Much like we regularly go to the doctor to stay healthy, the key to PPC success is making sure to regularly check that all areas of an account are running as smooth as possible. Discovering areas that are working, as well as where enhancements can be made, is vital to the health of an account.
This post will go over a few paid search areas that should be checked monthly to ensure an account remains in tip-top shape.
Let’s take a look:
Search Query Check-Up
When a campaign is created, it’s important to determine a list of keywords the client should bid on, as well as ones they should not show up for. As the campaign runs, observing the Search Query Report (SQR), provided by Google, is essential to ensure a healthy account.
Advertisers should be in the habit of checking this report on a monthly basis (at least) for multiple reasons, including:
- Search Terminology Changes – New irrelevant search queries could pop-up anytime due to changes within a company’s industry.
- Holiday Terminology – There may be specific irrelevant terms that come up once a year due to holidays.
- Finding New Keywords – On the other hand, advertisers may find keywords that they are not bidding on that could be added to the account.
A client’s ads popping up for irrelevant searches can lead to decreases in CTR and quality score, so it’s important to check the SQR report regularly.
From month to month, results such as CTR, CPC, and average position can fluctuate based on a number of different factors. One in particular that’s important to check frequently is changes to a company’s AdWords competition.
Google is able to provide a report, called Auction Insights, which shows what companies are bidding on a specific keyword. By monitoring the “Impression Share” in the report on a monthly basis, advertisers can see if a competitor is increasing or decreasing their presence for certain sets of keywords.
These shifts have effects on the keyword bidding auction and can provide insight on why there are changes in certain data points. For example, if an advertiser notices a big increase in impression share for a competitor, that might explain why their CPC or average position went up.
Looking at it another way, if the competitors for a keyword auction are not actual competitors at all, it might be a good indication the keyword is irrelevant. Further exploration would be required here.
Budget Allocation Check-Up
Once the month is over, it’s important to look at results and find out how they compare with the goals initially set up. If the overall account has a flexible budget, money should be allocated to campaigns that reached or exceeded goals. At the same time, money should be moved away from campaigns that didn’t hit their goals and they should be audited immediately.
Note that performance of certain sets of keywords can vary by time of year, so it’s important to keep that in mind when moving more money around. Along the same lines, advertisers should monitor what hours of the day the budget is being spent. If performance is poor during certain hours of the day, it might be worth lowering the bid during that time, or completely turning off ads.
Throughout the month, it’s likely new ad copy, keywords, and bids were tested within the account. It’s important to make a schedule of what has been done, and, after a few weeks, check to see the overall effect on the account.
For example, if a series of ads were added to a campaign, it’s necessary to look back at the data after a few weeks to see how it compares to the original ads. From there, depending on the results, the ad copy that performs better should continue to run, while the poor performing ads should be paused.
Lastly, it’s always vital to make sure advertisers are up-to-date with the goings-on of their client’s company. Some areas to look into include:
- Changes to their overall messaging or branding
- New whitepapers or pieces of content to advertise
- Any events or promotions they may be offering
Knowing what’s happening with clients can lead to new paid search opportunities. Some ideas include:
- Updating extensions with new messaging & offers
- New keywords to bid on
- New ads with different call to actions
Successfully running a paid search account requires focusing on a wide variety of moving parts. In order to do this, it’s important to schedule regular account check-ups to determine what’s working, what isn’t, and what can be changed.
By creating a check-up routine, an advertiser’s account can continue to remain healthy for many years to come.