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What is CPC & Manual / Enhanced Bidding Strategy?

20 Mar 2021 By Graham Will

What is CPC?

Cost per click (CPC) bidding has been the basis of Search Engine Marketing for years, where advertisers setting the maximum amount they are willing to pay for a click on their keywords. This is used in a bidding auction to decide where their ad appears in search engine results, and whether users could find and “convert” on their website.

Times are changing and so does strategies. Using data that we can’t access and wouldn’t be able to manually understand and combine the bidding input and historic performance with the detailed learning of their respective AI systems, Google and Bing ads provides alternative strategies.  

In this part of bidding strategy, we practice Manual CPC bidding as well as two forms of Smart Bidding strategies, known as Enhanced CPC (ECPC) and Target CPA bidding.

Manual CPC Bidding

Manual CPC bidding is the default bidding tool in Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Manual bidding is the easiest bid strategy to hold on the Google Ads platform. Advertisers set their bids manually at the keyword level, and the bids stay where they are until the advertiser changes them. At its basic, you are treating every user and every click the same, focusing on the keyword rather than the user.

Despite the friendly warning from Google, this is the best place to start for people starting out in PPC or using their spare time to manage their account because Manual CPC Bidding consumes a lot of time and this is its disadvantage.

Enhanced CPC Bidding

Enhanced CPC (ECPC) is a type of marketing automation for Google Ads, which includes AdWords, video, the Google Display Network and more. Using it, Google automatically manages your advertising bids on all those platforms so you don’t have to. Enhanced CPC bidding is very similar to manual bidding but allows the Google Ads algorithm to make adjustments to the manually set keyword bid. This can be considered the Mix-up of Manual CPC bidding and Target CPA bidding, offering a slightly more “AI” approach to your bids although holding a stronger degree of control over the bids yourself.

Enhanced CPC allows Google and Bing to modify your bids based on who they feel is more likely to convert to a conversion. This is based on many factors including:

  • Your historic performance
  • Device
  • Location
  • Time of day


What’s the Difference between Manual CPC & Enhanced CPC (ECPC)?

Manual CPC

Enhanced CPC

Manual CPC is a bidding method that let you set your own maximum cost-per-click (CPC) for your ads.

Enhanced CPC is a bid strategy that adjusts your cost-per-click (CPC) to help maximize conversions or conversion value.


You start by setting a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid for your entire ad group (called your default bid), but you can also set separate bids for separate keywords or placements.

Enhanced CPC strategy raises your manual bids in situations that seem more likely to lead to a sale or other conversion on your website, and lowers your bid for situations that seem less likely to lead to a conversion.


It is possible for you to spend the max price that you had set for a keyword; however most of the time your cost ends up being less, and never will you be charged more than your set max CPC price. 

With enhanced CPC bidding it is possible to go over your max CPC bid price for a keyword, but most of the time it evens out throughout the month with the auctions that Google lowers your max CPC bid price.


Google Ads or Bing Ads now prefer Smart strategy and very much focusing on bringing Enhanced CPCP rather than Manual CPC strategy.


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