April 1, 2015 / Paid Search, PPC 101


It’s the time of year when seasons are shifting and a fresh set of eyes brings a new outlook. It’s easy to fall into a routine when managing paid search. Even if everything appears to be operating successfully on the surface, accounts and campaigns can become stale over time if checkups are not performed on a regular basis. To start your spring off on the right track, check out this intro to our two-part Paid Search Spring Cleaning series for tips to ensure your paid search efforts are up-to-date.

Check Settings Strategically

Start your paid search spring cleaning by reviewing your account and campaign settings. For example you may find that various ad settings are configured based on previous experimentation and/or findings that have since become outdated. For example, you may have been increasing bids on Fridays because you found that was when conversion rates were highest, but that may no longer be the case. Although it is often beneficial to stick to tactics that have proven successful, it’s important to keep in mind that certain variables can change over time. Review settings to maximize the potential of paid search efforts and make sure your ad campaigns are not based on dated methods.

It’s imperative to keep up with business changes that have an impact on search. As a business evolves, the paid search campaign should mimic those evolutions. A business may expand to a new city or introduce a new product or service line that needs to be reflected in the paid search campaign.

Consider the example of a hotel chain that recently opened its first property in Pittsburgh. Paid search managers may have used “Pittsburgh” as a negative keyword because the business did not have a presence in that area. After opening a Pittsburgh location, however, negative keywords must be adjusted to avoid the accidental exclusion of a previously irrelevant demographic. Check in on these settings and adjust accordingly to align with business changes, goals, or targets.

Ensure Conversion Tracking Is Working

Conversion paid search accounts are typically designed to meet a business goal(s) and track against those goals. You’ll want to make sure conversions you’re optimizing against are working properly. For example, if a defined goal is to get website visitors to fill out a contact form, ensure that both the contact form and conversion tracking are working properly to accurately capture conversions. A snag in either a website or a tracking function can lead to inaccurate results on how a particular strategy is performing.

Sync Tools with Other Programs

Google offers a variety of tools to enhance the efficacy of search marketing. Ensure your Google paid search accounts are synced with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools during your spring cleaning review. When Google Analytics is synced with AdWords, engagement data such as bounce rates and average number of pages per session are displayed within your AdWords dashboard. These additional data points allow you to evaluate and analyze your paid search traffic in a different way.

Align and Refresh Ad Copy

Refreshing ad copy can be a great way to jumpstart an account that has become stale and/or has become misaligned with brand messaging. Changes to brand messaging, or updates to parts of overall brand messaging, may not always be communicated with a paid search team. Checking for outdated ad copy is a beneficial practice that will keep your paid search efforts fresh and relevant to ongoing business objectives.

While performing all these checks, you may also want to carry out some new ad testing. A change in brand messaging provides a great opportunity to test new calls-to-action. Even if brand messaging or business objectives haven’t been updated, different calls-to-action may prove to be more successful than the ones currently in use.

In conclusion, performing a refresh or clean-up on paid search can help boost the overall effectiveness of your search marketing efforts. It’s important to stay current with emerging trends and changes in user behavior that affect how people find and interact with your business online.

What tools do you use for paid search? Do you check for outdated ad copy and test new combinations for your campaigns? Join the discussion in the comments section! And be sure to stay tuned for an expert-level dive into how to conduct a paid search refresh soon!

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