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PPC bid management. To many it is a minefield of tools and opinion that can quite simply be information overload.

I am somewhat of a novice when it comes to pay-per-click. In fact, I am just going to put it out there and say I am a complete PPC virgin. However, in such a tech-savvy world, it is crucial to understand all the marketing options available to businesses.

Ultimately, the goal is to drive traffic to your website and increase sales. So what is the importance of bid management?

In my quest for information and to learn the craft like the back of my hand, I have come to understand that bid management is a crucial aspect of a PPC campaign. Managing your keyword bids correctly to optimise the maximum click-through rate (CTR), will keep your spend to a minimum. And we all want to save as much money as we can now don’t we?

It is the bread and butter of the trade, the backbone of the skill …well you get the picture. To many it is a mundane activity, like watching paint dry, but it is vital for the health and performance of your campaign.

So let’s get right down to the nitty gritty; how can you save money? There is a vast wealth of features and methods to managing bids effectively however; I am here to tell you what the right way is.

What features are available?

·         Manual Bid Management (Basic or Advanced)

·         Native Interface – Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.

·         Desktop Tools – AdWords Editor, Bing Ads Editor, Facebook Power Editor

·         Desktop Tools – Using Logic (percentage changes, set dollar amount changes, etc.)

·         Spreadsheets – Microsoft Excel, Google Docs, etc.

·         Automated Bid Management

As you can see, there is a wide choice for you to choose from in terms of managing your bids. Which one is the right one though? Here at Custard, we only manage our bids manually; there’s no automated software in sight.

Why no robot?

Well, bid management can be a complicated area and if it goes wrong, you can suffer disastrous consequences. Many advertisers choose to automate using the automated bidding option in Google AdWords, or with a third-party bid management solution, but straight away you lose the control.

Yes, Google’s automated bidding feature is free; however it is less than transparent. By manually managing the campaign, you can go in and make necessary changes and check things before they are posted; whereas automated bidding is…automated!

Having said this, some bid management tools do have their place, especially in larger accounts where there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Also, by only bidding manually issues can arise and opportunities can be missed.

I think as a company grows, some bid management software companies can have a place in PPC management. It just depends on what they offer, and can bring to the table.

What’s our secret?

How do we manage our bidding? Well if we told you all our little secrets, that would be letting the cat out of the bag now wouldn’t it. I don’t think that there is a one-solution-that-fits-all approach, but manual bid management is definitely our recommendation.

Here are some more top tips:

·         Use the Google keyword tool to get ideas of cost – you must be logged into your Google account to see the estimated click costs.

·         Set maximum bids at realistic levels that you are willing to pay per click. Don’t bid more than you can afford.

·         Match type is key to costs/bidding – broad will always be cheapest as it is less specific, but it is likely to spend the most as it will generate the most searches and clicks. They won’t always be relevant and this will increase wasted spend.

·         Spend time on other elements of the account; the best performance comes from a balance of relevancy, cost and high-quality traffic volume.

·         Make sure top-performing groups are getting the traffic they deserve, and that you aren’t paying too much for competitive terms. 


·         Experiment! Test all different types of automated bidding options to find what is right for you.


How do you prefer to manage your PPC bids? Do you practice any of these tips yourself? We’d love to hear what works for you!

This article was written by Matt Fielding on behalf of Custard, an innovative marketing agency based in Greater Manchester that has a creative, experienced in-house PPC team. Visit today to get more clicks for your money.

Head of Search at Custard in Greater Manchester. We help businesses improve their online performance through content marketing,SEO, CRO & Social Media.

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