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Running PPC campaigns is a tricky task. If you do it right, everything can go great, but if you make a mistake you can waste money and hurt your brand. At any given time, there are tons of factors working to make your campaigns fail, and a PPC manager needs to be on the watch to prevent any damage. Fighting these issues may not be actively moving your campaign forward, but it can keep you from backsliding.

Joseph Kerschbaum explained the seven most damaging factors that PPC managers often let sabotage their campaigns and how to fight them. If you keep an eye out for any of these lurking dangers, you can protect yourself from almost all serious damage to your campaign.

  1. PPC Changes – While there are the occasional big changes to PPC like the implementation of AdWords Enhanced Campaigns, there are also constant small changes that make PPC managers continuously tweak their strategies. If you don’t keep up to date on the latest PPC news, you can end up behind on the best practices and seeing your campaigns go from good to bad very quickly.
  2. Fluctuating Performance in Other Channels – PPC is influenced by tons of other aspects of your brand’s online presence, just as PPC influences those other channels. You can’t treat PPC as an isolated area, because changes in other arenas can drag down campaign performance. Just as with the constant changes in PPC however, keeping up to date with all your web analytics and industry news can help keep your campaign on track.
  3. Negative seasonal trends – Every industry has good seasons and bad seasons. Many even see tidal changes from hour to hour. While small dips in performance throughout a day or week are regular, you need to be prepared for the longer periods of decelerated performance. To protect yourself, you should develop seasonal projections to help identify when these low periods will occur, and be prepared to ease off your campaigns when they won’t be performing well. Take the budget you would be spending on non-rewarding periods and use it to take advantage of the times that work well for your brand.
  4. Increasingly Intense Competition – One of the biggest struggles with PPC is trying to keep up with your competitors and predict when they are going to decrease or aggressively double-up on their PPC campaigns. Set performance thresholds so you can notice when your performance begins to take some heat, and check up on your competitors when you fall below the threshold. You can also use a third party competitive tool to monitor your competitors.
  5. Broken Tracking and Site Errors – Not all PPC performance hazards come from outside. There are many ways you can sabotage your own work, and one of the most common issues is errors that can slowly creep up on your site. Use AdWords and Google Analytics alerts so that you will be notified immediately when one of these errors occur.
  6. Failed PPC Initiatives – Of course, sometimes the self-inflicted damage isn’t preventable. In fact, with nearly every account there are going to be mispriced bids and failed ad copy that you won’t be able to identify until the signs start popping up that something isn’t working. Set reminders so that you can monitor your new initiatives. That way, you’ll be able to see the warning signs as soon as they start appearing.
  7. Implementation Errors – While there are tons of issues that can’t be prevented, you are likely running quite a few campaigns and making tons of changes on a daily basis. Preventable mistakes are going to happen, and you need to be prepared to respond. Yet again, alerts will likely be the best way to be notified when you mess up, but the better defense is to implement a process to ensure every change within your account is double-checked.

Egg-Timer

We all have busy days where we seem to be running from the minute we get up, but as PPC managers, we can’t just ignore our campaigns for a day. There are many aspects of a campaign that have to be tweaked and worked with on a daily basis. Wouldn’t it be great if you could manage to take care of all the most important PPC tasks in 10 minutes? According to Melissa Mackey from Search Engine Watch, you can.

Of course, no good PPC manager is doing just 10 minutes of work a day, but on those days when work is piled up and you’re forced to squeeze it in, her “10-minute PPC workday” might just be able to help you keep all your basis covered.

It all starts with checking the stats on your top KPI. If conversions are your KPI, look at both your total conversions and cost per conversion. If you’re already doing this daily, you’ll be able to notice any anomalies immediately. Once you’ve spotted the outliers, you’ll spend the next nine minutes focusing on them.

The best step on fixing outliers is to pause the worse performers. Any ad group or keyword that has cost quite a bit but isn’t performing can be paused. You can re-enable it later when you have more time to focus in on the problem.

Next, you’ll want to check out your underperforming keywords. Whether they simply aren’t earning back the cost or maybe they just aren’t leading to conversions, you’ll want to see what keywords are dragging you down. The fastest method is to use in-line search query reports in Google to check the details of the keyword in question and create negative keywords directly in seconds.

Once that is over, we can move on to the positive things: top performing ad groups and keywords. Start with your best-performing ad groups (generating the most conversions at the lowest cost) and up the bids. Then, use AdWords editor to make any bulk bid increases on the best keywords. Keep it short, but tackle the most important and best few performers.

You will want to move on to quickly checking out your ad copy tests to see if you have any obvious winners, and try to replicate it by pasting it into your ad group a few times. The last couple minutes of actual work will be devoted to positive keyword research by running a quick search query report for your best performing keywords. Sort by conversions, and then add the best queries as positive keywords.

Once all is said and done, you’ll want to make notes for the next day. If you’ve kept yourself limited to 10 minutes, you’ll have noticed many issues you weren’t able to deal with at the moment, and you will probably have some questions to address. Jot down some quick notes while everything is fresh so that you’ll be able to tackle it all properly tomorrow.