Thoughts On Intraday PPC Bid Management

Oct. 22

How often do you update your PPC bids on Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and your 2nd tier search engines? Monthly, weekly, or daily? How about intraday? Today’s post covers some of my high level thoughts on intraday PPC bid management. If you’re already bidding intraday or if you’re thinking about it, I hope this post helps provide a framework and some points to think through in crafting your advanced bid strategy.

Why Consider Intraday Bidding?

Intraday Bidding

Before you even start biding intraday, I recommend determining precisely why you want to bid intraday. Of course it’s super cool to say your bids are getting updated all day, every single day. However, above and beyond the coolness factor, what is your true driving force behind your intraday strategy? I can think of a few great reasons why you would want to bid intraday:

  • You sell a product that has diminishing supply over time. If you have no more widgets to sell, you definitely want to lower your bids (or even turn off certain keywords).
  • Your business experiences very strong intraday seasonality. A good example is a business that does a ton of sales via phone. If your call center is not running 24/7, you will most likely want to adjust bids down when your call center is closed.
  • You’re in a super competitive market and drive a massive volume of clicks. You have so much data that the predicted value of each keyword actually changes during the course of the day.

Intraday Bidding On A Keyword Level Requires Lots of Data

There are two really popular intraday bidding models. The first involves blanket level bid adjustments across all keywords. We’ll get into some of those tactics later. The second involves getting super granular and making keyword-by-keyword bid adjustments on an intraday level. This tactic makes a lot of sense when you do a huge volume and it involves an enormous amount of data. Why? Bidding decisions need to be based on statistically significant data. If you make bid adjustments based on limited, non-statistical data, you’re setting yourself up for poor bidding decisions. If you’re making intraday bid adjustments on a keyword-by-keyword level, make sure you have tons of data.

Also, consider bucketing your keywords. Perhaps you only adjust bids intraday on your highest volume keywords, while the other keywords fall into your daily or even weekly buckets. As a bonus tip: Consider layering both strategies mentioned here. Make keyword level adjustments where you have tons of data and layer on account level strategies to all keywords.

Consider Advanced Dayparting For A Higher Level Approach

Let’s say you have account-wide intraday trends that you want to capitalize on. Perhaps your conversion rates tank when your call center is closed? I highly recommend taking advantage of advanced dayparting as a simple strategy to adjust bids up (as a function of the base) depending on time of day. The important caveat here is to make sure the data you’re looking at is the same time zone as your search engine account. Another tip: Make sure the conversion data you’re looking at is not lagged. You want to tie the conversions back to when they started for this exercise.

Take Latency In Search Engine APIs Into Account

Intraday strategies can become quite complex. Let’s say you’re looking at keyword level data and are trying to forecast keyword level conversion rates or even keyword level margin. Such calculations require click and cost data from the search engines. However, APIs can be delayed. If you’re making intraday decisions, make sure you are looking at the right click and cost data. Build safety checks into your algorithm in case the data becomes delayed.

Integrate SEM Bidding Into Your Back Office Systems

If you’re selling products that sell out, you can take your intraday bid management to the next level by looping it into your back office inventory systems. Just imagine: Inventory is getting low and you communicate this information to your bidding platform. Then, you bid down accordingly (or even pause certain keywords). You definitely do not want to pay for traffic to a product that you cannot sell. This framework works for both physical products and also digital products (such as leads). For example: You sell leads and your clients have daily caps in place.

SEM Automation Platforms and Intraday Bidding

As a closing thought, the right SEM automation platform can make a tremendous impact on your intraday bidding strategy. If you’re serious about intraday bidding and it’s a critical part of your overall strategy, make sure to ask the search platforms all about it. InsideVault, for example, takes intraday bidding quite seriously and can educate you all about the topic and how their platform optimizes intraday bids. I’m the biggest fan of SEM automation around and it becomes super important when you get to this fine level of optimization.

Image of bid button © iStockPhoto – head-off


  1. These are really impressive tips and bidding is really an important aspect and should be done with perfection.

  2. Roman says:

    Campanja is a technology company that does intraday bidding. They have found that intraday bidding improves efficency by lowering CPAs and costs.

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