PPC Advertising: Should I Consider Manual or Automated PPC Bidding?

PPC advertising has proven to be an effective way to drive search traffic to a website. It’s important to fully maximize the benefits of PPC and a key...

Photo: Entrepreneur Jacob Baadsgaard, CEO of Disruptive Advertising
Photo: Entrepreneur Jacob Baadsgaard, CEO of Disruptive Advertising

PPC advertising has proven to be an effective way to drive search traffic to a website. Marketing Land writer Ginny Marvin reports, “RKG’s analysis of the US search market, based on its client portfolio, which skews retail, showed Q2 spend increased by 23 percent year-over-year, with investments on both Google and Bing rising.” PPC ads can give business owners much-needed exposure required to capture potential sales.

However, there is more to PPC than keyword research, paying for Adwords, and search engine results. It’s important to fully maximize the benefits of PPC and a key method to do so is deciding what type of PPC bid management to use.


What is PPC Bid Management?

PPC bid management is one of the more complicated areas of PPC marketing, so many advertisers choose to automate using either the automated bidding option in Google AdWords or a third-party bid management solution. Both approaches have their upsides and downsides…” (Source: WordStream)

A PPC Bid is the amount of money a company allots to their pay per click advertising campaign. There are generally two ways to bid: automated bidding and manual bidding.

With automated bidding, you utilize PPC bid management software and tools to employ bid changes on keywords (based on a specific set of rules and algorithms). Basically, the software decides which keywords add more value to your campaign and thus should cost more. It then automatically bids higher for these keywords (perceived to be more valuable) and lower for keywords that do not perform as well.

Manual bidding, on the other hand, is exactly what the name suggests. You bid manually and decide what to pay for specific keywords.


Automated PPC Bidding Sounds Good—But Wait!

Yes, automated bidding sounds like the answer to all of your PPC campaign woes. In fact, a lot of business owners opt for automated bidding since it is more time efficient and saves you the trouble of determining which keywords will convert to your website.

The problem is: automated bidding is not always foolproof.

First, you can lose value for profitable keywords. Sudden changes in the market or your competitors’ promotional campaigns may cause an undesirable effect on the perceived value of keywords.

If the perceived value of profitable keywords decrease, your automated bidding tool does what it is programmed to do and lowers the bids. The changes may be temporary, and your keywords would be effective for that period, but since bids are lowered you stand to lose out on business opportunities associated with those keywords.

Second, you may not have enough data to make it work efficiently! Automated bidding relies primarily on data in order to calculate the value of keywords. If you run a small business with a small account, you might not have enough data to allow automated PPC bidding tools to make the most appropriate and efficient bid changes.

The Google Conversion Optimizer is free. The alternative is to use bid management software or hire a PPC agency to do the work (which is not free). Bid management software and tools come with a substantial price tag. PPC Bidmax offers a monthly rate of $48 to $799.20. WordStream’s PPC management software offers a free trial, with subsequent monthly rates from $249 to $799.


Is Manual PPC Bidding The Answer?

The main reason you’d want to opt for manual bidding boils down to one word: control. With manual bidding, you can approve or reject each bid change depending on campaign goals. This is not the case with automated bidding. The software does it for you, and you lose the advantage of making changes that would best fit current market trends.

Manual bidding also allows you to “test” keywords. You can increase bids for low value keywords to find out if they can improve your campaign results. You can also decrease bids on high value keywords and determine the lowest effective price.

Ultimately, you decide whether to use Manual or Automated PPC Bidding, or both. It all depends on your business and budgetary needs.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO of Disruptive Advertising. He is a passionate digital marketer and entrepreneur with 7 years of enterprise digital marketing experience. He personally managed over 40 million dollars in annual marketing budget and consulted many of the Inc. 100 companies while at Adobe, including groups like: GE, John Deere, Citibank and Home Depot. Connect with @DisruptiveAds on Twitter.


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