Should You Use Automated Bidding in Your Google Ads Campaigns?

graphic with a computer with a large mouse icon clicking on the screen with other graphics that represent moneyUpdated April 28, 2023

If you are managing various paid campaigns, making sure you meet budget and getting the most out of your approach can be tedious, especially if it means consistently checking and adjusting your bids on your most important keywords.

So if you’ve been wondering if you should be using automated bidding strategies in your paid campaigns, this guide will help you better understand the different types and the benefits they can provide.

What Is Automated Bidding?

Automated bidding is a way to “take the heavy lifting and guesswork out of setting bids to meet your performance goals,” according to Google, and it automatically makes adjustments to your bidding for you based on what their system determines to be an enhanced move. This bid strategy is designed to maximize results based on the outlined goals of your campaign.

In Google Ads, automated bidding strategies are portfolio bid strategies. This means you can implement the strategy of your choosing across various campaigns, ad groups, or keywords. There are several types of automated bid strategies that Google Ads can perform, including:

  • Maximizing Clicks – This sets bids to help you get as many clicks as possible within your defined budget. Best for those who want to increase site visits.
  • Target Impression Share – This sets bids for more visibility in search results, whether for the first result, top of page, or anywhere else on the page. It is only available currently for the search network.
  • Target Cost Per Acquisition – This sets bids to help increase conversions based on your targeted cost per action. It can be used for either search or display ads.
  • Target Return on Ad Spend – This sets bids to help you have greater conversion value from the target return on ad spend (ROAS) you set up. This strategy is also available for shopping campaigns.
  • Maximize Conversions – This sets bids to allow you to get more conversions while staying within your allotted budget.
  • Maximize Conversion Value – This sets bids to help you get a better conversion value for your campaign while staying within your budget.

How Does Automated Bidding Work?

Now that you have a better understanding of what automated bidding is, you’re probably wondering how it works. Like we mentioned above, automated bidding is a tool in Google Ads that makes bids on your campaigns and keywords based on a set algorithm. With this tool, Google automatically sets your bid amount based on the likelihood that your ad will result in a click or conversion.

This AI-powered bidding analyzes user data including device, demographics, location, time of day of the search, and operating system. The longer your campaigns run, the more Google is able to learn about them, making adjustments to account for new information.

What Is Manual Bidding?

Manual bidding is a method in Google Ads that allows you to set your own maximum cost per click, or CPC. This bid strategy gives the advertiser full control over the individual bids and overall campaign budget. It is your responsibility to establish the max amount that you are willing to pay for each click your ad receives.

Automated vs. Manual Bidding in Google Ads

Let’s take a look at some of the high-level differences and benefits for each option.

Automated Bidding

  • Allows you to work on other tasks at hand
  • Can be great when competition is high
  • Can help you get more out of your budget
  • Opportunity to get more conversions

Manual Bidding

Without automations, you are able to keep your campaigns manual. Here are just a few positives to keeping your campaigns fully under your control:

  • Helps you maintain a close eye on budget and interactions
  • Can help you see when you need to pivot
  • Controls complex campaigns
  • Can be better for long-term results

When Should Automated Bidding Be Used?

Depending on the goals of your PPC campaign, automated bidding can be an effective strategy to help you get the most out of your budget. When it comes to digital advertising, there are typically two major concerns that marketers experience:

  • Are my bids high enough to generate conversions?
  • Are my bids too high and showing to users not likely to convert?

With automated bidding, you no longer need to worry about these potential issues. Google Ads sets bids automatically and each bid is unique to each auction.

If you’re having a hard time developing a successful bid strategy on your own, or you don’t have the time to manage each individual bid, we’d recommend applying an automated bid strategy to your campaign (or campaigns). Google Ads offers a variety of different automated strategies, as listed above, which produce different results.

Pro tip: Since the advantages of applying automated bidding can vary from one campaign to the next, you can use manual bidding for one and automated bidding for another. These strategies can supplement each other for optimal campaign and budget performance.

So, Is Automated Google Ads Bidding Right for Your Business?

Well, it depends.

First off, there are actually restrictions based off of the activity on your account, which deem you as qualified or not qualified to use automations. For example, some require a minimum of 30 conversions in the past 30 days.

Because of this, automated bidding would likely work best for larger companies, such as how it worked for T-Mobile.

Here is what our PPC Manager Andrea Ozello has to say on automated bidding:

“…I’ll use it [automated bidding] for all DSA campaigns we run since those are already a smart type of campaign and aren’t keyword based. I’ll also use it for some clients if the keywords or industry are super competitive and we aren’t getting much traction from the manual CPC bidding… at least for a bit to get more insights as to what is working in terms of targeting and bids. From there, if I want to get more control over the bids, I may switch back, but if it’s working well I’ll keep it how it was to maximize conversions.”

If you want additional testimonials from PPC experts, you can read some more in this article from WordStream.

Learn More About Automated Bidding Strategies

In this guide, we’ve walked through automated bidding and how it works, manual bidding, the benefits to each, and when automated bid strategies can be implemented. Now that you have a stronger knowledge of Google Ads bid strategies, you can decide which methods are best suited for your own PPC campaigns.

If you have any additional questions on automated bidding or anything else related to running PPC campaigns, be sure to contact our team at Sixth City today!

More Articles on PPC

Andrea Ozello

About the Author

Andrea Ozello

Andrea is our PPC Director and is skilled in helping industries such as medical healthcare, software, and construction in running successful paid campaigns.

Our Partners & Awards