Simple PPC Bid Strategy Using Impression Share Report

When setting out to manage and optimize bids in paid search, looking at all the campaigns, adgroups and keywords at once can be overwhelming. I like using the impression share report as a starting point for focusing optimization strategies and managing bids.

In AdWords make the following report: 1. Report Type: Click Campaign Performance. 2. Settings: Set Weekly visits, set the date range for a few months and select all campaigns. 3. Advanced Settigns: Add the following Columns: Impression Share, Lost IS (Rank), Lost IS (Budget), Conversions, Conv. Rate, Cost/Conv.
That’s it – once the report is made export it into Excel. In Excel sort by Campaign so that you can see the increase or decrease in impression share week to week for each campaign. Now we can cover the what, why and how.

Start off by looking for campaigns with low impression share and then look across at the Cost/Conv column. If Cost/Conv is within your accepted range for these low impression share campaigns, then you are leaving money on the table by not maximizing your impression share. Likewise, if impression share is high for certain campaigns and their Cost/Conv is high, you might consider decreasing impression share.

With these initial insights look at the Lost IS (rank) column and Lost IS (budget) column. These two columns will tell you why you have low impression share. If Lost IS (budget) is high, this means your ads are not showing as often as they could because your campaign budget is being tapped. If your Lost IS (rank) is high, this means your keyword bids are so low to the point that your ads aren’t appearing.

The campaigns with low Cost/Conv and high Conv. Rate are you hero campaigns. These should have as much impression share as possible. Give them unlimited budget (why limit it? As long as the ROI is worth it you should push these campaigns as far as they’ll go) and give their keywords higher bids. Google has a bid simulator built in for giving you an idea of how much traffic will result in your bid, but don’t worry too much about it, set a bid that seems right and then test how it performs. You can adjust it once you see the results.
The campaigns that are in-between need a little more time and effort. This is where you’ll dive into individual adgroups and keywords to discover which ones are causing the bad Cost/Conv and low Conversion Rate. Decrease bids on the losers and increase bids on the winners. Click through your ads to see if the keywords you are bidding on match the landing pages you are giving your visitor. Try different keyword match types.

This PPC bid optimization strategy allows you to prioritize your efforts so that you increase the biggest winners and get rid of the biggest losers first. Once done, go back the next week and see your results. I like to make my changes all in one day and then leave it alone for a week instead of making little changes day to day which makes it harder to recognize causation.

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