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Making the most out of Search Ads 360 bid strategies

What are bid strategies?

Although bid strategies are relatively common practice within paid search, at a recent Google event a quick survey of the room found that 35% of users were unsure of what bid strategy to use and when. Bid strategies are used to optimise your advertising spend across your paid search accounts.

They monitor the performance of keywords and product groups, and over time (around 3 weeks for a bid strategy to learn) adjust bids to achieve the highest number of conversions, the greatest amount of revenue, the best position, or the highest number of clicks your campaign budgets allow. Depending on the strategy, bid strategies also set or recommend bid adjustments for your location targets, mobile devices, and remarketing targets. Instead of manually setting bids, which is a timely process, a bid strategy will automate this process.


All this sounds well and good, however, where this becomes slightly trickier is knowing which bid strategy you should be implemented to fit your campaign goals.

How to know which bid strategy is right for you?

Dependent on the aim of the campaign there are different strategies that can be implemented:

  • Ad position: This goal adjusts bids so that your ads appear in a specific position that you target. It’s often used for branding campaigns in which brand exposure is a top priority.
  • The number of clicks: This goal finds the optimal bids for driving the most traffic to your site.
  • Target ROAS (return on ad spend): This bidding strategy helps you get more conversion value or revenue at the target ROAS you set. Your bids are automatically optimised at auction time, allowing you to tailor bids for each auction.
  • Target ERS (effective revenue share): To reach the ERS target percentage, Search Ads 360 raises or lowers the bid based on how the actual ERS compares to the target ERS.
  • Target spend: This goal, instead of adjusting bids to meet a specific cost per acquisition (CPA), ERS, or position target, will adjust bids to attempt to spend your budget exactly and evenly each month while maximizing the conversions you specify.

However, knowing what the strategies are, is only half the battle. The important element here is knowing when to use them. Below we have created a helpful chart for this challenge.


Automating your campaigns is a perfect way to use automation effectively, freeing up more time for further client analysis, insight and strategy. But what happens if external factors are going to be impacting your campaign? What happens if there is a sale period where you need to push the average position for a few days of the month? What happens if for your client there is a payday rush? None of these factors will be considered. Therefore, Google has released its newest bid strategy, overlaying performance-based bidding algorithms with a manual override.

The budget bid strategy is the evolution of the monthly spend strategy, allowing you to overlay conversion targets, revenue targets and even manually adjust how much you would like to spend each day – which is a huge improvement.

All Response Media viewpoint

As with all automated bidding, there is always the danger of letting it run itself. Therefore, it is imperative to never rest on your laurels, and we will always work to get the best out of bidding strategies.

From the very start of a campaign, we get to grips with the clients’ business objectives and prioritise a data strategy for moving forward. For this we bring in our specialist technical operations team to help engineer bespoke bid strategies dependent on client needs. Below are just a few of what has been implemented across our client portfolio.

  • LTV (lifetime value) – This is where we look to manage beyond the initial conversion. Do our users make repeat purchases? Are they signing up for a subscription model? Using a combination of offline conversions and formula-based bidding we can look to target users who are likely to bring in more value to the business within their lifetime
  • Profit – Understanding our client, is hugely important when implementing a profit-based strategy as this moves beyond the ROAS/ERS based goals by looking at marketing cost and product revenue. Using custom floodlight set up we can pass back the margin/profit of individual products instead of just revenue
  • Secondary goal – When a client delivers a low volume of conversions each month, Google’s current bid strategies can take much too long to learn (if they can learn at all). Therefore, at ARM we look to supplement our core KPI with a secondary goal (usually an action that is higher up the sales funnel). Using this funnel, we can provide a bid strategy with more data for learning so optimisations can take place sooner.