Ah, February. It's the month where you can't help but think about relationships. But are you devoting enough attention to your relationship with your paid search campaigns?
PPC campaigns are complex, dynamic, unpredictable, full of ups and downs, and just like relationships, they require a lot of work. When things are good, results are great -- blissful even -- but without devoted attention, a "bad romance" could quickly follow.
Here are a few hands-on tips to help you "rekindle the romance" with your paid search campaigns.
Show Me the Love -- Every Day!
To keep your relationship with your PPC campaigns going strong, take time to do the below every single day -- without exception.
- Make sure I'm OK: If you're managing a brand's paid search campaigns, check to be sure your basic brand ads are showing up. If these ads go offline for some reason (or even get bumped to a lower position) it will have a drastic impact on your entire campaign -- and not in a good way.
To check, do a search for your highest volume brand keywords on all engines every day. Don't just log into the account and glance at alerts and warnings, take a look at your actual ads on the engines. For Google, you can use the Google Ad Preview tool.
- Take my pulse: You should always know how your campaigns are trending for the current month. Are you hitting goals, lagging behind, or delivering amazing results? Are you going to under-spend this month, or have you already burned through your budget at the midway point?
Each day, check your month to date spend, ROI, and other KPI's. There's no excuse not to have a pulse on your campaigns -- the data is right at your fingertips.
- It's all about me: You likely have tens of thousands (possibly even hundreds of thousands) of keywords that you're managing, but chances are that a small fraction of them drive the majority of your spend and traffic. Given that, you need to check in and bid on your top keywords every day.
Set up an automated report and double check bids, position, CPC, and performance. If a competitor changes their strategy on these keywords, you'll have to react quickly!
A Weekly Affair to Remember
It's important to "love" your PPC campaigns on a day-to-day basis, but a weekly engagement is also necessary to keep the partnership on track:
- Little things matter: While it's crucial to review your top performing keywords daily, don't forget to lavish some attention on the other contributors. Each week, strive to review and bid every single keyword that saw an impression.
Come up with a system that works for you and make this part of your weekly routine. This task is easy to let slide, but the benefits from managing your long-tail, low volume keywords add up quickly!
- Make a plan -- don't wait until the last minute: The year ahead is full of promotions and events that you need to support so it is important to plan and execute creative updates. Each week, look at what's coming up on the calendar and get that creative written.
Ideally, you want it loaded and ready to switch on when the time comes. Be mindful that the engines' editorial process can create snags that could knock your ad offline.
With Google, creative goes through editorial as soon as it's loaded, even if the ad is paused. But Microsoft adCenter's editorial check doesn't run until the ad is activated. However, if you load your ads and contact your rep, they can usually send them through review ahead of time.
It's always frustrating when an ad for a limited-time promo gets kicked offline. Plan ahead and avoid the issue entirely!
- Understand my needs: What's on your client's or boss's mind? What are their current goals? What are they focused on? What metric is most important to them?
If you don't know, pick up the phone and find out. If you do know, make sure you take time every week to focus on these specific goals. It's easy to become too focused on generic "best practices" and miss what really matters.
Beyond February -- A Dozen Reasons Why
"Roses are red; violets are blue; there are 12 in a dozen and as many months too." To keep your relationship with your PPC campaigns in full bloom, be sure to take care of the following once a month, every month:
- Explore together: New keywords, new negatives, new opportunities -- there is a lot to discover. The best way to uncover the possibilities is to run an SQR report once a month.
To start, pull a report that covers the past few months and see where your new keyword opportunities are. Sort by impression volume and only do the top 10 percent if you need to so you don't get overwhelmed. After doing this for a few months, you'll be caught up, and your results will reflect the time you put into this!
- Look to the future: Review your plans and budgets for the next few months. Is there additional opportunity that you are failing to capitalize on? For example, should you redistribute your spend to catch new trends?
It's easy to get lost in the day-to-day granularity of managing campaigns. Each month, take the time to step back and figure out where you're going. Setting goals for three months, six months, and farther into the future will help you build your campaigns for long-term success.
This year, show your PPC campaigns a little extra love by following the above tips. Take the time to treat them right and enjoy the fruits of your lasting relationship!
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