Klick Health

Portfolio Bidding Strategies in Paid Search

Director, Paid Search

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Portfolio marketing for some clients can cause issues when multiple brands are inside the same franchise and are vying for the same condition state. Klick has techniques that can ensure that these brands do not end up competing with one another on automated ad platforms such as Google AdWords.

When promoting properties that need to work cohesively in the same space it becomes important to assess how users are engaging with each brand across every placement or keyword, as well as considering the brands objectives and priorities in order to properly determine which properties should serve where and at what cost – which ultimately factors into where the ad is positioned.

What do you need to consider?

You need to be clear on your priorities and goals. It’s important to establish which brand within the franchise is a higher priority over the other. It is also important to have a proper measurement plan in place that clearly articulates what the goals of the SEM campaigns are, including how they will be measured and their level of importance to not only the brand but also the entire franchise portfolio.

Upon execution, keep in mind that you will need to build separate accounts for each property. The search engines will not allow an advertiser to serve multiple ads at the same time for the same keyword out of the same account. Each property must also be hosted on different domains as search engines will also not allow advertisers to promote more than one domain per keyword regardless of how many accounts they have.

While you will set up your initial plan with one brand being prioritized over the other, after you have been running your accounts for a period of time allowing you to collect data, you will start to see patterns where it makes sense to change your preferred brand priority based on how frequently users engage, what they are engaging with and how the brand has prioritized those interactions within their portfolio measurement plan. How do you manage this?

A data-centric mind and a keen focus on details becomes critical at this point. To start, we build each property’s account with the mindset of “what is the right structure, keywords, and ads for this property” as if there was no portfolio at all. The concept is that each property needs to start off with the best design for its own independent success. Following this, an exercise can be done to create a keyword matrix which outlines where each property is planning on serving ads. This matrix document will visualize where each property has exclusivity as well as where they are sharing the space. The document can go a step further to establish an initial market entry plan outlining which property should be given priority to start based on brand objectives and remain that way until the data suggests otherwise.

The next step focuses on collecting data and optimization wherein the performance data is assessed, and determinations are made regarding which property is benefiting the most. This is done for every keyword. The results are then carried over into our custom bidding algorithms which take into consideration how users are interacting with the site in relation to what has been established within the measurement plan and prioritization exercise. These algorithms are run daily and bids are subsequently adjusted accordingly.

A very simple example of how this comes to fruition is if we were to establish that property A is priority over property B, our initial market entry strategy might be to start with a bid of $1.00 for property A and $0.50 for property B. If for one keyword we discover that property B has a 75% conversion rate on a high priority goal whereas property A has a 40% conversion rate on a medium priority goal, our bidding algorithms will recognize that property B is actually inheriting more value from that particular keyword, and modify the bids so that it gets prioritized over property A.


The example above is a basic way of explaining portfolio management with two brands indicated for the same condition from the same company. When we work on multiple brands in a portfolio for a client we are able to effectively manage conflicts between the properties and control cannibalization on the same keywords. It’s our experience that serving ads for multiple properties at the same time can actually be a good thing if both brands are benefiting. The other advantage is that we are able to take two ad spaces at the top of a search results page, out of a maximum of four, and consume at least 50% of the available buyable ad space that is available above the fold of the search engine results page (SERP) for your franchise. This reduces the opportunities for competitors to be on that same page and helps the multi-brand portfolio even more.

More About the Author

Daniel Keogh

Having been in the Royal Air Force, Daniel’s ready-for-anything demeanour allows him to react quickly, confidently and strategically. Whether it’s avoiding camel spiders in Iraq or luring Google Spiders to a website, he can adapt to the situation at hand. Competitive in nature, Daniel strives to continually improve market performance and relishes in the everyday challenges of trying to outsmart all search engines and competitors. Daniel has 10 years of SEM experience managing a wide range of clients varying in size with smaller budgets of a few thousand dollars to much larger multi million dollar accounts.

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