Paid Search (PPC)

When you take over a legacy account there can often be an overwhelming amount of data that you just do not know where to start. Do not fear, here is a handy list of the things that should send the alarm bells ringing. Unfortunately the answer is not always black and white so further analysis will be required they are however as good a place as any to start.

Campaign Types:

As many of you will know there are 2 types of Adwords campaign types, search & display. Whilst both have their benefits I start to worry when I see campaigns set to target both the search and display network within one campaign. The benefits to separate this into 2 campaigns are almost endless but and discussed here.

Ads:

Here I would be specifically looking at the number of ads that are currently active in each ad group. I would recommend having a minimum of 3 ads in each ad group depending on the search volume. Alternatively too many ads can lead to a lack of data being built up. For example if your ad group receives 100 clicks over a month and you have 10 ads running this would give you on average 10 clicks per ad which would not give enough information on how the ad is performing. Alternatively having 3 ads would give you an average of 33 clicks per ad, which whilst still not being enough to fully show the situation gives you a greater idea of performance.

That being said I would recommend having between 3-5 ads running in any ad group at any one time. If you still feel that you need more ads I would suggest you consider splitting the ad group into 2 (or more) based on common themes.

Conversion Tracking:

If you look at an account and do not see any conversions this could mean two things (neither of which are good).

1 – The account does not have conversion tracking.

2 – The traffic is not converting.PPC Warning Sign

Now both of these situations are obviously bad and need to be rectified to make the most of Adwords. If you do not use conversion tracking you are missing out on the opportunity to use more data to make decisions about your Adwords performance. If you do not use e-commerce or an enquiry form consider using pdf downloads or the contact page as conversions.

Day Of The Week:

Can you tell me how valuable a click is to your business on a Saturday and is it more valuable than a Tuesday? Adwords gives you all of this information and more to help adjust your cost per click and budgets to ensure you get the most value from your account. If your account is not using bid adjustments based on the day of the week I would recommend carrying out further analysis to determine how you could use this to your advantage.

Time Of Day:

Similar to before, is the value of a click at 1pm the same as 1am? If you are not currently adjusting yours bids based on the time of day carry out further analysis to identify any potential missed opportunities.

Ad Extensions:

There are mixed views on the overall value of ad extensions to the performance of an Adwords account. One thing that is widely agreed on however is that, simply put, you should be using them. Ad extensions allow you to not only include more information in your ad but also take up a larger area within the search results. This in turn should lead to an increase in your click through rates as well as other benefits linking to better performance within Adwords.

Location Targeting:

Does every click across the country hold the same amount of value to your business? I imagine that they generally do not, use the information you have to introduce location targeting to your account in order to optimise clicks. This does not have to be too detailed it can be as simple as deciding you do not want to target Scotland at all or raise your bids by 10% within the East Midlands, anything you can do that will increase performance based on historic information can only be encouraged.

Search Lost Is Rank:

This might be my favourite metric for getting a top level view of how an account is running. Search lost is rank shows the percentage of times your ads are not shown due to the ad rank not being high enough. A high search lost is rank percentage can indicate either:

1 – Your bids are too low.

2 – Your quality score is poor.

Either way a high percentage search lost is rank represents a lost opportunity of missed impressions and potential business lost.

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