How Does Manual Bidding Work?

Google AdWords allows for automated and manual bidding methods for PPC ad management. Each has their benefits. However, manual bidding is the primary strategy many people use for CPC optimization, as it gives a high level of control to AdWords administrators.

With manual Cost-Per-Click bidding, you set the maximum cost for each click on your ads. This is an excellent value for many businesses since you only pay when someone is interested in your product or service enough to click the ad. Manual CPC bidding gives you the most control over how much you spend within AdWords.

Manual Bidding
Once you have chosen to use manual cost-per-click, you can go through your list of keywords, and raise or lower your spend, based on the maximum CPC or the highest amount you’re willing to pay for each click. Two factors weigh heavily on CPC; the competition for keywords and the quality score. The higher the quality score, the lower the cost-per-click.

Quality Score and CPC

Max CPC vs. Actual CPC

The final amount you’re charged for a click is the actual CPC, and it’s often less than the maximum CPC. That is because the most that advertisers will pay is what’s minimally required to hold ad position, essentially paying just enough to beat the other advertisers, in the AdWords auction.

Adjusting CPC

You can change your max CPC bid in two ways by Ad Group or at the keyword level, for groups of keywords or individual terms.

Ad Group
 If you want all keywords in a group to have the same bid, you can set this CPC at the ad group level, or by adjusting your “default bid.” Doing this gives you manual control and is less involved than bidding on each keyword individually.

Change Default ad group bids AdWordsAdjust Default Bids in AdWords


If you want each keyword or a group of keywords to have different bids, you can go into each keyword and set them one by one. This allows ultimate control on a granular level, but can also become cumbersome, if you’re dealing with a large number of ad groups and thousands of keywords.

Determining CPC

If you’re not sure how to determine CPC, the keyword planner tool offers insight on cost-estimates and impressions.  Bid simulator provides details for hypothetical scenarios and bids. First-page bid estimates show information on what it will take to land your ad on the first Google Search Results Page.

To see the first page bids estimates login to AdWords

  • Click “Campaigns.”
  • Select “Keywords.”
  • Click the “Columns” button.
  • Choose “Modify Columns.”
  • In the attributes section, choose “Est. first page bid”,  “ page bid” and “Est. first position. bid”
  • Manual bidding position costsMake sure to “Apply” these column settings or save.

Setting the right PPC  is one crucial step in your AdWords campaign, as is effectively managing bids. To learn about the best ways to establish a daily or monthly budget check out these PPC budgeting tips.

Evolve Digital Labs’ Resources

Grade AdWords Performance 

Not sure how your manual bidding is impacting overall AdWords performance? Get your AdWords Graded with the free Evolve Digital Labs AdWords Grader.