The Opportunities & Obstacles of Target CPA Bidding

To get you up to scratch, Target CPA bidding is Google’s fully automated bid setting that allows account managers to set a target cost per acquisition for their campaigns.

The way it works is that Google considers the historical account conversion data and user-specific contextual data to set an auction bid, the goal being to be able to achieve the desired CPA.



There are a choice of settings available to customise Target CPA campaigns to the accounts relevant goals, which comes in handy since Target CPA eliminates many variables that must be actively managed within manual bidding campaigns.

The primary settings for the campaign will be the Target CPA and budget for the campaign. These settings are quite straightforward and should be selected based on the budget and acquisition of the account.

Bid limits are available for Target CPA bidding if you were to use a portfolio bid strategy. The maximum bid limit will stop Google from bidding above a desired cost per click within the auction on Google’s Search Network. Bid limits can disrupt Google’s ability to optimise to a Target CPA in a lot of situations, but this setting proves quite useful for situations where the goal CPA is very low. You can also use minimum bid limits for portfolio bidding although I wouldn’t recommend using minimum bid limits unless you want to waste money.

When it comes to Target CPA, you must have conversion tracking set up so that if multiple conversions are setup, you can further optimise delivery by selecting specific conversions within the campaign settings.

Device adjustments are also available within Target CPA bidding campaigns. This means that you can create multiple campaigns with similar goals which are segmented by device by specifically targeting desktop or mobile devices.

Another setting available is Pay for Conversions. This allows the business to pay for each conversion instead of the clicks. By doing so, Google can deliver as many conversions as possible at the Target CPA goal, while on being limited by the budget. You should be careful when using this setting though, especially in situations when the optimal CPA may not be known. Campaigns can spend up to 2 times the daily budget but will not overspend the monthly budget. 



Target CPA offers a lot of benefit for those accounts with many campaigns, by making the bidding process as efficient as can be. It also allows accounts to use Google’s machine learning to benefit them. 

Having said that, Target CPA bidding can fail to hit the goals we want if that specific CPA goal is unrealistic or if the historical conversion data is limited. This setting focuses bidding on auctions which are likely to have a higher conversion rate, so can also limit conversion volume and budget delivery.

It is important to understand that by using this type of automated bidding, you are somewhat giving up a large amount of control.

However there are some benefits of opting into using Target CPA and as with practically all automated tools, the potential benefits will vary on the specifics of each account.

Leave a comment