Manual bid management is bid management that you conduct on your own. To manually manage your PPC bids, you must keep up with what your competition is doing, track your conversions, test and monitor the performance of existing and new keywords, watch your PPC campaigns for fraud, and make changes to all campaigns when necessary. And if you happen to be running PPC campaigns with more than one PPC provider, you must do all that for every group of PPC ads you’re running. It’s a very time-consuming process.
That fact is enough to make some people opt for using automated bid management software or services. But even with automated bid management, there are a few strategies that you’ll need to manage on your own:
Don’t obsess over the number one slot.
It’s contradictory to what you would expect, but you don’t really need to be number one. Nor can you afford to be number one in most cases. The number one slots are usually snatched up by large companies that are using PPC to boost their sales. And they often have seemingly unlimited budgets to spend on their PPC efforts. That means if you’re fighting for the number one slot, you’re likely to spend so much on that spot that your PPC campaign will be pointless.
Another reason to avoid the number one slot is that most people don’t trust the first ad or search result on which they click. Many people will click through several ads before they make a purchase, provide information that generates a lead, sign up for a newsletter, or whatever else it is that you’re hoping to entice them to do. Having your ad or search result a little further down than number one—say number three or four—will result in great savings and will probably be just as effective, if not more so, than if you were paying for the number one slot.
Select keywords for the stages in the buying process that you’re targeting.
Manual bid management is often about choosing the right keywords. If you can define various steps in the purchase process then you can target each step in a different way, investing less in the research stage and more in the final purchasing stage. If you’re not selling products, there may still be stages in which you can invest, and determining which of those stages is most valuable to you will help you decide how to best spend your PPC budget.
Delete duplicate words from your keyword lists.
Many organizations have several different keyword lists for different departments or different stages. And often a keyword will apply on several of those lists. But you shouldn’t include a keyword on more than one list for your organization. If you do, you’ll be bidding against yourself for placement.
Set aside time each day to monitor your keywords and PPC campaigns.
Even if you’re using a bid management application or software, hands-on management will still be required. You’ll need to monitor and make decisions for the application or software. Usually an hour or two a day is enough.
Manual bid management isn’t nearly as effective or as realistic as having an automated bid management solution, unless you only have a few keywords to monitor. If you’re like most companies, though, you have dozens and even hundreds of keywords to stay on top of, and handling all of those keywords and PPC campaigns manually could be so time-consuming that it’s all you would ever do.