Evaluate and optimize your bids
Once your ads have been running for a while, it’s time to see how they're doing. If your goal is to drive sales and website traffic, ask yourself these questions:
- What keywords lead to the most clicks on your ads?
- What locations and devices are your customers searching from?
- What are the peak days and times for business sales?
To answer these questions, look at the reports in your account. Learn more About account, campaign, and ad group performance.
Evaluate your costs and revenue
To help gauge a campaign’s performance, you may want to see how often people who see your ad actually click it. To do this, try sorting your keywords by clickthrough rate (CTR) to see which keywords got you a lot of impressions, but few clicks. If your goal is to generate sales, you might want to Edit your bids on these keywords.
To understand whether clicks are leading to actual sales, we recommend setting up conversion tracking for your account. This free tool shows you what happens after people click your ad, whether they purchased your product or signed up for your newsletter. With this information, you can calculate your actual return on investment (ROI).
- Don't have the time to evaluate your bids? Let Google do the work for you. With Maximize Clicks, you set a daily budget, and we'll help adjust your cost-per-click bids to receive the most possible clicks within your budget. Or if you have specific goals in mind, try automated bid strategy to have AdWords adjust bids based on your goals.
Adjust your bids to increase your return on investment
Once you’ve identified which keywords, locations, times, and devices are getting good results, you can adjust your bids accordingly.
Here are a few situations where you might change your bids:
- Low average cost-per-click (CPC) with high conversion rate: For instance, if a keyword has a low average CPC but each click converts well, you may try increasing its max. CPC bid. This could improve the ad’s average position for that keyword, giving your ads more exposure and potentially increasing your ROI.
- High average CPC with low conversion rate: If a keyword has a high average CPC but clicks seldom result in conversions, you may try reducing its max. CPC bid. A lower max. CPC bid is likely to decrease your ad’s average position for that keyword, the number of impressions and clicks it receives, and, as a result, its cost. This strategy could improve your ROI on low-performing keywords and free up part of your budget to invest in more valuable keywords.
- Low traffic during certain hours: Consider increasing your bids in locations where your performance is stronger. Or if you tend to see less foot traffic to your store during certain hours, you could increase bids for that time period and run ads with promotional offers to drive more people to your business.
A couple things to keep in mind when thinking about bidding changes:
- Change your bids in small increments: Then look for changes to the clicks and conversions of your keywords before editing again. Internet traffic is always changing, so it's important to re-evaluate your bids regularly.
- Improve your Quality score: It's possible to improve your ad's position without increasing costs. The higher the Quality Score for your keyword, the less you pay for a given ad position, and vice versa.
Tools to help optimize your bids
Besides automated bidding strategies, Google offers several other tools to help guide you in choosing a bid that will work for your goals.
After your campaigns run for a few weeks, our tools will have enough information to give you more personalized recommendations:
- Bid Simulator: Get answers to "what-if" scenarios, such as "How many more impressions would I get if I raised my bid by $0.10?". This tool can help you tweak your bids to just the right level for you. Learn more about the Bid Simulator.
- First-page bid estimates: See how much you'd likely need to bid to get your ads at the top, or within the first page of Google search results.
- Recommendations page: Visit this area of your account to see recommendations to improve your CPC bids, which can help you get more traffic, improve your Ad Rank, or improve your performance.