Hitchhiker's Guide to eCommerce PPC Management - Part 3

Hitchhiker's Guide to eCommerce PPC - Part 3


Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to PPC Management for eCommerce. As in Modules One and Two, we will be covering a lot ground. You can either go back and read Modules One and Two, or if you’re a renegade…just start reading in the middle! However, I definitely don’t suggest it, we learned a lot in those other modules and I’d hate for you to miss out or get confused.

Click Here to Read Module 1

Click Here to Read Module 2

Click Here to Read Module 4

Download the Full Guide as a Free Ebook

Here is what we will cover in Part 3:

I. Bid Management

II. Account Maintenance

III. (A, B, T) A – Always, B – Be, T – Testing

IV. Ad Extensions

V. Bid Strategies

Hopefully by now, you’ve created some campaigns, ad groups, and have been running your ads for a while. While the sun is shining, it’s time to make hay (as they say…somewhere?). By “make hay”, I obviously mean: manage, optimize, and develop our search accounts to get (or keep) the money rollin’ in!

Since we went to great pains to setup our Account, Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Keywords just right, you can’t afford to just “set it and forget it”. You’ll want to manage your account very carefully to make it as profitable as possible.

You’ve already downloaded the AdWords and Bing Ads Editors when we created our Ad Groups. If you haven’t downloaded your Editors, go ahead and do that now. AdWords and Bing Ads have both made it much easier in the last 2 years to manage accounts from the web interface, but I highly suggest using the Editors.

Bid Management

Let’s discuss one of the most important PPC management tasks…Bid Management. It can seem daunting and intimidating, but don’t you worry! In my experience, if you follow some simple guidelines, we can adjust bids across your entire account in just a few clicks and a few minutes.

For most accounts managing your bids should happen on a monthly basis. If you have an account that receives more than 500 conversions per month, or more than 15 per day, you may want to increase your bid management to a weekly basis. The point of managing your bids on a monthly bases helps keep you from making rash bidding decisions based on too little data.

Since we are managing on a monthly basis, let’s break it down into tasks that we will do on a schedule. For all of our bid management tasks we are going to use either the AdWords Editor or the Bing Ads Editor.

We’re going to stick with AdWords Editor for our examples in this section.

1. So, open up AdWords Editor, click on the arrow that says “Get recent changes”, and choose the “more data” option. This will “sync” your account, download any changes you’ve made on the web interface, and get your Editor up-to-date.

2. After you’ve done that, click on the “View statistics”, “Whole Account”, and then 30 Days.

3. Now that we have all of the data for 30 period we can begin adjusting our keyword bids.

Monthly Bid Management:

The best thing to do is break down your tasks by day. This serves dual purposes. One: This allows us to break up our work, so we don’t get bogged down with too many details. Two: Adjusting bids can have a psychological effect on you. By separating out the tasks by different days, you take some of the sting out of it. You want your bid management to be a data driven task, and not an emotional one. If we try to manage bids too often, or bid up some keywords on the same day we are bidding down others…it can cause us to look at the account and get emotional about it. We want to be objective, and cold as ice when managing our account. Take those emotions, wad them up in a ball, and shove them deep down. Now that I’ve undone all of the work you’ve been doing with your therapist over the years…let’s get started!

Day 1: Lowering Bids That Are Too High

So, are you ready to start saving some money? I thought so. When you first launch an account, especially using the +modified +broad +match technique (and especially with broad matches), you’re bound to be spending some money on keywords that aren’t profitable. But that’s ok! Yes, that is what I said…not only is it ok, but it is expected. Unless we bid on a wide variety of keywords, we won’t know exactly how well they produce.

First, we’ll need to set our columns up in AWE or BAE (AdWords Editor or Bing Ads Editor).

Here are the columns you need to have showing. Click on the Keyword tab, and then you will see the default columns. Also, remember that you need to have downloaded the statistics in order for click and conversion data to show up. We may need to add columns (or remove some) to make this easier on you:

    1. Campaign

    2. Ad group

    3. Keyword

    4. Max. CPC

    5. Converted Clicks

    6. Cost/converted click

    7. Click conversion rate

    8. Cost

    9. Clicks

    10. CTR

    11. Impressions

    12. Avg. pos

    13. Quality Score

    14. Type

    In order to add/edit/remove columns simply right click (or click on the column icon) while on the column bar. Then you can check or uncheck any columns you like. Once you have all of the columns you want showing, you can also rearrange them in the order you like by clicking (and holding the click) and then dragging the column wherever you want it.

    There are also some very interesting columns you may want to keep track of, but for now, the above columns is what we will be working with for bid management. Now that we have our columns in the correct order we’re going to sort and filter our data.

    1. Click on the “Converted clicks” tab, so it turns blue and sorts the results from most converted clicks, to least.

    2. Click on the Advanced search link, and then filter by the number of converted clicks.

    In order to use relevant data you will only want to work with keywords that have at least 2 conversions for a period of 30 days. So, choose the filter “converted clicks” and “is greater than: 1”. You’ll want to save this search for future use. Name it Conv > 1 (you’ll be using this search a lot). Then click “Search”.

    3. Now you should only have keywords that have converted at least 2 times in the last 30 days.

    We’ll begin by sorting these results by Cost/converted click. If we are managing our bids by CPA (Cost per Acquisition), then we want to lower all bids that are higher than what we are willing to pay for a conversion.

    For this example, let’s assume we are targeting a $30.00 CPA. We have a total of 5 keywords above the $30.00 amount we are willing to pay for a conversion. Now if you like, you can create a filter that you can use in order to make finding and adjusting these bids easy. Click on “Advanced search” again, and add a filter where all “Cost/converted click” are greater than $30.00. We’ll want to save this search too.

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    4. Now we can only see the keywords with CPA’s higher than $30.

    We have one keyword which is much higher than our target, it is costing us almost $50/conversion. Let’s tackle this keyword first. This keyword is actually 65% higher than we are willing to pay. In this case, I will lower the bid by 40% and give it some time to adjust. We could lower it by 65%, but that is such a drastic change that it might (and probably will) eliminate all of our conversions for this keyword. Sometimes you have to make a judgment call. After making adjustments over time you’ll get to know the effects of making large and small bid adjustments. Let’s make the bid change.

    Highlight the offending keyword row, and click on the link that says “Advanced bid changes”. That will pull up the bid adjustment window. Now simply choose by what percentage you want to decrease your bid, and click change bids. You’ll need to confirm you want to make the change by selecting “Apply Changes”. Now let’s take a look at the other high bids, and make some changes.

    5. We still have 4 other keywords that are above our target CPA; however, two of those are close enough that I don’t want to make any changes.

    That leaves two keywords that are about 16% higher than our target. Once again, you need to make a judgment call. I only want to drop these bids by about 10%. So, let’s highlight both of those keywords (by holding down ctrl/cmd or shift), and then selecting “Advance bid changes” again. This time we are just decreasing the bids by 10%. Click “Change bids” and then “Apply changes”.

    You’re finished. Yep, that’s it. The first time takes the longest because you have to save the searches/filters, and get used to the process…but after that it becomes second nature. As mentioned earlier, you should only do the bid management once per month to avoid “over correcting”. Does anyone remember being taught in Driver’s Education not to “over correct”. New drivers have a tendency to over correct when their car is going into the other lane, or when something happens in the road ahead of them. The same is true for new PPC accounts (and managers). It is natural to freak out if you are spending too much on a keyword, and then bid it down. However, if you bid down a keyword too soon (without enough data), then you risk potential revenue…and you’ll never know that it is lost.


    Day 2: Managing non-converting keywords:

    This is pretty self explanatory. We’re going to start bidding down keywords that just aren’t producing. It is obviously counterproductive (that is a real word, I just looked it up), to spend a bunch of money on clicks that don’t produce conversions. But instead of pausing these keywords, we’re just going to bid them down gradually until they get to the point where they produce conversions profitably OR our bids are so low that they don’t cost any money. We may eventually (after 6 months, or so) pause keywords that don’t produce any conversions…we only do this to preserve our CTR and help out our Quality Score.

    We are going to use the same filter as above, but with some slight modifications:

    1. Click on “Advanced search” and open up the filter you saved before Conv > 1. Change converted clicks to equal 0, and add cost > $1.00 (no reason to mess with keywords that cost you less than a dollar). After you have created this search, save it as “Conv = 0”, that way you can use it again next month.

    2. Now sort this data by the Cost column in descending order (so the highest cost is at the top). You’ll want to bid down the most costly non-converting keywords first.

    • Any keywords that have cost more than 5 times your target CPA, bid down significantly. In this example, we don’t have any that meet this criteria; however, I suggest bidding them down at least 75%.
    • After you have bid those down, highlight all other keywords that have spent more money than your target CPA without producing a conversion. In this example, I have one keyword that is significantly more expensive than the others, so I’m going to lower it by 35% in order to drop the bid quicker. Now we have 5 offending keywords.
    • Then follow the same procedure as when we lowered bids for converting keywords, and choose “Advanced bid changes” and lower them by 25% (or a percentage you are comfortable with).

    Finally, I’ll bid down by a smaller percentage the keywords that have spent about half of our target CPA, but not produced any conversions. In this example, we have 15 keywords that I’ll lower the bids by about 10%.

    3. It is important to note that in our example, our CPA is the same for each campaign across the board. We are targeting a $30.00 CPA. So, if you have some campaigns with higher or lower CPA, you’ll want to go through each of the steps above for each set of campaigns with the same target CPA.

    Day 15: Raising bids that are too low

    Now this is where it gets fun. We are receiving conversions well below our target CPA, and we want to increase these bids so we get more traffic and ultimately more revenue.

    1. Using the same method as before (stats from the last 30 days), create a filter/view for keywords you want to increase traffic for.

    • Create a filter for “Converted clicks > 1
    • Create a filter for “Cost/converted click < [your target CPA]
    • Create a filter for “Avg. pos > 2.0
    • We don’t want to raise bids for keywords that are already showing up in position 1, because we can’t them in a higher position. Sometimes, I will set this filter to > 1.5, it just depends on your specific case.
    • Now sort the keywords in descending order based on the Cost/converted click column.
    • Using your best judgment, increase the bids by a certain percentage. In this example, I am going to increase the bids on all keywords that have converted between $15.00 and $30.00 by 50%. That means I am going to increase 39 keywords by 50%.
    • Then I am going to increase bids between $1.00 and $14.99 by 100%.

    src="/blogimages/2014/travisphipps3/13-Bid-Management-Increasing-Bids.jpg">

    2. That is it…super simple. Go through this same process in 30 days (or on the 15th of the month).

Bid Management Biannually

Adjusting bids on a monthly basis is great, as long

as there is enough conversion data, click data, and cost data to work with. However, often times we have keywords that may take months to generate statistically significant data. That is why we also do some major bid management twice per year.

On July 15th and December 31st (or some date that is 6 months apart) you’ll want to dig into the data that falls through the cracks. Go through the above 3 bid management steps (lowering high cost bids, lowering non-converting bids, and raising bids that are too low), but change the stats days to a custom date that includes at least 6 months of data. So, simply follow the same guidelines as the monthly bid management, just use the stats for a 6 month period of time. I usually tweak it a little bit, and after you’ve been managing bids month by month, you’ll know which keywords need some care and feeding. You’ll also know what you can expect from profitable keywords, as far as conversion rate, impressions, CTR, and CPA. So, your 6 month evaluation should be a much deeper dive into the details (taking a hard look at keywords that don’t get as many clicks).

Bid Management Conclusions

Bid management is really simple when you boil it down to the profitability of each keyword. Here are the main points:

1. Choose your target CPA

2. Manage bids on a monthly basis

3. Once per month lower bids for keywords that result in conversions that are above your target CPA

4. Once per month lower bids for keywords that don’t produce conversions

5. Once per month increase bids for keywords that have a CPA lower than your target

6. Twice per year manage bids/keywords that fall through the cracks

If you follow those simple guidelines, your account will balance out nicely and your bids will fall exactly where you want them to over time. There are obviously some exceptions, and as usual I have a pretty serious disclaimer. Each and every account is different. Most accounts need eyes on it almost daily (make sure those eyes are objective rather than subjective). The more time you spend inside of your AdWords account looking at the data on keywords, ads, extensions, mobile effectiveness, and working with time/day parting the more successful your account will be and the more profitable. Since each account and industry is different, you will want to manage your account in the way that is most profitable for you.

Account Maintenance

Remember all of the work we did in Modules 1 and 2 in regards to naming our campaigns, keyword research, and campaign settings? Well, this is where the magic happens. The naming conventions weren’t established just to keep your account clean and organized (although, that is a nice bonus), but it serves a purpose. A very distinct, profit increasing purpose!

We now know how to manage our bids and we should be managing those bids on a monthly basis. We also want to expand our keywords based on what people are actually searching for, and especially for what is converting into sales, leads, or other goals.

Keyword Extraction

WARNING: This technique only works if you have named

your Campaigns and Ad Groups according to the naming convention we discussed in earlier Modules. If you have your own naming conventions, it may still work, but the modified broad or broad match ad groups must match up exactly with your exact match campaigns. You’ll see why as soon as we start running reports and finding/replacing columns.

You want to perform a keyword extraction once per month (just like bid management). I like to do keyword extraction on the 7th or the 21st of the month.

You may be wondering, “Exactly, what is keyword extraction?” Well, that is a very timely question, and I’m glad you asked!

Do you remember when we created a separate Ad group for each “short tail” modified match keyword, and one for each exact match “short tail” keyword? It looked something like this:

tp_golf_clubs_exact
tp_golf_clubs_modbroad

It is important to keep only one keyword in the modified match ad group. And now we get to find out why that is. Every time someone searches for the term [golf club], it will trigger our exact match ad. The reason this is the case, is because we have also added [golf club] as a negative exact match to our modified broad match ad group. So, this exact match keyword will only trigger one ad (the one we want it to). We can create custom ads for keywords that produce a lot of impressions, clicks, and conversions.

However, since we don’t know exactly what people are searching for, we need to “go fishing”. That is why we have our modified broad match ad group. So, if someone searches for taylor made golf clubs in Beaumont texas, our modified broad match ad will be triggered. If we get enough impressions for a specific search phrase, we’ll want to “extract” it from our modified ad group and add it to our exact match group, so we can bid on it individually. If it generates enough conversions, we may even want to give it its own ad group, so we can write a specific ad for it.

Here is how you can quickly and easily extract your keywords.

  • First open up your web interface for AdWords (or Bing Ads, if you are working in Bing), and choose the last 30 days as your date range.
  • Click on the keywords tab so you can see all of your keywords.
  • Then click on the “Details” tab and select “all”.

  • Now, we’ll need to create some filters.
  • Filter out shopping campaigns, display, or any campaigns that you don’t want included in the extraction.
  • In my example, I only want campaigns that I have “aw_” in the beginning. So, I create a filter for these campaigns, by using “Campaign name – contains” = aw_
  • Then click “Add another” – and create another filter: Select the “Added / Excluded” – De-select Exact. We are trying to find all of the search terms that are not Exact Matches.
  • Then click “Add another” – and create the next and final filter: “Impressions” – Choose > or = 15.
  • The reason we only want search terms that have created at least 15 impressions over a 30 day period of time, is because Google will not allow us to bid on search terms with low volumes. So, it is best not to add them as exact matches.
  • I like to name this filter (just like we do in the Editor). We can name this “keyword extraction”.
  • Finally, click on the blue “Apply” button to activate these filters.

Now, we have a very clean list of every search term in our account that generated at least 15 impressions, and is not included in our current exact match ad groups. This is some very powerful stuff! What I like to do at this point, is scroll through these keywords and see what I find.

You may find some searches or some terms that you would like to add as a negative. You can do that directly from the interface. Just click the checkbox and choose “add as negative keyword”. As a matter of personal preference I usually add my negative keywords separately, so I don’t accidentally add a negative that may reduce my “quality” traffic. This is probably just paranoia on my part, so handle this however you are comfortable.

We will dig much deeper into Negative Keywords later in this Module. But I did want to point this out now, because you'll probably see some search terms that you want to put the kibosh on right away.

The next thing you want to do is download this file. Simply, click the download button, and you will get some choices. I always download the file as Excel .csv.

Once it has downloaded, open it up, and you’ll see something like this:

This is where the magic of spreadsheets can save you hours upon hours of work. Let’s trim out the fat on this spreadsheet and start deleting and renaming our columns.

1. Delete Row 1 – The Title and Date of the Report.

2. Change the Column Header “Search term” to “keyword”.

3. Delete the Column named “Added/Excluded”.

4.Delete all columns EXCEPT the following:

a. Match Type

b. Keyword (this used to be Search Term)

c. Campaign

d. Ad group

It will now look something like this:

Now we get to make some changes to the data, so we can add each of these search terms as exact match keywords.

1. In the first column which should be “Match Type”, type in exact in the first row, and then drag it down so every search term says exact.

2. Highlight the “Ad group” column, and do a find and replace.

a. Find “modbroad” and replace with “exact”.

b. If you have any broad campaigns, find and replace those too.

It will look something like this:

You are ready to save this file. You can save it as an Excel or .CSV. If you have less than 2,000 or so…I usually just copy and paste this list.

Let’s go back to our Editor, and add these bad boys.

  • Open up your Editor, and as always you’ll want to sync your Editor by choosing “Get Recent Changes – More Data”. If you don’t get the recent changes, you could cause some problems in your account.
  • Go ahead and get the latest statistics for the last 30 days.

Now – Highlight the Keywords Tab, and choose Make multiple changes – Add/update Multiple Keywords.

  • Then your add/update multiple keywords window will pop-up
  • Make sure you check the box for “My keyword information below includes columns for campaign and ad group names.
  • Then paste all of your data from your spreadsheet into the box.
  • Then click on Process.
  • Then Finish and review changes. Sometimes you’ll see an error message. Most of the time this error occurs because we are adding duplicate keywords (this has to do with “close match variants”…I won’t get into that right now).

You have just added a bunch of search terms that your potential customers are actually searching for! These aren’t keywords that you’ve created, or guessed that they will search, or have pulled from a tool…these are actual searches. Like I said, incredibly powerful stuff here.

We still have one more step. Since we don’t want these keywords to be triggered by our modified broad match campaign, we need to add each of these keywords as a negative. We just have to make some changes to our new spreadsheet.

1. Highlight the Column named “Match Type”

a. Find/Replace (ctrl h) – Find “exact” and Replace with “negative exact”.

2. Highlight the Column named “Ad group”

a. Find/Replace (ctrl h) – Find “exact” and Replace with “modbroad”.

3. Your data is read to add to the Editor.

4. Follow the same steps as when you added the keywords above, EXCEPT change the keywords from Positives to Negatives (see screen shot):

5.Choose “Make multiple changes” – and make certain you choose the “Add multiple negatives” (NOT the add multiple campaign negatives, that would mess everything up!).

6. Now just copy all of the data from your spreadsheet, and paste it into the box.

7. Choose “Process” and then Review.

8. You may want to spot check each campaign to make certain that the negatives are only in the modified broad match ad groups, and that your exact match ad groups have the correct keywords.

9. That’s it! You’ve successfully added every search term, and also have prevented your modified broad match ad groups from triggering ads (since we added the negatives).

Do this every 30 days or so, and you will eventually have a very robust set of exact match ad groups. Combing the keyword extraction with the monthly bid management and you will be able to control each and every search term and optimize it for ROI and profitability. If you don’t bid the keywords up and or down based on effectiveness then this method is simply a waste of time. So use your new powers wisely my friend.

Adding Negative Keywords

Another important part of Account Maintenance is adding negative keywords to your campaigns and ad groups. Negative keywords are used when you have a keyword that you don’t want to show up in your campaign or ad group. So, you simply add the negative keyword where you don’t want it to trigger your ad. It is easy to add a negative keyword to your ad group or campaign.

If you want to do this manually and through the website interface, just navigate to the campaign and ad group you wish to add the negative, and then choose “Add Keywords”. The match type rules apply the same for negatives as they do with regular keywords. So, be very careful adding broad match negative keywords.

In the above example, since we sell golf apparel and equipment we may not want to show up for a search for ‘golf resorts’. Since we’ve added a broad match negative for resorts, our ad will not show up for golf resorts, golf resorts in palm beach, etc. It will still show up for ‘golf clubs in palm beach’.

We also added the phrase match negative for “country clubs”. This means that any search with the words ‘country clubs’ together will not trigger our ad. Let’s say we don’t sell Titleist golf equipment or apparel, so if we add the word titleist as a phrase match negative any searches with that term will not trigger our ad.

The exact match negative is the safest in my opinion. In the above example a search for ‘taylor made golf club’, will trigger our ad; however, a search for the exact term [taylor made driver] will NOT show our ad. If any words are added to the front or back of the search, then our ad is eligible to run.

In my experience, if you do your keyword extraction and add negative keywords as you go, this step becomes less and less time consuming. Also, if you follow the method of monthly bid management and keyword extraction you will be bidding down unsuccessful keywords until they stop showing up (or you pause them), and this prevents you from having to add negative keywords in many cases.

Negative keywords are a great way to save you money, and increase your click thru rate (also increasing your Quality Score). That is why it is so important to run a Search Query report once per month, just like we did in the keyword expansion section. If you run that report (and pay attention to it), you will see any obvious negative keywords you may need to add.

A word of caution. It is very easy to add too many negatives and do harm to the overall health of your account. If you accidentally add a broad match keyword to your campaign or ad group, you could unknowingly be working against yourself. There is a lot of debate as to the importance of Negative Keywords in the PPC community, and I am a big believer in carefully adding negatives and allowing your bid management to control the frequency of when your ads are triggered for certain keywords. Many people will suggest adding negatives like ‘cheap, discount, free, etc’…that may be a good idea; however, I like to test out the terms before adding them as negatives across the board.

That is an excellent segue to our next topic. Always Be Testing.

A = Always, B = Be, T =

Testing

I’m going to keep this section short and sweet, because I have harped on this enough throughout all 3 Modules so far. You probably know that I take Testing as seriously as Alec Baldwin’s character takes Closing in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Here are some good rules of thumb as far as testing goes:

  • Make certain your tests are statistically significant.
  • I’m not going to rehash your college stats course (mainly because I hated it, and have forgotten everything about it), but suffice it to say that you need to have enough data to consider a test conclusive.
  • You need to have enough clicks, conversions, sales, leads, or whatever it is you are testing in order to have a conclusive result. There are a variety of tools, websites, and resources that can help you determine these numbers.
  • The big takeaway: Don’t consider something you are testing to be the winner after a small data set (like 10 clicks, or 2 conversions, or even 100 clicks if the race is close).
  • Try not to test too much
  • Best practice, never have more than 2 ads running in the same ad group. It simply takes too long to find the winner, and you also don’t know why that particular ad may have “won”.
  • Test one thing at a time.
  • Test the headline of your ad, and leave the rest of the copy the same.
  • When testing ads, send all traffic to the same landing page. This is obvious, because if you are also testing 2 landing pages that will affect the outcome on conversions for your ad copy test!
  • Never assume.
  • I’ve been in marketing for more than 17 years. The only thing I have learned is that I NEVER know which test is going to win.
  • As a matter of fact, almost every time I believe one thing will win…it is the other one.
  • Just because someone told you (that goes for anything I tell you too!) that something doesn’t work, does NOT mean you shouldn’t test it out. Test it out, and find out for yourself.
  • This goes for keywords, ad copy, button color (everyone loves to talk about the best color for buttons), landing pages, etc.
  • Determine in advance exactly what you are testing for.
  • Are you trying to improve conversion rate, click thru rate, average order value, customer lifetime value, etc?
  • Decide ahead of time how long or what criteria it will take in order to call it a “winner”.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself with testing.
  • This may seem like a contradiction, and it may be…but I believe it!
  • You are not in the business of finding the best ad copy for your AdWords account. Nope…you are in the business of selling stuff. So, sell stuff first, and try to always be running some sort of test while you are doing it. If you have found an ad that works well for you, test against it with a small amount of traffic. Or run it 100% of the time until you are confident you have the time to run a competent test. If you try to change everything at once, you may end up causing more harm than good, and it may be next to impossible to undo the damage.

More Ad Extensions and Retargeting

We covered Sitelinks and Callout Extensions in Module 2, so in this Module we’ll cover some of the other Extensions. Ad extensions are some of the easiest ways to increase your CTR, take impression share away from your competitors, and drive more relevant traffic to the right pages.

Call Extensions:

If you do any kind of sales over the phone, then Call Extensions are a must. Call extensions allow you to “extend” your ad with your phone number (or a forwarding phone number), so that people can call you directly from the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Here is an example:

Call extensions help increase call

volume and in many cases increase CTR (just extending the ad with the phone number draws more attention to your ad over your competitor). They have also been known to increase conversion rates. You have some choice when creating Call Extensions.

  • You can either use your own phone number, or if you choose a “Google Forwarding Number” you will benefit from advanced features. Some of those features include “click to call” and advanced reporting.
  • You can also choose whether or not you want to just show the phone number, or show the phone number and website (this is only applicable for mobile devices).

It is super easy to add a Call Extension to your campaign. Here is how you add them:

1. Choose the Campaign you want to add the Call Extension

2. Click on the Ad extensions tab

3. Choose the drop down menu and select “Call extensions”

4. Click the red +Extension Button

5. After you have clicked on the +Extension Button, then you can select a number already in your account, or choose “add new number”.

If you choose “A Google forwarding phone

number”, then you have the benefit of their advanced reporting. I always encourage this. Before the days of call reporting, you had no idea how much of your call volume could be attributed to your PPC efforts and how much was from other sources. You can even choose to count the length of a phone call as a conversion.

Google’s phone forwarding/tracking is free, it just costs you the same amount of the click. However, there are some third party services like Mongoose Metrics, who also provide very granular call tracking services. This comes in handy if you want to track the effectiveness of a campaign _after_ they have clicked on your ad. Google is now also offering this service, but it is still in the early Beta stages. It does have the added benefit of being free, so you may want to look into that!

Review Extensions

Review extensions are particularly useful for

eCommerce sites. You can extend your ad with third party reviews, awards, or write-ups. So, if you’ve been wanting to highlight the recent award you received at a trade show, and you want to use the space in your ad copy for something else, then you’ve come to the right place!

Here is an example of a great Review extension:

The Review extensions do need to be approved, and they must be from a reputable third party. Google also chooses when (and if) they will show your Review extension. But, if you have some third party reviews, it doesn’t hurt or cost you anything to create some. Some early reports say they have been known to increase click thru rate up to 10%.

To setup Review extensions follow the same directions for the other extensions except choose “Review extensions”. Then choose +New review.

This is a great addition to the extension line-up. If you’re not already, you should be taking advantage of Review extensions if at all possible!

Location and App Extensions

Location extensions are excellent if you also run a Brick & Mortar store. Location extensions, extend your ad with business address, phone number, and map. You can add multiple addresses if necessary, and these extensions show up in a variety of Googley places. You would be surprised where this stuff shows up…I know I was!

You will need to link you “My Business” account with your AdWords account. It is a simple process if you already have a “My Business” account. It is also very easy to set one up. It is _not_ easy to change your “My Business” account or make profile changes if someone else set it up for you, or if you have an agency running this side of your business. Learning the hard way, I know that it is important to just setup one “My Business” account, and do NOT forget the password.

Follow the same directions as with the other extensions, and then choose “Location extensions”. You will need to be logged into the correct Google account in order to link these accounts. Here is the screen you will see if you haven’t linked the two accounts yet:

As with

other Ad extensions, you get the benefit of extending your ad…and supposedly up to 10% increase in CTR. Once again, this is a free service and it only costs you the click. You have nothing to lose.

App Extensions

OK, now I’ve been hearing through the grapevine since last spring that Google was going to be rewarding Apps in not only SEO but also PPC. Now this is one extension that may do more harm than good, especially for eCommerce store owners. The App extensions extend your ad, but they only direct traffic directly to your app download in the iTunes store or Google Play store. So, if someone is shopping for golf clubs, and they see an extension for your super cool shopping app…they will click and be taken to download the app. If they are no longer in the mood for buying golf clubs, or downloading apps…you’ve just lost a sale, and spent money on a worthless click. Boo! Not only do you have to have an app to either sell or giveaway, but you risk diverting traffic from your site.

If you’re still up for it. Here’s how you do it. The same way as the other extensions, and then click on the +New app button. Follow the directions from there. Here’s a screen shot:

src="/blogimages/2014/travisphipps3/33-App-extensions.jpg" >

Extension Conclusions

Here is all I’m going to say about Extensions. Take advantage

of as much “free” ad real estate as Google and Bing will let you get away with. Add as many extensions as possible, because with most of them you have nothing to lose and only CTR/Real Estate/Traffic to gain. They take almost no experience to create and setup, so it is a win/win. Those types of scenarios don’t come around too often, so soak it up when you can!

Bidding Strategies

Now we’re going to get into bidding strategies. We’ve covered strategies in a general sense in Module One when we discussed CPA (Cost per Acquisition), ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), CLV (Customer Lifetime Value), and other topics. I would consider those broad or general strategies. What we’ll be working on now are more specific as they relate to actually bidding on individual keywords and some relatively new features that AdWords has implemented in the area of managed bidding.

Bid Strategies

After you have created a campaign (or while you are creating it), you will need to choose a “bid strategy”. You have always been able to manually set your bids, and that is the default setting. However, AdWords has added some new managed bid options called “flexible bid strategies”, and these can be an excellent way of managing your bids.

Here are the choices you will have when choosing your bid management strategy:

1. Maximize clicks within a target budget

2. Focus on Conversions (Conversion Optimizer)

3. Enable Enhanced CPC (using conversion data to optimize bids)

I encourage most accounts to enable enhanced CPC, and we discuss this more in the Basic Settings section of Module 2.

4. Flexible Bid Strategy Options

a. Maximize clicks

b. Target search page location

c. Target outranking share

d. Target cost-per-acquisition (CPA)

e. Target return on ad spend (ROAS)

First, you need to select the campaign you would like to apply the strategy to, and then choose the settings tab.

Now you can

choose how you want to manage your bids.

I’ll manually set my bids for clicks

src="/blogimages/2014/travisphipps3/35-Bid-Strategies-manual-bidding.jpg">

This is the default setting, and is also the setting you need to choose if you want to choose your own bids. This is not as scary as it seems, even for beginners.

If you’ve been following along, you can simply estimate the Average CPC (cost-per-click) you believe will work with your budget and your target CPA or ROAS. We calculated this by simply taking your target CPA and multiplying by your conversion rate.

For example: $30 (target CPA) * 0.02 (2% conversion rate) = $0.60 (CPC).

There are some benefits and some disadvantages to managing your bids manually.

Pros:

  • More control over your bids
  • You have more visibility into each bid and keywords

Cons:

  • Time intensive
  • Room for error

Another thing to consider with the above method of choosing a bid when your first launch a campaign, is the possibility that your bid will be too low and will not generate enough traffic. So, with that in mind, I usually at least double my bid for each keyword so that I can generate some traffic and determine how productive each keyword might be. I also want to get enough traffic for my +modified +broad +match campaigns to get some good “long tail” exact match keywords.

If you choose to manually set your bids, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your daily ad spend as it is compared to your conversions. If your bids are too low, and you aren’t receiving any impressions, then you obviously want to increase your bids. If you’re keywords are in the top 3 positions (average position between 1 and 3), and you’re cost per converted click is too high (or you haven’t converted at all), then you’ll want to bid them down.

If this is a brand new campaign, and you don’t have any data at all, then you’ll need to choose this bid strategy or one of the flexible bid strategies that aren’t dependent on conversion data. We’ll review those now.

AdWords will set my bids to help maximize clicks within my target budget

There are not many circumstances where I believe this is a good strategy. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of one. So, unless you just want to throw money at Google, then don’t ever consider this a viable strategy.

Target search page location

This is another one that rarely makes

sense; however, it does make sense on occasion.

If you are building out a brand new campaign, and you want to make certain that your searches show up in a specific spot, then this is the bid strategy for you! We’ll get to some bid strategies down below that require you have a certain number of conversions in 30 days, and if you don’t have those numbers yet…then you can use a “Target search page location” strategy until you get enough conversions to change strategies.

Use this strategy carefully though, grasshopper. It can get very costly in a short period of time.

For each of these flexible bidding strategies you need to edit the “Bid Strategy” and Setup a “Flexible Bid Strategy”, below is a series of screen shots that walk you through the process.

width="800" src="/blogimages/2014/travisphipps3/39-Bid-Strategies-Manual-Bid-w-ECPC.jpg">

src="/blogimages/2014/travisphipps3/40-Bid-Strategies-Conversion-Optimizer.jpg">

Target outranking share

This strategy is can be useful if you are

trying to outrank a competitor. I don’t see a lot of value in this strategy personally, because I like to be in the position that is most profitable…NOT the position above my competitor. I can think of some situations where it does make sense, but they are fairly hypothetical. Suffice it to say, if you want to outrank a specific domain…then use this strategy!

Now, we are moving on to strategies that require conversion and/or revenue tracking, and in some cases you have to have a certain number of conversions in a 30 day period.

Manually set bids for clicks and Enable Enhanced CPC

Now this is a strategy I can get behind. This is my default

setting when creating brand new campaigns. This gives you the flexibility of choosing your own bids, but also allows Google to increase bids (or decrease them) up to 30% for clicks that seem more likely to generate a conversion. Obviously, you need to have conversion tracking installed. But we already covered how important that is in earlier Modules.

If you follow our method for bid management from earlier in this Module, this is an excellent strategy to choose!

Focus on conversions (Conversion Optimizer) – use CPA bids

The next strategy we’re going to explore is one of my personal favorites, The Conversion Optimizer. This strategy is somewhat self explanatory…this is all about the conversions. Which, in our business, is a good thing! There is some debate as to how effective the Conversion Optimizer is, but in my experience it works pretty darn good. You need at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days to use the Conversion Optimizer. Here is how it works:

1. Choose “Focus on conversions (Conversion Optimizer)

2. Choose Max or Target CPA (there is a rumor going around that Google is going to “get rid of” Max CPA), so I always choose Target CPA. I prefer Target CPA anyway. That gives Google a little more wiggle room to spend some money on keywords to find new conversions. If you use Max CPA, there is less room for experimentation.

3. Then “Set an initial target CPA bid for your ad groups

a. You can start with the “recommended bid”. This is usually very close to what your Average CPA has been in the last 30 days.

i. In the example below the recommended bid is a $19.00 CPA.

b. If this number is too high (meaning you are paying too much per conversion), then you can choose “Start with custom target CPA bid”. The problem with choosing that option, is that if it is drastically different from your previous average CPA, then your bids will change dramatically and could reduce your conversions/revenue by a large percentage. It could potentially keep your ad from showing at all (because Google may reduce your CPC so much that you don’t compete).

4. The other option is to “Start with previous target CPA bids”. Unless you have used the Conversion Optimizer on this campaign previously, this isn’t really an option for you.

Now that you’ve chosen your target

CPA, all you have to do is sit back and watch the conversions roll in! Seriously, this is awesome. You need to give it some time, and depending on how close your CPA bid is to your previous average it may take some time for the CPA to adjust. However, in my experience, if you choose a CPA bid that is reasonable, Google does a pretty decent job of hitting your target CPA over time.

You want to know why this is even better than it seems? I know you do…Well, one of the many reasons is, that Google also takes into consideration things like, time of day; day of week; devices; and locations! Yeah, that means you don’t need to make bid adjustments for each of these criteria that could have a drastic affect on conversion rates.

Let me tell you, you’re going to love this bid strategy.

Now, the only problem with this strategy is that you can’t make changes to individual keyword bids. That means that the strategy we discussed earlier in this module where we adjust bids up or down based on their ROAS or CPA will NOT apply. So, you’ll need to keep an eye on specific ad groups and/or keywords. If they aren’t performing the way you would like, then you’ll want to pull them out, and bid on them individually. If you choose to do that, you can still use “Enhanced CPC” at the keyword level.

You can; however, adjust CPA bids for different ad groups. That way you can set different CPA bids for ad groups that either convert differently or you are willing to pay more for (example: higher CPA for Golf Clubs compared to Golf Shirts).

Now this doesn’t mean you can “set it and forget it”. You ALWAYS want to try to increase your conversion rate, your click thru rate, and your impression share (for profitable keywords). That means making changes to ad copy, your landing pages, and everything in between. All of the work we did in Module One really comes into play now. If you know your CPA or ROAS down to the penny you will increase your profit. Also, if you can increase your average order value or the customer lifetime value, you will increase revenue and profit.

Here is some bad news. You can’t use Conversion Optimizer with Shopping campaigns. We’ll learn about those later, but this is a bummer. I suspect they will change this in the future, but for right now…no dice on the Shopping campaigns.

PS: There is also a “Flexible” version of this bidding strategy.

Target Return on ad spend (ROAS)

This is another “Flexible Bid Strategy” and if you know anything at all about me. You know that I LOVE this bid strategy. First of all, you’ll need at least 15 conversions for a 30 day period. Then you follow the same steps as one of the other “flexible bidding strategies”. Once you get to the create new bid strategy screen it should look something like this:

All you need to do is name your

new bid strategy. You obviously want to name it something to describe it. I got super creative and named this one “Target ROAS – 5.0”. Anyone know why I named it that? Bingo, because we are targeting a 5.0 ROAS, which means that for every $1.00 we spend we expect $5.00 in revenue.

The next step is to choose your “Target return on ad spend (ROAS)”. If you want a 5.0 ROAS, that is equivalent to 500%. If you want to target a 6.3 ROAS, then you will put 630% in the target ROAS.

As you know from previous Modules, targeting a specific ROAS can be very useful. This allows you to bid based on the amount of revenue, not just the target cost per acquisition. It is easy enough to “back into” a target ROAS by figuring out your average revenue per sale for a specific Campaign or Ad Group, and then dividing by your target return. However, with this strategy in place, we simply don’t have to do that anymore. Strategies like this used to be only accessible with expensive Bid Management systems or doing it manually. Now, anyone can do it as long as you have conversion/revenue tracking in place, and enough conversions to begin.

For my money, this is the best strategy out there. Even if I am managing my bids manually, I am still going to use a ROAS strategy. This just lets Google do it for us. However, in some cases (it happens a lot), Google will not be able to meet your targets. If this is the case, then you will want to switch back to manual bidding, and do some advanced work like time of day parting, day of week parting, geo targeting, device targeting, etc, etc. Adjust bids using our systems we have in place from earlier in the Module.

Bid Strategies Conclusion

Obviously, this is an important section. I do believe

it is even more important to understand and grow your business with Customer Lifetime Value, Average Order Value, ROI, Customer Retention, and most importantly Profitability in mind. We covered most of that in Modules 1 and 2. At the beginning of this Module we also discuss at length Bid Management. The reason I covered that first (even though in some cases with Flexible Bidding Strategies you don’t need it), is because of how important I believe it is to the health of your business and to understanding your advertising needs. If you don’t understand exactly why some keywords or search terms are profitable, then you are doomed to fail (or worse, be driven out by your competitors).

With my stern warning in place, now you can use the power of Google and take advantage of their behind the scenes systems to increase your conversions at a target ROAS or CPA that is profitable for your business. Setup your accounts and campaigns correctly at first and you will be able easily automate the management of your bids.

With all of these tools at the disposal of your competitors, your competitive advantage when it comes to advertising will be understanding your customer, your business, and your unique value proposition.

Final Thoughts

OK, so analogies aren't my strong suit.

I'm trying to think of a good one for Module Three. The best I can come up with is building a house...and I don't know how to build a house, so this might not be the best analogy. But I can build some PPC Campaigns, so stick with me on this!

Module One we laid a solid foundation, and hopefully we looked at our PPC Accounts from a philosophical perspective. Everyone knows you have to build an solid foundation and layout the vision of the house first, right? So, we did that in Module One.

Module Two, we built some walls, laid some brick, and I guess we put a roof on? But we still had a lot of work to do before this sucker started to look like a house. People driving down the street could tell that we were building a house, but it didn't look like much.

Module Three, the electricians have been in, the plumbers have been in, and now it really looks like a house. You just don't want to live in yet.

Wow, this analogy is even worse than I imagined when I started (and that is bad!).

Module Four is going to rock! We're going to put in huge Flat Screen TVs, a pool with a spa, some landscaping, buy some artwork...by the time we're done...we may just sell this house for a profit!

Click Here to Read Module 1

Click Here to Read Module 2

Click Here to Read Module 4

Don't forget to ask questions in the comments below. We have some resources from the previous Modules and some new content below. Just click through the BattleBridgeLabs.com site and download the course material. There is some spectacular content, free tools and resources, and some "how-to" videos if you don't want to read any more.

See you soon my friends. Now go out there and sell stuff!

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Comments
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7
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Craig Bickford
December 21, 2014 6:25 AM
All I can say is WOW! What a throughly comprehensive guide! I feel like you should be teaching this in college. I've done a lot of PPC work over the years and a lot of what you're clearly explaining here, I learned the very hard way. This is proving to be one of the best PPC management guides available and I can't wait for module four!
Craig Bickford
December 21, 2014 6:52 AM
When lowering keyword bids that are too high, is there a certain threshold above your target CPA, say 5 or 10%, where you consider the keyword close enough and hold it over for another month?
Keri
December 21, 2014 8:59 AM
This is a great walk-through. I like how it really breaks everything down in terms of how to do exactly what you want in the editors. I think a lot of the instructions for navigating the editors could probably be figured out by trial and error, but I'm so glad this actually offers some detail, with screenshots. Then, of course, when the article actually gets into the nitty gritty of bid management, the detail is also great and helpful. I feel like you may have addressed this in a previous post and I'm forgetting, but do you prefer Bing or Google for ads? Is one easier to use? Does one perform better?
Daragh Michael W
December 21, 2014 1:17 PM
Fantastic Module 3! I'm starting to see real results with my PPC campaigns so it's great to get some info on how to set up a regular review process. Always be Testing as you say! Breaking the steps down into different days definitely makes it less intimidating! I'm going to be working through this module for a while but I'm curious to know when can we expect the release of Module 4? I want to have to actions completed here before the next post : )
Ali4445
December 21, 2014 2:12 PM
Great tutorial, Travis, as always. This series has been an incredible resource for me. I do have one question for you: How can I know for sure that a bid is too high? Is there a target margin to keep within? Thanks in advance for your help.
Josh R.
December 22, 2014 5:52 PM
Once again you have me feeling like I am getting a second master's degree. I need to go back and review all of the modules each time and am still having trouble retaining and using it all. I really like the concept of negative keywords, but I get a bit nervous about using them...always afraid I could be losing out by eliminating potential customers. Any advice? Also I love your Always Be Testing concept, but then you say not to test too much. When are you testing too much? Any guidelines for us mere mortals? One last question...when do you send out the diplomas?
AnnAbbitz
December 23, 2014 12:06 AM
Just... WOW. I applaud you for breaking this entire process down the way you do. A lot of the stuff covered - especially bid testing and keyword testing - may seem simple to a lot of people, but when it's broken down like this it not only makes it much (much, much) easier to understand, but it also makes it a lot less intimidating to employ the tactics on your own. Going forward, I will have ALL of these modules on standby!

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