Start with the Right Bidding Strategy
When managing your Google Adwords campaigns, a good PPC Manager will match the bidding strategy to the client’s goals and budget.
What is the best bidding strategy for you?
Many times, if your budget can withstand the initial cost, an assertive initial bidding strategy can pay off in the end.
As you have seen in many of our posts, we rarely recommend that a client bid for positions 1 or 2. There is a high premium on these positions and the traffic quality is usually worse that the remaining positions on the page. However, without a doubt, the CTR (Click Through Rate) is the highest in these positions – which is good for your Google AdWords Quality Score.
Google takes into consideration many things in determining your Quality Score. Things have changed in the last few weeks with the Quality Score, but one thing remains the same – Google still uses the Quality Score to determine your position and your cost. With that in mind, a higher CTR improves your Quality Score and therefore improves the performance while decreasing the cost of your campaign.
With an assertive bidding strategy out of the gate, aiming for positions 1-2, you will increase your CTR. Once you have established a strong CTR, you can bring the bids down, landing you in a higher position at a lower cost than if you had come in softly.
This strategy isn’t for everyone and needs to be carefully monitored. At position 1-2, the cost per conversion will be higher for the period of time you are bidding assertively. But, if you can think of it as an investment in the campaign, it will likely pay off in the long run.
Here at JumpFly, there’s a feature in Google AdWords that we use on a very limited basis, but can come in handy, and that’s Position Preferencing. Google AdWords Position Preferencing is a feature that allows you to pick your favored position (like #1) or range of positions (like 2 to 4).
It’s powerful and handy for those who know which position brings them the most ROI or for branding purposes. But beware of the Position Preference trap: if you don’t bid high enough for the positions you want, your ad will just not show. That’s right, instead of showing in the positions you want, you don’t show at all. And this is a trap that advertisers can easily fall into.
When you select position preferencing, you need to set your bids high, maybe even triple what you would normally pay, just to make sure you end of showing like you should. (Unless of course you really don’t want your ad to show unless it’s in the position or positions you specify.) You also need to keep in mind that Google AdWords takes position preferencing as a suggestion. I have one client who prefers to be in positions 2 to 4, and if the max bid is too high, she regularly shows up in position 1, until we reduce her bid enough to get her in that range. The problem occurs when one of her competitors makes a bid change, which throws the position preferencing range out of whack, which means she either ends up in first again, or not at all, until we tweak the bid enough.
A couple of tips if you decide that Position Preferencing is right in your Google AdWords Campaign:
- Broad is better: you’re better off selecting a wider range of positions than a narrow range. Positions 3 to 8 are likely better than 2 to 4. You’ll get more impressions, and you’ll have a better chance of showing.
- Your best bet is to leave the bottom end open, like 3 to 10+ and increasing your max bid to the most you’re willing to spend. Most likely you’ll show in position 4, but won’t lose out on any impressions that might occur at a lower position.
- Only do position preferencing on a select number of keywords. You can do it on every one of your keywords, but the management and monitoring can become a nightmare. You’re much better off doing it on only those super-competitive keywords where you know what the ROI is for certain positions.
- Use patience. Position Preferencing can take a few days to “gather performance data and calibrate its targeting.” You could potentially start showing in your range right away, or it can take awhile, so give it some time. And every time you make a change it could potentially take a few days to recalibrate so keep that in mind if you start playing with the positions.
Google AdWords Position Preferencing can be helpful, if you use it carefully and sparingly. One more thing to keep in mind is that if you are targeting position number 1, be prepared for an exponentially higher cost-per-click (CPC) than in lower positions (this is for those of you who have never tried for position 1 before), be prepared to start a bidding war if it’s an extremely competitive term and you’re “dislodging” someone who historically has been in number 1, and be prepared to evaluate whether the money spent on position 1 turns into more business, or just more spend. Number 1 in position doesn’t necessarily mean number 1 in sales (View my previous article about PPC Advertising and Ego-Bidding).
At JumpFly, we learned that many PPC advertisers regularly search for their own company’s terms to check the position of their ad relative to their competitors. As a result, a common question we receive is from advertisers who cannot see their own ads when searching for themselves at Google. There are multiple possible reasons for this, but I reviewed the three most common causes below.
1) Are you using The Google Ad Preview Tool?
Have you looked for yourself over and over and noticed that your ad seems to be dropping, or even disappeared? Don’t worry – you are not alone, and you are not crazy. That is exactly what can happen at Google. When searching for yourself, you likely seldom or never click your own ad. Over time, this can cause a very low click-through-rate for your ads that appear for searches performed within your IP range. Google may then lower your ad’s position or even stop displaying your ad at the office or offices using this IP range. This will likely cause alarm and concern if not understood. This is partly why Google created the Ad Preview Tool. This is a powerful and valuable tool that enables advertisers to see what Google users are actually seeing, even in specific locations. It is great. Use it. See an example of it used in the video above.
2) Check to see if you are reaching your maximum budget limit
Reaching your budget limit will result in Google displaying your ad intermittently. Consider increasing your budget, or reducing bids in order to assure that your ads are always appearing.
3) Review the Keyword Analysis Page
To launch the Keyword Analysis page, scroll over or click the magnifying glass icon beside any keyword in your account. This tool provides useful messages to help determine why an ad may not be showing. Some messages include, “Poor Quality Score, Not enough impressions, Not high enough bid for first page and so on. You can then click one of the ‘Details and recommendations’ links for more details. It is important to note that the status indicated by Google may be shown as “Active” even though the term is actually not running.
These are three critical tools & strategies that every Google advertiser should know and understand before searching for their own ads at Google. Click here to view additional reasons provided by Google that explain why your ad may not be getting displayed when you search for it. Have a great day, and enjoy finding your AdWords ads the next time you search Google.