Managing Your Paid Search Bids

Too much attention, and time is spent managing and tweaking keyword bids in PPC advertising. Compared to the results driven by other elements of a PPC account (landing pages, ad copy, placements), keyword bids should be an activity that is managed once or twice per month. In addition, the strategy of PPC bidding has been blown out of per-portion, when in the end the CPA of the account is what ultimately matters. So why not align your Max CPC bids with your accounts target Cost Per Acquisition. A simple, quick, and effective way to optimize PPC keywords using only an Excel sheet and Adwords Editor. The amount of time you’ll save managing keyword bids based on this effective formule, can be applied to something more useful like developing landing pages that convert, ad copy that sells, and keyword expansion that increases traffic and conversion rates.

Keyword Bidding Tips

  • Great bids can’t fix lousy keywords, ad copy, or landing pages
  • Don’t change your bids in the interface, unless its just one or two.
  • Don’t change your bids based on a 60 day data window, then go back 7 days later and change your bids on a 60-day data window again.
  • Change keyword bids based on your target CPA. Your CPA is based on the results of your CPC and conversion rates.

Optimize Your Keyword Bids Using Excel

  • Download data in Adwords Editor starting with the time period since you last made keyword adjustments.
  • Change the view to the keyword tab, so you see your accounts total keywords, and sort by conversions. Make sure all of the keywords have at least one conversion.
  • Copy the selection and paste into an Excel sheet.
  • The only columns you will need for this sheet will be; Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, Keyword Type, Max CPC and Conversion Rate (1-per-click, or many-per-click)
  • In an empty column next to your Max CPC column, create a formula that multiples the conversion rate column by your target CPA. Fill this formula in for the entire column by double click the plus sign you see in the bottom right corner of the cell.
  • Copy values of the newly calculated Max CPC column, and past them into the old Max CPC column overwriting the old data.
  • Copy all of the data on the spreadsheet, and go back to Adwords Editor. On the Keyword Tab account level view, click on “Make Multiple Changes” button. Paste all of the excel sheet data into the window that opens. Make sure the window has “Campaign” & “Ad Group” in the header of the fill box.
  • When you click the Next button, it should say how many keywords will be updated. If you get the message that new Ad Groups or Campaigns will be created, something went wrong, so make sure you copied all the right columns.
  • If some keywords get ignored, that’s just because they already had the Max CPC you imported, so that’s fine.
  • You have just updated your keyword bids to match your CPA.

One side note before uploading Editor. Some keywords may have received a very high Max CPC. Based on the theory of CPA bidding these bids make sense but, you may just want to bump those bids up marginally compared to what the formula came out with.  Also, take note of any keywords with zero conversions. They were not touched in this exercise.

Hopefully, this tip will save you some time, and you can start focusing on the things that really matter in PPC advertising.

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