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Launching a new search advertising campaign requires a lot of research and planning. How do you know what to bid? How much traffic should you expect from a specific keyword? Bing Ads has tools to help you strategize appropriate bids, estimate the change a bid estimate would make on your campaign’s traffic, and understand your actual cost.

After reading this training, you will understand how to:

  • Develop your CPC strategy using one of two contemporary ad bidding strategies.
  • Take advantage of Keyword Planner tool.
  • Analyze your traffic estimates.

Creating Bids

The heart of online advertising is matching relevant ads with potential customers. Bids are just one of several factors that affect your ad’s position. Along with bids, keyword relevance and quality score are critical variables that determine ad rank. However, fully understanding PPC bidding is important because it’s possible to overpay for performance when trying to display your ad in the mainline (A) and sidebar (B) locations.

When creating your bids, keep in mind:

  • Your keyword bid is the maximum price you are willing to pay each time your ad is clicked. Your actual cost may be much lower.
  • Your budget affects the number of times your ad can be clicked in a given day or month.
  • Keyword bids are not static. It’s good practice to constantly review and adjust your keyword bids based on actual results as well as estimated results.

Keyword Planner

You can use Keyword Planner to get traffic estimates for your keywords. Keyword Planner helps you monitor Clicks, Impressions, Spend, CTR, CPC, and Average position.

To get data on keyword searches, click Get search volume data and trends from the Keyword Planner. For performance and cost estimates on keywords, click Get performance and cost estimates.

When you view search volume for specific keywords, a table containing historical statistics will display. This data is based on the Targeting and Date range you select from the sidebar to the left.

Here you will learn about search volume statistics, such as Average monthly searches, Competition, Suggested bid, and Ad impression share.

Learn more about breakdown by device and location.

Bid landscape

Bid landscape helps estimate the affect a bid change will have on your campaign. Bid landscape provides a range of bids for a keyword, along with the estimated impressions and clicks those bids might bring for that keyword. If you see a bid that gives the performance you’re looking for, you can then change your bid within Bid landscape.

Bid landscape is only available if there is sufficient impression and click data for your keywords. If there is data available, a small graph will appear next to each of your bids on the Keywords or Ad groups tabs. To view the Bid landscape estimates:

On the Keywords or Ad groups tab, click on the graph icon next to the current bid you want to review. To change your bid, select an option from the Bid column or enter an amount in Other bid and click Save.

At the ad group level, you can choose to change all of your keyword bids or you can update only your ad group bid and leave your individual keyword bids unchanged.

CPC Bid Strategy

You can optimize your campaign two different ways, with respect to your budget limit:

Manual CPC (cost per click): You set your ad group and keyword bids, and Bing Ads uses these bids every time. This is every campaign's default bid strategy.

Enhanced CPC (cost per click): You set your ad group and keyword bids, and Bing Ads automatically adjusts your bids in real time to increase your chances for a conversion. Your bid will go up to 30% higher on searches that are more likely to convert and up to 100% lower on searches less likely to convert. (This change will be applied after you set your bid adjustments.)

Note: You must have conversion tracking set up for Enhanced CPC to work. Also, it is not currently supported for Bing Shopping Campaigns.

To switch the default Manual CPC strategy to Enhanced CPC, click Settings tab from the Campaign page. Under Bid strategy, choose Enhanced CPC: Adjust my bid to get more conversions.
 

This ad bidding strategy will apply to your entire campaign; but, you can set an individual ad group’s or keyword’s bid strategy to Manual CPC at any time.

For example, if you want full control for some individual bids, you can override a campaign's bid strategy for any ad group or keyword. As before, this can be done from the Campaigns page. Click either the Ad Groups tab or the Keywords tab. Select the checkbox next to appropriate ad group or keyword. Under Bid strategy, choose Use my bid.

The Bid strategy type column in the table in the Ad Groups or Keywords tab shows you which ad bidding strategy is being used. In the Search bid column (Ad Groups tab) or Bid column (Keywords tab), you'll see (enhanced) after the bid value if you're using Enhanced CPC.

Actual Cost

The bid amount is deducted from your campaign budget each time your ad is clicked. The actual cost for each keyword or placement varies depending on the following:

Your bid on a keyword or placement. Your keyword or placement bid is the maximum amount you can be charged when your ad is clicked. Learn more about PPC bidding in Set your campaign budget and bid amounts.

Incremental bids to target customers by time of day, gender, or other targeting criteria. When one or more of your target criteria is met and your ad is clicked, you also pay the amount of your corresponding incremental bids. Thus incremental bids can increase the cost of your default and custom bids. Learn about targeting and incremental bids in How to target my customers by adjusting my bids.

Inline opportunities

You can view estimated bid suggestions and how to adjust those bids to meet your performance goals seamlessly in your keywords grid. You can also get additional keyword delivery status insights for effective optimization.

Inline opportunities is a feature in the Bing Ads Web UI that estimates how much you would have to bid for your ad to show up on the front page, mainline and best position.

In your Campaigns page, click the Keywords tab, and then the Columns icon on the right side of the tool bar to customize the insights you want to see in your keywords grid. From here, use the Modify columns link and add these three bid estimation columns (Est. first page bid, Est. mainline bid, and Est. best position bid) and click “Apply.” By clicking the Save this set of columns checkbox, you can rename and save this view including inline opportunities for easy access in the future.

The estimated bids to reach first page, mainline and best position for each of your keywords will then be located directly in your keywords grid. Here you can see how to update your bid for your position goal. Also, for example, if you find a “below first page bid” alert under the Delivery column, simply scroll over to see what you should bid for the first page.*

* You may see your current bid lower than the first page bid suggestion even though your current average position is well above first page (even on best position).
 

The key is that for a first page bid suggestion, we take into consideration a reasonable amount of impressions you can get aside from the average position. You may get a good average position with a very low bid on a small fraction of impressions. This could be due to a couple of reasons:

  • This is a brand term that gets you into a high position as long as you have the chance to show.
  • You win less competitive impressions at a good position (e.g., midnight) but fall out on all the other more competitive impressions with the low bid. In calculating the average position, only the impressed auctions are taken into account resulting in a good average position.

Since we consider a reasonable amount of impressions to determine a bid suggestion, the bid suggestion can be higher than your current bid setting. Therefore, even if your current bid may be winning a small amount of traffic on a good position there may still be an opportunity to gain more traffic.

Not only can you see the estimated bid suggestions for a particular keyword right there in your grid, but you can learn how to best to change the bid by clicking the icon under your Current bid value to instantly view its bid landscape as well.

It’s important to remember that estimation is based on all auction data from the previous seven days. For example, if your keyword bid is $0.50 U.S. dollars, estimation shows you how your $0.50 U.S. dollar bid would have performed based on data from the last seven days. For comparison purposes, if you change your bid to $1 U.S. dollar, you’ll see what your results would have been with a $1 U.S. dollar bid. Although the estimation does not predict future performance of bids, looking at hypothetical bids in relation to real data can give you valuable insight into trends and probable results.

Traffic status by location

You can use the Geographic report to find out how your ads are doing in different locations, which can help you decide where to focus more of your advertising efforts. With the “Location type” and “Most specific location” columns, you can view which location type – “Physical location” or “Location of interest” – that was used to serve your ads.

Read more about how to read the report and understand the data.

To create a Geographic report, click Reports. If not already expanded, click Standard reports. Click Targeting, and then click Geographic. Select the unit of time (Show (unit of time)), Date range, and the download Format you want.

Optionally, you can do one or more of the following:

  • Set your report to include all accounts (the default) or select Specific accounts, campaigns, and ad groups and then choose the items you want.
  • Click Choose your columns to select or remove attributes and performance statistics for the report.
  • Click Filter to display specific types of data in your report.
  • Click My report settings to save the report as a custom report or schedule the report to run at a certain time.

Click Run to run the report, or Download to download the report as a CSV or TSV file.

Note: You can also create a Geographical location report from the Dimensions tab. On the Campaigns pages, click the Dimensions tab, and then next to Show, click Geographical location.

Understanding your traffic estimates

After using the PPC estimator, and seeing the estimates related to keyword performances and cost, you might wonder why you are seeing certain figures. Here are some reasons that can impact how your traffic estimates display.

  • Limited by budget: You may sometimes see a shaded area in the graph. This means that our system estimates that our PPC traffic estimator evaluated your budget and indicated that it is too low to accommodate all the clicks and impressions available for your keywords for the shaded bids. You may also see the line in the graph curving down. This means that the estimated number of clicks your keywords might get are decreasing as your bid increases.

To get more clicks and impressions, try adjusting your PPC bidding strategy and increasing your daily budget. By increasing your budget, your ads may get more clicks and impressions. You can also try to lower bid, as it might reduce the average amount you pay when your ad gets clicked and help your budget go further to get more clicks.

  • Estimates are not available in the tables: If you haven’t entered a bid and daily budget (optional), you will see dashes “-“ in the table. Enter Bid amount and Daily budget (optional) above the graph and click Get estimates to view the weekly estimates.

If you see a dash “-“ instead of a number in the Avg. Position column, our PPC traffic estimator determined that your ad will likely not get any impressions. Historical ad performance for your ad and other ads using similar keywords are used to calculate the average position. Usually, you’ll see a dash when different factors like your bid or click-through rates aren’t sufficient to earn an ad position. Try to adjust your PPC bidding strategy and increase your bid amount to get an average position estimate.

Summary

As an advertiser, you want your ad to display at or near the top of the search results page. Optimal keyword bids are critical for achieving a high rank while not overpaying. Bing Ads provides tools that allow you to analyze estimated results, develop a CPC strategy and apply informed keyword bids. As you work with your bidding strategy, remember these key points:

  • Use the bid and traffic estimation tools to help you place optimal bids.
  • Monitor and adjust your campaigns as needed.
  • Adjust bids using bid landscape.

Thanks for reading this training on bidding and traffic estimation. Continue your training or take the Bing Ads Accredited Professional exam to become accredited.

Please note all features in this training may not be available in your market.