PPC Management: Your Past, Present & Future

Forward Looking

Managing pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns is like time travel. Without digging too deep into astrophysics or multi-dimensional theory, PPC managers need to reside in the future, past, and present simultaneously in order to get the full scope of their campaigns and optimize them successfully.

No, I haven’t taken a bunch of mind-altering drugs. I haven’t been communing with nature. There has been no meditation on the meaning of life. I wouldn’t be able to type right now if I were wearing thumb cymbals while chanting to ancient gods.

I was simply running some analysis within Excel while building out a strategic plan for a client. I guess this process is spiritual from a certain point of view.

This may sound like an ominous warning spoken by a man in a black cloak during a B-grade science fiction movie: you must achieve a balance within the continuum or be doomed to a languid existence.

This means that PPC managers shouldn’t have their feet grounded too firmly in any one place or space of time. You should achieve a harmony so that the future, past, and present all exist concurrently.

Your Past: Course-Correction Activities

Conducting analysis within your campaigns is critical. Running historical trends and averages gives you a solid idea on progress and optimization opportunities. You have to understand has been working well and what has not, and when you find things that aren’t firing properly then you must take corrective action to set a better path forward.

These are tactics to fix issues within your account. These aren’t standard tactics you complete on regularly scheduled basis. And they aren’t forward-thinking, large-scale strategic initiatives. For example, maybe your Google Display Network (GDN) volume dips and you need to adjust bids or review placements in order to improve performance.

“The Past” in this example means you review performance history and react to the data quickly.

Your Present: Standard Recurring Tactics

As a campaign manager, you should have a task list of recurring tactics. The tactics on this list should maintain the health and structure of your account. Reviewing ad tests, regularly analyzing search query data, and various other tasks should be completed on a regular schedule.

These recurring tactics usually don’t impact performance significantly, but they are extremely important. “The Present” in this example means these tactics aren’t necessarily looking forward (proactive) or backward (reactive). Present-focused tactics are the bedrock of your account health management.

Your Future: Prioritized Strategic Initiatives

Providing strategic vision is what changes a campaign manager to a thought leader. These tactics are proactive. They should provide big ideas and strive to keep your account two steps ahead of your competition and on the cutting-edge.

You don’t need a crystal ball to see the future. “The Future” in this instance is looking for those big forward-thinking ideas.

Unfortunately, this element of campaign management is often most neglected. The reason for this neglect is because urgent needs often take precedence over a campaign manager’s time. There are almost always fires to put out or standard tactics that need to be completed – and if you aren’t careful, these reactive tactics can occupy all of your bandwidth. This is why you must achieve a balance within the continuum or be doomed to a languid existence (says the man in the black cloak).


You can’t get stuck in the mire of the present and always putting out fires within your account. Look back over the past 60 to 90 days of managing your account. Have you been striking a balance between past, present, and future strategies? Do you need to adjust your balance?

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