Before we talk about AdWords bid strategy, there’s a curious thing about Google AdWords that we should unravel first: advertisers seem to really love them…or really hate them.

Indeed, search for the phrase “AdWords is great” and you’ll come across glowing testimonials from advertisers; including many small businesses that transported from page 10 (which might as well have been page 1000) to page 1 of the search results.

Or, search for “AdWords sucks” and you’ll spend the next several hours — or maybe days — of your life reading tales of financial heartache and woe.

So, what’s the verdict here? Is AdWords worthy of your love, or deserving of your hate? The answer is clearly the former PROVIDED that you use the right strategy. In this way, AdWords is like anything else on the online marketing landscape (or business in general). Yes timing is important, and nobody would turn down a dose of good luck, but ultimately success or failure is a matter of strategy.

That’s why advertisers with the right AdWords bid strategy are seeing ROI, while those with the wrong AdWords bid strategy – or no AdWords bid strategy – are taking to the interwebs to tell their “AdWords sucks” saga. That’s not to say they didn’t waste their money and time; obviously they did, but it’s not because of AdWords.

Now that we’ve cleared the air and pointed out that AdWords can and does work — and we have plenty of data to back this up – here are 6 AdWords bid strategy tips to help you take the shortest path to ROI:

AdWords bid strategy #1: Enhanced Cost Per Click

When to use it: when your goal is to maximize conversions while making sure you don’t exceed your budget. Note: to use this strategy, it’s necessary to track conversions – if you don’t do this/don’t do this correctly, then this strategy won’t work the way it’s supposed to. 

AdWords bid strategy #2: Target Cost Per Acquisition

When to use it: when you want to maximize conversions at your average target cost per acquisition cost. Note: in some cases, you will still pay more or less than the average, but Google will try and keep things as close to average as possible.

AdWords bid strategy #3: Target Outranking Share

When to use it: when you want more visibility, and are willing to potentially spend more per auction so that your ads appear higher relative to your competition. Note: your competitors may also be using this strategy, bidding more than you, or have a higher quality score – any or all of which can mitigate or block this strategy. The good news is that you don’t pay more if Google can’t get your ads to outrank a competitor.

AdWords bid strategy #4: Maximize Clicks

When to use it: when you want to drive maximum traffic to your website/any other web property such as a microsite, but don’t want to risk exceeding your budget. Note: this can be an effective “starter strategy” if you don’t have conversions set up, or simply want to drive traffic to your site and augment your SEO efforts. 

AdWords bid strategy #5: Target Search Page Location

When to use it: when your primary goal is to either to have your ads in the top position or on page 1 of the results. Note: unlike paid placement advertising (e.g. a conventional magazine ad), there is no guarantee that this strategy will ultimately work. Each search is an auction, and Google rewards advertisers that have high quality score or, in some cases, are simply willing to outspend their competition.

AdWords bid strategy #6: Target Return on Ads Spend

When to use it: when you want Google to adjust your maximum cost-per-click bid based on its best prediction of two variables: your future conversions and how much you’re willing to pay for them.

Learn More

These are just some of the AdWords bid strategies that we use for our customers, although every campaign differs. To learn more, contact us today and schedule your free consultation. We’d love to chat about how we can get the most ROI out of your AdWords campaign!

Is your AdWords campaign aligned with your Inbound Marketing? Check out our FREE eBook on Why Google AdWords Should Be Part of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy: