If you ever run ads on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, you know how challenging it can be to keep track of various biddings strategies. Having such a wide variety of strategies can be overwhelming, especially if you are just starting to deal with online advertising.

In this article, we gathered and compared all the bidding strategies provided by various channels. We will consider the following five online advertising platforms: Google, Bing, Facebook (Instagram), LinkedIn, and Twitter.

To make it easier for you to understand and decide on the best bidding strategy for your business, we share some tips on how to ensure the best result. In addition to that, we highlight the key benefits and potential drawbacks of each bidding strategy.

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Structure of the article:

General overview – Bidding strategies comparison

To better understand the various bidding strategies of different online advertising platforms, we prepared this comparison table to display them all in one place. 

The table can be handy for you when you are planning your next ad campaign. It displays relevant bidding strategies depending on the campaign goals: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. 

 * Automated bidding strategies

As you can see, depending on the platform, there can be more than one bidding strategy per goal.

Let’s have a closer look at each online advertising platform and its bidding strategies.

Note: you can easily navigate to the channel you want by simply clicking on the preferred platform within the structure displayed above.  

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Before we jump into the topic, let’s shortly define the main principles of how it works on Google Ads. 

First of all, depending on the goal you select at the beginning, you can access different bidding strategies. Therefore, the possible selection fields look different depending on the chosen strategy. That might be confusing, but the more you use Google Ads, the more it will start to make sense. The best approach here is to choose the right objective. Make sure it reflects your marketing goals. 

Secondly, it is crucial to understand that thanks to the various configuration opportunities, a combination of inputs allows users to create different bidding strategies. Some strategies are not standalone strategiese.g., Target ROAS bidding strategy is a combination of a maximize conversion value strategy with a set target ROAS. At the same time, Target CPA is a maximize conversion strategy with a set target CPA.

Awareness-focused bidding strategies

Target impression share

This bidding strategy is perfect if you want to grow your brand awareness since it can potentially help you gain impression share – the proportion of actual impressions that the ad obtained compared to the estimated number of impressions that this ad could get. Find out more about various types of impressions and variations of this term used in online advertising here

Simply put, the Target impression share strategy helps you occupy a certain keyword and raise the awareness of your brand. It allows you to set a target impression share anywhere from 0 – 100% and, as a result, occupy a specific space on SERP.

Key benefits:
  • Useful for ad campaigns with brand terms
  • Can help you to grow awareness and brand visibility by occupying the space in SERP
  • Easy-to-use setup process
Potential drawbacks:
  • No guarantee that the quality of the traffic is good
  • High impression share (90-100%) can be costly
  • There is a risk of significant growth in CPC in case Max CPCs aren’t set
  • Effective for growing brand visibility, but not that relevant for other business objectives: e.g., increase in signups

Consideration-focused bidding strategies

Manual CPC

Unlike automated bidding strategies, Manual CPC is the bidding strategy that lets you fully control your spend. Simply put, with this strategy, you define the maximum bid you’re willing to pay in an auction for a particular keyword.

Key benefits:
  • Full control over your spend
  • You don’t need conversion tracking to run such campaigns
Potential drawbacks:
  • Time-consuming 
  • Complexity: hard to consider all the factors, and it might require a lot of time to start understanding your data and recognizing patterns
  • Error-prone
  • No access to contextual signals 
  • High risk of missing opportunities and budget loss

Enhanced CPC (ECPC)

Enhanced CPC (ECPC) is a semi-automated bidding strategy that represents the advanced version of the manual CPC. 

What is the ad-on? ECPC helps a user to get more conversions using manual bidding. By leveraging contextual signals and historical data, ECPC allows Google to automatically adjust manual bids for clicks that seem more or less likely to result in sales or conversions.

Simply put, Google can automatically adjust your bid depending on the ad performance. 

In contrast to Target CPA and Target ROAS smart bidding strategies, Enhanced CPC will help you keep the average CPC below the set maximum CPC.

Key benefits:
  • Full control over the maximum CPC
  • Optimization for clicks
  • Higher quality of the traffic: increased bids for users who are more likely to convert while decreasing the bids the users who are less likely to buy the product
Potential drawbacks:
  • The algorithm can be limited by the maximum CPC that you set, and if it is too low, it can result in missing opportunities
  • Similar to Manual CPC, using the ECPC strategy might require quite some time. To ensure the best result, you will need to spend more time reviewing and trying out various bid modifiers

Maximize clicks

Maximize clicks bidding strategy is an automated strategy that allows users to maximize the number of clicks they generate with the ad campaign at a given daily budget. With this online advertising strategy, you can set up your Maximum CPC (cost per click) that will allow you to set a cap on bids. In other words, by defining your maximum CPC, you let Google know how much you’re willing to pay for each click.

Without setting up the maximum CPC limit, you let Google adjust your bids automatically while spending your budget. Therefore, to better control your spending, it is usually recommended to define the maximum CPC to set up a specific limit that the platform cannot cross.

Key benefits:
  • An easy and fast method of generating a lot of traffic (as much as possible)
  • You don’t need conversion tracking to run such campaigns.
Potential drawbacks:
  • It can be costly if the maximum CPC is not set
  • No guarantee of the traffic quality

Conversion-focused bidding strategies

Maximize conversions

Maximize conversions is another automated bidding strategy from Google that helps users to generate as much conversion volume as possible within the set budget. In this case, a user does not need to determine a specific cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA), or return on ad spend (ROAS) target.

Key benefits:
  • Allows users to maximize the number of conversions for a campaign within the defined budget 
  • Easy-to-use and manage, does not require a lot of time
  • Perfect for those who do not have a clear CPA and ROAS goal
  • Higher quality of the traffic
Potential drawbacks:
  • It can be costly without a defined CPA goal
  • Require a proper setup of the Conversion tracking, which can be tricky
  • To ensure the model’s effectiveness, you need to have a certain volume of historical data: e.g., at least 15 conversions in 30 days.

Maximize conversions + Target cost-per-acquisition (CPA)

Another automated bidding strategy that you can use on Google Ads is Target cost-per-acquisition. This online advertising strategy focuses on increasing the number of conversions while reaching the average CPA goal that was defined.

Key benefits:
  • You have more control over your costs compared to Maximize conversions strategy.
  • Effective bidding strategy if your goal is to maximize profitability. Primarily, it concerns companies that sell products that have similar price points, and for the business, those customers have longer Lifetime Values. 
  • You can prioritize conversions by a device with the Device bid adjustments
Potential drawbacks:
  • Requires expert knowledge in both online advertising and peculiarities of the industry: e.g., understand what should be the right CPA goal for your industry and a specific product – it is crucial to set a realistic target  
  • Requires enough volume of historical data
  • Require a proper setup of the Conversion tracking, which can be tricky
  • Setting bid limits for Target CPA bid strategy is not recommended because it can restrict Google’s automatic optimization of bids

Maximize conversion value

In contrast to Maximize conversions, Maximize Conversion Value bidding strategy aims to help you get the highest value conversions for the budget you set. In other words, this strategy allows you to focus only on those conversions that will bring you the highest return. Hence, in this case, the algorithm will focus on quality, not the quantity of conversions: it can be fewer conversions than with Maximize clicks, but they will be of a greater value.

Key benefits:
  • Allows users to maximize the highest value conversions within the defined budget 
  • Easy-to-use and manage, does not require a lot of time
  • Higher quality of the traffic
Potential drawbacks:
  • Require a proper setup of the Conversion tracking, which can be tricky
  • To ensure the model’s effectiveness, you need to have a certain volume of historical data

Maximize conversion value + Target return on ad spend (ROAS)

If you select this bidding strategy, Google Ads will try to optimize your bids to maximize revenue within your target ROAS

Keep in mind that this strategy can only be applied if you have enough historical data: at least 15 conversions in the past 30 days. 

The benefits and drawbacks of the Target ROAS strategy are similar to the Target CPA bidding strategy.

Microsoft Ads bidding strategies

Let’s move on to Bing Search and Display bidding strategies. 

Worth noticing, the platform provides a great overview of all their existing bidding strategies on their website. Overall, you can notice that most of their bidding strategies are similar to the ones from Google. However, it is important to mention here that the CPC you get on Bing is usually much lower than on Google Ads due to the lower competition. So, if you have your audience on Bing, this might be an excellent opportunity for you! 

So, let us briefly look at what Microsoft Ads can offer. Our goal is to provide you with some key points that you should know about the strategy before using it.

Awareness-focused bidding strategies

Target impression share

Similar to Google’s Target impression share bidding strategy, Microsoft Ads provides a very similar configuration for its users. 

Simply put, Bing’s Target Impression share helps advertisers gain a desired impression share within the defined budget. This strategy is perfect if you want to grow your brand awareness. 

To set up this campaign, all you need to do is define your budget, decide on the ad placement, and select the desired impression share. After that, Microsoft Advertising will do the rest – will automatically set your bids. 

This configuration allows you to set up your maximum CPC. We would highly recommend not skipping this step. This way you will have more control over your cost. And don’t forget that due to the lower competition with Microsoft Ads, your CPC can be much lower in comparison to Google Ads. However, pay attention to where your audience actually is. It won’t bring you any value advertising on Bing if your audience simply doesn’t use it.    

As for the pros and cons, Bing’s Target impression share strategy has a lot in common with the same configuration from Google Ads.

Key benefits:
  • It can help you to grow awareness and brand visibility by occupying the space in SERP
  • Easy-to-use setup process
  • Lower CPC compared to Google Ads
  • Less competition compared to Google Ads
  • If your audience is using Bing – higher chances of generating high-quality traffic
Potential drawbacks:
  • No guarantee that the quality of the traffic is good 
  • High impression share (90-100%) can be costly
  • There is a risk of significant growth in CPC in case Max CPCs aren’t set
  • Effective for growing brand visibility, but not that relevant for other business objectives: e.g., increase in signups

Manual CPM & Manual CPV

In addition to Target Impression share, Bing also provides other Awareness-oriented bidding strategies such as Manual CPM and Manual CPV. 

Manual CPM stands for Manual cost-per-thousand impressions. This Bing’s bidding strategy allows you to set up the highest amount you want to pay per 1000 viewed impressions

Manual CPV stands for Manual cost-per-view. This big strategy allows you to set up the highest amount you are willing to pay per view or click on a video ad.

Key benefits:
  • Perfect for brand awareness campaigns 
  • More control over your costs
  • Lower competition compared to Google Ads
  • If your audience is using Bing – higher chances of generating high-quality traffic.
Potential drawbacks:
  • Time-consuming 
  • Complexity: hard to consider all the factors, and it might require a lot of time to start understanding your data and recognizing patterns
  • Error-prone
  • No access to contextual signals 
  • High risk of missing opportunities and budget loss

Consideration-focused bidding strategies

In regards to consideration-focused bidding strategies, Bing provides Enhanced CPC and Maximize CPC. Not so long ago, Microsoft Ads also provided an option to manually set up the cost of the CPC with the Manual CPC bidding strategy. However, starting March 2021, Microsoft Ads decided to completely remove this option and automatically migrate all existing campaigns with Manual CPC to Enhanced CPC. According to the official announcement, starting 5th of April, the Manual CPC configuration is no longer available for Microsoft Ads users.

Enhanced CPC

Enhanced CPC is a default bidding strategy that Microsoft Ads offers you when creating a new ad campaign. Similar to Google Ads, this strategy allows users to manually set their ad group and keyword bids and let the AI algorithm optimize the ad performance by automatically adjusting those manual bids for clicks that have the most potential. In other words, your bid will go higher on searches that potentially have higher chances to generate conversions and lower on searches that are less likely to convert.

Key benefits:
  • Full control over the maximum CPC
  • Optimization for clicks
  • Higher quality of the traffic: increased bids for users who are more likely to convert while decreasing the bids the users who are less likely to buy the product
Potential drawbacks:
  • The algorithm can be limited by the maximum CPC that you set, and if it is too low, it can result in missing opportunities
  • To ensure the best result, you will need to spend more time reviewing and trying out various bid modifiers.

Maximize Clicks

Maximize Clicks is an AI-driven bidding strategy provided by Microsoft Ads. With this strategy, Microsoft does all the work for you and automatically sets bids to help generate as many clicks as possible within the defined budget.

Like Google Ads, Microsoft Ads also allows their users to set the maximum CPC to avoid spending too much on their ads.

Key benefits:
  • An easy and fast method of generating a lot of traffic (as much as possible)
  • Possibility to set maximum CPC
Potential drawbacks:
  • It can be costly if the maximum CPC is not set
  • No guarantee of the traffic quality
  • Requires enough volume of historical data

Conversion-focused bidding strategies

Maximize Conversions

Maximize conversions is another automated bidding strategy from Microsoft Ads that helps users to generate as many conversions as possible within the defined budget. In this case, you can also set up your maximum CPC to have more control over your costs.

Keep in mind that you will need to have a Conversion tracking set up in order to use this strategy.

Key benefits:
  • Allows users to maximize the number of conversions for a campaign within the defined budget 
  • Easy-to-use and manage, does not require a lot of time
  • Possibility to set maximum CPC
  • Perfect for those who do not have a clear CPA and ROAS goal
  • Higher quality of the traffic
Potential drawbacks:
  • It can be costly without a defined CPA goal
  • Require a proper setup of the Conversion tracking, which can be tricky
  • To ensure the model’s effectiveness, you need to have a certain volume of historical data: in this case, Microsoft Ads advises to have at least 30 conversions.

Target CPA (Campaign-level target)

Target CPA is another automated bidding strategy that allows users to get as many conversions as possible at or below the target cost-per-acquisition (CPA). All you need to do here is set your budget and your 30-day average CPA, while Microsoft Ads will do the rest.

Key benefits:
  • You have more control over your costs compared to Maximize conversions strategy.
  • Effective strategy if your goal is to maximize profitability. Primarily, it concerns companies that sell products that have similar price points, and for the business, those customers have longer Lifetime Values. 
  • You can prioritize conversions by a device with the Device bid adjustments
Potential drawbacks:
  • Requires expert knowledge in both online advertising and peculiarities of the industry:  e.g., understand what should be the right CPA goal for your industry and a specific product – it is crucial to set a realistic target
  • Requires enough volume of historical data: minimum 30 conversions
  • Require a proper setup of the Conversion tracking, which can be tricky
  • Setting bid limits for Target CPA bid strategy is not recommended, because it can restrict Google’s automatic optimization of bids 

Target Return-on-ad-spend (ROAS)

Target return on ad spend (ROAS) is another automated bidding strategy that allows users to optimize their bids to maximize revenue within target ROAS. After you set your budget and your target 30-day average ROAS, Microsoft Advertising will automatically set your bids in real-time to get you to this average.

Key benefits:
  • You have more control over your costs compared to Maximize conversions strategy.
  • Effective strategy if your goal is to maximize profitability. 
  • Possibility to set max CPC on top of target ROAS
Potential drawbacks:
  • Requires enough volume of historical data
  • Require a proper setup of the Conversion tracking, which can be tricky

LinkedIn bidding strategies

Let’s move on to LinkedIn bidding strategies. 

Overall, there are three types of bidding strategies to choose from on LinkedIn: Manual bidding, Targeted Cost, and Max Delivery (automated). Let us briefly look at them.

Manual bidding

Manual bidding strategy allows advertisers to specify the amount they want to bid per key result. This strategy is the best option for users who want to have more control of their bids in the auction.

LinkedIn will suggest the recommended bid amount based on your campaign segmentation and the competition (i.e., what other advertisers are bidding). On top of that, LinkedIn’s manual bidding strategy also provides an option to enhance the bidding setup by enabling bid adjustment for high-value clicks. This configuration allows flexibility up to 45%over the bid amount entered to optimize the campaign for more conversions or leads. Simply put, based on historical data, LinkedIn will automatically bid up to 45% higher if it considers that a click is more likely to lead to conversion. This is an advanced version of the Manual bidding strategy, which resembles Enhanced bidding strategies available on Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.    

Key benefits:
  • More control of the bids in the auction
  • Available for all campaign objectives, ad formats, and optimization goals
  • Have an enhanced version that allows you to get higher-quality traffic
Potential drawbacks:
  • Time-consuming
  • Requires expert knowledge and regular monitoring 
  • To ensure the best result, you will need to spend more time reviewing and trying out various tactics.

Target Cost

Simply put, the Target Cost bidding strategy allows you to get the most key results possible while staying in the range of your defined target cost. In other words, it will enable you to specify the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the key result (such as impressions, clicks, or views). This strategy is available for such campaign goals as Brand Awareness (optimized for Impressions), Website Visits (optimized for Link clicks), Engagement (optimized for Engagement clicks), and Video Views.

Key benefits:
  • More control over your costs
  • Stabilization of the cost per key result while optimizing for a better performance
Potential drawbacks:
  • Requires expert knowledge in both online advertising and peculiarities of the industry: e.g., understand what should be the right CPA goal for your industry and a specific product – it is crucial to set a realistic target  
  • To ensure the best result, you will need to spend more time reviewing and trying out various tactics.
  • The strategy is not available for such objectives as Lead generation and Website conversions

Maximum Delivery (automated)

Maximum Delivery is an automated LinkedIn bidding strategy that allows users to leverage the power of artificial intelligence and get the most key results possible while maximizing budget efficiency. In other words, by choosing this strategy, you allow LinkedIn to do all the work for you: automatically adjust your bid to deliver the best results possible with your total budget.

Key benefits:
  • Fast and easy setup, LinkedIn does all the work for you
  • Allows users to get the most results while using the budget with the most efficiency
  • The strategy is available for all advertising objectives (from brand awareness to conversion)
Potential drawbacks:
  • To be effective requires enough historical data
  • Not available for campaigns that utilize the Dynamic or Sponsored messaging formats
  • Require Target Cost to control cost per result

Facebook (& Instagram) bidding strategies

The next platform we are going to look at is Facebook. 

At first, it might feel confusing when you look at the bidding strategies for the first time — the main reason is their names. Facebook introduces us to completely new wording of bidding strategies. However, don’t let it make you upset – in fact, it is not that hard as it seems.

Let us shortly look at the key bidding strategies Facebook has to offer. 

In general, we can divide Facebook bidding strategies into three groups depending on their type: Goal-based bidding, spend-based bidding, and manual bidding.

Goal-Based Bidding

Cost cap

This strategy allows users to fix their desired Target cost-per-action (CPA). As a result, it helps you to have more control over the cost you pay for your results. Facebook suggests this strategy as default if you choose to be in control of your costs. The Cost cap strategy is perfect for advertisers who have specific CPA goals.

Minimum ROAS

This strategy allows users to target a minimum ROAS for each bid. As a result, Minimum ROAS strategy is ideal for advertisers who want to have more control over the purchase value generated from ads. However, keep in mind that to use minimum ROAS bidding strategy, a functional pixel or SDK set up to track conversion events is required.

Spend-based bidding (uses automated bidding)

Lowest cost

This strategy allows users to maximize Delivery and the number of conversions possible for a given budget. In this case, you have no control over your costs per result. Although the algorithm makes bids to get the lowest cost for the target action, it will spend the whole budget since the manual bid is not used here. This strategy is perfect for advertisers who do not know yet how much each prospect is worth and would like to get some “advice” from Facebook without restricting it with the manual bid. Overall, Lowest cost strategy helps save plenty of time since Facebook does bidding for you, but at the same time, you have no control over your CPA, which means advertising can get very costly with time.

Highest value

This bidding strategy allows users to focus on maximizing conversion value. In other words, the algorithm will focus its forces on generating the highest value purchases while spending the entire budget. This strategy is ideal for advertisers who aim to get the highest ROAS and are ready to spend the whole budget but are unsure of the minimum ROAS and bid amount.

Manual bidding

Bid cap

This strategy allows users to set up the maximum amount that can be spent in an auction. Simply put, Bid cap strategy helps users to have more control over their bids in an auction. It is crucial to keep in mind that the auction bid and the cost per result (or CPA) are two different things. As a result, compared to the Cost Cap and Target Cost strategies, the algorithm, in this case, will not set a higher bid in the auction. This strategy will be ideal for advertisers who aim to set a maximum bid across auctions to control costs and reach as many users as possible.

You can also find more information in the official Facebook bid strategy guide that provides an overview of the available Facebook bidding strategies.

Twitter Bidding Strategies

Last but not least, let us look at the Twitter bidding strategies.

Overall, Twitter provides its users three bidding strategies to choose from: Automatic bid, Maximum bid, and Target bid.

Automatic bid

Automatic bid bidding strategy allows you to automatically optimize your bid to maximize your results at the lowest price within your budget.

Key benefits:
  • Ideal for users who are just starting advertising on Twitter
  • Fast and easy setup
  • No need to set your bid; Twitter does the bidding for you
Potential drawbacks:
  • No control over your costs per result
  • No guarantee that the quality of the traffic is good

Maximum bid

Maximum bid strategy allows users to have more control over their cost by defining their Maximum bid. In other words, in this case, advertisers can predefine how much they are willing to pay for a billable action. By setting up the Maximum bid, advertisers ensure that their results will not be charged over this price.

Key benefits:
  • More control over your costs
  • Perfect for experienced advertisers who knows how much they are willing to pay for a billable action
Potential drawbacks:
  • Requires expert knowledge and regular monitoring 
  • To ensure the best result, you will need to spend more time reviewing and trying out various tactics.

Target bid

Twitter’s Target bid strategy allows users to specify a target cost they want to pay and let the algorithm optimize their campaign for performance while staying near or below the defined target cost.

Key benefits:
  • Full control over your costs
  • Potentially higher quality of the traffic
  • Perfect for experienced advertisers who knows how much they are willing to pay for a billable action
Potential drawbacks:
  • Time-consuming
  • Requires expert knowledge in both online advertising and peculiarities of the industry
  • To ensure the best result, you will need to spend more time reviewing and trying out various tactics

That was it!

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