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3 Ways Google's New Keyword Planner Brings Sexy Back to AdWords

Larry Kim
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You had me at visualized search volume trends...

Last week, Google quietly rolled out major improvements to their Keyword Planner tool (quietly as in, without a peep) in the first major refresh since the tool was launched a year ago.

Why weren't these awesome additions announced in a great, big, shiny way? No idea, but it's clear Google was looking to bring some sexy back to keyword planning with these new features.

And did they ever.

Last year, enhanced campaigns brought us bid multipliers. This enabled marketers to applying bid strategies based on the context (i.e., the location, time and device) of any given search, in a way that was easy and didn't require creating dozens of campaigns.

You could decide to bid up or down searches coming from mobile devices, depending on the value of mobile to your business. But how would you go about setting all those new bid multipliers?!

I asked Google last year if there were any new tools or strategies to help set all these new awesome bid multipliers and unfortunately, the answer was no.

Now, they seem to have addressed this rather large issue with some powerful changes to the keyword planner tool.

This article will show you three ways to use the new Keyword Planner features to make your AdWords management more receptive to user context (location, device, and time), which in turn will help make your entire campaign more successful.

1. Mobile Device Insights

With enhanced campaigns in AdWords, you could dial your bids up or down for mobile device queries (e.g., +30% or -50%, whatever you want) according to the value of mobile for your business, as shown here:

Mobile Bid Adjustment Factor

Where I think a lot of advertisers got tripped up last year during the forced migration period was in deciding how to set their mobile bid adjustments. The value of mobile is harder to measure because of offline conversions, cross device conversions, and phone calls, etc. – so for a lot of businesses, setting this number was super arbitrary.

Now, using the new Keyword Planner, you'll see detailed device insights that tell you where the searches on keywords that you're interested in are coming from. Take, for example, searches for "emergency roadside assistance" shown below:

Keyword Volume by Device

Notice how Keyword Planner now shows you the breakdown by device in a new, visual way. In this case, you can see at a glance that more than half of these searches are from mobile and so you'd be crazy to bid down your mobile clicks. Rather, you should be bidding up mobile clicks to go after impression share for the huge amount of clicks that are originating from mobile.

Furthermore, now that we know there's so much mobile search volume on these keywords, it would be crazy to not set up a mobile preferred ad with a call extension. Nice to know!

2. Location Bid Adjustment Insights

Again, as a reminder, you can turn bids up or down based on location. For example, you might want to bid more for people who are closer to your store (and more likely to convert) and bid less for people who are one town away (who are less likely to convert).

We use this bidding tactic all the time. We sell our PPC management software to English speaking markets around the world; however, it doesn't make sense to apply the same bid for all the different countries. There are many reasons, not the least of which being that there are different average bid prices in different countries.

Location Bid Adjustments in AdWords

Previously, it was hard to know exactly how to set these location bid adjustment values, particularly if you're starting a new campaign.

Now, with the new Keyword Planner, you can get detailed estimates based on your bid and budget, broken down by whatever locations you've picked! Here's what that looks like:

New Keyword Planner Geo Estimates

The coolest thing about this is that it you can run simulations before creating the campaign. For example, you can try out different location bid adjustment factors (e.g., +30% from your "base" bid) and Google will rerun the numbers and give you updated estimates for clicks, impressions, cost, CTR, avg. CPC and Avg. Position.

Simulate Bid Adjustments

This new functionality is insanely powerful.

3. Model Seasonal Trends

There are thousands of seasonal businesses out there; tax preparation, roof gutter cleaning, all retail, travel and tourism, etc. There are thousands, if not millions, of businesses affected by seasonal trends in search.

There are tons of keywords with seasonality that you that you might not even expect, too. My favorite example is "buffalo chicken wings" – notice how there's a big spike every January and February. That's because the economy for buffalo chicken wings is strongly impacted by the NFL football season, peaking with the playoffs/Super Bowl around January and February.

Keyword Seasonality

Now, where this data comes into play is in budgeting. You don't want to be limited by budget in your peak season. You should either raise your budgets to be able to afford more clicks, or reduce your bids to stretch out your budget to last a bit longer.

Another cool really thing you can do here is trending vs. a previous time period, which can help you make budgeting decisions for next year.

Search Volume Trends

For example, it looks like the economy for buffalo chicken wings is quite a growth industry. Who would have known!

Go Ahead and Plan!

More than just a keyword tool, the Keyword Planner truly lives up to its name as an AdWords campaign planning tool, with ability to slice and dice keyword data according to the context of searches (device, location, time).

The colorful, simple to understand and – dare I say it? – sexy new data visualization options are the icing on the cake. AdWords geeks rejoice!

Having this real data at hand for testing and planning can smartly inform PPC strategies (your bid adjustment factors, your budgets, etc.) and is way better than just guessing, which is essentially what we were doing before – particularly in starting a new campaign.


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