The number of insight-driven tools Google and Bing have given us over the years has grown. As someone who loves to assess risks ad nauseam, bid simulator metrics have been a real treat for me. But I have found that the standard options they offer don’t always jive with how I like to plan. When looking at keywords that are living below the first page, I want to understand the impact of giving those keywords a boost. Not a 300% boost. Not a first position boost. Just an elbow nudge of a boost.

In this post, I’ll walk you through my way of projecting (read: a little manual, a little granular) impact of keywords buried at the bottom of the deck and how to evaluate if the financial risk is worth getting them to see the light again.

Ante Up

You have a pretty good bid strategy set up, focusing on boosting your top performers, getting the most for your buck with dayparting. All those things are great but inevitably a keyword’s visibility fluctuates. Increased competition, seasonality, current events–all can drive a keyword up and down.

And when a keyword is down, sometimes it just hangs out there a while until you give it a nudge again. When you customize your columns, you can choose from several different options. All will help you understand the potential impact of changes.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out when you look at things.

Okay so these have 0 clicks now and no sign of improvement if I raise the bid? Can that be accurate? I like to think no. But I’m not about to pour money into keywords if I don’t really understand what it is going to do to my bottom lines: Cost and CPA.

Throw It All Down

Steps to understanding impact:

  1. Download 30-day (or 14- or 90-) keyword report for all enabled keywords
  2. Include clicks, impressions, CTR, cost, conversions, CVR, lost IS (rank), lost top IS (rank)
  3. Calculate the difference between your current bid and the first page bid
  4. Assume anything with 0 impressions will get at least 1 impression with your bid change
  5. Assume anything with 1 click will get at least 1 click with your bid change
  6. Assume anything with 0 conversions will continue to have 0 conversions

Are you thinking, “Why would she assume people are going to click but not assume people are going to convert?” I’ll tell you why: I’m a pessimist.

Kidding aside, I want to assume there will be a financial impact but I don’t want to assume the financial impact will have positive results. I am assessing risk here, remember?

So you have your Excel sheet.

Now let’s calculate the impact.

  1. Difference between current Max CPC and First Page CPC
  2. Estimate New Impressions
  3. Estimate New Clicks
  4. Project cost assuming CTR remains the same
  5. Project conversions assuming CVR remains the same.

Now, about all the other keywords floating around with bids currently set above first page. Just leave them alone. Don’t touch those guys. Pretend they are going to perform exactly the same in the next 30 days (when we all know they are really going to perform better, right? Because of your next-level bid optimizations you got going).

Put it all together and what do you get?

Now you have an aggregate look at what you could expect if you wink-wink nudge-nudge those little keywords to the first page. Then you can ask yourself:

  • If I don’t get any more conversions, will this be worth it?
  • Do I have a plan in place to keep an eye on search queries?
  • What is my threshold for testing these keywords at the higher bid? At what point do I say “these keywords are no longer valuable to the account”? (Do you know when to hold ‘em? Know when to fold ‘em?)

If you were paying attention, I told you to download lost IS metrics when you downloaded your report. Why did I do this?

Full House

Because now you can understand where you are losing out and come up with a tiered bid strategy to remain competitive.

Build out custom bid rules layered with conditions to protect yourself from overdoing it.

If you have been in the PPC game for 8 months or 8 years, you know nothing is ever certain. Odds are things out of your control will require you to shift your strategy. But I find doing a wee bit of work on the front end will allow you to mitigate your risk in the long game.

Now that I’ve shown my hand, what do you have? Let us know @ppchero!


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