Bid Optimization Tools & Tips For Paid Search Ads

When evaluating your bidding strategy, agency performance, or just trying to undestand how to get more from your paid search campaign management, it’s important to realize that there are a lot of bidding options to help you achieve your goals of increasing both revenue and profitability.

Your choice of options is not limited to paying a percentage of spend to use a sophisticated bid tool.  And while Google Adwords offers free bid optimiztion settings in the platform, you may not want to be restricted to letting the publisher make bid decisions for you in the bid auction; moreover, what about options in the other publishers?  Do you use a hybrid approach to utilize free tools in Adwors while covering BingAds with a 3rd party tool?

Best Bid Tools For Managing Adwords, BingAds & Yahoo Search

Whether you are a beggining online marketer or a seasoned performance marketing guru who dreams of attribution tracking at all levels and user touch-points, there are a lot of advantages to consider when evaluating the perfect bid platform and strategy.  Here are a few top choices to consider when looking at evaluating something for your firm:

Google Adwords Bid Strategy

What’s better than a free bid tool?  A bid tool that’s free and actually works to reduce your wasted spend while increasing revenue with reduced CPA and increased ROAS.  Adwords, much like all of the major bid platforms, offers the basic bid strategy settings from position targeting to revenue based goal setting.  Of course enhanced conversion settings can work well with their CPA targeting goals, since Google has a little insight into the users history and can detect wether or not to flexibly change bids based on user data, but performace can depend on each advertisers situaion.

Some advantages of using google bidding include the amount of money you save from using an enterprise solution where you’ll pay a hefty price to get access to powerful statstical algorithms that Adwords can tackle at some levels.  You may consider using Conversion Optimizer for some of  your campaigns while using a bid tool for others.  Either way you should have a mehod of tracking performance to know which situations provide the highest ROI from your efforts.

Disadvantages of using Google bidding can be the inability to cap cpc amounts.  Historical tests on campaigns have shown Google increasing cpc’s up to 100% over the typical average for some core keywords, and the outcome was a worse CPA over a 3 month period than that produced by the bid tool.  These performance metrics have shown mixed results and in some cases we’ve actually seen Google conversion optimizer outperform the bid tools.  So it’s always good to continually monitor and test whenever possible.

If you are concerned about attribution settings then  know that with Google’s first click conversion setting you can now focus your optimized targets on more non-brand performance, which is great for multi-keyword touch conversion paths.  Don’t expect a lot of controll however if you want to use multiple KPI conversion types in the bid targets.

Marin Software For Search & More

Over the years Marin has grown from a coveatous bid optimization tool, with amazingly high spend requirements to get in on the performance action, to a convenient sollution for most any paid search, social or display ad budget.  Their ability to manage across mutliple publishers, accounts and virtical has provided their clients with a scalable tool for managing accounts, bidding and reporting.  Performance marketer settings allow for attribution weighing, off-line conversion uploads, and amazing results for ROAS, CPA, Position Bidding and many more target options.

Advantages of using this kind of bid tool is that you can bid accross all of your paid search platforms, make universal ad changes to similar groups across publishers, and you can help controll publisher costs with hybrid bid settings that can target performance with flexible bid caps to help keep cpc’s at a static level.  Marin’s support is fantastic, boasting a lot of tech saavy representatives they have shown over and over their strength to implement complex integrations and publisher changes.

If the power of powerfully optimizing your paid campaigns isn’t enough, you can also leverage their great ability to optimize your paid social efforts; moreover, you can leverage 3rd party data to scale display campaigns while tracking all of your CPC and CPM efforts within the same environment.  Great for businesses looking to comfortably manage a lot of activity or for agencies looking to report across hundreds or thousands of accounts.


This robust and flexible bid tool has remained somewhat quietly one of the best kept secrets of some of the most sophisticated search marketers in the industry.  Searchforce’s bidding capabilities range from multi-faceted targeting options that combine with custom attribution settings to abilties to controll budgets across campaigns and accounts for better portfolio results.

Facebook ad optimization is avaialble too, and while you won’t be able to controll bids for Pinterest or Twitter ads you will have the flexibility of tracking all of your social or any ad campaign wtih Searchforce’s powerful tracking pixel.  This is great for tracking large campaigns that Google Analytics can’t reliably show multi-attribution reports on.

Searchforce has a friendly and helpful staff, and they are also flexbile to offer complex integration setups and customer training to get onboarded.


It’s not just a cool name, it’s a cool tool with an amazing approach to optimizing from a portfolio view.  With all the bells and whistles of the most sophisticated search tools, Kenshoo still focuses on the high end performance marketers who are willing to pay the price for good results.  This may not be a great tool for small companies, but if you spend over $250,000 a year you may want to look at this company’s mix to see if they’re a fit for your optimiztion demands.

Kenshoo’s flexible audience segmentation feature offers a refreshing approach to defining retargeting lists in Facebook, much in-line with what companies are demanding with marketing automation.  They also cover the gamet of social channel optimization as well as an impressive outlook to cross-channel reporting for more stastical bidding decisions within the purchase cycle.

Doubleclick For Search

If you are heavy into the Google Doubleclick world of programatic, search, analytics and all of the courageous features of these product suite offerings, then you’ll probably already be aware of the search management platform capabilities within the mix.

A lot of large agencies lean on this choice for clients spending millions a month on brand awarenss campaigns where targeting the right segments mean everything.  Some search marketers have frequently complained about the tool’s not so user friendly setup and inability to focus on multiple facets of attribution data into the bid mix.

While Doubleclick probably isn’t a good fit for most smaller firms, it remain’s in integral tool in the hands of many customers who have seen amazing, scalable results over the years.

Getting More From Bidding Strategies

Once you have found your bid tool and you’re comfortable setting up bidding strategies, you may find yourself longing to get more diverse in your settings as you realize that your organizations requirements for more sales at a lower cost per aquisition is eternal.

Consider using different types of conversions for your product mix, especially if you have a sales cycle longer than a day.  If your conversion rate is a bit low and you require a lot of leads for sales then using a kpi lead to target touch points that happen before the sale can help to focus on driving more traffic with the right intent from keywords that produce the lowest cpa from actions like saved emails, quote requests, and rate evaluations.

Layering targeting can allow for options of maximizing roi while ensuring you stay within a certain position or bid target.  Avoid bidding wars with competitors and focus your efforts on ad positions that peform the best for various ad groups while achieving a CPA that keeps your efforts full of accolaids from stakeholders.

Always be thinking of ways to get more quality traffic at a lower rate.  Don’t forget to focus on adcopy performance, landing page experience, and all the facets of the user experience that help increase conversion rates and return customers who are willing to buy more quantity, more frequently.

Demand more from your bid tools and strategies, and help keep your optimization flourishing in a world of increased competition and cpc’s in the bid auctions!