Google Ads: Bidding Break-Down

Confusing as Google Ads may seem, they are a valuable tool and will increase the online presence of any company. For many, purchasing Google Ads is unfamiliar territory.  Purchasing a Google Ad isn’t as simple as going to a restaurant and telling your waiter what you’d like to eat.  Purchasing a Google Ad requires you to “make your meal yourself” using the tools which Google provides.  One layer to purchasing your ad: Bidding. In order to help, we have broken down the different types of bidding and how they work.

Choosing a Network

When working with Google Ads, you have the option of running ads on the search network, the display network or both. They both offer advantages, disadvantages and their differences are important.

Search Network Ads

As the name implies, ads on the search network appear at the top of the search results list for searches containing the keywords selected by that company.  These are likely the ads that come to mind when you think of Google Ads. Ads on the search network can be identified by the small “ad” designation immediately to the left of the website URL. We searched for “reclaimed wood coffee table” in our example, but Google Ads will appear for any search you can think of.

Display Network Ads

The display network refers to placement of ads throughout the internet on a massive network of sites and appear as the banner ads you see on countless advertising-supported websites. According to Google, the display network is made up of more than 2 million websites and is capable of reaching over 90% of internet users around the globe.  You may have heard of this being referred to as re-targeting.

For ads running on the display network, the objective is to get internet users to stop what they are doing and click on your ad, which may sound about as easy as giving your cat a bath. However, if your goals are to increase brand recognition by putting your name and logo in front of as many people as possible, or to present users with ads directly related to their search history and cookies, running ads on the display network is a great option.

CPC Campaigns

If you have done any digging on Google Ads, you have probably seen the letters “CPC” appear frequently. Cost-per-click, or CPC, refers to the amount a bidder is willing to pay each time an internet user clicks on their ad. In most cases, the goal with a CPC campaign is to get people to click on your website. If that sounds in tune with your objectives for online advertising, then going the CPC route is a smart choice.

Automatic Vs Manual Bidding

Under the umbrella of CPC bidding are two different options that determine how your bids are placed. Automatic bidding is an automated bidding strategy designed to make the process as simple as possible. With automatic bidding, you simply set your maximum daily bidding budget, and Google Adwords (the most common site for purchasing Google Ads) will automatically adjust your bids so you can achieve the most ad clicks while staying within said budget. It’s as easy as that. Because of its simplicity, we recommend this form of bidding for those new to Google Ads.

For those who are a little more familiar with CPC bidding, or if you want more control over your bids, manual bidding could be the way to go. The biggest difference between automatic and manual bidding is the ability to set different bid amounts for individual keywords with manual. For example (once again using reclaimed wood furniture as our subject), you might be willing to spend more per click on web searches including the words “reclaimed furniture” than you would be willing to spend on “couches.”


CPM, or cost-per-impression, is another type of bidding available through Google Adwords and only runs on the display network. As mentioned earlier, one of the goals for ads on the display network is to get your name or logo in front of as many people as possible and re-target them based off past web activity. For CPM bidding, you pay for every 1,000 times your ad appears as “viewable” (50% of the ad visible for one second, or two seconds for video). If brand recognition and re-targeting are of your main concerns, CPM bidding is a great option.


For those of you interested in video ads on the display network, cost-per-view (CPV) bidding is the one for you. With CPV bidding, you pay for video views and interactions (usually clicks). According to the support section of Google Adwords, “A view is counted when someone watches 30 seconds of your video ad (or the duration if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with the ad, whichever comes first.”

Like any other bidding tactic, you can decide what you are willing to pay per view (your maximum CPV), but if Google Adwords is able to get your views for cheaper, you will only be charged the necessary amount.

Placing a bid

Once you have decided on what type of bidding is best for your campaign, actually placing the bid is quick and easy with the help of Google AdwordsAfter creating an account, you will find a +campaign button under the campaigns tab. From there, select your “bid strategy” and set your daily budget. Click the save button and you’ve just placed your first Google Adwords bid! It is worth noting, if you wish to adjust your campaign, you can edit your campaign strategy and budget from the settings tab of that campaign at any time.


Understanding bidding basics. Retrieved from:


Choosing your bid and budget. Retrieved from:

Active view. Retrieved from:


About cost-per-view bidding. Retrieved from:


Fargo, North Dakota based Design-Marketing agency. Skilled in: Web design and e-commerce, social media, video, branding, graphic design, photography and more.



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