Last month I heard this from a friend of mine, who self-manages his PPC campaign. He was reacting to a recent downturn in conversion rates from his Google AdWords campaign, which had historically been very profitable for his business. Because it generated good return at the outset, he expected it should continue to do so indefinitely. This “Set it and forget it” mentality, very prevalent among small-business PPC advertisers, might have sufficed in the adolescence of online marketing, but it definitely won’t today.
My friend failed to understand several characteristics of the online marketing space, which demands that you update and adapt your PPC account constantly.
- The marketplace is constantly changing. More businesses are advertising online than ever. You likely have more competitors than you did when you set up your account, bidding on the same keywords as you are. If they are being aggressive with their bidding, your ads might be showing quite a bit lower on Google’s homepage than they were before. As hard times mandate trackable results for advertising dollars, businesses are allocating more spend online than offline, increasing the competition for precious ad space on Google.
- You may be missing out on Google’s newest features. In the last two years, Google has beefed up their PPC environment for advertisers with Ad Extensions, Demographic Bidding, Remarketing Audiences, Product Ads, and much more. Your bigger competitors are certainly taking advantages of these, leaving your quaint, old ads in the dust.
- User behavior provides valuable data on how effective your ads are. After only weeks of setting up your account, CTR (click-through-rate) data gives you valuable insight on what sort of language is appealing to users. If you’re running a few different ad variations at once (which you definitely should be), it’s easy to see which ads are more effective and which are less. Low CTR will lower your ads’ quality scores; Google now uses quality scores as well as bids to determine your CPC, so low CTR ads will literally cost you.
So, log-in to AdWords often and,
- Review ad performance. This is very easy in the Google AdWords Interface. Going adgroup-by-adgroup, review all of your ads every few weeks. Overwrite ads with low CTR with new variations of the high CTR ads. Consider running a promotion to pique users’ interest.
- Check out other ads in your industry. Your competitors are checking out your ads and writing more persuasive ones; you should do the same. Check out the wording of your competition’s ads; urgent, compelling wording has been shown to be highly effective in getting users to click-through. You only get 70 short characters; don’t waste them describing the sterile details of your products, but rather how your great products will make them feel. Don’t forget to test different landing pages, too.
- Adjust keyword bids. Increased competition might demand that you need to bid higher in order to keep the same positioning. Also, you might be over-paying for spot #1 when your ad could be much more profitable in positions #2 or #3. Take a few weeks or months to test different positions.
- Review search queries. Google’s Search Query report shows you the longer keywords users are searching for which trigger your ad. If you are bidding on “used DVDS” and get a lot of users who searched for “foreign used DVDs”, you should add that longer keyword to your campaign, as long-tail keywords are almost always less expensive, making your campaign that much more profitable. If you don’t carry foreign DVDs, then add “foreign” to your negative keyword list to prevent those costly clicks.
- Add new products. Has your product inventory changed? Often business are surprised by what “takes off” online, so it might be worth it to test running your entire product catalog.
- Stay up-to-date. Familiarize yourself with all the new ways Google lets you manage your campaigns, target specific audiences, and add some pizzazz to your ads.
If all of this feels to daunting, consider having a professional manage your campaign for you. HEROweb originally launched its marketing department because of the great interest our clients had in marketing with Google, but little time they had to pursue it on their own.
Now is not the time to maintain the status-quo, but invest time and attention on advancing a fresh, relevant PPC campaign. Great results are at your fingertips!