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7 Tips To Make Better Keyword Bidding Decisions In B2B Paid Search

What do flashing blue lights, yellow tape, and the streets of New York have in common with your PPC campaign? Much like Jack McCoy in a suspenseful episode of Law & Order, B2B marketers need to thoroughly examine the evidence before accusing their keywords.

Understanding the value

Before determining the fate of a keyword – either by drastically changing a bid or eliminating it from a campaign — B2B marketers need to fully understand its performance. This is essential because while a keyword may not be credited with a direct conversion, they can actually operate in an “assist” capacity.

In doing so, they play a key role in getting the user to convert. In fact, by leveraging assist keywords, such as select generic terms – B2B marketers can help users discover and understand the products or services they offer. As a user continues with their research, they may eventually search for your brand terms and convert.

For example, if someone was looking for an accounting firm, chances are that they would start with broad terms. Perhaps they might search using a generic keyword such as “accounting firm.” Doing so provides them with a discovery opportunity before they narrow their efforts and start clicking-on ads for specific firms. By keeping these “high funnel” terms live, and often times in prominent positions, marketers can tap into their power to drive conversions.

Never assume

However, when it comes to keyword bidding decisions, many B2B marketers don’t carefully examine the evidence. Instead, they often make assumptions about keywords and jump to conclusions.

One of the first assumptions marketers make is that their keyword data is both accurate and complete. This is a mistake. While the information may be accurate, it is often does not represent the full picture. As a result, a keyword’s ROI may very well be understated.

For instance, with last click analysis, B2B marketers often know where their sales or leads are coming from, including the specific search engine and keywords. While they may know the end result, a large piece of the puzzle is typically missing. Namely, how users end up on their website or even know that they sell a specific product or service.

Tips for bidding success

Below are a few tips to help B2B marketers make better keyword bidding decisions:

  1. To identify your assist keywords, set up some type of click-path analysis. Doing so will enable you to better understand the details of your conversion cycle so you won’t be forced to make decisions based on incomplete data.
  2. There are a number of technology providers that offer such reports and insights. By tapping into these reports, marketers can identify those keywords that garner clicks, and that in turn, cause other keywords to be clicked-on that ultimately produce a conversion.
  3. Marketers who use Google Conversion Tracking set up for their campaigns should consider leveraging Google’s new Search Funnel Reporting. Besides the above, this tool allows marketers to see which keyword phrases received impressions or clicks before the final conversion.
  4. Once you have this detailed information, be sure to leverage it. Though it may not be feasible to use this data with every single bid change, it is important to reference it as frequently as possible to ensure that you aren’t eliminating assist terms from your search campaigns.
  5. This data will help prove that assist terms are important to the overall campaign. For instance, knowing which keywords are consistently showing up as critical players in click-path analysis reports in the conversion funnel will allow you to better target your copy and landing pages.
  6. Strive to also understand the types of conversions or leads your assist keywords are helping. For example, if a generic term is consistently aiding with leads for a new product, be sure that it is called out in the copy for the assist term, and that it leads users to a landing page specific to that same product.
  7. Once you understand what users are looking to learn when the query these assist keywords, help provide this information to them, and guide them towards your product or services as an end result.

Overall, while some keywords might appear to be sub-par performers, smart B2B marketers will work to better understand their contribution before making a big change to their campaign. Otherwise, they could very well be eliminating the very keywords with the potential to boost their conversion rate.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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