The winning Google Ads bidding strategies for 2021

Google Ads bidding strategies

Setting the right Google Ads bidding strategies for your ads means the difference between losing the money for a few clicks and earning a great deal of income. With other well-optimized parameters (e.g., quality score), various Google Ads bidding strategies can bring you better performance with lower costs.

Google has tailored two types of bidding, manual and automated. With a manual strategy, you can set the bids you are willing to pay per click (PPC). Automated bidding gives you a diversity of options to start with and later make changes when there is enough data from the running campaigns.

Every campaign has its advertising goal for which you can choose different Google Ads bidding strategies. If you want to increase website visits, start with maximizing clicks. If you want to meet the target return on your Ad spend (target ROAS), start the campaign by maximizing conversion value with the tROAS bid setting.


When starting with a campaign, manual bidding can be your initial choice since it’s easy to set up regardless of Google’s warnings. Later it can be difficult for optimizations since it’s time-consuming. When optimizing, it’s necessary to track performance at the keyword level.

You can use enhanced CPC bidding as a semi-automated strategy when you have enough budget to give a bit more to the campaign. It will allow the Google Ads algorithm to adjust your ad for auction that you determined with a manual bid. With this strategy, you can increase ad delivery as test bidding before switching to automated when campaigns are doing well.


Thanks to automation in bidding, Google delivers your ad based on the odds of converting (click or conversion). The algorithm will help you accomplish your defined goal with a selected bid strategy. Automated bidding will help you increase website visits, visibility, maximize conversion and conversion value, or get more conversions with targeted CPA or targeted ROAS.

Depending on the goal and campaign type, you will choose a bidding strategy. Some Google Ads bidding strategies are not available for every campaign type.

Starting from April 2021, Google has reorganized Google Ads bidding strategies settings for tCPA and tROAS. Those two strategies will now be a part of Maximize conversions (for tCPA) and Maximize conversion value (for tROAS) strategies. When you want to set target CPA, you will have to click on the box Set a target cost per action within Maximize conversions. When setting target ROAS, use the box within Maximize conversion value strategy and set a target return on ad spend.

automated bidding

google ads automated bidding


  • Search campaign type has the widest variety of bidding that you can use. The only strategies that you can’t use are Cost per view (CPV), Viewable CPM, and Target CPM. 
  • Display campaigns are also abundant in bidding strategies, as they can use all as Search campaigns, plus viewable CPM. For Shopping campaigns, there are fewer options. You can use manual or enhanced bidding or fully automated target ROAS or Maximize conversion value. 
  • Video campaigns are defined with Cost per view and Target CPM bidding strategies.

If you start with manual bidding, you will have more control over your CPC, and you will need more time to optimize it. Maximize clicks is excellent for time-saving campaign management. This strategy will also save you money, considering it’s relatively low with CPC compared to manual bidding. Google will show your ad to the audience that will most likely click on it and bring as many clicks as possible within your budget. You can have more control over your bid by setting max CPC to limit the amount you are willing to spend per click.

Targeted CPA is your option if you know how much you want to spend for acquisition. For tCPA and tROAS bidding strategies, you will need historical conversion data for at least 15 for the previous month. There should be 30 or more conversions for better results, giving Google’s machine learning algorithm enough data to improve performance if you selected this bidding strategy.

For campaigns where the main goal is to increase conversions, use Maximize conversions to increase sales. You should set conversion tracking for all bidding to track performance with this metric (tCPA, max conversions). With this bidding option, Google will bid as much as possible to increase conversions, bringing us to a high CPC to achieve this goal while spending the whole daily budget. To set better results, keep monitoring cost per click and react when necessary.

Since Maximize conversion can lead you to low profitability, there is targeted ROAS where profitability is in focus. Like tCPA, you can target return on ad spend instead of cost per acquisition with this bidding strategy. Google will optimize bids to achieve relevant conversion value for cost campaign spend. Again, as with tCPA, to use the tROAS campaign will need to have 15 conversions for the past month. Target ROAS is currently in beta for App and Discovery campaigns. There should be at least ten conversions per day for those campaign types for App campaigns and 75 for the last 30 days for Discovery campaigns. This bidding strategy is excellent if your conversions have monetary value, which can help optimize for higher results.

Maximize conversion value strategy will help you get the most out of your budget while optimizing bids for each auction based on real-time data. You can use it for Smart Shopping campaigns if you already have good conversion historical data.

When your goal is to increase website traffic, we recommend using Maximize clicks to drive traffic as much as possible on your website while spending your budget. We also recommend it if you have a strong conversion performance and want to increase the volume. Monitor the average CPC while bringing clicks to your final URL. Usually, those clicks are lower than manual CPC or CPC from other automated bid strategies. You can set max CPC to control your spending.

Bidding strategies CPV (cost per view) and Target CPM are used for Video campaigns and viewable CPM for Display campaigns. Those strategies are great if you are working on expanding your brand awareness. You probably had an experience when there is that one ad following you over the internet. To avoid this, expand your audience or set a frequency cap of 3 impressions per day.


When choosing among Google Ads bidding strategies, the most important thing is to select one based on your goals. If you choose the wrong one, you can very easily spend all your budget for nothing in return.

Automated strategies are great for saving time, and you should use them wisely. Track the performance of your ads and react accordingly. Use the A/B test for your Google Ads bidding strategies with Draft & Experiments.

Depending on the lifetime of your campaign–just starting or you already have enough relevant data–you will use an adequate strategy that, combined with the campaign goal, can bring you the best-optimized results.

If you want to maximize your Google advertising efforts, start by booking a free Google audit! Let's maximize your Google Ads strategy together! 

About the author

Danijela Petkovic

Danijela Petković is a PPC Specialist within Google Ads Team in Sellers Alley. She helps clients to get a broader audience and increase sales through different sales channels–Google and DSP (Demand Side Platform). Her previous work experience includes creating and executing digital marketing strategies and performing analyses for improving various clients’ results.


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