Alternative Strategies for Keyword Bidding

The management aspects of an Internet marketing campaign can often be daunting. With campaigns that often have hundreds, if not thousands, of keywords to oversee, report on and manage, it can become an effort-intensive endeavor. There are, however, several tools available to the individual who knows where to look and how to decipher the information objectively, someone who has an eye towards gaining perspective about his or her campaign, while remaining nimble enough to make changes to an online marketing account.

In the world of pay per click, there is one gorilla in the room, and that’s Google, especially when you look at the resources it offers to add for you in your keyword bidding decision-making.

The first, and most all-encompassing of these tools, is Google’s Budget Optimizer. By setting your budget, Google will attempt to maximize the number of clicks your account will receive given a certain budget. On the surface, this seems like a solution that has a low energy-to-results ratio, an inviting alternative for the overworked marketer. This, however, overlooks one of the truly crucial metric conversions, seeking to put as many eyes on your site as possible, rather than to have the maximum number of actions you wish to take place, such as filling out a form or downloading a piece of software. For that there is an another tool, Conversion Optimizer.

Conversion optimizer is a tool that, if you have Google’s conversion tracking enabled, will attempt to, using historical data, deliver conversion to your site using the historic data within your account. This is a low maintenance way to have Google do the heavy lifting for you. To make substantive improvements to your campaign, to approach it like a pro, you are going to need to dig deeper and start to think more strategically about your campaign and its keywords.

The first question you need to consider is: “What is the point of my campaign?” Is it branding? If so, you may wish to use a service like Google’s Position Preference, which allows you to set preferred placement for your campaign. Is your goal to out position a competitor? Then you may identify a set of terms that you wish to be competitive on and incrementally increase your bids until you sit on the top of the pile. If your goal is to maximize conversions to your site, however, an approach with more depth is warranted. Your first requirement here is Conversion Tracking. Google offers this in the form of a piece of JavaScript on your Thank You Pages. This allows you to begin to make substantive changes to your campaign, because it allows you to see one step, passed visitors, to conversions.

All conversions are not, of course, born equal. Should you have service like Salesforce.com or any number of other sales process management services, a conversion can be quantified in a metric such as dollars closed by keyword, or percentage of conversions generated by keyword that leads to a sale. This, in turn, will allow you to begin to eliminate the chaff that sometimes crowds campaigns, potentially eliminating conversions and raising your overall campaigns’ cost per conversion but closing more business, and/or generating more qualified traffic for your business.

For more information on pay-per-click strategies, check out our white paper, “Optimizing PPC Search Marketing”

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