows you to see what works and what doesn’t. Based on the performance of devices, location, days, and time, you can increase or decrease bids using the bid modifiers.
This is one of the best ways to reduce CPC while increasing conversion rate.

7.  Leverage on Google Ads Bidding Rules

“Bidding rules” is an interesting feature, and yet it is one of the least used features available in Google Ads. It helps you apply certain rules to your campaigns, ad groups, keywords, or ads.

You can use rules to increase or decrease CPC if a certain condition is met, e.g., if the position of your ad decreases.
You can do many things with rules as shown below:

  1. Increase CPC bids
  2. Receive emails for assisted clicks
  3. Pause low-performing keywords
  4. Get alerts for ineffective ads

To get started with bidding rules, click “Automate” and choose the type of rule you wish to apply.

You can also create your own rules.

8.  Google Ads Bidding Scripts

Bidding scripts is a rather technical bidding strategy that allows you to add scripts to automatically optimize bids.

You can do pretty much anything with the help of the bidding scripts. For instance, you can use a script to change a bid by a certain percentage if the temperature in a city falls below zero.
The best thing about bidding scripts is that the majority of advertisers don’t use them. If you learn to use these scripts effectively, you’ll have an edge on your competitors.
This is a great resource to help you get started with bidding scripts.

9.  Bidding for Sales, Not Conversions

This is an advanced Google Ads bidding tip.
Most PPC managers optimize their campaigns for conversions. Unfortunately, conversion is generally the wrong metric to use to measure the performance of your PPC campaign.

You should always bid for sales.
Track keywords for sales instead of for just conversions. All leads do not convert to sales. However, if you know of a keyword with conversions that always result in sales, you can increase your bid for it by 100%.
This is the reason you should bid for sales, not conversions. Start tracking keywords for sales and see which ones perform better and which ones do poorly. Optimize your bids accordingly.

10.  Capitalize on Seasonal Trends

Are you running a seasonal business? Seasonal businesses see a lot of variation in clicks, conversions, and bids.
You should use seasonal trends smartly and capitalize on them. This can be done only if you can predict seasonal trends. For instance, sales of umbrellas will increase during a rainy season.
To get started, analyze your Google Ads account history. The starting place is the Dimension tab.
Monitor trends and prepare your business for them.
Increase bids during the season when the conversions are expected to increase and reduce bids during the off-season. You can only do this if you know what’s coming down the pike.

11. Target Outranking Share

This is a flexible bid strategy type that has already been discussed in the previous sections.
Let’s dive a bit deeper.
“Target outranking share” helps you outrank other domains (preferably those of your competitors).
When you set an outranking share, Google Ads will automatically adjust bids (increase or decrease them) to make sure your ads do better than your competitor’s. This bidding strategy is only available for search network.
Here’s how it works.
1. Select “Target outranking share” by clicking the Bid Strategy.

2. Enter the domain name to be outranked, and set the following: set share, bid automation, and maximum bid.

The outranking share determines how often you want to outrank the domain. Selecting 100% will make it every time, 50% will do it in half the auctions.
This is the simplest way to outrank any domain in SERPs and Google Ads. All you need is a budget and quality ads.

12.  Different Keywords, Different Offers, Different Margins

This is a piece of  bidding advice that I give to everyone who runs PPC ads.
Test. Period.

If you don’t test keywords, offers, profit margins, landing pages, conversions, etc., you won’t be able to adjust bids.
Flat bids don’t work for all campaigns. In fact, it is the last thing you should do.
Use different bids for different keywords based on their performance and conversion. You must test and monitor the results to come up with the best bidding strategy at the keyword level.
Not all keywords will perform equally well for all offers and landing pages. Also, not all of them will perform well in terms of margin.

Let’s explore a few Google Ads Bidding Tactics as well

While the bidding strategies discussed above are enough to give your campaigns a jumpstart, we can’t just stop there. The following bidding tactics will spice up your campaigns. It never hurts to go aggressive.

13.  RLSA Competitor Bidding

Image by stateofdigital.com

RLSA stands for “Remarketing Lists of Search ads.” This is an Google Ads feature that helps PPC managers customize their bids and ads for people who have already visited their websites.
Yes, it is retargeting, but it is much more than retargeting.
When you use RLSA competitor bidding, you can use bid modifiers to increase the bid for a visitor who has been to your website in the past.

This type of bidding works pretty well because your ads will always show at the top for the people who already know you and your brand. Thus, they’re more likely to click your ad and convert.
Compare the results of the two campaigns. The RLSA campaign clearly outperformed the other campaign in terms of practically every single metric that you can see.
This is how RLSA will change your conversions. All you have to do is bid aggressively for the people who have been to your website in the past.

14.  Bidding on Branded Keywords

Are you bidding for your own brand name?
Most likely not.
If you don’t, one of your competitors will bid on your brand and take your customers. So start bidding on branded keywords to bring the right people who already know you to your website.
There are two major benefits to bidding on branded keywords.

  1. It improves CTR and thus improves the performance of your overall campaign. Anyone who is searching for your brand will click on your ad, so the CTR will most often be over 90%. This also improves the performance of other keywords in the campaign.
  2. You are dealing with people who know your brand already, so send the traffic from branded keywords to a customized landing page to increase conversion and sales.

Start bidding on branded keywords.
You have no idea what you’ve been missing.

15.  Bid Bumping

This is an interesting bidding tactic that has quite a few benefits.
“Bid bumping” refers to the act of starting your campaign aggressively by bidding high. When you pay a high CPC, your overall campaign receives a high CTR. This improves your campaign performance and quality control.
The CTR is one of the major determinants of the quality score in Google Ads.

You don’t have to keep bids high. In fact, you must lower them. You’ll see that, once you start lowering your bids, the conversion cost and CPC are reduced, but your  CTR and conversions remain at the same level, as does your campaign performance.
Start high and then gradually lower your bids to the lowest point at which performance is not impaired.
You’ll eventually bid quite lower than your competitors due to your better ad performance and high-quality score.
Give this tactic a try. It sounds risky, but it works.

16.  Performance Bidding

Image by Google.com

This is another bidding tactic that is used by only a few marketers.
Performance bidding refers to adjusting your bids constantly for performance.

There are two different conditions that you have to be aware of:

  1. Bid reduction: If your ads are getting the clicks but the conversions or sales are low, try reducing the bid. You might be bidding on either non-performing keywords, or highly competitive keywords.
  2. Bid increase: If you’re getting conversions and sales, increase the bid. This can increase exposure, conversions, CTR, and sales. Eventually, you’ll see an  improvement in campaign performance that will improve the performance of other keywords.

The whole idea is to tweak your bid even if things are working. If ads aren’t working, bid low. In both cases, you’ll end up improving campaign performance.

17.  Higher Bids for Good Position and Brand Awareness

Not every campaign has similar goals. At times, you run campaigns for clicks only. At other times, your goal is simply to get brand awareness. Not all the campaigns are aimed at getting clicks and conversions.
If you cannot compete for high-converting keywords, switch to awareness campaigns. Start bidding high for brand awareness. Meanwhile, set up another retargeting campaign.

This means you will bid high for impressions, and then target those who have visited your website with another ad campaign with a different set of low-bid keywords.
The first rule is to hook your bids to campaign goals.
The second rule is to use a retargeting campaign to help you play smarter.

18.  Bid Less Initially

I know we recently talked about bid bumping, but that’s not for everyone.
Not everyone loves taking the risk. The alternative and most used tactic is to bid less.
Start low and move up.
This seems to be a more suitable bidding tactic. It gives you a lot of time to test and analyze. You can channelize your budget and spend it on the right keywords.
Bidding less for too long will negatively impact quality score and performance. Therefore, don’t forget to increase bids for your best-performing ad groups and keywords.

19. Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

This is a flexible bid strategy that allows you to bid on the basis of your target return on ad spend (ROAS). Google Ads automatically adjusts bids in order to optimize them for a better return.
To get started with ROAS, you must have 50 conversions in 30 days. This will help Google Ads make more informed bidding decisions.
Set the ROAS percentage as well as your maximum and minimum bids to start using this tactic.
For instance, if you plan to get 5x ROI, set ROAS to 500%. All you have to do is convert the ROI into a  percentage and enter the value.
Based on the conversion tracking, Google Ads will determine the revenue and your campaign will be optimized for the return.
This is a great bidding tactic for eCommerce stores.


Google Ads bidding is not comparable to mathematics or science where results always stay the same. It’s rather complicated. A bidding strategy that worked for one campaign might not work for a similar campaign.
You need to test and analyze everything to understand what works and what does not.