adCenter’s Explicit and Implicit Bidding – A Swimming Success

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!

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