If you’re using CPA bidding in AdWords or Bing but want something a little more geared towards generating revenue and a good ROAS, please read on!

When I first started using SearchForce, I didn’t quite understand how it worked, and it was unclear what options I had in terms of bidding strategy. I did a few searches on it and didn’t really find anything very helpful. Therefore, I want to walk you through how we set up an ROAS bidding strategy in SearchForce and how it has helped increase revenue for my client.

First off, let’s discuss why you would want to set up ROAS bidding in SearchForce. As you know, Google and Bing have CPA-based bidding, which can be great at managing large accounts. However SearchForce allows you to take your bidding strategy one step further, and if ROAS (return on advertising spend) is a bigger goal of your client’s than CPA, then I highly suggest giving it a try. It works the same as CPA bidding, but SearchForce is taking data into consideration that will positively affect ROAS and revenue rather than focusing on just getting a lower CPA.

How to Set Up ROAS Bidding

When you use SearchForce, all of your Bing and AdWords campaigns are automatically synced into SearchForce’s platform. The platform has what we call ‘Portfolios,’ which contain the bidding strategy for all of your campaigns. The base portfolio is where SearchForce houses all of your campaigns under one bidding strategy. However you can also create what we call sub-portfolios with specific keywords and give them a bidding strategy of their own. This is what we did.

Our base portfolio uses an ROAS strategy. The ROAS goal is 100%, but you can set it at 65%, 85%, 150%, etc. Then we also created sub-portfolios with our top-performing keywords and set them up for 100% ROAS goal as well. With the sub-portfolios we can more closely watch how each keyword is performing. Here is a screen shot below of what our account portfolios look like:

 Account Portfolios

You can see our target is set to 100%; it’s also that way on our sub portfolio but just doesn’t show here.

To create a sub-portfolio, just click the ‘new’ button in the upper-left-hand corner. Each keyword is its own sub-portfolio, and we used exact match on all of our sub-portfolios. Once you have created your sub-portfolios, you can select your bidding strategy. In this case I’ll show you how to set up the ROAS bidding strategy.

Click on a sub-portfolio keyword, then in the main navigation bar, click on ‘bid strategy’, then click on ‘set bid strategy’. Once you do this, a new window will pop up, and this is where you add all of the details for the ROAS bidding.

For the strategy, select ‘performance’ and select maximize conversion value. Below that will be a box named ‘search’ when you can add in your ROAS percentage goal (we used 100%). You can also add a max CPC:


You can actually save this page and be done. However, there are a few more options you can select to create the strategy you are most comfortable with. For example, you can click on ‘performance accelerators’ and choose several options for more control of the automated bidding that SearchForce uses. We used response-time scale of medium term, bid update period of 2 days, and bid aggressiveness of moderate. Here you can also choose conservative or aggressive. Then hit save, and you’re all set up:

Performance accelerators

You can see in the first screen shot above that our ROAS for the month of September is 171% for our sub-portfolios and 135% for our base portfolio, giving us an average of 151% (which is great)! It only took maybe a month or two for us to get up over 100%, but before we set this bidding strategy our ROAS was well below 100%. We are also using this on another account and although it took a little longer for us to meet our goal, we did eventually meet and exceed our ROAS goal for some portfolios! I can attest that this does work, so if you have a client using SearchForce, just know that this option is out there and it can work if set up properly.  So if your client is more ecommerce-based give the ROAS bidding strategy a try!


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Amber Speer
-Amber Speer joined 3Q Digital in July 2013. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Informatics and a Certificate in Computer Science. Amber has 7 years’ experience in online marketing including email marketing, SEO, and PPC. In the past she has worked for MTV, Finish Line Inc., Hanapin Marketing, and Surefire Social. In her spare time, Amber enjoys hanging out with her husband and son and traveling.