Rules Based Bid Management – AdWords Editor

For those of you managing PPC campaigns who may not have access to a rules based keyword bid management solution like SearchCenter, Index Tools or Keyword Max – or any other commercial application you can still be the beneficiary of a fairly robust rules based bidding solution.

In the following situations, AdWords editor will be a reasonably good alternative to the manual tracking and adjustment of keywords.

a) Your chief PPC success metric is either cost per sale, or cost per lead – or any other page view generating action. Google AdWords doesn’t process revenue, thus the only data in AdWords editor is “cost/conversion”.

b) You have AdWords editor – download here if you need it.

Our point of departure once the above conditions are satisfied will be something called a “custom view” which lets you do just what it says. Here’s a screen shot. It’s also called “advanced search”.

adwords editor image

After selecting the parameters for the keywords whose bids you wish to manage, you should select some performance criteria. If you want to filter so that all you have in your editing pane is keywords that have 20 clicks and no conversions, or > 20 clicks and 1 conversion, or impressions < 5 and average position less than 6, or clicks in the top 10% of all clicks and conversions DNE (do not exist). You get the idea. You can generate many layers of keyword classes with 2 performance selections. You can save up to 10 custom searches as well, which is useful.

Now – the next consideration is after you’ve defined your performance cohorts, how do you apply the bid changes. Let’s say you want to increase bids globally for all keywords that have had a cost/conversion above/below some absolute $ value over the past 7 days by 10%.

a) select the date range on top of adwords editor so that “last 7 days” are showing.

b) wait for the data to load (it can be a little sticky, make sure you’re freshly logged in).

c) set the custom view

d) once you’re confident the custom view is set and correct, go to the bottom of the editing pane and click on advanced bid changes:

advanced bid changes, adwords editor dialog box

Make the changes you’d like, while setting max CPC ceilings or min CPC floors to ensure that your global changes never push the keyword MAX CPC beyond a level you’re comfortable with.

That’s essentially all there is to it. Keep in mind if you have 10k + keywords you need to be patient with the custom view to set. Sometimes the date range won’t click so just log out, long back in and try again immediately. Another useful feature is sorting all of your keywords by minimum CPC and possibly deleting anything with a $.40 + minimum as it may have a negative impact of better quality keywords in the AdGroup.

Also – many advertisers use ROAS (return on ad spend) as their chief success metric). You can easily have a CPA 2x higher, and a ROAS 3x higher. SO…there isn’t a perfect correlation between cost per sale and return on adspend thus rendering this tactic somewhat ineffective. It’s still a great keyword editing tool and with a little ingenuity a combo of Google Analytics + AdWords Editor is a winning combo for most online merchants.



paid search expert, sitecatalyst/omniture consultant, professional search engine optimization

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Posted in adwords editor, rules based bid management

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