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Monday, Nov. 17, 2008 at 7:41 am

7 Signs Your PPC Campaigns Needs Optimization

By Bryan Eisenberg
November 17th, 2008

Are you getting the most from your pay per click (PPC) campaigns? How would you know? Are you as efficient at getting clicks and converting visitors as you would be carrying water with a leaky bucket? Let me give you 7 signs to tell that you are not optimizing your PPC spend:

1. You use the set it and forget it strategy to PPC. If you setup your PPC campaigns months ago and haven’t adjusted a thing in it, I can practically guarantee you have room to improve it. The seasons change, traffic flow and traffic quality change, even Google’s Quality score changes.

2. You don’t have proper tracking in place. In a recent study of over a 1000 small and midsize businesses it was found that over half failed to properly track conversions. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Do you have enough insight to what is happening with your PPC ad spend?

3. You have not tested at least 3 variations of your PPC ad. Try testing the following variables in your ad copy: headlines, different offers, variations of your USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) or UCPs (Unique Campaign Propositions, and calls to actions (try, learn, get, save, etc.).

4. You have not tested matching options. If you are not getting enough traffic at your bid prices, test the different matching options. Test between broad, phrase and exact (standard) match to see which brings you the best combination of traffic and converted sales.

5. You have a long list of keywords in your ad groups. The keywords in an ad group should be tightly associated and extremely relevant to each other so you can be sure the ad(s) and landing page are effective for the ad group.

6. You have poor scent from the ad to the landing page. In 2001, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, shared their research with Wired on how humans look for information on the Web;  they use the same food-gathering techniques employed by animals. They follow scent. This is an example of bad scent. Make sure to match your PPC ad text with the message on your landing page.

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7. You aren’t testing your landing pages to maximize conversion. With over 1100 variables that impact conversion, if you aren’t testing to see what the best combination to use are, you are leaving money on the table. You should always be testing.

If you would like to learn more about optimizing PPC campaigns don’t miss our upcoming Always Be Testing webinar on November 25th titled Google Quality Score – Exposing the Secret Factor to PPC Success. Sign up now, and even if you can’t watch the live viewing we will notify you as soon as the recorded version is available. Of course, the webinar is free so register today.

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Comments (16)

  1. [...] Bryan Eisenberg wrote a blog post for small business owners titled 7 Signs Your PPC Campaigns Need Optimization. It’s an excellent blog post and I agree with his points. Here they are in a nutshell: [...]

  2. I know that you had limited yourself to 7 signs, but if the list were a little longer, here are few more that I would like to add.
    -not using negatives
    -not using the content network
    -and not using “placements”

    I would also like to add to your 2nd point that measuring conversions is essential, but one should be optimizing based on of Margin or ROAS not Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) as CPA doesn’t take into consideration the value of the transaction.

  3. And even if you do all of the above, you are never done testing.

  4. [...] read a great article from Bryan Eisenberg called “7 Signs Your PPC Campaign Needs Optimization“ and he pretty much nails it on the spot.  His [...]

  5. OK, guilty. BUT – I cant stand content clicks…they are so phantom, and will eat up your budget. And how much time can we really put into testing and tracking before we outspend our PPC clicks spend? There has to be a healthy balance…

  6. Scott- I agree with you that the content network can eat up a lot of one’s budget without much of a return, but we have seen time and time again that a well-run content campaign, just like a well-run search campaign, can have great results.

    Managing the content network can be very time intensive (excluding poor performing sites, targeting highly relevant sites, placements ads…) and you are right that it does take an investment of funds to discover how to make it work for you. If you have a relatively small paid search budget, then participating in the content network may be more work than it is worth.

    With the proper analytics in place, you should feel confident in setting a portion of your monthly PPC budget for testing. That testing could be on improving your content network performance and/or testing ad creative… We find that may clients can grow the success of their campaigns substantially when they allocate 10-15% of their monthly media budget to testing (new campaigns, ad creative, content network…) This ultimately leads to a larger and more profitable paid search effort.

  7. [...] Brian Eisenberg (viz výše) zmiňuje 7 znamení, že vaše PPC kampaně potřebují optimalizaci (nebo [...]

  8. I’d also suggest part of optimization is eliminating some traffic. If your getting a lot of clicks, but little return see if some are arriving expecting something different. You want relevant traffic, not just a lot of clicks.

  9. [...] 7 Signs Your PPC Campaigns Needs Optimization on the Marketing Optimization Blog the author contends that you’re probably not doing AdWords [...]

  10. Google’s quality score has always confused me. Aren’t they cutting their own throat by giving sites cheaper PPCs if their quality is higher? I kinda feel like this magic formula they use isn’t as great as they claim.

  11. It’s good idea.

  12. I appreciate this very article.

  13. thank you for valuable information.

  14. Thanks for this, great tips and advice. I dont use PPC right now but I certainly will and when I do I will revisit this post.

  15. Thanks for the advice. You can really nail your relevance by implementing negative keywords. We have a free white paper that explains how to find them and how to use them to improve your PPC results.

  16. Great insight and very useful for those new to click and pay. I fail, however, to understand why businesses would not continue to review their strategy. This is what occurred in the regular monthly marketing meetings when paper advertisement campaigns were all the rage. The climate today is not different in the process just the tools have shifted to online. Simple really.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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