Automatic vs manual bidding


One of the key components to lowering your ad costs and improving your ad performance is implementing the right Google Ads bidding strategy. And this topic, you want to make sure that you research more in-depth, to not wared away your ad budget. Simply put, you can take your campaign performance to a new level if you make the right decision.


When launching a new campaign on Google Ads, it will ask what type of bidding you want to use. Most advertisers go for the automated type because they don’t want to adjust the bids all the time when running multiple campaigns.


Google truly does want to help you market your business in every possible way, which is why they have developed automated bidding strategies to help you manage your paid search ad campaigns. 


They also noted: “Automated bidding takes the heavy lifting and guesswork out of setting bids to meet your performance goals. Each type of automated bid strategy is designed to help you achieve a specific goal for your business.”


On the other side, we have the manual bidding strategy, which has its pros and cons.


So that’s why In this post, we’ll walk you through all the differences between the automatic and manual bidding strategy, and how to use them to your advantage.


Automatic Bidding


At its core, automated bidding (also known as smart bidding), is an AI-led keyword bidding strategy that uses algorithms to optimize bids according to your PPC campaign goals.


The smart bidding strategy is best used for if you:


  • Have a large PPC account.
  • Have a lot of historical data.
  • Want to reduce time monitoring the campaigns.
  • Lack of experience with manual bidding.

Basically, if you have money but not much time dealing with ad campaigns, automated bidding may be a good choice to let Google take charge of your account.


As we mentioned in the intro of this blog post, Google proclaims automated bidding as an excellent solution for advertisers who want “to save time managing bids based on hundreds of signals.”


These bidding strategies can help your business achieve goals like:


  • Increase website visits

By using the “Maximize Clicks” setting, you will optimize your bids to automatically drive as many clicks to your ads as possible, within the budget that you have set of course.


  • Increase visibility

By using the “Target Impression Share” setting you will automatically set your bids to show your ads “on the absolute top of the page, on the top of the page or anywhere on the page of Google search results.”


  • Get more conversions with your CPA

The “Target CPA” setting will give you the ability to optimize both Search and Display campaigns to drive conversions at your desired CPA target.


  • Meet your target ROAS for different conversions

Lastly, utilizing the “Target ROAS” automated bidding strategy will help you drive conversions based on different values while staying within your ROAS goals.


Which bidding strategy would best suit you

The value of Automated bidding strategies


Although each strategy mentioned above focuses on a particular result, they still have a common goal, and that is to get the campaigns to reach their overall maximum potential in a way that is time-saving for those managing the campaigns.


As we mentioned above, the way these bidding strategies work is by driving the most potential from your keywords (while having the set max CPC bid in mind, i.e. the amount you are willing to spend to appear for a given search term).


In the case that you implement any of the automated bidding strategies, you will notice that your “keyword-level maximum bids” will drop to the lowest possible live (in most cases that number drops to $ 0.01). However, after a few days, your bids will slowly adjust (and/or raise the bid) to see how the auctions bear out for your campaign.


During the whole process, Google’s algorithms are trying to learn how to reach the best possible performance at any given cost. Just like with any campaign, it usually takes about 5 to a whole week for the algorithms to get the campaign fully up and running.


Potential disadvantages to using automated bidding strategies


As a brief covered in our previous blog post, one of the most significant issues with automated bidding strategies is that bids will keep rising, unless you set a cap of course. That means that you could pay a lot more for a click than what it would be worth. And that is something that you can control if you use the manual CPC strategy. 


In a way, the automated bidding strategies are a great temporary solution if you need to jump-start a campaign and you don’t have time to manually manage the bids. However, on the other hand, a more direct and controlled approach (aka via manual bidding) can save you a lot of money in the long run, by finding more ideal bid limits for your campaigns.


Manual bidding


While developing this feature, Google has made it as easy as possible for you to take control of your ad campaigns, along with optimizing bids for specific keywords and ad groups.


In essence, this strategy means that you will be able to make decisions without any AI assistance or smart solutions. When using this strategy, marketers usually rely on their experience and past keyword performance data to guide them through their decision-making process. 


Advantages regarding using manual bidding include:


  • You will have a lot more control over your ads
  • You can quickly make decisions and changes

Disadvantage regarding using manual bidding include:


  • It is difficult to scale
  • It is prone to human errors when making those changes
  • It is time-consuming

Of course, if you would like to take a look at the in-depth analysis of the manual bidding strategy, you can take a look at our previous blog post.



Choosing the perfect bidding format isn’t easy when launching a new campaign on Google Ads. There are a lot of options to choose from, and it could be difficult to make the right choice if you don’t have experience with all of them.

If you ask us, we recommend for you to try out the automated strategy, because in our opinion the cons outweigh the pros in the case of manual bidding. Moreover, we think that the manual bidding strategy is highly experimental, meaning it tends to be difficult to exactly pinpoint, and it often shows as not being the best practice.

If you have found this blog post informative, let us know so we can continue to expand on this topic.

Categories: General


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