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Key Tips to Ensure PPC Strategy Success

Finding Critical Gaps in Your Paid Search Advertising Strategy Part 2 of 2

Steve Wiideman - President, Wiideman Consulting Group | Wiideman Academy

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In Part 1 of this two-part blog piece we covered the basics of AdWords and the importance of analyzing the gaps in your overall PPC strategy.  As a search engine marketer, it is all too easy to get caught up in the day regiment of optimizing AdWords bids and adding new keyword targets. We call this “obsessing over cost-per-acquisition” rather than exploring new opportunities or digging into the reporting. In order to explore those new opportunities efficiently, below in Part 2 we address three key tips to help guide your PPC strategy to success.

1.  Keywords Are Gold, Search Terms Are Platinum

The first opportunity that can get neglected is the addition or removal of search terms. Without getting into too much detail, search terms are what your customers are actually typing into Google, not necessarily the keyword you are bidding on. It is easy to over-shoot the target by not being specific enough, or ignoring high-performing opportunities available in infrequently viewed reports.

For example, bidding on the broad term “microphone” may trigger your ad when users search for “best mic for under $20” or “blue yeti microphone for webinars”, even if your particular microphone is for the B2B market or specifically designed for musicians and high end stage shows.

     Talk to your team routinely about search term details, asking the following questions:

  • Find any interesting search terms recently?

  • What search terms are currently driving the most sales and/or leads?

  • Did you end up adding any search terms to our strategy or excluding any from triggering our ads? 

Keep the people who monitor AdWords accountable to the Search Term reports, because as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.”

2.  Pay Attention to Geographic-Targeting

Your advertising team has the ability to set the specific country, state, city, region or zip code for precision-targeting. What they might not know is that they also have the ability to exclude low-performing zip codes within a targeted area. Are businesses in Compton, CA buying 3D laser printers? Are businesses in Beverly Hills buying commercial-grade tractors?

Encourage your AdWords manager to review zip code reports monthly and adjust bids or exclude zip codes accordingly. 

Hold your paid search team accountable by asking these questions:

  • What are our top performing zip codes at the moment? Are we giving them an adequate budget?

  • Which zip codes are the lowest performers to-date, and are we going to exclude them or lower the bids?

  • Do we have automated rules in place to throttle bids by zip code performance?

3.  Advocate for Precision Display-Targeting

As an experienced advertiser, your search marketing team has likely created some amazing graphics for banner ads and display networks. They have also likely preselected relevant keywords, topics, and placement opportunities where your ads will appear to the right audience at the right time.

What most advertisers forget are all the various “extras” AdWords likes to throw into the default settings of a campaign targeting their display network. 

Settings such as “show in mobile apps” or “show in videos” can cause thousands of irrelevant impressions, which factor into “Quality Score” ratings and ultimately increase costs.

Your team only needs to review placement detail reports to be enlightened as to settings and targeting that could be bleeding your display campaign’s budget.

Let your team believe you know enough to be dangerous in AdWords by asking:

  • In our placement detail reports, what do you see as the top-performing placements?

  • Did you add the top performers as targeted-placements with specific bids or leave them in the pool?

  • Does our SEO Team have the top placement list so they can plan exclusive campaigns with the publishers?

  • Where did we waste impressions recently? Did you exclude those placements or reduce the bids?

AdWords Needs Leadership as Much as Management

The biggest mistake AdWords advertisers can make is assuming that the experts they hired to manage their campaigns can see the big picture while caught in the cycle of routine tasks. Asking the above big picture questions fosters appreciation from the advertising team, while forcing accountability toward analysis that could prevent excessive spending.

You can easily make a difference to your overall AdWords performance by simply developing a monthly habit of asking the10 minutes’ worth of questions recommended above and in Part 1 of this blog piece. By providing engaging leadership to your AdWords team you will encourage big-picture thinking, fostering successful PPC strategy.

I welcome your comments, and invite you to share this information.

Photo - Steve Wiideman

Steve Wiideman, President
Wiideman Consulting Group
and Wiideman Academy

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