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An Intro to Google Ads Bid Strategies: Manual CPC

Google Ads Bid Strategies: Manual CPC

A lot of PPC specialists struggle to choose the right bid strategy to accomplish their goals.

For the next five posts, I’m going to be outlining the best practices, use cases, and scenarios in which each of the (5) most-used Google bid strategies makes sense.

In this post, we’re going to be talking about Manual CPC.

In the days of lore, this was how Google Ads was done.

PPC specialists looked at their keywords and decided how much each click was worth to them. They placed a bid on each keyword and Google took that bid to the auction.

If your bid was higher than your competition (and had a decent, relevant ad and landing page to pair with it), you showed up first in search results.

All in all Manual CPC hasn’t changed much.

Even with the invention of automated bid strategies, Manual CPC has remained a go-to for a lot of advertisers.

And it still has its place!


  • It gives you more control over spend than smart bidding strategies (such as Maximize Conversions)

  • It allows you to collect conversion data before switching to a smart bidding strategy

  • It prevents “spam loops” where Google tracks down more bad leads because it’s optimizing on bad data


  • It’s not as efficient from a cost-per-conversion standpoint

  • It doesn’t take past results into account when deciding which searches to serve your ad to

  • It requires advertisers to make decisions that could easily be made by a machine

  • It’s probably going to be phased out by Google eventually (as they continue pushing their smart bidding strategies on advertisers)


  • You’re setting up an ad account from scratch

  • You just took over a new ad account and haven’t collected any conversion data yet

  • You don’t trust the conversion data that a previous agency was tracking

  • You have a super low budget and you want to careful how much you’re spending on every click (down to the keyword level)

  • For some reason, you’re not able to get accurate conversion tracking in place before turning on your campaigns

Manual CPC is like using a horse and buggy instead of a car. The car might have all the bells and whistles, but if it’s out of gas you might as well hop into the buggy.

It still gets you where you want to go.

Interested in working together?

Grab some time on my calendar.


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