How to Bid Effectively on Google Ads


Choosing the bid rule that maximizes your KPI

With so many features and settings available in Google Ads, you may be tempted to just fiddle with stuff. Don’t! The efficient PPC minimalist will never do anything in an account without a clear reason.

Our job as specialists is to improve the quality of our ads and the relevancy of our audience and then set the right bids. There are many situations where an algorithm is a poor substitute for the instincts of an experienced professional, but optimizing bids is not one of them. That is one job that should be automated.

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By Kevin Frei at April 19, 2019

Ad Position Doesn’t Matter

In track, the starting positions are adjusted so that no lane is shorter or longer than any other.

So why pay a premium?

I can’t find the bit of nonsense I ran across in an article the other day, but there’s a sea of it online if you search for “ad position sweet spot.” Nonsense articles like this from Seer Interactive with nonsense paragraphs like this:

“Contrary to what you might have heard, optimizing average positions does not always mean gunning for the top spot. Optimal positions will greatly vary among clients, industries, goals and engines.”

Balderdash. Despite whatever evidence you think you’ve seen, there is no “optimal position.”

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By Kevin Frei at April 19, 2019

The More You Spend on Paid Ads, the Worse it Gets

Declining ROI is the mark of a successful ad campaign

Sometimes our digital marketing efforts fail. Despite our best efforts, we just can’t get a positive ROI. All too often when that happens I hear that same pernicious claim: it failed because the client wasn’t willing to spend enough money.

That is the kind of marketing myth that can only persist because most marketers actually believe it. You may even believe it yourself. If so, my goal is to convince you to never again tell a client they have to spend more money in order to see results.

But before exposing the lie, let me acknowledge the limited ways in which it can be true.

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By Kevin Frei at April 19, 2019

Sell the Search Terms Report

Show your client the qualified traffic you send to their website.

It’s far better than selling BS

In an ideal world, the marketing team can optimize the customer journey all the way from discovery to sale. In most cases outside of ecommerce, however, we can only get them partway there and must leave it to the client to close the sale.

Our product is therefore usually qualified leads in the form of phone calls, form fills, sign-ups, or foot traffic. But what if we don’t even control that?

Sometimes we are asked to send traffic to a client site with poor conversion value. If the website looks ugly or confusing and lacks a clear call to action, even the most qualified visitors will bounce.

We can’t be held accountable for sending traffic to a page that doesn’t convert any more than we can be held accountable for sending leads to a salesperson who doesn’t close.

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By Kevin Frei at April 18, 2019

How to Make a Quality Score Report (and Sell It!)

Using the Quality Score report in Google Ads to measure progress and show value

So you’re a PPC specialist trying to appease a skeptical client who sees little value in exotic metrics like CPC, CTR, and CVR. Worse still, they want you to drive traffic to a website with poor conversion value and no lead tracking. What can you offer to show your worth?

In another blog post I explained why you should provide your clients with a search terms report that proves you are sending highly relevant traffic to their website. But getting clients the right web traffic is only half of what we do as PPC specialists. The other half is getting that traffic at the lowest possible cost – and that’s something you can demonstrate with a Quality Score report.

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By Kevin Frei at April 18, 2019

Radical PPC Minimalism

A PPC campaign so small you can swallow it.

Making the case for bite-sized PPC campaigns

When I received my PPC training, there was a prevailing belief that bigger was better. We would make gigantic keyword lists divided into zillions of ad groups, all in an effort to be hyper-targeted, hyper-specific, and hyper-relevant. The more important the client, the bigger the campaign we built them.

There is a clear downside to bigness, which is that it spreads your search traffic thin across too many variables. You end up diluting the very data you must accumulate in order to optimize your campaign.

What about the upside? The bigger-is-better philosophy hinges on the belief that you will get a steeper discount on each click the more precisely your keyword and ad text match the query. The assumed mechanism for that discount is the auction-time ad quality (wrongly called “quality score”), something that is poorly understood even by most experts.

In this post I will demonstrate why that assumption is wrong, and why most campaigns should be much, much smaller.

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By Kevin Frei at April 18, 2019