In paid search it is important to maximise the efficiency of your account and allocate spend where it will do the most good; this is called PPC account management. It is therefore essential to mitigate your wastage which will allow you to divert funds to areas where they will make those sometimes marginal, but no less important, differences.
More often than not, people find that their monthly PPC budgets dwindle pretty fast when they’re not paying attention. The first place to look when checking for leaks is your account setting. The default settings on both Google AdWords and Bing Ads might not be the most appropriate for you and your business and gaining a base understanding of the reasons why can help a lot. Setting things up the right way from the start can not only save time correcting these mistakes later on, but also keep the bank from breaking.
There is a very simple check list you can go through to ensure that your account has been set up to run in a cost effective manner.
- PPC Campaign Type: Have you ensured that you are only targeting one network – The Display Network or the Search Network? Essentially, are you targeting the right audience? The default “Search with Display Select” option will cost more as it has a wider reach driving more clicks and impressions, however these might not be the most relevant. Both networks are very different in nature and therefore require vastly different approaches. Pick one and build around it.
- Location + Language Targeting – Have you ensured that you’re targeting the correct locations and languages? This will differ on the nature of your business and the service/product you are peddling. If your business is local then you will just want “People in my targeted location”. There is no point showing Jeff from Alabama your ad for crumpets in England. On the flip side hotels and similar will want “people in, searching for or viewing page in my targeted location”. It is important to have a clear vision of your business goals and the customers you are trying to target.
- Ad Rotation + Delivery – “Rotate indefinitely” or “Rotate evenly” are generally the two best advised options for ad rotation as you can then make your own judgements based on the data received and then optimise off of the back of that. An argument can also be made for “Optimise for Conversions” if you don’t plan on running any sort of test yourself. The default setting here on AdWords is “Optimise for Clicks”, which aims to drive more traffic to your site, which increases spend without taking into account conversions. In terms of delivery method unless you are under very strict budget restrictions it is safe to set this to accelerate.
- Bid Price – Manually set your own bid price. Automatic bidding can be very expensive and it is more cost efficient to set this individually. Keywords perform differently and therefore require individual analysis.
- Ad Extensions – Google and Bing provide you with a wide variety of extensions that can help you increases you on page presence which in turn can help boost your click through rate. Sitelinks, call out extensions and review extensions help boost ad relevance to a search and provide more routes to conversion. They also contribute towards your Quality Score (QS) which is Google/Bings way of rewarding the advertiser for relevant, well-constructed ads. A better QS means lower CPC which means more bang for your buck.
- Campaign Negatives and Cross Match Negatives – Negative keyword lists are very important. They are a means of excluding yourself from searches that don’t benefit your company. The shared library is also a means of keeping these lists very neat and applying them across the whole account. In addition to unrelated keyword list, you also want your brand keywords listed as negatives against your generic campaigns as you don’t them stealing brand related ad impressions.
- Broad Match – Within both engines ensure that this is Modified Broad Match as it will cut out some of the excess nonsense that matches to your keywords. The Bing algorithm tends to match a wider spectrum of keywords on broad, which means that it does match to keywords that deviate from original stem word. If you do plan on using it make sure your negatives list is solid.
These are just a few simple things to keep in mind but they can sometimes easily be overlooked. Whilst reading this won’t necessarily guarantee any sort of PPC account management success, what it will do is ensure that you have laid out the foundations for it.
Waste not, want not.