Manual vs. Automated Bidding Strategies

Manual vs. Automated Bidding

The first thing we always emphasize when someone is looking to hire a PPC management agency is to understand Google Ads’ manual vs. automated bidding strategies. For most clients, they will never understand the complexities of Google Ad management or appreciate what sets apart the good from the bad, but this question can give you a quick understanding of the level of work an agency is willing to put into your business.

Google Ads offers a variety of bidding strategies, but they are generally categorized into “manual” or “automated” bidding. Determining which strategy to use isn’t always black or white, but it is one of the most important factors to the success of an ad campaign. Below are a couple of key differences between the two strategies.

Manual Bidding

Manual bidding is a much simpler concept to understand. Managers using manual bidding are able to change the bids of a specific keyword to achieve desired results. A keyword’s bid can determine factors such as how often an ad is seen (impression share), where it ranks on the page (PageRank), and ultimately, your cost per lead (CPA). You have complete control over the success or failure of a campaign with manual bidding.

Automated Bidding

Automated bidding can come in many different forms, but it gives Google AI the ability to choose your bid to get a specified result. This strategy is much simpler because it lets Google control the majority of factors that determine the success of a campaign. Some examples of automated bidding strategies are: Target Impression Share, Maximize Conversions, or Maximize Clicks.

Advantages of Manual Bidding

It is important to understand that there are dozens of factors that affect the success of a campaign. Keyword bids are just one piece of the puzzle but other factors such as location, audience, device, or ad schedule play a critical role in optimization and success. There are many more factors than this, but you get the idea.

When you turn over bidding decisions to automated strategies, you are giving up your ability to make changes to most of these factors. The Google AI uses their algorithms to determine your bid based on the strategy you select, and you are at their mercy.

The most important thing to note here is that Google exists to make money. When we choose an automated bidding strategy, we are allowing Google to choose what price to charge us every time we get a click. Many PPC management agencies have a problem with this fact and for good reason. Ad accounts that implement manual bidding on average spend less per lead than those using automated bidding.  

This still doesn’t mean you should always choose manual bidding, but its an important factor in the decision. Other factors include budget and time. It takes a lot more work for an ad manager to implement manual bidding. Because we are now in control of dozens of factors and it requires a lot of analytics and A/B testing, manual management fees are usually higher. Many PPC marketing experts believe that you should never use Google Ads automated bidding, but we believe there is a time and place for everything.

Choosing a PPC Management Agency

Most likely, if you are in the market for a PPC management agency, you are shopping a few different businesses. It is important to ask the right questions when you are interviewing them. Now that you understand the difference between manual vs. automated bidding strategies, you will be better equipped to make the right choice.

Most businesses will never ask this question and will find that the majority of companies are implementing automatic bidding. Some evidence of this are how many clients each of their managers takes on or how quickly they can get your ads created from scratch. Most companies are playing the numbers game. They charge a reasonable fee but take on more clients than they can possibly manage effectively. We prefer a different approach.

SprkSEM was started because of a lack of transparency in the digital marketing field. As business owners for decades before SprkSEM was founded, we worked with countless digital marketing agencies that took advantage of our ignorance and could never create a desired return on our investment.

We know that ever business is different and that we may not be the best fit for everyone, but we will always be transparent. Our services are designed to bring our customers in on the conversation and help educate them on the process. Trust is important to us and we only want what is in your best interest. Check out our PPC management services and see if your business is better suited for manual vs. automated bidding management.

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