adCenter’s Explicit and Implicit Bidding – A Swimming Success

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I am not going to lie.  I find adCenter painful and frustrating sometimes.  I recently gained a client who uses Yahoo!/Bing as a treasured platform.  I dove in head-first into the MSN pool like Greg Louganis… well, the girl version anyway.  AdCenter is becoming increasingly different from its competitor.  So of course, the way that you bid on your keywords can be challenge.  With the help of my adCenter coaches I have perfected my triple lindy double twist pike back flip bidding strategies and I am ready to go for the gold!

Implicit Bidding

This strategy is also called Bid Inheritance.  Keywords that have broad or phrase match will allow bids for more restrictive match types to be inherited or implied.  So, if you set your broad match keyword to $4, then by default, your phrase and exact will be set at $4 as well.This might seem great to the average PPC Manager because it seems like all your bases are covered.  Well, they are… but it’s not a strong strategy.  Yes, you have included all of your match types, but you are not allowing each keyword match type to properly do its job if they are set to the same bid.  You are actually creating competition amongst your own team of keywords!  Another thing that happens is that your broad keywords end up snagging all the clicks and your exact matches are left soaking wet.  Lesson: just like you wouldn’t want to inherit your dad’s receding hairline, don’t let your keywords inherit their bids. Give them their own bids and make them feel special.  How do you do that, you ask?  Read on!

Explicit Bidding

This strategy is also called… ok, there isn’t another name.  It is what it is.  This strategy involves each keyword match type – exact, broad and phrase – to have its own bid.  The adCenter best practice is to set the bids based on the following ratios:

  • Phrase bids should be set at 75% of the exact match bid
  • Broad bids should be set at 85% of the exact match bid

These ratios are reflective of the adCenter algorithms and will assist your keywords in getting the most bang for your buck by being competitive in each auction.  This will bring in more traffic at lower costs.  There are two different ways to use this strategy based on how your ad groups are set up.

1. Keywords with all three match types are in the same ad group.

  • Use the ratios to set your broad and phrase match bids based on your exact bid

2.  Keywords are separated out into different ad groups based on match type.

  • While still using the ratios provided above, you must also employ “forced minimum bidding” for the match types that would other wise inherit the broad or phrase bids.  This minimum bid is $0.05.  This forces the match types to show explicitly for that ad group.
  • Exact Match:
    • For the exact match keyword, set the bid based on your client’s goals.  Make sure you start with at least a minimum bid of $0.40 to ensure that you pass the bidding threshold and have the chance for your keyword to win the auction.  If you are having problems coming up with ideas for exact match keywords, dig into campaign Search Query Reports. Dave has a great post to help you out!
    • There is no need to set the bids for the broad or phrase in this model since exact is the most qualifying match type.
  • Phrase Match:
    • For the phrase match keywords, bid at 75% of the exact match
    • Set your exact match to the forced minimum bid of $0.05; there is not a need to set your broad bid.
  • Broad Match:
    • For the broad match keywords, bid at 85% of the exact match
    • Set your exact and phrase matches to the forced minimum bid of $0.05.
  • During the Yahoo/Bing conference that I attended last month, they suggest this as the best practice if 3rd party tools restrict you.  Here you are tracking the performance by match type to help reduce the competition and eliminating inherited bids.
  • Here at Hanapin, we find that separating your keywords into different ad groups by match type, selecting that one match type and bidding on that match type only works wonders.   By doing this, you are looking at only 1/3 of the information and it makes optimizing the ad group a little quicker.  It also gathers data a bit faster because you don’t have any bids at $0.05 that are trying to win the auction.

These bidding strategies will give you a good idea of which match types are working the best in your campaigns.  If you are skeptical of this practice, try it on one of your ad groups.  It really does work if implemented properly!  We all know that exact match keywords provide the most qualified clicks and leads.  These strategies allow the best match type to drive your traffic and help make a good account a better one.

For more information on Yahoo/Bing bidding strategies, check out this link from the adCenter learning center.  As always, let us know if these practices have worked for you and what your thoughts are!

Thanks for reading PPC Hero today!

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15 thoughts on “adCenter’s Explicit and Implicit Bidding – A Swimming Success

  1. John Barth

    Very interesting! One question… why is the broad match bidding more than the phrase match? Shouldn’t their bids be reversed? In your first swimsuit example above, won’t the broad match keyword be bidding on all the queries that the phrase match should bidding on between $3.00 and $3.40?

  2. Felicia CooverFelicia Coover

    Hey all!  Thanks for reading as always!
    The answer is fairly short.  That is what adcCenter told me.  🙂

    No, really though… From all of the data that they have gathered, they have found that within the overall marketplace, that broad match types end up converting at a better rate than phrase.  I thought the same thing about the broad eating up all of my phrase traffic at a higher cost; however, I was thinking with my Google hat on.  And this is adCenter – it just is… different!

    So, I have actually implemented this strategy in one of my accounts, and I do have to say – it works! 

  3. Pingback: How To Use adCenter’s Explicit and Implicit Bidding Strategy | PPC Marketing Advice

  4. Isela Torres

    If the keyword is only one word, “swimsuits” for example, why would we bid on phrase and broad? If we place a bid for broad, wouldn’t it be shown if a phrase with swimsuits? 

    1. Felicia CooverFelicia Coover

      Hi Isela!  Thanks for reading!  In my example, the keyword is actually racer back swimsuit and the ad group is swimsuits.  That is really neither here nor there…. but it’s a good rule of thumb to have all your match types in the ad group in order to cater to different search queries.  The reason you would want to use phrase is to hone in on specific users.  Broad keywords have a tendency to cost more in the long run as well. 

  5. Pingback: How I Manage a PPC Account With Overall Low Search Volume | PPC Marketing Advice

    1. Felicia CooverFelicia Coover

      I agree Alex!  Only time will tell what they come through with.  For now, simply download an excel spreadsheet from the editor, adjust accordingly and then upload back in.  You can also edit the entire campaign’s keyword bids in the editor if you are going to bid up by a certain percent.  It’s located in the bottom screen of the editor interface and says “Advanced Bidding” – Good luck!

  6. Bradley Zeller

    Why would you bid higher on Broad match keywords over phrase match. My experience has shown me that phrase match always performs better. Also, broad match keywords pick up less related traffic then phrase match keywords. 

    1. Felicia CooverFelicia Coover

      Hi Bradley!  Thanks for reading.  In Bing, broad match keywords are seen differently than they are in Google.  You have to keep this in mind for this bidding strategy to work!  Based on the Bing/Yahoo market place, they have determined that Broad match keywords carry more weight than Phrase and have therefore accounted for this in their algorithm. 

  7. Rob

    Thanks for answering the question of broad vs. phrase.  I had the same question when I first read the article.  In fact, at first, I just assumed it was a type!

    I have two related questions (and please keep in mind that I’m VERY new to PPC):

    1.  If you find that your exact match keyword is hitting it out of the park and you want to raise your bid, should you adjust your phrase and broad accordingly (and even if they are not performing nearly as well)? 

    2.  Assume you find a great keyword from the search query report that triggered your add from either the broad or phrase keyword and you want to add that keyword as an exact match.  Should you also ad that keyword as phrase/match with bids of 75/85% or are your existing phrase/match keywords sufficient?


    1. Felicia CooverFelicia Coover

      Hi Rob!  Thanks for reading and congratulations on taking the crazy road that is PPC! 🙂
      Here are the simple answers to your questions.  It is best to keep this structure in your bids for each match type.  If you change the exact match and don’t change broad or phrase, you are not bidding explicitly any longer.  You have changed the ratio of the bids.  If you have one or two of the match types that are not performing as well you do have the option of “pausing” them.  In adCenter, you cannot just pause one match type… so, I suggest “pausing” the keyword by lowering the bid to the minimum bid of $0.40 and letting your best keyword shine.  Just remember that when you want to “unpause” them, you reset the explicit bidding based on the match type that you were running!
      As for your second question, in order to have explicit bidding set up correctly in your account you really need all three match types.  Since you are basing your 75%/85% ratios off of the exact match you can just do the math a little backwards based on your phrase and broad matches and then you will have the new bid for the exact. 
      I hope that all of this makes sense!  Thanks for reading PPC Hero!

  8. Joshua

    Hey guys, I *thank* you all for teaching me/us a LOT about *PPC* traffic and most importantly: HOW to do it *right*!

    BTW, is it *better* to (1) create THREE *separate* adgroups for each match-type as shown in “2.” up above or (2) is it better to have the keywords with all three match types in the SAME ad group (at once) as shown in “1.” up above. If we chose option (2) over (1), would things still TEST the same way or would the results be *different* than if we chose to have the THREE *separate* adgroups for each match-type of a keyword phrase?THANKS!

  9. alistar

    I have 61 keywords and all on phrase but sometime we get many calls and sometimes we do not get even a single call for days. I never changed budget or any setting. On the other hand my competitor (friend) is having a good business everyday with same keywords.


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