Hello again. Since I’ve been involved with Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising using AdWords for a while now, I have written several articles on the topic from keywords to building a campaign and even the process of setting up a partner profile and AdWords MCC. My time on the Google North American AdWords Agency Support team has definitely provided a wealth of information and insight on the platform.
For this article I will discuss some great techniques for bidding that will help out your campaign and get an edge over the competitors. It can be easy to over spend and not get the results you want if you aren’t careful or working with a professional who not only knows what he or she is doing but also have YOUR goals in mind.
You may already know and understand how the bidding works and with that, you can logically deduce a great strategy is to simply outbid all of my competition. I can look at the suggested top of page bid for each keyword and then sort by the highest to lowest and then set my maximum bids at 20% higher than that suggested bid. If I want to overkill, I can go to even 50% higher. Here is the flaw in this logic if this is the only tactic you choose to employ; you can find yourself eventually over paying for clicks. I suspect that a lot of people do this though. It’s understandable. We have a competitive nature and we want to win. We can get caught up in the heat of the campaign.
The first technique is Set bid adjustments for household income tiers. This is a less common strategy as it’s a challenge to find that data for those who don’t know where to find it. There are two place I look and they are city data dot com and census dot gov. These two websites give me the granular data I need to target who are qualified for the product I am advertising. With Google’s geographic targeting capabilities, we can target by “location groups” including “places of interest” and “demographic groups”. This demographic group is what we’re interested in. Premium priced products are perfect for testing household income targeting. Perhaps you have also seen that this works specially well for high-end, high priced luxury items. Examples are high-end home fixtures, luxury real estate or custom homebuilders, and high-end fine jewelry. This method allows me to rely on actual data from multiple sources as well as what Google thinks. Now within the Google AdWords interface and within the campaign, you will:
- Go to Settings -> Locations, and click the red “+Location” button.
- Find the “Location Groups” tab and the drop down to select either places of interest or demographic targets. Select “Locations by demographics”
- From the drop down for household income tiers, select one and click “Add.” Repeat to add all the income tiers as targets. Now you can start collecting data for each of the household income tiers.
- Check the data the following 2 days to verify it’s gathering information and then give it 1-2 weeks and see how your data looks.
Depending on the data, you can adjust bids based on who is interacting more with the ads. Having the information from City Data dot com or the Census dot gov will also verify the data gathered from Google.
Something to remember as this is very important when bidding on income tiers; with household income, the most granular bid adjustment takes precedence over all others, and does not combine with others.
So while of course we make bid adjustments on keywords to make sure our ads are showing up, this technique can help us understand at a deeper level who we show up for in addition to their search terms.
Once an AdWords account has been running for a year, we can start looking at the seasonality of clicks and conversions. Where people often fail in AdWords is they stop after 2-3 months before really giving the campaign enough time to work. For the few who keep going, you will want to look at data year to year in addition to month to month so you can see just like you do with other metrics, how you did over the same period in the previous year.
Until you have a year under your belt, I recommend looking at the weekly conversion data and seeing what days and times are your best conversions. It may be a Thursday or even a Saturday. Set auto bids to increase on those high converting days and times. Conversely, you would set auto bidding to decrease on the days that are low converting days. For example, I have found through working with literally 100’s of luxury campaigns that late evenings we get spikes of activity but low conversions. So just ask yourself this question: What do you do a few hours before bed or right before bed involving the Internet? Well, anecdotal evidence suggests a majority of people look at images of luxury homes and home furnishings and dream vacation spots. I now make it a habit to cut off my ads at 7pm for premium priced products and services based on data I have seen over the years. This has increased my rankings and lowered my cost per click and cost per lead, which makes my clients very happy. I presume you already know how to do this by going into the Dimensions Tab and viewing by day of the week and by time of day, etc. You can drill down further by selecting the columns in the dimensions tab and then selecting Search Impression Share lost due to Budget / Rank and Exact Match.
So now let us move to bidding by location of the user. This can apply for brick and mortar companies as well as online commerce. When viewing the Dimensions Tab, select the user location and see where your clicks and conversions are coming from. This can help you block locations where you don’t serve as well as increase bids where it makes sense to do so. For example if your main service area is a suburb and there are fewer clicks from that area, you can dig deeper to see what’s happening. Look at the ads and keywords to see if they talk to that audience. Check if the ads are losing impression share due to bids, etc. Conversely, if an area is getting a lot of clicks, you can make a bid adjustment for that particular area to see if it will improve it even more. Of course you will keep an eye on that and make appropriate adjustments. The same goes for mobile devices versus desktops.
So now that I have shared multiple strategies for successfully managing your AdWords bidding. You should look at your account and see where you can make adjustments. Look for areas where these techniques would make sense and definitely give them some time to work. Perhaps make a single adjustment and see what happens after a week or two and then make an adjustment in a different area so you can tell what change make the positive or negative impact.
Remember, Marketing is like a constant science experiment, so get your lab goggles out and start testing.
Check out the how to start a blog article series for more tips like this.