Bookending: Predict The Success Of Your Optimizations

By Amanda West-Bookwalter | @Amanda_WestBook | Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

It’s hard to see the forest for the trees when making account changes, sometimes. Meaning, when we get granular in our account changes, which we should, it’s often difficult to understand exactly how granular changes will affect the entirety of your account. The best way to remedy this is to utilize bookending. Bookending is a term we use at Hanapin to mean that you’ve did all the math/guesstimating that you can do when making account optimizations to figure out where those changes are going to bring you, and you’ve projected those changes to see where you’ll end up for the month.

In its most basic, data-driven form, bookending happens after bid changes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to bookending bid changes:

  1. Once you’ve downloaded all your keyword data, create a “% change” and “new max cpc” column next to the current “Max CPC” column in your spreadsheet.
  2. I don’t need to tell you how to make bid changes, especially because this changes for every account, manager, and goal, but put the change you’d like to make in the “% change” column. This could be 5%, -10%, 7.5%…whatever you want.
  3. Formulate the “new max cpc” like this: (old max cpc * %change) + old max cpc
  4. Create a “new cost” column, a “new revenue” column, a “new conversions” column, or whatever you’re trying to change in the account. Use the same formula for these, and sum everything at the bottom. The new as well as the old.
  5. Now, you’ve got your old totals and your new totals. You should be able to see pretty much what your bid changes will do, but to be sure–project! Divide your data by the number of days you pulled it for to get one days worth of data. Then, you can times that by 30 or 31 to see what next month could look like with these changes or times it by the number of days left in this month added to the data already available for the month to see where you could end this month.
  6. If your data reflects exactly what you want–great! Implement! If not, make some changes until you see what you want.

It’s also often difficult to understand if new keywords will or won’t help your account. Here’s some bookending you can do when adding new keywords to get an idea for where you’ll stand with them.

  1. Upload the keywords into the Google Traffic Estimator
  2. Now, you have the estimated monthly searches, estimated CPC, clicks, CTR, cost, and impressions. The conversion rate you’ll have to guesstimate based on either the account as a whole or the product you’re trying to sell.
  3. Spend / CPC * Conversion Rate = Leads. From here you could figure cost/conversion or even ROAS if you know the average revenue from each conversion for the product you’re adding keywords for.
  4. Project all this like we did for the bookending stuff.
When you’re bidding up on keywords that were bid off the front page, the same basic principle applies as new keywords, except you may already have some click, CPC, etc. data. But no conversion data.
  1. For whatever data you do have, you could calculate the % of increase in bid, etc. just like normal bookending, but for the new conversion data, use the formula: Spend / CPC * Conversion Rate = Leads. Again, you’ll have to guesstimate the conversion rate.
So, basically, when you’re changing bids or putting in new keywords, you should be able to, the best that you CAN, guesstimate at what it’ll do to your account. This is most data driven and helpful when it’s bid changes for keywords with conversion data, but otherwise is at least a good indicator of whether or not your theory for what you’re doing is justified!