Running a PPC campaign is very dynamic experience. Not only are you trying to interact with users who might be interested in your offer, but you're also bidding against countless competitors. No matter what software or tools you're using to help manage your campaigns, it needs a human touch to navigate all those relationships. So you just have to get in their and get your hands dirty.
There are five habits that all good PPC managers share. Picking them up can bring down your CPC and conversion costs, and bring up your rankings.
Grow Your Keyword List
As your campaigns run, there'll be plenty of data on medium- to long-tail keywords to help you find sources of traffic. In addition to creating new combos of existing, top-performing terms, there are two other ways to expand your list. You can (1) use third party tools such as Keyword Discovery or Google Keyword Tool, and (2) sift through your web logs and identify what users are using to navigate your site.
Similarly, you also want to balance new keyword additions with new negative match terms. Watch for when your ads are being shown for irrelevant search queries, and then add these queries as negative match keywords in your ad groups. It helps keep your conversion costs by sparing you un-targeted clicks.
Always Be Testing...
By testing new ads against your control ads, you can eliminate the poor performers. So always run more than one ad text at once within each ad group. Before you eliminate any keywords, though, double check the statistical significance of your data using a split ad testing tool.
You should also test new landing pages. One great tool for doing split A/B and multivariate testing on your landing pages is Google Website Optimizer. You can also use Google Analytcics to get data on bounce rates and page view times for each landing page.
Before pulling a landing page out of the rotation, though, make sure that the content of both landing page and ad text match one another. Users often immediately leave pages that don't contain information similar to the ad they clicked on..
Keep a Campaign Diary
Trying to understand why clicks suddenly spiked? Or perhaps you recently introduced some new ad text but forgot when that was, or in what ad group. By keeping some kind of log, you'll notice seasonal traffic trends, and avoid repeating past mistakes.
This is even more important if you're advertising on several search publishers at a time. AdWords has the Change History Tool which allows you to see changes made to your account over time, but that doesn't track your campaigns on Yahoo or Bing.
Watch Your Analytics
Google Analytics can clue you into things like why a conversion rate took a dive, whether the new landing page you’re testing is really any better than the old one. By examining bounce rates and average page view times and comparing them against paid traffic performance, you can get a glimpse into anything from the effectiveness of your landing pages to your shopping cart process. GA can also provide other helpful data such as geo-localization, funnel tracking, and site overlay.
Watch the Competition
If your competition suddenly starts outranking you on certain key terms, closely monitor your data over the next few days and take the necessary steps to adjust your ad ranking. First, in addition to increasing your bids, you might want to revise your ad text or add different new match types or variations to your ad groups.
It's also possible that a competitor is featuring in a price-cut in the ad text - and it's good to stay on top of these things. There are even a few paid monitoring services available to monitor the competition's paid and natural rankings of competitors for you.
Clicks & Conversions
Winning the PPC auction without breaking the bank involves (1) bringing down your CPC down, and (2) increasing your ranking. If you're managing multiple campaigns on multiple networks under multiple accounts, then you might need a bid management platform to tracking your CPC across all campaigns. But no automated tool can substitute from intelligent campaign management.
PPC software is great for doing the heavy lifting (like crunching a lot of numbers), but it takes an informed human being to get insight from all those numbers. By taking on the right habit, you can make sure that you cover all your bases, and (2) gain a better understanding of your market's PPC landscape. And the better you know the terrain, the more easily you'll be able navigate it.
Would you like to know more about these subjects? Contact HitSearch on 0845 643 9289. Remember, its a big world, make sure you become visible.