PPC bid strategy

Improving PPC Campaigns with Ad Scheduling and Bid Strategies

Getting the most out of your paid search budget with a more strategic mindset is crucial toward staying ahead of the competition. So how do we improve on your pay-per-click performance without increasing bids and going over budget? Let’s take a look at a few ad scheduling and bid strategy options that often get overlooked and may be worth testing. These options are fairly easy to implement, target your buyer’s demographics… and keep costs within budget.

Ad Scheduling for Optimal Days and Hours

The day and time your ads appear in a search engine are determined by the campaign’s preset schedule, with options available down to half-hour increments. If a schedule isn’t created, your ads may be running 24/7. Many businesses schedule their ads based on when someone is available to take phone calls – or when a location is open to visitors, such as a restaurant. Others run their ads continuously because they don’t have any specific store or office hours. Your company may not have certain hours, however, that doesn’t mean that your ad spend wouldn’t be better served at more precise times to match your customers’ search habits. As an example, senior citizens are typically going to bed several hours before college students. If you’re selling a product geared toward age 60+ adults, then it may make sense to limit your ad schedule from early morning to early evening hours. You can also increase or decrease bids by entering a percentage adjustment for certain hours of a day. It should also be noted that there is a setting to indicate whether the ad schedule is for your specific time zone or for the person searching. I would use the latter. Fine-tuning your ad schedule to your target audience will generate better performing clicks and reduce those that are less productive.

PPC Bid Strategy by Gender, Age, Device, Location and Income

Google AdWords and Microsoft Advertising platforms both provide for keyword bidding to be increased or decreased based on the age and gender of the searcher, the type of device they are using (desktop, tablet, smartphone), their location and household income. Let’s take a look at each of these situations to see if they apply to your business.

  • Gender and Age. You can increase or decrease keyword bids based on whether the searcher is male or female. This assumes that Google and Microsoft know who is online during the search. In most cases, they know! For reference purposes, Google AdWords uses the following age ranges: 18-24; 24-34; 35-44; 45-54; 55-64; 65+. Microsoft Advertising’s platform (incl. BING, Yahoo & AOL) is very similar. With these options, advertisers have the ability to spend more dollars on their primary demographic and less (or none) on others.
  • Device Adjustments. Device bid options for both platforms include desktop, tablet and smartphone. People searching in a business to business (B2B) work environment, for example, would typically be using a desktop computer, while a B2C consumer prospect would likely be on a smartphone. Being able to adjust bids based on whether a person is using a desktop, tablet or smartphone could be useful in fine-tuning your paid search campaigns. Note: Google Analytics reports can provide the percentage of visitors to your website for each type of device to help with making these adjustments. In Google Analytics, go to: Audience>Mobile>Overview for report details.
  • Locations. Targeting where you want your ads geographically to appear is the most important setting in a PPC campaign. This is especially true if you have brick and mortar stores or your services are logistically limited to a specific area. For bid strategy purposes, let’s pretend you have a business that primarily serves four counties in a state (example A, B, C, D) and your campaigns currently target all four. Due to logistics and personnel, however, County A is where you would prefer to spend more of your ad dollars. In this scenario, you can increase bids for County A, while decreasing bids slightly in B, C and D. The result would be more clicks and spending in your desired service area, without having to create and manage four different campaigns for each county. The same approach could also be used for metro-area DMAs, combinations of individual cities, counties or entire states.
  • Household Income. Some people may be surprised to read this, but yes, Google allows its advertisers to adjust their bidding based on the user’s household income. Microsoft currently does not. How does Google know your household income level? It’s definitely a Big Brother scenario based on user activity, cookies and mounds of data. Income range selections include: Top 10%, 11-20%, 21-30%, 31-40%, 41-50%, Lower 50%, and Unknown. Read more about Google AdWords demographic options here.

Bid Adjustments by Industry, Company and Job Function with LinkedIn Profile Targeting

Microsoft Advertising provides advertisers with the ability to adjust bids based on a person’s LinkedIn profile. Google AdWords does not currently offer this option. That’s because Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion. Using this paid search option doesn’t mean that ads won’t appear for someone without a LinkedIn account, only that you can bid higher or lower for certain keywords based on the searcher’s LI information. For the B2B PPC advertiser, this allows you to target a specific industry, company name and job function. Below is a list of the current 24 industry options to choose from. Company names must be entered manually into Microsoft Advertising’s platform by the advertiser. Job functions are selected from a list of 26 options provided in the Microsoft Advertising platform. These functions are not specific titles like President or Director. They are more descriptive of a department or functional area, such as: Accounting, Administrative, Human Resources, Operations and Sales. Learn more about Microsoft Advertising and LinkedIn profiling here.

Microsoft Advertising bid adjustment by industry

Summary

Paid search campaigns are an important marketing investment that needs to be monitored, tweaked and optimized. By utilizing more strategic ad schedules and bid strategies to reach your audience more effectively, you’ll get a better return on investment for your marketing spend. And don’t forget about the use of negative keyword lists that we wrote about in October, 2020. Running A/B tests on different ad messages and landing pages should also be considered. I’ll write more on that subject in a future article.

Contact Vesteras about your paid search campaigns and other digital advertising needs to see how we can make your job easier.

Guy Hanford
President
Vesteras LLC

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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