Just a few month ago, Google AdWords quietly retired the old auto bidding with a built-in enhanced CPC algorithm. If you change out of this old bidding model, you can’t get back in.
Here are the new/revised bidding models for Google AdWords and my thoughts on each.
eCPC Manual Not the Old Auto
This bidding model uses the enhance click setting algorithm from AdWords but now starts not with an auto bid and bid cap but rather a manual bid. I have found that the traffic results are lower with this bidding model than the old eCPC auto bid model, but the ability to control costs is a big plus. For some accounts we are seeing roughly a 5% drop in costs. But the downside is that you really need to watch bids more carefully to boost them to the first page bid or set up bid automation rules. Traffic is lower as much as 20% less for some accounts. With eCPC Google is restrained in how much more than you max CPC bid it can set in the auction. That number is up to only 30% more. CPA bidding is unlimited.
Google says that this bidding algorithm is the old auto bid with eCPC component, but I say it is not. This model is good to get maximum clicks and traffic, but does not take any conversion history into account when setting your bid. It is great to start a program out with when you are not sure what the click cost should be. You cannot set individual keyword bids unless you opt those specific keywords out of the Maximum Clicks algorithm, but you can using a bidding portfolio strategy. If you need traffic and have a low budget this is a good choice to get strong traffic.
This bidding strategy and algorithm have been around for a while. It works well for some clients and crashes the account for others. Google says that it is improved and now in the Bidding section of the shared library you can see how the algorithm is learning to serve your bids. Remember with this one there is no bid cap. Google can automatically bid as high as it wants to win you the click auction. So far I have several clients that are really getting excellent results with CPA bidding with increased conversions at a significantly lower cost.
Google has spent significant resources on making these bidding tools valuable and many use your account history to keep you well placed in the AdWords auction.