It’s never too late for New Year’s resolutions, so why not give your PPC campaigns a little New Year’s love? In this article, I’ll provide suggestions to tune up your campaigns in 2018 and get them firing on all cylinders.
1. Review your ad copy
Upgrading decent ad copy into fantastic ad copy almost always leads to better campaign performance, driving more sales and increasing conversions. In my opinion, it’s some of the lowest-hanging fruit around.
In prospect audits, we almost always find ad copy that is lackluster or that simply hasn’t been tested or updated in a while. Here are some easy ad copy suggestions to get you started:
Ensure all ads have the two-headline (expanded text ad) format. It’s easy to overlook ads which may still be using the old format, especially in large accounts. While auditing prospect campaigns, we are still seeing many with one-headline ads, so be on the lookout for this.
Explore extensions. We like that extensions allow ads to include more information, but we really like them because they make ads more visible and, as a result, more likely to get clicked. We also like that the larger ad units can push competitors farther down the page.
For a long time, the old “mobile”-only ads were still performing well in campaigns, but that no longer seems to be the case. As these ads are no longer performing as well for us, we’re removing them from campaigns. From a management perspective, it’s easier to manage ad groups when there are fewer ads in them.
2. Review your bidding strategy
I also recommend reviewing bidding strategy. One of my tips is to review bidding rules, as there’s always room to improve and/or enhance them. I use the data I extrapolate from reviewing rules to help make decisions and create new rules.
In my opinion, it’s important to examine campaigns to see what is actually happening and then enhance or create new rules so they work specifically for your advertising goals.
We get the biggest bang for our buck with these rules:
Reduce bids for keyword with high CPAs.
Increase bids for converting terms below X position (usually 3.5 or greater).
Decrease bids for non-converting terms.
There’s always room to expand parameters or add new parameters. You may also decide to create entirely new rules with tighter parameters. For example, for CPA between $10 and $20, $20 and $30, $30 and $40 and so on, instead of a broader range, like $10 to $40.
3. Review your keywords
It’s also a great idea to review keywords. Continue to build out keyword lists and ensure relevant keyword terms are in the account. Google recently reaffirmed that 15 percent of all searches are new and have never been searched before. This has been the case for basically as long as the company has been around.
Also, with voice search, more keyword terms can be incorporated in accounts, as people talk very differently from the way they type. Currently, 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches.
Also, make sure all match types are in accounts. It seems obvious, but we often find them missing, especially in large accounts. The Google keyword tool is good for this.
4. Review your audiences
It’s also a great idea to review audiences. My biggest advice here is to not go crazy with audiences to start; adding a whole bunch of audiences at once can cause problems.
For example, there could be issues with inappropriate attribution — it may look like you’re getting traction from your new audience targeting campaigns, but it could be a sale you would have gotten anyway from a regular campaign. It can take visitors a few visits before they decide to convert. If you’re not careful, you could burn through your budget pretty quickly.
Also, a lot of remarketing does not move the needle; less is always more. We choose audiences wisely and build them slowly. Include them with bid modifiers set to zero so they accumulate data. Once you have adequate data, you can then make changes to the bid modifier.
For more information on audiences, refer to audiences to employ for extra online marketing bang!
5. Try out the new Google AdWords interface
My last suggestion is to get acquainted with the new Google AdWords interface. We’ve been tipped off that this is something we’ll all be forced to opt into in the first half of 2018, so don’t let this change catch you by surprise.
One of the things we’ve noticed is that the new interface is pretty clunky and not as intuitive as the old one. It’s been taking us time to figure out where Google has placed information in the new interface.
Expect to have to reset things in the new interface. For example, we’ve needed to reset all our columns in the new interface. The default is a lot of irrelevant columns that don’t tie to key account KPIs. This happens a lot, so give yourself time to work out these bugs.
There are certain features that are only available in the new interface. One example is promotion extensions. If these extensions make sense to you, there could be an advantage to using the new interface sooner rather than later.