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PPC Tiered Bidding by Keyword Match Type

PPC Tiered Bidding

While Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising enables you to grow your customer base, selecting an appropriate bidding strategy can be the difference between receiving a positive or negative return on investment. Whether beginning to use PPC altogether, or creating new campaigns and ad groups, you need to optimize your bidding strategy with tiered bidding.  Understanding how Exact match, Broad match, and everything in between performs is crucial to creating a tiered bidding strategy.

Valuing The Different Match Types

You should think about the different match types by how much control they give you vs. how much control they give Google, and what value this has.

Exact match gives you the most control, as your ad will only show when someone’s search term matches your exact keyword. This has inherent value in PPC because you know exactly what searches are being matched to your keyword, and have the ability to craft ad copy, landing pages, etc, that are more relevant to the search and more likely to convert. 

Broad match, on the other hand, gives Google the authority to choose which searches should match to your keywords. Now, Google has created a fine product and search engine, but they are just as happy to charge you for a click from an irrelevant search as they are from a relevant search. With broad match, you are guaranteed to draw more of these irrelevant searches.

Because of this, it is best practice to bid more on the keywords that are more relevant and give you more control. When managed properly, this control results in higher CTR and Conversion Rates.  We’ve talked about these match types in previous posts, and will again in the future. For now, let’s dive into how to set up tiered bidding.

An example of performance by match type from a live account:

Click through rate vs conversion rate

An Example of Tiered Bidding Strategy

  • Exact Match ($10) – The most relevant match type should be your highest bid. These keywords match search queries exactly, tend have a higher ROI/lower CPA than other match types, and yield the highest quality score.
  • Phrase Match ($9) – Phrase match bids will be the second highest bid, and are the second most relevant keyword match type (get the theme here?).
  • Modified Broad Match ($8) – Modified Broad match bids should be even lower than Exact or Phrase match. You lose more control over the search queries that your keyword is matching to.  With that, the relevancy of your ads, landing pages, etc. to the search query suffers. This is still an important match type, especially for finding new keyword variations to break out in an account, but tends to perform worse than more relevant match types.
  • Broad Match (Don’t use it) – This match type puts Google behind the wheel, and gives you little control over what searches you match to.  Broad match is an easy way to waste lots of spend, with little result. With this in mind, we advocate not using pure Broad match keywords, and if you are going to use them, they should be monitored very closely.

Tiered bidding strategies are a key factor in managing and optimizing any PPC account.  At the highest level, these strategies give more control over an account.  Increased control on performance based bid adjustments at the keyword level, increased control on funneling searches to the appropriate keyword, and this control can even result in an increase in quality score over time.

Let us know if this post has helped you, and what your experience has been with tiered bidding strategies.

Happy Bidding!


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Matt Walde
Post by Matt Walde
April 23, 2015

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