AdWords Bidding 101

Why, hello there! Welcome to AdWords Bidding 101.

As your professor, I will be giving you a crash course on the three basic AdWords bidding strategies and which to choose to reach your wildest digital marketing hopes and dreams. Why is this important? Any PR program can be supplemented with digital advertising – examples include amplifying an individual hit or increasing brand awareness.

AdWords creates instant search visibility for hot and trending news stories and attracts attention to specific news items, stories, and content that is likely to be passed along. AdWords can also effectively combat negative PR by running ads on brand names that have negative information in the organic search results. If you want to get your client in front of inquiring searchers, plus other placements around the web, Google AdWords is a great place to start. If you’re unfamiliar with AdWords, Google has quite a few resources to help you get started.

Now, back to business…

AdWords offers a variety of bid strategies that are tailored for different types of campaigns. Whether you want to focus on getting clicks (site visits), impressions (eyes on your ads), or conversions (eBook downloads, sales, etc.), there is a bid strategy that is perfect for your campaign goals.


CPC bidding, also known as PPC (pay per click), is the most common form of bidding within Google AdWords. CPC stands for cost per click, meaning you’ll only pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits your site. CPC campaigns can target the Search Network, the Display Network, or both. CPC campaigns allow you to utilize either automated bidding or manual bidding. Automated bidding will allow you to set a daily budget and AdWords will automatically maximize the number of clicks possible within that budget. Manual bidding gives you the power to set and manage the maximum CPC bids yourself for specific ad groups, keywords, or placements. If your main goal is to generate as much traffic to your site as possible, then CPC bidding is the right fit for your campaign.


CPM stands for cost per 1,000 impressions. Instead of paying per click you pay for each set of 1,000 views of your ad and set a maximum CPM bid, which is the highest amount you’re willing to pay for 1,000 views of your ad. CPM bidding will count the views from ads shown on the Display Network only. CPM bidding is best used for campaigns with the sole focus of increasing brand awareness. Typically eye catching image ads and other multimedia ad formats are best for this purpose. If your company or brand is in its early stages, CPM bidding is the perfect way to create interest and get your name or logo out to the masses.


CPA stands for cost per acquisition. CPA bidding requires you to pay only when a conversion, or desired action, is completed on your site. These actions can be defined as a sale, sign-ups, mobile app download, you name it! Remember, your campaign MUST have conversion tracking enabled and target the Search Network, the Display Network, or both to be eligible for CPA bidding. Once you have conversion tracking enabled in your account, AdWords will automatically set bids for you and try to get as many conversions as possible at the target CPA bid you set. CPA bidding is best used for response oriented campaigns with the goal of consumers taking a direct action on your site.

Congratulations! You’ve passed AdWords Bidding 101. You now know the three main types of bidding strategies, when to use them, and how to use them. Now you’re ready to take on the digital world by storm and create wonderful AdWords campaigns that will generate what every advertiser seeks: results!

Nick Patterson
Marketing Intern

Download our new eBook, How to Measure the Value of PR

Posted on January 18, 2017 in Advertising

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