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4 Tips to Breathe New Life Into Your Paid Search Campaigns

Crystal Santos
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Stop Reset ButtonThe paid search landscape has rapidly evolved over the last 18 months. Some might even say it has completely transformed.

With new ad features, enhanced campaigns, and the evolution of search behavior, many advertisers are struggling to see performance results like they have experienced in the past. If you fall into that category don't fret! It just means it's time to reset.

Here are four surefire ways to breathe new life back into your campaigns.

1. Campaign Structure Review and Reset – Every 6 Months

Your campaign structure is nothing more than a data structure that should be used to gather business intelligence that fuels your paid search optimization decisions and also provides valuable market level information to feed into the overall business.

Hopefully you have restructured your accounts since last October with the introduction of enhanced campaigns. But even beyond changes in the engine, you should periodically review your structure.

First, a structure should support the overall business objective so that spend is focused on the most profitable assets and segmented by business goals. As those goals change, new products are introduced or new profitability targets are set review the campaign to make sure it aligns with the overall business objective.

The structure should also allow for maximum control of creative, keyword relevance, and bid optimizations. Accounts can get really messy when neglected over time.

2. Search Engine Parity – Every 3 Months

Make sure you have the same assets represented in both Google AdWords and Bing Ads. By practicing this discipline you can maximize performance potential, by maximizing exposure and discerning KPI changes across a larger data set, which can in turn infer both macro and micro performance factors.

Google and Bing also have different audience profiles such that the performance might be stronger in one engine vs another depending on the keyword target and user intent.

To maximize your keyword portfolio, you can control efficiency via bid optimization rather than lose out on exposure and possible conversions by not having representation of all terms in both engines. For example, when we performed this audit for one client and expanded into Bing, we witnessed the program ROAS increase by $3 within two months following the addition of keywords to Bing because the engine converted at a higher rate than Google for the same term.

3. Search Query Analysis – Every 30-90 Days

The power of search query analysis and implementation is often underestimated. Not only can you substantially save on cost-per-click (CPC) by mapping queries to bid terms, but also search queries give you a preview into the consumers search intent.

The best way to go through search queries is to organize them alphabetically. From there you can organize them into themes and prioritize them based on impressions, cost, CTR or return.

If you have more than 30 percent of the queries not mapped to bid terms, then you're likely paying a premium on your clicks.

Also, reviewing search queries over time can help you understand changes in search behavior and might provide intelligence on merchandising, new product development, or foreshadow in-demand changes to product features.

4. Low/High Volume Keyword Analysis – Every 90 Days

Over time, an account can accumulate 100,000 terms that do nothing but take up space in an account. Keywords should be group based on return profiles, themes but also volume.

I've seen several accounts bleed, or what I like to call "death by 1,000 clicks." Long-tail terms will always be the best performers; however, due to low volume, you often won't realize their potential until months or even years later.

If you're bidding at the keyword level, which is most efficient, these terms will often be pushed out of the auction due to lack of performance data. Also, the magnitude of an account with more than 1 million terms is very difficult to manage and hard to identify true performance factors.

When reviewing low and high volume terms, analyze the factors around low volume terms as well as outlying high volume terms and whether the causes are intended or due to one of the following:

  • Broad Match mapping.
  • Unqualified traffic from search partners.
  • Broad match.
  • Click fraud.
  • Minimum bid disparity.

If low volume is caused due to low searchers in the space, allocate a budget specifically to the items and keep them at prime positions so that your ad is at the forefront of the search. For higher volume terms, which tend to be upper funnel, make sure to routinely mine these queries and negating or adding them to their appropriate groups.

Image Credit: Max Barners/Flickr


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