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Bid Management: Key of A Campaign Success

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PPC bid management is one of the most complicated areas of PPC marketing. Advertisers have option to choose either manual or automated biding option in Google Adwords or they can opt for a third- party bi management solution. Both approaches have their pros & cons like –Automated bidding in Google is free, but no manual control over it and make it less than transparent. Third-party bid management software is generally more robust, but comes with a price tag, and make it not feasible for smaller, budget-strapped business advertisers.

Types of Bidding:

One can do different type of bidding with Google Adwords, Bing ads, are mention below:

Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding is when an advertiser sets a maximum price he is willing to pay for someone clicking on his ads. This bidding method requires to pay only when a viewer is interested enough to click his ad and learn more. This is great and very basic for direct response goals.

Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) is when an advertiser pay for each set of a thousand showings of his ad rather than paying for the number of clicks that he receive. CPM bidding s best for creating brand awareness instead of direct response or driving traffic to the site.

Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bidding, available through Conversion Optimizer in Adwords, allows to set how much an advertiser want to pay per conversion by define either a Maximum CPA or a Target CPA for each ad group. Then Conversion Optimizer finds the most possible conversions for his budget within his max or target CPA. This is a great choice if our goal is conversions.

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) is a bidding feature that raises bid for clicks that seem more likely to lead to a conversion. An advertiser still set CPC bids, but then AdWords will raise his bids by up to 30% if it thinks the click is more likely to lead to a conversion.

Bid Management Goals: 

There are generally four different goals which advertisers try to achieve in an account:

  • Increase branding by driving lots of impressions while having a target CPM.
  • Increase site traffic by driving lots of clicks while having a target CPC.
  • Increase leads by driving conversions while residing below a maximum CPA.
  • Increase sales by driving conversions with a positive ROI.

Each of these goals wants a different bid strategy. It is fine to mix and match goals in an account, but no one can have multiple goals for one item — that quarries altered strategies against each other and prevents the individual one from delivering the desired result.

Another important consideration is, for conversion-driven strategies (as mentioned in no. 3 & no.4), there are two different ways to evaluate the performance. The one is to try and maximize the revenue, and the other is to maximize profitability. For the first one, one will consider the average performance of the CPA or ROAS, whereas for the second, one will need to look at the incremental cost of each additional click he buy.

Managing The Bids:

In Adwords or Bingads, the most common way to manage bids is: in the editor and in the interface. For any change in bid for more than a couple of keywords, it’s better to use Excel to record the data and changes for being able to bookend the results.

  • Choosing A Lookback Window: When goals are defined, one need to decide for the date ranges to judge for calculating the new bids. If date range is short, and setting bids too aggressively, not give reliable result. And if date lookback window is very long then bid changes become conservative and also not coming with desirable result and make displaying in later pages in SERPs. There may be option to use multiple date ranges for the lookback windows. For example, if a keyword has done poorly for the last seven days, but it did very well over the previous six months, one should maybe do something different than if the keyword has been doing continually poor for the last six months. It seems that some changes has done recently and need further search in first case, while in later one, only need to lower the bid.

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Another thing to consider while choosing look back window is one should look at the date ranges when bids were remain unchanged.

  • Managing the Bids with Less Data: Sometimes it is difficult to get enough data to make a valid judgement on performance and bid changing ability. In such situation, one can take following

The first is to look at gradually longer date ranges until get the enough data for the keyword or ad group that is trying to set a bid for. This works particularly well if the performance is finely consistent during the different times of the year. If search is season based, then look at either ad group or campaign data in place of keyword data.

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This strategy works well if grouping the things done logically and keywords with similar performance are in the same ad groups or campaigns.

Bid Management Strategies:

  • Portfolio Biding: The simplest way to run the portfolio bid management is to set bids at the ad group level so all the keywords in each ad group turns like a portfolio. Google’s Flexible Bid Strategies, Target CPA and Target ROAS, are some of the examples of portfolio rules. The nice thing with these is that it can be decided by the advertiser that which ad groups or campaigns should be grouped together in the same strategy.
  • Rule-Based Bidding: It can be thought of the opposite of portfolio bidding; instead of grouping items to achieve the target, a rule based method analyses each item like keyword, ad group or placement, individually and forces it to reach the goal.It is basically an “if this, then that” type of approach —for e.g., if a keyword has 100+ clicks and a CPA is less than $20, then increase the bid by 10%. The rule doesn’t care about the impact of bid change on other keywords.

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  • Google Bid Strategies: This is the quickest and cheapest way to put in place a bid management program is to use Google’s own bid strategies.

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How to Apply Bid Strategies: With all such things to consider and different option for bid management, one can be confused to how to apply or which strategy is the most suitable for him. For example, brand keywords have positional goals (e.g. top of page), while generic terms have CPA or ROAS goals and are further segmented based on historical performance.

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Keywords that is continually  doing well, receive incompatible bids to maximize impression share, while keywords which have done well in the past but now slow down get less incompatible bids. Keywords that have never done well till now, get lower bids. And the keywords that have no data due to not to get exposure get slowly raise in their bids till they get enough data to take final or data-driven decision.

Image Credits: Google

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