Mastering PPC: Advanced Bidding

As a follow up to last weeks post, Mastering PPC: Bidding Options, here you will find some advanced bidding options and strategies.

In case you didn’t turn on your TV or go on the internet this week, there was indeed an *NSYNC reunion on Sunday night (Yipee!) and the guys were so excited to learn about Advanced bidding they just couldn’t stop talking about their options!

Ok, I may have made up the conversation that they had but I had fun using PicMonkey and if they did talk about it I feel confident this is how it would have went down.

NSYNC Loves To Adjust Bids

If you haven’t seen the reunion, I highly recommend that you watch it.

AdWords Bid Adjustment Options

With enhanced campaigns came a few nifty bidding adjustment options. You can make bid adjustments based on Locations, Ad Schedule (time of day and/or day of week) and Devices (Mobile). The adjustments can be made in the Settings tab at the campaign level. The bid adjustments are made by setting “Bid multipliers”, which basically just means that you adjust the bids by a percentage, either positive or negative. The engines will then take your keyword or ad group bid and multiply it by whatever adjustments you set. You can use more than one bidding adjustment option.



Locations (Campaign Level) 

Previously, to adjust your bids by locations/geotargeting you had to create a new campaign targeted to the areas you want to make adjustments to. But with enhanced campaigns you can keep all of your Geos in the same campaign and adjust accordingly.

You will want to adjust your bids by location based on performance. To look at performance you can pull a Geographic Report from the Dimensions tab and determine what you want your strategy to be. You may want to increase your bids in locations that either performs really well and you want your ads to be more visible or if your ads are doing ok but the avg. position is low and you want to increase your positioning. You may want to lower your bids if your cost is high and the ads are not performing. You can also base your adjustments on areas that you want more or less visibility.

You still have the option to do it the old fashioned way if you prefer and break out your campaigns by location and adjust your bids that way using the same strategies noted above.  This is a good option if you have different budgets, keywords or ad copy for a specific location.


Ad Schedule (Campaign Level)

There may be periods in the day where you don’t want users to see your ads, or a day of the week that you want to make sure you are showing in the top of the SERPs. This is where custom ad scheduling comes into play. With the ad schedule you can adjust what days and times your ads show. If you don’t want to run on the weekends, you can select to run only Monday-Fridays). If you are limited on budget and only want to have your ads show during certain hours you can schedule to only run during those times. You can also get more specific and target by day and time if necessary. The bid adjustments can be made using the same strategies.


We also recommend looking and your Day of Week and Time Of Day reports in the dimension tabs when determining what adjustments to make (if you are already running your campaigns)

Note: For hourly adjustments make sure to check the time zone that is set to your account. You can also set up to 6 hourly adjustments per day.


Device (Campaign and Ad Group Level)

So for anyone that has been living under a rock, Google has “upgraded” all accounts to Enhanced Campaigns. With this “upgrade” Desktops and Tablets are now bundled together as one and you are no longer able to target tablets differently, nor exclude tablets from any targeting. But we still have the option to make bid adjustments for mobile, and essentially exclude your campaigns from targeting mobile devices.

If you want to exclude mobile from your campaign completely then you should set your mobile bid to -100%.

One of our clients has keywords that historically worked really well on mobile and not so well on desktop. So when we had to switch over to enhanced we decided to try and keep these keywords just on mobile. We decided to set the keyword bids low (so that on desktops/tablets they either won’t show or will be in really low positions with cheap CPCs) and increase the mobile bids by 300% (the max increase is 300%). In order to come up with what we would set the CPCs as we used the following formula:

Old Mobile CPC / 300 (or whatever % you want to use for your bid multiplier) = New Desktop CPC

Things to keep in mind

One thing you want to make sure that you keep in mind when making bid adjustments is that they all work together, so if you increase your bids in a certain geo and also Monday-Friday, AdWords will take into account both increases.

Flexible Bid Strategies

Flexible Bid Strategies allow you to create different bid adjustment strategies based on performance. You can then apply these strategies to any relevant campaigns, ad groups or keywords. With these strategies AdWords will automatically make adjustments to your campaigns based on which you select.

Utilizing flexible bid strategies is a good idea if you have very specific goals that you need to hit and are fine with not having full control over your bidding.

Please keep in mind that AdWords will make these changes automatically and you will not be able to adjust the bids manually. You are also not able to use flexible bid strategies for campaigns that are running a campaign experiment.

Here are the current strategies that are available:


Flexible bid strategies can be found in your Shared Library



Bing Ads Bid Adjustment Options

Day and Time

Similar to AdWords, you have the option to change your bids based on the day of the week and the time of the day. The two main differences here is that in Bing Ads there are hourly grouping, so you do not have the ability to change bids for 1 hour, for example. You also do not have the option to bid down.



You also have the ability to adjust bids based on Gender as well as age groups. These are great options if you have a target audience that you want to be more aggressive with, while still showing for the other demographic options.


When should I make bid adjustments?

  • If your campaigns aren’t hitting your goals (All)
  • If you are exceeding or not reaching your budgets (All)
  • If your business presence is more prevalent in a certain area or at a certain time (Location, Ad Scheduling)
  • If your website or business strategy is not aligned for mobile. (Device)
  • If you want to maximize mobile visibility and limit Desktop/Tablet visibility. (Device)
  • If you know your mobile CPCs are lower than that desktop/tablet CPCs (Device)
  • If you have a target demographic by age or gender  (Device)


Do you have any bidding strategies that you use and find helpful?


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