Does Outbidding Really Work?

Do you expect outbidding to tilt the network in your favor? We have amusingly come across scores of AdWords & BingAds certified experts (and of course others who are not) impatiently chasing current bids on their campaign keywords to be able to display their ads most of the time. We are also aware of deep pocket advertisers placing max bids at 10x or 20x their reasonable bids just to frustrate the competition. Do these tactics really work?

Well impression share is something every advertiser wishes to monopolize but can you? Impression share is always decided by the ad network whether it is AdWords or BingAds or another. And while they do intend to place weightage on bids & budgets, end of day their sole objective is max revenue per hour. Which doesn’t always come from running the max bid ads all the time. Which translates into the ad network cares about advertisers outbidding one another only for maximizing their revenues. It does give one a false sense of control at having outbid everyone in the arena. But does it give you incremental impression share?

Given the oligarchy that the Internet truly is, we believe it is pointless chasing impression share beyond a certain point. For example you may feel great having received x impressions from an IP address at the local Goldman Sachs office, but how in the world will you know if that click came from a housekeeper on their network?

On another note, bidding on current networks is currently not even as transparent as it is on eBay. And it is yet to be realtime. So you are outbid before you even know it. And you have no way of figuring out if a squatter has outbid you or your competitor has. According to Moz there are far more effective of tackling competition on bids than crude old outbidding.

Now give this a try : Chase up the bids on any one keyword, see how many impressions you got, how many clicks & how many conversions. Do this on any timeframe say 8 working hours on a weekday. Now the next day keep your max bid on the same keyword at half and see how many impressions, clicks & conversions you got in the same timeframe. Now you can verify if the 2 results and the 2 costs match up. Next you may try with one third of the current max bid and so on.

At Phase 1 Digital we find ourselves amused when we notice unusually high bids on certain keywords; but instead of giving up on that keyword, we use all the other tricks that work to still get our ads to trigger on that keyword.

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