Bid Adjustments for Beginners


Bid adjustments are a necessity in the world of SEM/PPC. For most digital marketers, you know your user and when/where/how they are finding your site. Bid adjustments are a great way to capitalize on getting more qualified users to your site. Having a firm grasp of your target audience will help your bid strategy in all of your PPC campaigns.

What is a Bid Adjustment?

A bid adjustment is a percentage of increase or decrease applied to your cost-per-click bid in specific situations and campaigns.  You are able to set up your campaigns to target your ads at specific times of day, days of the week, location, and search device, resulting in an improved ROI. Most importantly, all of that can be done without changing the daily budget.

Bid Adjustments Basics.

Based on your experience with your campaigns and your store/website, you can create new opportunities to minimize spend and maximize profits.

Example of Bid Adjustment:

In a standard Search Network Campaign, my starting keyword bid is $1.00, however I know that most of my users are purchasing products like mine on their mobile device. So, I would like to increase my bids for the searches done on mobile devices by 15% making my bid for mobile $1.15, so I can be sure to show up near the top of the search results.  The same can be said for times of day, days of the week, countries, states, or cities.

Pro Tips:

  • You can set bids at the campaign level or at the AdGroup level.
  • If you have mobile bids set at the campaign and AdGroup level in a single campaign, the AdGroup setting will take precedence when defining the bid.
  • Multiple bid adjustments that apply to the same location will not be combined.
  • Bid Adjustment Multiplication Warning – if you have multiple bid adjustments working in unison (location, time of day, and mobile) you will see much more drastic increases/decreases in bids because each is treated as a multiplier:
    • Saturday:     +25% = 1.25 multiplier
    • California:    +50% = 1.50 multiplier
    • Mobile:        +40% = 1.40 multiplier
    • 1.25 x 1.50 x 1.40 = 2.625 – this would trigger a 162.5% increase in your bid value.

How to Set Bid Adjustments.

We’re going to walk you through adjusting your bid for devices:

  1. Sign into your AdWords account, and select Campaigns at the top.
  2. Select the campaign that you would like to edit, and then select the setting tab.
  3. In the settings of your campaigns, you can select locations, ad schedule, or devices subtab.
  4. Adwords 1Make sure you have enabled “All Features” in campaign type.
  5. Once you have selected devices you will see the first column is “Bid Adj.”
  6. Adwords 2Within this tab, you can edit you bids.
  7. You are able to choose decrease or increase in the drop down.
  8. Adwords 3As always, be sure to click save.

Strategies for Bid Adjustments

Obvious bid adjustments

  1. Increase during peak sales days/hours
  2. Decrease if/when office is closed
  3. Increase bids in locations with the greatest number of conversions
  4. Increase bids during lunch hours and peak searching hours for the 9 to 5ers

Mobile Bids

  1. Increase Mobile Bids by at least 10%, Mobile searches in most industries have become more prevalent than desktop searches.
  2. There are only 1 or 2 positions in the SERP’s for mobile. Your business needs to be in top 2 positions.
  3. Decrease mobile bid if your site is not mobile-friendly, or the mobile experience will be poor for your customers.
  4. If you do not want to show up at all for mobile, then you’ll want to set the bid adjustment to -100%.

Bid Management updates are a great way to improve your ROI in a static PPC account. With these little updates, you can see some movement in your conversions. And if you need some help navigating your AdWords and PPC campaigns, let the team at Customer Magnetism give you a hand.