The Opportunities Tab – The Good And Bad

By Kristina McLane | @Hanapin | Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

Can there be useful insights in the Opportunities tab? I, like many others out there, tend to believe that I am smarter than the Opportunities tab. The Opportunities tab wants to spend more of my money and values click volume. My general feeling is:


What does the Opportunities tab know about real paid search? Does it think about conversions or hitting monthly budget caps? Probably not.


However, I am approaching the Opportunities tab wrong. Rather than disregard it as an ignorant tool, the tab should be considered a paid search newbie. Think about it. Those who are first learning paid search, see with new eyes in comparison to those who have been in the industry for years. They ask the ‘why’ questions think about the basics.  Looking through the Opportunities tab can result in actionable recommendations that can be missed in day-to-day management.


So let’s ask the AdWords Opportunities tab in one of my accounts. Where do opportunities lie?


Using a first page bid will bring 200 more impressions for 1 keyword.


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I conduct weekly bid changes. If a keyword’s bid is below the first page bid estimate there is a reason. First page bids are not the way to conduct bid changes. They are only an estimate and are calculated from quality score and past competition. Bid changes should be based on performance metrics: cost-per-conversion, average position, etc. 


Create 14 new ad groups from existing keywords for more relevant ads.


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Account structure is always important. However I choose to structure my account, this recommendation is valid and will always be a good opportunity. 14 more relevant ad groups become more relevant ads, which will give better quality scores. I can directly benefit from this type of opportunity.


Set location bid adjustments and save $64.90.


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Geo-targeting can be a useful place to find savings as the Opportunity tab has pointed out. After clicking on the ‘view opportunities’ button, I am provided with the recommended bid adjustments for the suggested locations.


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Looking at the numbers above, it seems logical to consider lowering the adjustments. Before making any decisions, I would go into the dimensions tab and pull the numbers myself to be sure that I come to the same conclusion over a 90-day period. Also remember to review the data at the campaign level, especially if products vary within a single account.


If we look at Illinois directly, certain products perform very well in the Chicago area, while others do not. It makes sense to bid down Illinois in certain campaigns, while to leave it alone in others.


Optimize your ad rotation and get 129 conversions from 2 campaigns.


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I am ad testing. Proper ad testing is not possible if Google is optimizing ad rotation. The only time that this would be relevant is if you are not testing ads within the campaign.


Now, I think it’s time to get a little crazy! Let’s take a look at some of Bing’s suggestions for the same account:


Add broad match versions of 48 keywords and get 30,451 more impressions.


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Have you read Eric’s post about broad match in Bing? Modified broad match might be a good substitute, but adding 48 more keywords without review will not help my account. It could lead to an increase in click volume and drop in conversion rate.


Bing does not consider modified broad when suggesting broad match. One of their broad match versions of an exact keyword will sometimes already exist as a modified broad version within the account.


When I choose to ‘view opportunities’, Bing gives a list of potential search queries.  This opportunity needs the human touch. Skimming through the suggestions, I know the potential search queries for this particular keyword are irrelevant to the product and will not give me the increase in conversions that I need.


Add 500 new keywords to 52 ad groups and get 4,800 more clicks.

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This recommendation is common for both Bing and AdWords. Similar to adding 48 new broad match keywords, it is important to look through the keyword suggestions. When 500 keywords are divided by 52 ad groups, I am looking at adding roughly 10 keywords to each ad group. I will not be taking this action. Relevant ad groups are important and adding 10 new keywords will not help this theme.


I would treat these 500 keywords as initial keyword research.  From this list, new ad groups may be implemented or a few keywords can be added to preexisting ad groups. However, I will need to weed threw the suggestions to determine their worth.


Increase campaign budgets and get 644 clicks across 4 campaigns.


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This suggestion isn’t surprising. There is a reason that my campaigns are limited by daily budget and that is the monthly budget.




The Opportunities tab can provide a few actionable takeaways. Some can be immediately disregarded, while others take thoughtful consideration. The one thing that should never be done – agree to changes without taking the time to anticipate the results.