Keyword Bidding, Blindfold Optional

A Search Marketer’s Twitter stream is a bit like a bowl of alphabet soup; chock full of acronyms like CTR, ROI, CPM, CPA and of course PPC and CPC. These acronyms run the gamut of paid advertising, and, rightfully so, are on the lips of every search marketing “expert”.  A topic we  feel rarely receives the attention is merits is the blind bidding processes employed by the majority of  search networks. Blind bidding is sort of like driving with your eyes closed. It is never recommended and, no matter how well you know the route, the results can be disastrous.

For budget conscious marketers and/or advertising newbies, blind bidding presents a serious hurdle in the quest towards profitable campaign management.  If someone opened a restaurant and presented you with a menu that read “Pricing to be determined. Let us know the maximum you would be willing to pay for this meal, and we will decide your price based on how qualified you are to eat here, as well as other factors which we won’t share”, how likely would you be to purchase a meal?  Yet, millions (billions?) of  advertising dollars are funneled into paid search yearly with a bidding system that mirrors this model exactly.  Advertisers looking for complete control over their campaigns would be best served considering a search engine that employs a transparent bidding process.

Transparent bidding allow you to:

  • Know exactly what your competition is bidding for your desired keywords.  This allows you to analyze your competitor’s bid strategy and react accordingly.
  • Bid for a position on the results page of a given keyword.  This adds an additional layer of optimization as you can test your offers for profitability at each position in order to find that PPC “sweet spot”.
  • Spend the appropriate amount for keyword traffic.  No more arbitrary bids based on unclear factors.
  • Say “Adios” to Quality Score and algorithmic influences.  You pay what you bid, and not a penny more!

Marketers deserve to know where their budget is going.  If you manage a lot of ad campaigns, upfront pricing  and having the ability to control where your clients appear is an account manager’s dream!  Some of  the top  smaller engines, like the 7search network provide their advertisers this additional level of budgetary control.

The current state of keyword bidding is a curious thing.  What benefits are there to the advertiser using a generalized bid range on Google ?  Could a switch to a transparent bid auction help or hurt a Bing or Yahoo?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below…