Careful, Newly Minted SEM Pros!
The first thing any new aspiring PPC Expert invariably does when assigned to a manage a new PPC account is to increase bids. It’s the easiest thing to do! But for any mature and well managed PPC account, it is almost without exception the worst solution. The results can be immediate and painful!
When to Increase & Decrease Bids
If a PPC account is disengaged, then by definition, it has not been properly managed. The solution is generally to increase bids, and most often at the ad group level. For all other Economic Modes, the arbitrary increasing of bids will almost always denigrate the economic performance of a PPC acount, and minimizing bids for all other keywords.
When in Doubt . . .
It’s easy to say just bid high on star keywords. However, there’s a reality for any account… There exists a lot of keywords about which we lack sufficient evidence to justify either promoting or pausing them. Additionally, since we continuously improve every PPC account, many elements of an account are undergoing improvements. The combined impact of which has not yet been determined. Such improvements might include the addition of new negative keywords, breaking keywords into multiple ad groups, writing new ads and development of new or revised landing pages.
If we’re going to give improvements a chance to take effect, we can’t pause the underperformers in the mean time. Until we have gathered sufficient statistics to evaluate the impact of such improvements, a certain element of doubt may exist about the future performance of related keywords or ad groups. So, in such cases, when in doubt, leave keywords set at their default ad group bids. Whatever you do, don’t ratchet up ad group level bids, without having a good reason for doing so.
Fix Keyword Losers
If a keyword is highly relevant and has converted, but not efficiently, then fix it. One fix may be dropping the targeted range and bids for that keyword. At a lower bid / position, you’ll get fewer clicks, but at a cheaper cost per click. This may also apply to complete Ad Groups. If you purposely drop an ad group or keyword bid to achieve a position lower than your previously targeted range, then we would expect that decision to be clearly documented in the change history, as well as the definitions section of the Road Map. Changing the targeted positions is a reportable event. Accordingly, this sort of decision would be included in a special or monthly report, never simply implemented as part of daily maintenance.
If you find that the keyword / ad group still doesn’t convert efficiently, even at the lower position, and you’ve taken every other possible step to fix it, then you may finally label it a loser for life in the Road Map, and give up on it (pause it).
PPC Reviewers Beware!
If you’re a PPC Expert assigned as the reviewer / supervisor for a new PPC Analyst, then it’s your responsibility to monitor the average CPC for the account. Ask the new PPC Analyst to show you average CPC by week for the account, for the past 6 months, and investigate any increase!! Especially in the current economic environment, a well-managed account should have more of a chance of having a declining CPC, than an increasing CPC.
Review the Road Map for warning signs — look at the change history and ensure that every bid increase is carefully justified and explained. If you find a lame comment like this in the change history of one of your Road Maps, then beware:
“Momen 15 Feb – Increased 143 keyword bids to achieve targeted positions.”
If you are a new PPC Analyst, ask yourself daily, “Am I increasing more bids than I’m decreasing?” If the answer is yes, then you please re-read this article!
For Pay per click, when should I increase bids?
For Pay per click, when should I decrease bids?
Which economic condition would generally require one to increase keyword or ad group level bids?
How can a reviewer of a PPC account quickly determine if a New SEM Pro is inflating bids?