Improving your performance with the Google Bid Simulator

bid simulator article image

Thinking about increasing or decreasing your bids, but uneasy about how it might affect your ad performance? It doesn’t quite predict the future, but the Google Bid Simulator will certainly help you understand how different bids could affect your traffic.


So, what is Google Bid Simulator?


The Google Bid Simulator allows the user to explore different scenarios of impressions, clicks and CPCs at a keyword level for different max bids. This is based on the last 7 days of history.


The Google Bid Simulator works by analysing data from ad auctions on Google for each keyword including factors such as Quality score, competitor bids and traffic volumes to provide up to 7 different Max CPC Bid scenarios, as per the graphic below.



bis simulator table 1


To see data from the bid simulator, go to the ‘Keywords’ tab in your AdWords account. Then, click on the bid simulator icon in the Max. CPC column next to the bid of any keyword you would like to see data for.


How you can use this data to maximize Performance?


If we take each of the data points provided by the Google Bid Simulator – Max CPC, Impressions, Clicks and Cost, we can then use conversion rate and AOV data from the same keywords to calculate which Max CPC would have resulted in the highest Gross Profit (or any other performance KPI such as ROI) over that period.


For example if the keyword above had an AOV of £75, a CR of 1% and our Gross profit is calculated at a 50% margin e.g. (Revenue*50%)-Cost, then we would find that a max Bid of £0.17 would give us the optimum Gross Profit. See figure 1 below and the row in grey:

bid simulator table

Figure 1.


However if the AOV and CR were both double, the optimum max bid would be different, in this case £0.68. See figure 2 below and the row in grey:


bid simulator table

Figure 2.


Using Bid Simulator data at scale


By pulling the Google Bid Simulator data into our Mercury technology platform via the Google API, we can automate analysis of this data for all keywords where bid simulator data is available. We then set new max bids to ensure we have the optimum max bid/position combination per keyword.


However there are several considerations to take into account:

  • The Bid Simulator data that Google provides is only for high traffic keywords. The majority of keywords will have no Bid Simulator data. Bid Simulator also doesn’t work with campaigns that use Advanced ad scheduling or Google conversion Optimizer
  • Bid Simulator data is based on historical performance and does not guarantee what will happen in the future. Any weekly changes in conversion rates and AOV will change the optimum max bid/average position combination. However this methodology does ensure that bid changes are reactive to the most recent changes in these performance metrics for high volume keywords
  • Click path and conversion lag factors need to be taken into account. If we were to look at sales/conversion rate only on a last click basis, we would be potentially making bid changes based on incomplete data


In Figure 1. the data is based on looking at the last 7 days and so there will be a % of sales that have not yet been reported due to the conversion lag. This will vary depending on the advertiser and the advertiser’s vertical.


If we factor 20% additional sales to this keyword to recognise the conversion lag, then the data would change, with the new optimum bid at a higher level. See Figure 3 below:


bid simulator table

Figure 3.


Three Take-away Top Tips

Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how to make best use of the Bid Simulation and Google adwords tool. Here are three closing points in summary:

1. Use automation to bid simulate and determine optimum max bids at scale based on your main KPI
2. Integrate conversion path analysis into performance calculations to ensure bid changes are not made based on incomplete data
3. Implement and test on high volume head keywords whilst separately optimising lower volume/tail terms where bid simulation data cannot be utilised


Good luck! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Tips to harness mobile search this Christmas, and beyond

Maximising Mobile Ecommerce

Sri recently spoke at the a4uexpo in London.


We thought we would share this presentation with you, which gives some great tips on maximising mobile performance, this Christmas and beyond!


Enjoy! If you have any questions then please do get in touch!


Net Media Planet team win again!!

DADI-Award 2012

The Net Media Planet team headed back to the Emirates Stadium last night for the second time in seven days. On this occasion it was to attend the Dadi Awards where we up for the Best Use in Paid Search Award.


We were among some excellent company and fought off some stiff competition to win this award. The award was won for our Papa John’s campaign which used the killer combination of techno whizz and snappy creative to deliver true appetite appeal!


team photo dadiawards

With the award!


Now in their 6th year, the Dadi Awards bring together individuals and companies at the forefront of industry, providing the platform to showcase the very best in all things digital.


The judging panel was comprised of some illustrious industry representatives which included; Craig Hepburn, Global Director, Digital & Social Media at Nokia, Steve Vranakis, Creative Director, EMEA at Creative Lab, Google and Martin Talks, President, Digital at Draft FCB. Each submission was judged on the following criteria; clear strategic thinking, innovation, effectiveness and tangible results and to a lesser extent design.


Here’s how we did it, check out Papa John’s multi-award winning campaign; Papa John’s – a compelling campaign delivering very tangible results


Congratulations to the team – it was a fantastic effort by all and we are really proud! Thanks also go to Papa John’s – a fantastic client and we are proud to have done some truly great work with them!


Congrats, and hats off team!




Google TV takes the spotlight


Google tv

Getting Smart about TV


Imagine watching an episode of Strictly and seeing something you really like the look of. Then imagine pointing your remote control at the screen and buying it, without even moving from the sofa. Better still, imagine being able to measure engagement with your TV ads as transparently as you currently measure a PPC or display campaign.


Although Smart TV hasn’t quite taken us to this level of ecommerce nirvana yet, the advent of Google TV makes that day seem much closer…


Smart TVs function as a hybrid between a TV and a tablet or mobile, allowing access to TV channels, the web, apps and even your home network.


For advertisers, the golden aim of smart TV is for consumers to see a product they like on TV, then click and buy it directly from their smart TV. Smart TV could make offline marketing as measurable as online, providing the direct link between TV ads and sales.


The technology to achieve this goal is still in early stages. Online, interactive clickable videos are starting to become more widespread (see VideoClix example below) but this has yet to successfully transition to TV.





Image: interactive clickable video ads from VideoClix


More and more manufacturers are responding to the potential of this technology and releasing Smart TVs and set-top boxes.


So we put Google TV to the test!


How does it work?


Google TV is currently available as an additional set top box that integrates your TV with the internet, or you can buy a new Smart TV that already has it all built in.


Google TV integrates with your existing TV service to create an “interactive television” where you can watch TV, browse the internet and use Google Play apps all on your TV. We ordered the set top box (which sits between your DVD/Sat box and your TV) and wired it up to our current TV.

google tv box

Image: Google TV box - we bought it!


The box was smaller than we expected, about the size of two DVD cases stacked together. The remote control is pretty fearsome, being double sided with a keypad on one side and touchpad plus menu/TV buttons on the other.


Setup was simple, and unsurprisingly you will need a Google account to access the services. The remote controls everything, and after initially holding it up the wrong way and wondering why the mouse moved in the opposite direction, we were able to stream live boxing on TV in stunning HD.


So, what did we think?


Load times were excellent, and live streaming worked well with a fabulous picture. Menu navigation was simple, but Web browsing was clunky; pages frequently didn’t fit the screen and required fiddly scrolling despite the touchpad and keyword remote.


We browsed the apps optimised for Google TV. The Google TV optimised apps and games are quite basic, and we couldn’t find Angry Birds! Some apps required tilt control which didn’t seem to be installed or working with the Sony Google TV box.

google app

Image: Snooker App


Google TV is best used for videos, movies, BBC iPlayer, Netflix etc. We could see a lot of people watching something on their Google TV, then during the ad breaks or when they see a product they like doing a search. It’s not certain how many people would convert though, as it feels inherently odd to buy something off your TV (as it once did for mobile).


This could easily change with a more integrated service. At the moment the process is not as simple as what it is trying to replace: watching TV then ordering via a second (desktop, tablet or mobile) device.


What’s in it for advertisers? The three main areas of advertising opportunity are:


In App Advertising – Verdict: limited opportunity

There is only a small selection of Google TV apps, which are very video streaming targeted. The few non-video free apps have ads at the top and bottom of screens, similar to phone app ads. You can’t currently target Google TV users specifically, but as the ads are bigger and more noticeable this would be great opportunity to reach consumers.


In Video Advertising – Verdict: good (if not new) opportunity

Video streaming is where Smart TV is strongest (e.g. Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video). The services are easy to use and already popular across a wide variety of devices, so if you aren’t advertising on these platforms already you are missing out.


As more people move to video streaming through their TV, ads can get bigger and more interactive, encouraging brand interaction across multiple devices. This is where the advertising opportunity is most exciting.


On TV – Verdict: as there is no real integration between TV and online, there is no new advertising opportunity at the moment.


To sum up…

Google TV still feels unfinished and waiting for the advertising penny to drop. What we all really want from Google TV is true interactive TV, where consumers can click on products in a TV program or ad to buy online. At the moment Google TV is just TV and internet on the same screen, with no real integration between the two as of yet.


All the interactive, multi-channel things Google wants you to do (check out a brand’s YouTube channel, search for a product you’ve seen) can be done much more easily on another device. Until Google TV offers consumers a more integrated, useful service that is easier to use, TV watchers will still rather grab their laptop, tablet or phone, leaving Google TV to the technophiles.

Its official – Net Media Planet recognised by industry as best at search!

Last week, a few of us donned our finest and headed to the Emirates stadium, not to watch a sub-standard football team, but to attend the 2nd UK Search Awards, where we were nominated for three awards – Best PPC Campaign, Best Local Campaign and Best Mobile Campaign.


We are delighted and amazed to have won two awards on the night, Best Mobile Campaign, and the gong of the evening – the Grand Prix Award, recognising the best of the best!


The UK Search Awards are a national awards competition celebrating the very best in SEO, PPC and digital marketing. We are incredibly proud to be recognised by such an illustrious crew for our work as being one of the leading innovators in the paid search space;


“It was a well-deserved award; we were all impressed with how this campaign was set up. An example for many. Now the standard has gone up for Net Media Planet, but I’m sure they will live up to the expectations.” Bas van den Beld, Judge and Founder of State of Search


“This year’s UK Search Awards had an exceptionally high standard of entries but the Papa John’s Pizza campaign really stood out as something pretty special. The innovative approach to the campaign which thought about the needs and motivations of a customer, rather than simply pushing discount offers was very clever and got great results for the client. This was exactly the kind of original thinking that we were looking to reward with these accolades. Congratulations to a very worthy winner.” James Murray, Judge and Digital Insight Manager of Experian Marketing Services.

The winning Net Media Planet team

We’ve had a fantastic year as an agency, and our team continues to grow from strength to strength. We pride ourselves on delivering campaigns with an innovative edge to deliver real returns for our clients and celebrate with them as they reap the rewards!


Here’s how we did it with Papa John’s: click to view!  We must give a big shout-out to Papa John’s – we could not have done this without such a great client.


My hats off to the team, awesome work!