The different types of automated bid strategies

Automated bidding can save you time while optimizing your advertising spend. Machine learning is used in all automated bid strategies to set an optimized bid in every auction.
In this article, we break down 4 automated bidding strategies so you can pick the one that reaches your performance goals.

*In the beginning of 2021, Google reorganized Smart Bidding strategies. All bidding strategies below are still available for your use. 

Important notes 

Please note that you need to have conversion tracking set up to correctly use automated bidding. The only automated bid strategy that does not require conversion data is Maximize Clicks. 

If any issues occur with conversion tracking, you can use data exclusions to make sure that unintended changes in your conversions don’t affect your Smart bidding. With this tool, you can tell Smart bidding to ignore data from dates where conversion tracking issues occurred.

Maximize Clicks, Maximize Conversion Value, and Target ROAS strategies can be used as either a standard strategy in a single campaign or a portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns.

If you expect major changes to conversion rates in short periods of time (1-7 days), you can use seasonal adjustments to inform Smart bidding of expected changes in conversion rates for future promotions or sales. 

Automated bidding strategies

Maximize clicks
Maximize clicks positions you to get as many clicks as possible within your budget. You can set this bid strategy for a single campaign or multiple campaigns with the help of a portfolio bid strategy that groups together multiple campaigns. You can set the maximum amount you are willing to pay for each bid using the Maximum CPC bid limit. Use the average daily budget tool to determine the spend for campaigns. Average daily budget sets the amount you are willing to spend each day over the course of the month.

Maximize clicks bidding strategy is only available for standard Shopping campaigns. 

Smart bidding strategies

Enhanced Cost-per-click (ECPC)
This bidding strategy lies in between a manual and an automated bidding strategy. You still control your bids like with manual bidding’s Cost-per-Click (CPC), but your bids are optimized to increase the number of conversions or conversion value within the same total spend. You can use ECPC to optimize conversions which adjusts your max CPC bid to the likelihood of conversions, or conversion value, which adjusts your max CPC bid to the likelihood of high-value conversions. 

ECPC uses auction-time signals, like location and browser, to take different conversion rates for all types of traffic into account.

Maximize Conversion Value
This bid strategy is only available for Smart Shopping campaigns. Working within your specified budget, Maximize Conversion Value optimizes and sets bids to maximize the total conversion value of your campaign. This bid strategy uses historical data from your campaign to determine the best real-time CPC bid for your Shopping ad.

Target ROAS
Target return on ad spend (tROAS) is used to maximize your conversion value at the ROAS you set as a target. Just as with Maximize clicks, you can use Target ROAS as a strategy in a single campaign or for multiple campaigns using the portfolio bid strategy. Target ROAS bids high on user searches that are likely to generate a high-value conversion. 

What is the optimal strategy?

We advise merchants to use smart bidding when possible. Smart bidding strategies for Google Shopping campaigns such as Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) and Maximize Conversions value will save you time optimizing your bids and they can increase your campaign performance through machine learning bid algorithms. These algorithms use automated bidding signals such as device, search term and price competitiveness to determine the optimal real time bid in every auction based on historical campaign data.

The only drawback is that your Shopping campaigns need at least 30 conversions in a month to start with smart bidding. The smart bid strategies become more effective with more historical conversion data. Therefore it is advised, when possible, to set a lower target ROAS in the beginning to accelerate the conversion data in your campaign.

When your Shopping campaign has less than 50 monthly conversions, or when you are setting up new campaigns, we advise you to start with manual-enhanced cpc bidding. This gives you more control on your ad spend by setting your max CPC bid. In this way, you can build up conversion data in a cost effective way. As manual bidding is complex and time consuming, we advise you to switch to a smart bidding strategy, like Target ROAS, or set up a smart shopping campaign with the Maximize Conversion value bid strategy as soon as your campaign reaches more than 50 conversions in one month.

There are many ways to meet your performance goals with or without automated bidding strategies. Please note that you can always change your bid strategy after a campaign has launched. 
If you have any questions or want us to help you choose the best bid strategy for your business, contact us today at If you are more interested in working with the managed service model, read this article.