When I first started down this 6-lane highway called Online Marketing over six years ago, we used an absolutely archaic bid management software whose name escapes me. I want to say it was a Yahoo! (or precursor to Yahoo!) product, and basically it automated our bids so they would go up and down based on search volume. It worked about 10% of the time and was always down or broken….we quit using it pretty quickly.

Fast forward to today – and remember the leaps and bounds PPC advertising has taken in just the last 12 months – take a look at Google  AdWord’s “Automated Rules” and prepare to be amazed. This is seriously a feature that can make a 1-woman-show look like a 3-person department, with minimal time, setup and investment.

Think about the implications, especially for small business owners and those with limited time to monitor social media, news, etc – but rely on those same mediums to drive buzz and traffic to their products or services.

Here’s the scenario that comes to mind.

You sell Charlie Sheen T-shirts, but you never know when some diatribe or craziness is going to hit the news, and you don’t want to sit with your finger on the AdWords bid trigger waiting for it. While you don’t necessarily want to bid yourself into top or even first page position if he’s not “in the news” you absolutely do want to be there when he is.

Now, you can automate the whole thing. Set your keywords and daily budgets to increase based on the number of impressions those keywords receive, or the conversion rate of your keywords. On a non-buzz day, those keywords may average 20-30 impressions a day, but on a buzz day, the impressions could skyrocket to 1,000 impressions an hour.

Set your automated bid manager to increase your daily budget and your CPC bid for only Charlie Sheen T-shirt keywords when the impressions go over 100. You can also set specific ad text to show when impressions go over 500 or 1,000 – or whatever number shows a spike in activity for those keyword phrases.

To check out what options you have for automating bids, take a look at each Keyword, Ad Group, or Ad tab, select an AdGroup, Ad, or Keyword(s) and click “Automate”.

Here you can choose the type of bid or visibility automation you’d like to enable, or manage rules you’ve already set up. When you’re first starting down the path, I recommend keeping your first tries pretty simple. Don’t set up complicated rules that might backfire and have you spending hundreds or thousands of dollars as you sleep.

I love the fact that Google will email you whenever an automated function is enacted – helping you keep track of when a higher or lower spending automation will begin or end. This means better accountability to your budget and a “heads-up” that something is happening with your important keyword phrases.

Some other scenarios where Bid Management can be a big time saver:

  • Automate your bids to reduce or turn your ads off during hours when you’re not staffed to meet phone demand.
  • If you have times of day where everyone is shopping but nobody is converting you can reduce your spend to reduce your expenses during low-conversion times.  Note: this isn’t necessarily recommended, I’d rather you figure out why they aren’t buying and convince them they should.
  • If you run advertising on radio or TV, or schedule an email blast – boost your AdWords visibility during and right after the ads have run or the blast has sent. You can even schedule specific ad text to run that corresponds with your ads.
  • If people are really buying, set your bids to increase when your conversion rate for a keyword, adgroup or specific ad move above a certain number. You can set a variety of metrics with bid management that help you maximize the times people book without having to personally pull the trigger every time.

As with all marketing tactics, take the time to research and think about what you’re doing. Don’t take the AdWords recommendations as gospel, because what they recommend might not work for your business, budget, niche and time investment.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | How To | How To: PPC | Intermediate | Search Marketing Toolbox

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About The Author: is the co-founder of Ignitor Digital, along with long-time colleague Mary Bowling. At Ignitor, Carrie tackles tough technical SEO roadblocks many small business owners don't even know they have. Her experience with analytics and troubleshooting helps her get to the root of issues. When not working, Carrie loves to cook for friends and family, hang out with her pretty awesome kids, and read books that have little-to-no educational value! You can also follow Carrie on twitter, @carriehill.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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