Paid Search (PPC)

Have you ever been really cold, gone to the room temperature controls and whizzed it up to the maximum temperature setting? Or vice versa?

If so, then you’ve probably allowed your emotions to get the better of you and ironically, ended up being opposite the ideal temperature shortly afterwards. If it was slightly too cold or slightly too hot then you would never do such a drastic thing, you’d only make a tiny temperature change, if any.

Knee-Jerk Bidding Decisions

This same principle applies towards bidding in paid advertising on a majority of past account handlers we have found.

If a keyword, product group or banner ad is performing much lower or much higher than expected, then we’ve seen some very knee-jerk decisions to get things back on track. These include doubling or halving bids for example, or putting every bid up or down by a great difference.

This can reverse fortunes and actually cause opposite problems as the bid could now be too low (too little traffic overall) or too high (too little profit per sale) to perform fully. Bidding decisions need to be calculated based on historical data and the best way for this is to use automated bidding, which also saves a huge amount of time, and reduces human error.

On the flip-side, keywords, product groups and banner ads performing close to their targets are often left alone for months on end as many consider them “OK” for now. This may not sound as bad as the knee-jerk reactions to the outliers, but it means that small improvements of say 5-10% are not made, which can really add up if higher volumes of traffic are targetted.

Illogical Targeting Decisions

Emotions can also negatively influence rational decision making, as it can be hard to think clearly if you are worried, angry or stressed.

For example, a lot of smaller businesses online may have phone lines open only from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, or something similar. One worry is to have paid advertising enabled outside of these times in case it wastes ad spend. If a website user can use a contact form or leave a message for the next day, then there is still value in paying for advertising during non-office hours. However, it’s important to use time bid adjustments to reduce bids during these hours accordingly.

An example of bidding out of anger or jealousy may come when a competitor places their ad above yours, thus gaining more daily traffic, and presumably sales. This could make you raise bids to out-rank them again and regain your old position, but this has now lowered your profitability for the ad and could result in the competitor bidding again even higher. With real-time bidding on paid advertising platforms, it’s best to focus on what you can influence in your own playing field: for example, improving click-through-rates, demographic targeting, bid adjustments and the overall effectiveness of the landing page (the conversion rate).

Stress can cause you to fret over PPC performance on a daily basis, and you may make many little changes instead of looking at the bigger picture. It can take a couple of days for revenue or conversion data to show in metrics, so looking at yesterday’s performance will often ring alarm bells as all costs are reported, but revenue or conversions could seem unusually low compared to the norm. Campaigns can be removed before they have a chance to shine if results aren’t statistically significant. For that reason, it’s best to leave things ticking over for a few weeks before stressing out about them, unless they are very clearly under-performing – and even then, it’s best to tone them down rather than delete them altogether.

Lazy Mass Changes

Lazy paid advertising account decisions may arise from several scenarios such as the main account holder personally:

  • Having little time for PPC activities
  • Becoming bored of working on the same PPC account
  • Not knowing the mathematics required
  • Being a lazy person in general!

Laziness may result in large areas of the account being tarnished with the same brush; for example, all keywords having the same bid, all ads being the same apart from one keyword, all device bid adjustments set to -10% for mobiles only, negative keywords only added via the search queries checkboxes etc.

Whole sets of keywords may get a 25% boost one day and a 20% reduction a few days later using the bulk editor based on rule-of-thumb measurements if the account is going well or not.

The way to get around this is to get external help on an account to see where improvements can be made, and ensure that these recommendations are actioned upon in a reasonably short time period. If lazy decisions don’t turn into targeted decisions then it’s time to look for another paid account handler.

Logical Conclusion

The way to stop rash decisions is to be calm and calculated, and the way to stay on target is to look at the bigger picture. Be passionate and always learn, in order to stay on target. If you need help with your paid search campaigns, then get in touch with us today!

 

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