The Power of Manual Bidding


Atria has talked a lot in this blog about automated bidding, so if you’ve read our articles here, you will be familiar with the various ways that AdWords can manage your keywords and conversions.


If you want more control in your bidding processes, however, automated bidding might not be what you’re after. This is why Google offers you the option to manually adjust individual accounts and ad groups.


Today, we will talk about how your business’s goals determine the type of manual bidding that suits you best.


What Is Your Focus?


The manner in which you should control AdWords ads depends largely on your intentions. To determine how you should start, you must first ask yourself about your primary focus.


AdWords allows you to focus on clicks, conversions, impressions, and views as modes of manual bidding.


Clicks: In the Google display network — e.g. the main page of Google — you can focus on cost-per-click (CPC) bidding and tell AdWords the maximum amount you will pay to have a user click on your advertisement. In this situation, your stated price still competes with others in auctions for a showing on Google’s search page, but you only pay when users click on your ads.


This is the analog to the Maximize Clicks automated bidding strategy. It works best when your goal is to send traffic to your website.


Conversions: Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bidding is the formal name for a focus on conversions. When a user visits your website and purchases a product, you have completed a conversion. To make conversions happen more often, you can again tell AdWords that you only want to pay for clicks but that conversions are your top priority. Instead of setting your price-per-click, you set your maximum bid per acquisition. Google then automatically sets your price-per-click bids to give you the best chance of converting search network users.


Here, you mimic the Target CPA automated bidding strategy. It works best when you want to convert clicks to sales.


Impressions: If you don’t want to focus on clicks, you can instead try to get your ads “viewable shown.” To be brief, Google considers your ad “viewable shown” when the ad is displayed for one or two seconds, respectively, for display and video ads.


If you want an ad seen by as many people as possible, you can set a price for its cost-per-thousand viewable impression (vCPM). Whenever your ad is shown 1,000 times, you pay your desired rate.


Views: For video ads only, you can also focus on their cost-per-view (CPV). You set your rate for whenever users watch your videos or interact with their calls to action or companion banners. This strategy is great for measuring the engagement users have with your video content.


Take Your First Actions


Now that you’ve decided the right manual bidding strategy for you, it’s time to navigate AdWords to make the necessary changes.


Follow this path in your AdWords account to change your bidding strategy:


  1. Click Campaigns
  2. Follow the name of the campaign you want to edit
  3. Click Settings
  4. Scroll to Bid Strategy and click Edit


Then you can begin to change the values within the bidding strategy such as your bids for clicks. You will need to adjust your bids and analyze your performance across weeks and months to fix bid prices that work well for your situation, so the hard work doesn’t end at this junction.


Still, many industry experts favor manual bidding, and Atria can help you get started and stay on track.


What Industry Experts Say


What do industry experts think about manual bidding? Although there are clear benefits to both automated and manual bidding strategies, AdWords campaign managers and digital marketers have made their voices heard at Quora in response to its question, “Should you use Manual Bidding or Automatic Bidding in Google AdWords?”


Those experts make it clear that they value the control of manual bidding. Although automated services can take some responsibility from your shoulders as business owners, Google’s impersonal touch can never match your level of discretion and gut feeling.


The situation becomes complicated, though, when you’re a newcomer. You might not know enough about AdWords to take full advantage of the system, so manual bidding can not only look unattractive, it may also be ineffective. This is where Atria Media Group can help you help yourself. Our own industry experts can help you determine the best course of action for your specific business. Give us a call today.