Google Automated Bidding (Target ROAS Bid Strategy) or Manual Bidding?

An auction gavel

As a leading PPC Management Agency, we often hear the following question: Does manual (human-based bidding) or automated (algorithm-based bidding) get you better results in Google Ads?

Why do these questions persist? We are constantly confronted with articles on the efficiencies of automated bidding both from an ROI and time-management perspective, and yet manual bidding is still preferred by some.

To satisfy curiosity, we decided to gather and share first-hand results by comparing the two types of bidding in one Google Shopping campaign.

Testing it Out: Target ROAS Bid Strategy in Automated Bidding

For the automated bidding portion, we chose to use a Google automated bidding strategy known as Target ROAS. Google Target ROAS allows Google to set bids automatically to generate the most revenue possible at your return on ad spend goal. to be. It does this by focusing on a variety of auction-time signals, including:

  • – Device
  • – Location
  • – Remarketing lists
  • – Language
  • – Time of day
  • – Operating System

Since this client, like many, has a specific ROAS goal they are looking to achieve from Google Shopping, they were a good fit for a Target ROAS test.

We previously used manual bidding; see the comparative results of our test here:


After comparing pre/post data using an identical number of days and the same start/end days of the week, we saw negative conversion performance across the board for the time period that utilized Google automated bidding.

Does this mean you will see the same thing?

Definitely not! There is no across the board sure thing.

Every account is different, and many factors go into results such as account structure, volume, conversion action and competitive landscape.  Only you will be able to choose which type of bidding and strategy is right for you. For this account we have reverted to manual bidding after reviewing the data with the client.

The Benefits of Manual Bidding

Manual bidding allows you to control and adjust your paid search account for maximum efficiency. It allows you to better pinpoint what works, avoiding needlessly spending on what doesn’t. Additionally, manual bidding allows you to be proactive AND reactive. Things change, new competitors enter the field – and you want to be able to act fast. Whether you can foresee the change or just heard about it this morning, manual bidding allows you to adjust rapidly.

The Takeaway

The biggest takeaway from our test? Paid search is inherently about trying new things to find what works. You can’t know what will work and what won’t without testing options against each other. In this case, we are happy to have completed the test and seen the results first hand, but the numbers spoke for themselves…

Happy Testing!

To learn more about this test or how Lead Horse Marketing can help you get the most return on ad spend through regular testing and account optimization, reach out for a discovery call today!

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