> your bidding strategy in 3 steps
1. Organize your Paid Search strategy into distinct keyword “buckets”
Unless your paid search program is very basic, you’re most likely bidding on different kinds of keywords with different performance levels – at the very least, branded vs. generic keywords. You definitely cannot optimize your branded keywords just like your generic keywords since the average positions and CPCs are typically very different.
Remember that Ad Rank = Quality Score * Max Bid. And Quality Score is defined according to (among other things) how well your account is structured : this is why you might build an effective hierarchy for your campaigns before implementing them – campaigns and ad groups segmented by keywords buckets and/or keywords match types, etc…
Also, make sure your ad group structure has been stable for at least a couple of weeks so you can collect enough historical data at the keyword, ad group and campaign levels.
2. Build out your bid rules logic for each bucket
When your account is correctly set up and your campaigns are online, you might consider your bid adjustment strategy in terms of a ”if this and that, then that” pattern – for ex. :
- if KW av. CPC > 0.50€ and position < 3 then bid down by 10%
- if KW av. CPC > 0.50€ and position > 3 then bid down by 5%
- if KW av. CPC < 0.50€ then bid up by 5%
Of course this is only a random example, and it’s you to decide whether your strategy is based on the keywords in question’s number of conversions, CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), CTR (Click Through Rate), etc…
NB : in Adwords conversions are calculated on a 30-day window and the revenue-attribution model is a last-click model.
3. Define bid adjustments cycles
A bidding strategy is not a one-shot frozen thing : instead your campaigns or keywords bids should be regularly adjusted to keep your paid search account in improvement. Moreover you want your bids to reflect recent keyword-level performance while looking at longer time ranges and less granular statistics levels to address long-tail keywords.
Therefore you might define prioritized cycles of bid adjustments – for ex. :
- Keywords level, short time range
- Keywords level, long time range
- Ad group level, short time range
- Ad group level, long time range
- Campaign level, short time range
- Campaign level, long time range
NB : generally speaking, short time range = 7 days, and long time range = 90 days – but you should adapt these cycles according to your own SEA performances.
4. Take action
Okay, so now you’ve build an efficient account structure at every level (campaign, ad group and keyword), you’ve organized keywords into several “buckets” according to their types and/or match type, and you’ve defined the priorities and cycles time ranges for bid adjustments. Well, with all of this you’re ready to implement your SEA strategy.
To make things easier and keep track of your action I recommend using a “CPC adjustment” template, which is usually a spreadsheet listing the main performances indicators for each keywords and an extra column dedicated to calculating the adjusted bid – see ex. below :
I made the original spreadsheet available for sharing via GG Docs, simply follow link below :
> Bidding Strategy : CPC Adjustments Template <
Here are the guidelines for collecting data from your Adwords account to fill-in your bidding strategy template :
- Log into your Adwords account and select the concerned profile.
- Select date range.
- Select level : campaign, ad groups or keywords.
- Make sure the Adwords interface displays all the columns you need for your bidding strategy.
- Create filter according to your defined bidding rules.
- Export to Excel.
- Copy data to your “CPC adjustment” template and calculate new bid for each item.
- To finish apply modified bids to your Adwords campaigns, ad groups or keywords depending on the level you’re working on.
In conclusion, an effective bidding strategy is not just the result of a performing bidding algorithm : for sure it also has to do with understanding consumer behavior, adjusting your goals accordingly, and then actually automating the bids within a well-organized account.