General CPC Bidding Tips and Strategy
Implementing a CPC Bidding Strategy
Don’t get carried away with bidding too high on products you think will convert well. Sometimes bidding too high above the minimum on a product is a bad thing when your product isn’t necessarily relevant for that category. For example, if you’re bidding 30 cents on a product and see no traffic, you may try to boost the bid to $1.
If you still don’t see an increase in traffic despite your increased bid, odds are that your product isn’t very relevant for that category and you should lower the bid.
Sold SKU Method
Let’s say you’re on Nextag, Shopzilla, Google Shopping, and PriceGrabber. All of your campaigns are working great except for Nextag. It comes to the point where you think it would be best to just drop your Nextag campaign all together. Don’t make that mistake. The Sold SKU method maintains that you should identify the products that have sold on a CSE, in this case Nextag, in the last 60 days or 90 days. Using this information, limit the shopping feed you send to Nextag to only those products.
You could also implement a top products strategy and pull the top 100, 500, or 1000 products (in terms of clicks) via your Google Analytics reports. After doing so, just send only those products in a limited data feed to Nextag.
Sending limited feeds aren’t an admission of defeat. It may be painful to deliberately not expose your products on comparison shopping engines, but it will be more cost-effective for you in the long run.
The 30/30 Rule
Use this when you’re on the fence about cutting a product from your feed entirely. This rule entails that you should cut a product out of your feed if it doesn’t produce a conversion/sale after 30 days OR 30 clicks. Once you reach any of these benchmarks, either 30 days or 30 clicks, you need to assess whether it would be profitable if the product did convert in the next click or day. If not, get that product out of your shopping feed.
If it does take the extra day or click to convert and you profit, then just be sure to monitor that product closely in the next 30 days/clicks. Identifying these “on-the-fence” products is essential.
The bottom line is that your campaigns and the respective feeds you send don’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing, and it is often to your benefit to send a feed of only the cream of the crop of your products to a struggling CSE.
What do you do with the under-performing 90% of the products in your feed?
We handle over 200 clients and we’ve consistently seen that only about 10% of the products in your feed are going to be active (i.e. gaining traction and converting). You’re going to start to question how to handle the rest of your feed.
At this point, you don’t know if those products are not converting because their bids aren’t high enough (not enough push) or if they just really aren’t going to sell in any lifetime. If you can garner click data on a product, such as whether it has received 30-100 clicks with no sales, you can be pretty confident to assume that for whatever reason, that specific product won’t convert and, thus, you can set a lower bid.
For products that you don’t have any click data on, you can increase their bids to find out if consumers want to buy them. Try to push them by bidding up 5-10 cents and checking the results after a week or so from your product-level reports. If you don’t see any traction, you can bid them up another 5-10 cents until you begin to see traffic. The point is that you want to crawl, rather than leap, to find your product’s sweet spot.
By bidding up or down 5-10 cents at a time, you’re essentially trying to find your product’s sweet spot in the most effective way possible. The sweet spot is the point at which your product’s bid allows you to pay the lowest amount per click for the highest amount of profitable conversions. It’s never a set-and-forget style campaign.
However, the perfect bid amount will change over time as your competitors change bids, new merchants join CSEs, or your prices or budget change.
This is one of the reasons why CSEs are difficult for small businesses to manage. An eye always needs to be kept on bids to make sure you’re getting the highest ROI possible for each product.