Without All the Bidding Data for Paid Search, It’s Just Intuition

July 22, 2016 Maile Johnson

Are intuition and guesswork among your SEM tools for paid search? Find out why data-driven ad solutions may be right for you.

If you work in paid search, are intuition, gut feelings, and hunches three of your most common tools? Whatever you call it, we rely on our intuition every day, for all kinds of decisions. 

Personally,  I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing inputs for all the little details in my life. For smaller decisions with fewer consequences, intuition is a great shortcut - but when considering ad solutions in your search engine marketing (SEM) journey, maybe your SEM tools have left you to rely on guesswork more than you might like. 

When it comes to paid search decisions that result in profit or loss, I like to rely on facts, and these come from having a comprehensive data set. That’s why, as a marketer, it’s important for me to have ad solutions that offer as many data points as possible to optimize bidding on keywords. 

An abundance of data 

There’s so much third-party data out there that can be used to optimize bidding for your ad solutions: ad slot, network, time, device, geography, day of the week, month, browser and more. Since Google collects demographic attributes with every click, the right SEM tools let you segment and optimize based on user behavior in combination with certain attributes. 

Here’s an easy example: consumers living in certain areas may be more willing to buy your specific luxury product than consumers in different areas. When you glean this kind of insight from the data, you can use campaign modifiers to target those segments with higher likelihood of conversion, in this case by geography, and adjust your keyword bidding to match the value of this segment to your business. 

Automation makes it possible 

If you’re lucky, you have a bidding management platform that can automate both the analysis and the bidding for paid search based on all the data available. For instance, if your sweet spot turns out to be a certain geographic area, with consumers using a certain device on a specific day of the week, sophisticated analysis and algorithms used by a predictive advertising management platform can segment and optimize bidding automatically to maximize your program performance. 

Compare that to first-generation SEM tools - bidding software that typically uses fewer data points to calculate bids. You can either try to implement advanced data science techniques manually, or you can just try going with your gut. Your intuition may be right, but will it be precise? Could it be wrong altogether? Either way, the lack of precision and smart automation slows you down and hurts your performance. 

Other reasons to switch 

Find out more about the differences between older platforms and newer platforms for your paid search  - and how next-generation platforms use granular data to optimize bidding in our white paper, “8 Reasons to Rethink Your Current Bid Management Software."

About the Author

Maile Johnson

Maile Johnson is QuanticMind's Director of Demand Generation. She joined the company after leading global demand gen at billing giant Zuora. A Bay Area native, Maile grew up surfing waves in Half Moon Bay. She earned her MBA while studying abroad in Australia and her bachelor's at UC Santa Barbara. Today, she uses her expertise to expand QuanticMind's ever-growing audience.

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