Overview of AdWords Bidding Options

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bri--blog--015Basic bidding options

Primarily, AdWords is pay per click system— meaning advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad. That means appearances of their ad— called “impressions”, are free–no matter how many there are. There are two options for pay per click bidding. They are: automatic bidding, and manual bidding. With automatic bidding, you simply allow AdWords to control the bidding, and attempt to get you the most clicks as possible for your daily budget. With manual bidding, you are completely in control of your bids. If you wish, you CAN set a different bid for every single keyword in your account.

(I’m going to mention briefly here that if you’re running a campaign that’s targeting the Google display network ONLY, you’re given an option to bid by impressions. This is called CPM bidding, which means cost per 1000 impressions.)

CPA, or Cost Per Acquisition bidding

CPA, or Cost per acquisition bidding, is an advanced feature that requires you to have conversion tracking enabled on your website. If you have conversion tracking enabled, and you have received at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days, your campaign will be eligible to use CPA bidding.

If you enable CPA bidding, you will simply set the amount that you would like to pay for a conversion, and let AdWords take over from there. AdWords will then control your bidding, and selectively display your ad in an effort to get you conversions based on your CPA bid.

Enhanced Cost-Per-Click

Enhanced cost per click is a bidding feature that gives Google a degree of flexibility in the ad auctions. Namely, it allows Google to raise your bid up to 30% if it’s data suggests that a conversion is more likely. Although there’s flexibility with enhanced cost per click, keep in mind that you are still bidding for clicks— not conversions, like with CPA bidding.

Flexible Bidding Strategies

The bidding methods I’ve mentioned so far are all set at the campaign level, and will apply for all ad groups in the campaign. But AdWords offers an advanced feature called flexible bidding strategies, that lets you create various bidding configurations at the account level, and then apply them—with flexibility— to various campaigns, ad groups, or even individual keywords. Some of these strategies are interesting options, such as bidding to always appear at the top of the results page, or to always appear higher than a certain competitor.

Barry--BW Profile Photo--3.5 inch widthHello. My name is Barry, and I love Google AdWords! Would you like to connect with me? If so, send me an email at this address:


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