3 PPC Management “Shortcuts” to Avoid

It’s important to differentiate between a time-saving shortcut and one that has some serious drawbacks to the quality of your work or your relationship with your advertiser.

Here are a few “shortcuts” that I’ve found are important to avoid:

Failing to Use a Unique Login (Or Your Master Client Center) To Access the Account

The first thing you should do when you build an account for an advertiser or take over as the primary manager of an existing account is to associate a unique user name to all of your interactions.  This is important for several reason:

  • All your activity in the change log is tied to your unique user ID.  This is especially significant when other people have access to the account to run reports, check dashboards, or make modifications.
  • It’s particularly useful when you have to go back months or years into past data and see which usernames were associated with which changes.
  • It’s lazy to ask for the advertiser’s login, and its potentially a privacy issue because you may have access to mail or iGoogle features – don’t do it!

Skimping on Conversion Data

Let me use a specific example here.

One of my particular clients has an e-commerce site.  It would be very easy (and lazy) for me to simply track ad spend and total revenue, and voila – we have Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and we can take a shot at calculating our Return on Investment (ROI).

Instead I decided to take it a little further.  Not only do we track ad spend and revenue by product category.  We have additional tracking in place that allows us to track which accounts were generated via PPC traffic all the way down to user’ email address, so we  have unique orders and revenue associated to each email address.  With our particular analytics tool (which admittedly is pretty robust) we can even track the actual items and products the users put in their shopping cart.

We also track several other conversion actions such as catalog requests and email sign ups.  We use all this information to track average cost per new account, average order size, average cart size, repeat and lifetime sales, and a host of other details that help us make good management decisions and provide important business intelligence to the advertiser.

We provide a lot more data than just cost per conversion and total conversions.

Cruise Control

The success or failure of a particular paid search account rarely hinges on the so called “home run” play.   A successful account is more accurately built up over time through a number of smaller improvements and modifications.

It might be against your best instinct to run tests or experiments in some campaigns or ad groups that are currently “successful” but we have to remember to strive to always push the envelop and try to achieve a greater level or success and efficiency.

It’s important to always be able to present two sets of data to an advertiser: baseline results vs. testing results.  The knowledge gained from doing tests is worth the potential reduction in results, and it gives you valuable insight that will help your decision making in all future steps.  Most importantly it shows the advertiser you are a proactive marketing partner committed to achieving results.

Your Thoughts?
I’d be interested in hearing some of your management shortcuts or pitfalls that you’ve had to deal with or avoid while managing your PPC accounts.

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Scott Stone — Scott Stone, Advertising & E-Business Manager, Cisco Eagle

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