Bidding for the Top: A Confession

I came across a post on seroundtable today that got me thinking. Apparently a WebmasterWorld thread was discussing whether PPC bidding wars are still as common as they once were. Over the past year and a half (particularly) Google has made it harder to rank first based on bid alone, introducing a variety of quality score concerns as determining factors for position ranking. The article I came across today polled readers to find out how often—if at all—they still participated in PPC bid wars.

I’ll be very interested in those results. :)

But either way, the issue sent me on one of those internal debates us PPC-ers love to participate in. I’ve always argued against bid war management styles, mainly because I believe too often PPC marketers shoot themselves in the foot with such tactics. When two people wake up everyday (or bid every few hours) with the sole purpose of outranking a competitor, they are raising the expectation of spend for everyone else.

Those two advertisers are letting Google know that word is worth more, and alas, overtime, our minimum bids increase across the board. It’s like getting  a bunch of advertisers in a room and having everyone start smacking each other. It really is quite silly.

So here I was today, reading that article up on my high horse when it dawned on me—how is that different from branding budgets? I have definitely participated in branding buys before for both companies and clients. (For those who are new to the PPC chaos—branding budgets are when a client or boss tells you that you have “X” amount of money, and rather than focus on a set conversion return, your primary goal is to gain share of voice a.k.a. be on the top…all the time.) For the record, I think most people would agree that branding budgets are a lot less common than they used to be.

These days we have so many different tiers of conversions and levels of success to use when quantifying a campaign’s performance, it seems a bit reckless to ever just spend to rank. But it stills exist–position bidding not just as a setting but as an overarching approach still exists, and oftentimes with great success.

With all of that said, I have to admit for a girl that has always preached against bidding wars, I have always been a fan of branding budgets. Alas, I guess that is why they say “the devil is in the details.” I definitely look forward to hearing the results from the poll mentioned above. What about you guys? Any of you still participating in bidding wars? What about branding budgets? :)

5 Comments
  • http://www.righteousmarketing.com Robert Brady

    I avoid bidding wars like the plague, but if the client insists… (I hate to lose and love to win!)

  • http://www.conversationmarketing.com Ian

    Actually, I’d say there there have always been lots of levels of success and conversions. It’s just that, in the last 10 years, folks have sort of lost their minds.

    I think the introduction of quality scoring, etc. in PPC has really thrown folks for a loop. I’ll be interested in seeing those poll results, too.

  • Pingback: Bidding for the Top: A Confession | Joanna Lord « Real Life Hitch

  • http://joannalord.com joanna

    Robert: well true there, we are at the hand of our client’s request a lot of times…us PPC-ers are a competitive bunch as well :)

    Ian: “It’s just that, in the last 10 years, folks have sort of lost their minds.” pshhh Amen to that. :)

    Will keep everyone posted on the poll results!

  • http://www.bicyclehighway.com/ Alan

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