How to bypass big brands that increase your terms

Nothing is more frustrating than having your best deals hijacked by competitors.

The holiday season is particularly prone to this, as brands compete for their own market share.

This month’s question hits the holidays particularly hard. Rakesh from Virudhunagar asks:

“I have a question about the same keyword that the bigger brands and I use. As a trading company, I use a generic keyword “gift for him/her”. With the holidays just around the corner, I’m seeing the CPC (Target ROAS – BS) increase for these keywords.

When it comes to auction insights, it’s not my competitors who outbid me, but Etsy and Amazon. My CPC increased by 200% – WoW. What’s the best way to deal with it? Manual bidding? or any other bidding strategy would work?”

We will approach this from the Google Ads point of view, but many of these strategies are applicable to Microsoft Ads as well.

Tip 1: Use keyword variants

The easiest way to avoid expensive auctions is to use different keywords.

Misspellings and synonyms give you access to the same search terms. If big brands are pushing up the auction prices for the most common variants, you should go for the less common ones.

For example, if the expensive term was “gift he/she got,” you might consider:

  • gifts for him/her.
  • gifts for him/her.
  • gifts for him/her.
  • gift for him/her.
  • gifts for him/her.

One by one, test the match type you had the original keyword on.

Pause the original keyword during the test.

By pausing it, you can keep your data and fall back on it if the new variant doesn’t work.

Tip 2: Adjust your bid strategy

Automated and intelligent bidding have many advantages.

However, it’s very easy for the cost per click (CPCs) to skyrocket based on the bid target.

Conversion-based bid strategies are the most prone to spikes because conversions carry a lot of weight.

Using a bid strategy that limits your bid is the easiest way to ensure your budget doesn’t get out of control.

However, if your bid cap is too low, you can impact volume.

As long as your bid cap is 10% or less than your daily budget, you should be able to get enough clicks in your day to result in sales (assuming your bid-to-budget ratio is appropriate for your industry).

Tip 3: Use audience exclusions/targets

The audience is often overlooked in the auction price discussion.

While real audiences are built into Smart Bidding, they can also be used for exclusion or exclusive targeting.

Consider using native audiences like in-market and affinity to exclude people who aren’t a good match for your products/services.

You can also use first-party audiences like Customer Match and Website Visitors to focus your budget on warm prospects or save on people you already know.

Last snack

Big brands will always be a variable in auction prices.

However, you don’t have to get caught up in a bidding war.

By searching for cheaper variants, refining bids, and focusing budget on audiences, you can open lower-priced auctions to improve return on investment (ROI).

Do you have a question about PPC? Submit them using this form or tweet me @navahf using the hashtag #AskPPC. I’ll see you next month!

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Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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