When managing paid search for large accounts, it is easy to get diverted from the basics of pay-per-click (PPC) management. To ensure accounts are performing at optimum health, it is important to devote time to auditing on a regular basis. Following are a few simple tasks that can help manage even the largest accounts. If using an online marketing platform, such as Kenshoo or Marin, you can utilize reporting capabilities and create alerts to be emailed directly to you as a scheduled reminder to check accounts.
6 Quick & Easy Routine Check-Ups
1. Disapprovals: Check accounts for both keyword and ad disapprovals. Use filters and/or saved views on the status column in AdWords Editor, adCenter desktop tool, or your online marketing platform. Determine the reason for the disapproval and when necessary reach out to a publisher representative for further assistance in the approval process.
2. Ad Copy: Check your campaigns for any outdated or poor performing ad copy. For example, if an advertiser has a past promotion or inventory that is no longer available, double check that these ads are paused. Sort through large bulks with key phrases as filters like “ends” or past dates. If you have been running consistent ad copy without checking in, use this as a reminder to spot low CTR ad copy that could benefit from a refresh –this is a great opportunity for creative testing. The same holds true for Sitelinks; check in to make sure you’re using the extra ad space in the most effective manner, calling out important pages or promotions, with no outdated links.
3. Opportunities: Both AdWords and adCenter offer an “Opportunities” tab in the user interface (UI) for improving campaign performance. Check these out on a regular basis for such suggestions as new keywords, keyword bids, new Sitelinks and budget caps. Be careful that you don’t blindly accept all recommendations, make sure these make sense for your campaign goals and budgets. Related to the budget cap suggestions, AdWords and adCenter offer impression share data. Pull in lost impression share due to ad rank or budget, and use this insight for a quick and easy way to boost visibility by either opening up daily budget caps or doing bid management to improve your keywords’ average positions, leading to a higher rank.
4. Landing Pages: Check destination URLs to ensure they are always relevant to both your keywords and ads.
- URL Checker Tool: If possible seek out a URL checker tool that can crawl landing pages for 404 errors and specific, custom phrases like “Site Temporarily Unavailable” or “No Search Results.”
5. Keyword Performance: There are many ways to review keyword performance and depending on KPI you can create various reports or alerts through an online marketing platform. Checking in on keyword performance includes regular bid management, which may work in combination with other tactics to improve performance.
- Low CTR: Review keywords that meet a certain threshold for low CTR (ex: impressions less than 1,000, CTR below one percent.)
- Poor performing keywords: Different from low CTR, these keywords will be high spending, but with low conversions.
- Strong performing keywords: These keywords generate sufficient conversions, but are low spending and may be in too low of a position.
6. Negative Keywords: Less frequent than the previous five check-ups, a recurring audit of negative keywords every couple of months is valuable for two reasons. First, there should be continuous addition of new, relevant negatives to an account (for example, when a related news story breaks, and it was never predicted that “zombie” would be a negative for bath and body product line campaigns), and second for reviewing current negatives to ensure traffic isn’t being restricted from desired visitors, this is what is called conflicting negatives.
- Bing has recognized that the issue of conflicting negatives is actually more common than previously thought and recently added a new report to the adCenter UI, under “Targeting” in the drop-down menu.
How to Get Started
- Schedule: Pick a day of the week (weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the account and resources) and block off sufficient time in the calendar to address these eight tasks. Scheduling may feel like the hardest part, but consider these checks are vital to an account’s overall health; it is necessary “preventative care.”
- Prepare: In addition to scheduling time to perform these tasks, set up automated, emailed reports to quickly deliver the data needed, and as an added reminder to avoid putting off these simple check-ins. Emailed reports can be set-up from an online advertising platform or direct from the publishers, both AdWords and adCenter offer recurring reports.
- Track: Keep a running log of when these checks were completed using a simple spreadsheet or shared document (Smartsheet or Google Docs). This is a simple way to track when the last time each task was checked off the list, in a format that can be shared with clients and teams. If something slips through the cracks, resulting in an issue in the account, the reason will be easier to find here.
With this process in place, accounts will thrive, helping to better reach business goals in a more efficient manner.