One of the most interesting and engaging things about paid search is that there is always something more to do. No account build is ever perfect. Even when your campaigns are giving you everything you need to be profitable, there are always small changes to make. These optimizations we call the ‘tip of the arrow,’ tactics that can squeeze the last drops of performance out of a campaign that is already successful.
One of these high-level changes is bid adjustments. A bid adjustment is a modification on PPC campaigns or ad groups that edits your max CPC by a chosen percentage when a certain condition is met. There are many conditions you can tell your campaigns to bid up or down on, depending on what type of default bidding your campaign is set to (some automated bidding settings will do bid adjustments themselves). Bid adjustments are available on both Google AdWords and Bing Ads.
- Time of Day Bid Adjustments: Your default bids can be adjusted based on the time of day your keywords are searched for. If you know your industry tends to be active in the morning hours, you can bid up at those times. Likewise, if you know your campaign isn’t going to convert sales as well during the evening hours and “prime time”, you have the option to automatically lower your bids based on that (this is especially useful for B2B campaigns, as it is less likely your campaign will convert after conventional business hours). However, be careful with time-of-day bid adjustments. Just because your campaign may not convert as well during a certain time, doesn’t mean clicks on your ad during that time are more or less likely to convert later. Using time-of-day bid adjustments requires an extreme level of knowledge about your campaigns and your consumers’ spending habits given by the campaign data.
- Day of Week Bid Adjustments: Similar to Time of Day Adjustments, Day of Week Adjustments will edit your bids based on the day of the week your ads are searched. These adjustments can be useful, especially for B2B products, however they can run into the same issues as Time of Day adjustments, where people who could convert may not click your ad due to a lowered bid. Again, this requires a high level of knowledge about your consumer, and like Time of Day adjustments, should not be used lightly.
- Device Type Bid Adjustments: Your bids can also be adjusted based on the type of device that is being searched on. If your campaign data shows that you perform particularly well on mobile, you can raise your bids for people who are searching for your product on their phone. Similarly, if you find that tablets don’t convert as efficiently as other devices, you can lower or even stop your bids on tablets using this tool.
- Location-Based Bid Adjustments: You can change your bids based on the location of the device that is searching for your ad, provided you have that location as a targeted location in your campaign. This can be done with campaigns targeted in any area. If a certain region doesn’t perform well for your national campaign, you can bid down on that region. Likewise, if a certain neighborhood gives a local business campaign a particularly good return, that area’s max CPC can be increased. However, this is tricky to use locally, as the same consumer may move from one area with a certain adjustment to another area with a different or no adjustment.
- Demographic Bid Adjustments: There are other bid adjustments that can be made based on the demographic data of your consumers. Did you know you can bid higher or lower based on the gender or age of the person that your ad is shown to? You can even look at how your campaign performs based on these same segments. These are the “safest” adjustments to use, as they are static conditions that won’t change drastically in a short time, and therefore can’t cause problems like the other types of adjustments. However, these adjustments only affect the ~60% of accounts that include demographic information, meaning bidding up on women only works with female consumers who have their gender information filled out in their accounts. Essentially, this is a small adjustment that should generally be added when your campaign has adequate sample size, but won’t drastically change the campaign’s performance.
You would think these optimizations should be common for campaign management, but many optimizations are double-edged swords that may be more risk than their worth. Furthermore, too many bid adjustments can multiply with one another and create significantly larger or smaller bids than your default max CPC. This can even start to affect when and if you hit your daily budget. Bid adjustments can definitely hurt a campaign in the wrong place, especially bidding down on certain conditions.
Talk to the experts at JumpFly about any optimizations you think are right for your campaigns!