How to Use Bid Adjustments Effectively

One size rarely fits all in marketing, and PPC is no exception. In fact, PPC’s purely digital nature makes it one of the most flexible marketing options available. That’s a major opportunity, letting you sculpt a wholly customized marketing approach.

At the same time, it can be quite overwhelming, particularly if you’re exploring PPC for the first time. With hundreds of adjustments available in most PPC platforms, there’s almost too much to take in.

That said, it’s simpler than it seems at first. Getting the best results from your campaigns doesn’t require comprehensive knowledge about every available option – just an understanding of some key features, and a willingness to experiment.

Whether you’re reviewing bid adjustments for the first time or want to take your current setup to the next level, I’ve outlined four essential points to consider for your campaigns:

Prioritizing Effective Bid Adjustments

Given just how many bid adjustment offers are available through most platforms, you need to know how to prioritize the important ones

While precisely what bid adjustments are important will vary depending on the nature of your business, there are some near-universally useful options.

Location-based adjustments can be incredibly powerful, particularly for international campaigns. 

I’ve found that there’s almost always going to be some area that’s exceptionally interested in your products, while conversely, there’s often countries/states/cities where there’s simply no interest. Bidding high to boost your conversions in high-performing locations (and dropping your bids to save money in underperforming regions) can be a gamechanger. 

Device-based bidding is often overlooked – it shouldn’t be. Performance can drastically shift between desktop and mobile audiences, and you need to be making the most of these differences.

Similarly, it’s almost always necessary to look at your daily and hourly performance breakdowns. Some companies underperform on the weekend, others excel at very specific times of the day, etc. Using bid adjustments to optimize your current performance is a must.

Understanding PPC Demographic Data

Have you ever checked what Google thinks about you? By clicking through to view your Google demographic data, you’ll be able to see the exact portrait that Google has created of you. 

In some cases, this will be fairly accurate – for others, it’s completely wrong, a problem that goes even further for more niche demographics. While Google seems to be reasonably accurate when it comes to age and gender, it falls down on points like household income and interest categories.

That’s also true for other PPC platforms. Take Facebook as an example. A major survey asked Facebook users to look at the hobbies and interests that the platform assigned to them. While a little under half the respondents considered the details to be ‘somewhat accurate,’ just 13% thought the platform gave a ‘very accurate’ representation of them.

In other words, if you’re using interest-based bid adjustments, there’s no guarantee you’re reaching the right audience. 

You need to understand that the demographic data that PPC platforms show you isn’t going to be 100% accurate, and taking it as complete truth can seriously hinder you. Take the data with a pinch of salt – I’d recommend running direct customer surveys to get real information about your audience.

Change Adjustments Slowly

Even once you’ve decided where you want to make your adjustments, it pays to go slowly. Adding a 50% adjustment out of nowhere is unlikely to help you – you may end up overspending for no real reason (or losing out on potential sales), even if you’re going in the right direction.

In most cases, it’s best to change your bid adjustments by about 5-10% at a time, observing how this affects your performance before continuing.

Of course, in some cases, speed may be the right choice – it’s just important to remember that your adjustments may not be ideal if you’re proceeding too fast.

Using Split Testing

Even if your data suggests that making a specific bid adjustment will improve your campaign’s results, the reality may be very different. The real-world results are what really matters – not what your predictions suggest.

You don’t have to apply a change across your entire account to see the real results. Splitting your campaigns allows you to check how your adjustments work out in the real world while minimizing the risk to the rest of your account.

By experimenting with a small slice of your account, you can track the effects of your bid adjustments on ad performance and analyze whether rolling them out across your entire account is worthwhile. Of course, you’ll need to be sure that you’re tracking results rather than coincidences, so make sure your sample has enough data

Bid adjustments aren’t the full story for PPC success. Most businesses aren’t getting the best possible results when it comes to PPC – take a look through our guide to overlooked PPC options for some ultra-effective, frequently forgotten approaches!

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