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Creating a better Google AdWords bidding strategy

creating-a-better-google-adwords-bidding-strategy

Creating a better Google AdWords bidding strategy

Who wants more profit?

If you didn’t throw up your hand into the air or shout ‘me’ with enthusiasm then I am calling you out. What business doesn’t want to spend less and make more money? Isn’t that how businesses survive and thrive?

We all want to make our businesses more profitable, which is why I am often shocked to see how much money marketers and business owners often ‘throw away’ by approaching their Google AdWords bidding strategy in the wrong way entirely. As competition grows and the popularity of Google AdWords sky rockets with competitive organisations, so too will the cost of leveraging this tool to your advantage.

By employing a smarter bidding strategy you will allow yourself to generate more benefit from less spend from the platform and future proof yourself against the increasing competition in this area.

Start with why 

Why are you using AdWords?

This might seem like a pretty fundamental question, but you would be surprised by how few marketers can answer this concisely, many answering something along the lines of ‘to market the business’ or ‘to increase traffic’.

You are half way there with the second answer, but this needs to be refined further if you really want to kick butt with your campaigns. Google suggests that your goal should fit into one of four separate categories these include:

Direct action on site

This goal is applicable when you want your customer or potential customer to take a direct and measurable action on your site as a result of clicking on your Google ad. This may include actions such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, clicking to make a phone call or making a download. This data can be gathered via the conversion tracking tool provided by Google.

In this case an AdWords Smart Bidding strategy would be suitable for helping you achieve this goal. We will cover more on what this means later in the article.

Generate traffic 

This goal focuses specifically on generating web traffic directly to your website. This is beneficial as it allows visitors to become more familiar with your brand, what you offer and potentially make direct sales or achieve direct actions as a result.

If this is your goal then using a Cost Per Click (CPC) strategy will drive the right behaviours for achieving your goal.

Boost brand awareness

This goal would see you looking to get your brand in front of as many people as humanly possible in order for them to become aware of your name and what you do. To achieve this you will want to gain as many impressions (eyes) on your ad as you can, this is not going to link directly to the number of people who click on your ad but instead focus on getting the ad itself in front of as many people as possible.

To do this you can pursue a ‘cost per thousand viewable impressions’ (CPM) strategy which will lead Google to gearing your ad to be passed under to more eyes.

Video boosting 

Finally your goal may be based on leveraging video content to the benefit of your business. This goal may include increasing views of the video, increasing interactions with the video or generally increasing product or brand awareness as a result of the video content.

youtube-video-boosting

This may be achieved in a similar way as boosting brand awareness through a CMP strategy. But may also use a cost-per-view (CPV) strategy in order to only pay directly for those that physically click to view the content.

By working to define your goal you will be able to focus on the most beneficial correlating bidding strategy that will help you achieve it. In the rest of these articles we give some further hints and tips on how to better pursue these strategies.

Research 

This may seem like a very simple point to make, but before you start to better your bidding it is a good idea to get a much clearer idea of exactly what it is you are bidding for and understand what that will mean for your business.

carrying-out-research

Honestly speaking, keyword research is a whole different topic for a  different time. Yet even doing some basic research using Google Keyword Planner or another tool such as WordStream will go a long way to helping you understand which terms are going to perform best for your business and cost the least for your campaign.

It is worth noting here that the key to finding great keywords is not simply to find the cheapest keywords or those with the highest searches, but instead it is to find a balance between cost, search frequency and relevance for your business and what you are trying to achieve.

Smart Bidding 

Smart bidding does pretty much what it says on the tin. It uses a smart tool from Google that takes a large chunk of the ‘heavy lifting’ off your hands and limits the amount of guesswork you have to do in executing a successful campaign. There are four main bidding strategies which you can use in line with smart bidding, each with a different outcome based on your goal.

These include cost per acquisition (CPA) that  allows you to optimise based on conversions, creating an average cost per each acquisition made, this is based on historical data from your campaigns and the overall bidding landscape at the time.

Practically this means you will see some bids going in at much higher and some going in much lower than average in order to achieve your target cost. This works well if your goal to achieve a certain number of acquisitions and can attribute a monetary value to them.

You can also set a target return on ad spend (ROAS) which allows users to optimise based on the value of a conversion. Practically this makes it easier to measure return on investment on ad spend across the board. You can also use this tool to generally increase performance with reference to conversions by allocating your entire ad spend based on the optimal number of conversion or to enhance your overall cost per click with the enhanced cost per click (ECPC) strategy, which you can use in tandem with manual bidding. 

More impressions 

There are a number of strategies that can get your ads more impression on Google.  The first and most commonly used is that of cost per thousand impressions (CPM), very simply this strategy allows you to pay just for the number of impressions that your chosen ad will receive. This is geared towards how many people see the ad and not how many people click it, however if your ad is very well design to generating clicks then this strategy can get you a much lower cost per click rate.

If you are not interested in clicks at all and simply want to have your ad shown to as many people as possible to increase brand awareness then you can use the cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCMP). This is a manual strategy where you set the highest amount you want to pay for 1,000 viewable impressions. This can be a good strategy in some cases, but only when used carefully.

Finally you can use a competitive strategy such a target search page location to gear your ads to increase the chance of you ad appearing at the top of the search page. Alternatively if you wish to target one or a small handful of competitors you can use target outrank share to choose a domain name that you want your ads to be displayed above or to show when that domain does not, creating a superior position to theirs. 

Get clicks 

Getting clicks is the most common goal of businesses as it allows them to increase traffic to their site or a highly converting landing page. However it is also often the most expensive, so employing a better bidding strategy is important here.

tower-of-money

In this case there are two types of bidding strategy that can be employed; automated or manual. Using ‘maximise clicks’ allows for the bids to be automatically tuned, allowing you to set a daily budget and the system will automatically manage it to bring you the most clicks possible. You can also use a manual strategy, where you manage your own bids for clicks. These can be set for each ad group in your campaign, for individual keywords or placement. This is a good strategy if you know of a high performing keyword that you want to capitalise on.

In this article we have run through a number of ways that you can get more for your marketing money by implementing better bidding strategies on Google AdWords. This has included the very important aspect of setting clear goals in order to use the tools that will help you achieve them. We have also walked through the various bidding strategy types and which ones will help you achieve these goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible. It is clear that using a better strategy for bidding can mean paying less money for better results.

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Peter Johnson
Peter is a Google AdWords specialist, with associated skills in Bing Ads, Twitter Ads and Facebook Advertising.