My philosophy on pay-per-click bid management has always been to manage each keyword’s performance in each engine individually. Knowing a keyword’s impact makes it easier to determine the next steps to take in improving the account’s overall performance. I start by looking at a current month’s worth of data and sorting the data based upon three criteria: Cost per conversion, cost per click and number of clicks. The first section is for keywords that have generated conversions sorted by cost per conversion from highest to lowest. The next section is for those keywords that have had clicks but zero conversions sorted by cost from highest to lowest. Lastly, I group the keywords that have had no clicks in descending order of impressions.
Here’s how it works:
For the converted keywords, compare the cost per conversion with the optimal cost per conversion that you want to achieve. Modify bids to alter position if the keyword’s cost per conversion is too high.
For the keywords that have clicks but low conversions, look to improve the landing page call to action. The searcher is interested enough to click on your ad, but either he didn’t find what he was looking for, or the landing page did not reflect the ad’s message. Make sure the call to action on the landing page is clear.
For the keywords that have had impressions and zero clicks, the searcher is actively looking, but your ad is not enticing him or her to click. Rewrite the ad with multiple versions and be sure to A/B split test.
I am currently working with SearchForce, a portfolio-based bid management tool, which is a completely different approach. I absolutely recommend it. I can apply a strategy to any grouping of keywords I choose, even across multiple search engines. I can then apply a different bid strategy to different subsets of keywords. Brand name keywords can be maintained at position one, while broader keywords can be constrained to a maximum cost per conversion. I can decide that any keyword that spends a certain amount of money without converting should either have their bid reduced or paused. The tool will decide how to bid and position each keyword to maintain the criteria I have defined. I can spend more time strategizing on a higher level and let the tool do the testing of bids and positions to meet the desired goals.