5 Adwords Bidding Strategy DESTROYERS To Avoid

In this article I’m not going to discuss any specific Adwords bidding strategy, herpes but tell you the 5 things you need to check before starting any bid strategy.

To be able to precisely manage your bids you need a minimum campaign structure and control over it.

Adwords Bidding Strategy Destroyer

The 5 Adwords Bidding Strategy Destroyers:

Solve any of this points before starting a bidding strategy.

  1. More than one ad group with competing keywords.
    Solution: Add every exact match keywords as a negative keyword in every ad groups that may have competing keywords. For this, you will also need to have a good campaigns structure, I recommend SKAG «single keyword ad groups» strategy (later I will explain in detail my own customized SKAG strategy).
  2. Same bids for different match types.
    Solution: Decrease a 10% of bid in this order: Exact match, Phrase match, Modified Broad Match, Broad Match (I would avoid Broad Match, but if you use it, .. decrease an extra of 20%).
  3. Don’t differentiate Mobile and Desktop bidding. If you just don’t take care of the statistics of each platform you may ruin your campaign when changing bids, Mobile and Desktop searches may have quite big differences in terms of competition and mobile usability, and therefore in the amount you have to bid to target each device.
    Solution (the easy one): segment by device to see diferences, and adjust bidding for mobile devices (+20%, or +30% …) then, if your bidding strategy if to target a ad position, you could just bid on the keyword and the mobile adjustment will do the rest.
  4. Small list of negative keywords.
    Solution (the fast/minimum one): check keyword search term report over the whole campaign, add the filter impressions>10 , and order by CTR ascending. In the first positions you will find many phrases with keywords that are used by people that are not your target customers. Add this keywords as negatives at campaign level (if they are totally irrelevant for all your campaigns). If you want (you should) a more fine tune, do check this report for each campaing and add at campaign level the keywords that are not relevant to each campaign.
  5. Have enhanced bidding activated. Ok… many adwords managers will tell you that enhanced bidding works quite fine, and I’m agree, but if you want to have an extreme bidding strategy control you will have to disable it and be under total control over your bids.

What may happen if you ignore my recommendations?

If you don’t have your structure under control you may loose control over your Adwords bidding strategy.

I will explain you with a simple example, if you have this Modified Broad Match keyword in this different ad groups

adgroup                    keywords                  bid        Average Position

elderly gps                  +elderly +gps                $2,4       2,5

[elderly gps]                  $2,5        2,1

[gps elderly]                   $2,5       1,7

elderly easy gps         +elderly +easy +gps     $2,4        1,5

[elderly easy gps]         $2,5        1,1

Then, after checking statistics you see that [easy gps for elderly] have a high quality score, and as a reward, your average position is 1,1 , so you decide to lower bid to decrease some positions (it’s just an Adwords bidding strategy). You then decrease from $2.5 to $2 the bid.

What could happen after this change?

well, you may get what you are looking for (decrease average position from 1,1 to 2), but maybe not, you may get this adverse result: +elderly +gps also have a good quality score, and because it has a higher bid, adwords will trigger the ads of this ad groupd instead of the one in the ad group of [easy gps for elderly] ,,, this will cause that

  1. your target customers will not be directed to your desired lading page, and
  2. your keywords statistics will get blurred with cross competition between them.

What could you do to solve this problem:

–> Add exact match keywords as negatives in every ad group that may have competing broad keywords.

Glossary / HOW TOs:

SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Groups) Adwords Account Structure: this refer to a structure where you only focus in one keyword per ad group. Each Ad group could focus on 3 word keywords. This allow to have very focused ads, high Quality Scores, and a great control over Adwords bidding strategies you want to execute. I will talk about my customized SKAG strategy in next posts, but in the mean time you could have a look at this article that explains the basics of SKAG: http://unbounce.com/ppc/doing-adwords-wrong-make-it-right/

Check keyword search term report:   …. I will continue writing in following days, stay tuned

Feel free to post your questions about setting up a succesful Adwords bidding strategy, I will try to reply as soon as I can.


  1. Ron55 says

    totally agree, adwords campaign structure is key to optimize and maximize the return. If you have a bad structure, every step you do forward, you are also going backwards in other variables. Only after restructuring a campaign of a customer you could execute a bid strategy with confidence.

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