Sometimes when we take on a new client and look at their PPC accounts, it’s clear to see that the accounts haven’t been worked on for some time, or even at all. There isn’t a hard and fast rule on when you should optimise your accounts, but we thought it would be useful to provide our thoughts on what you can do to help get the most out of your accounts and keep them running efficiently.
Of course, there’s lots more that goes in to PPC campaign management and the list below isn’t exhaustive, but it will provide some basic advice on what to look at and when.
It is so important that we check the performance of our accounts every day so that we can quickly spot anything that doesn’t quite look right. Perhaps your payment method has failed and your account has stopped running. Maybe you usually get 20 sales per day but yesterday you got none. Or, perhaps a new campaign has gone live and spend has quadrupled. By looking at the performance every day we’ll be able to spot anything strange that is happening and work on it immediately.
We recommend setting up a Google Ads script or an automated Data Studio report to pull this information into an easily digestible format. Being able to plot performance over the course of the month is preferred, so we can see how we are pacing towards our budget and targets. It’s also vital to see daily performance to easily see the differences between days and spot any anomalies.
Reviewing performance every day gives us a much better idea of what optimisations need to be completed and where our time should be spent.
A search query report (SQR) shows us exactly what users are typing into the search engine that is triggering our ad to show. It is best practice to review these queries regularly to see where budget is being spent and to negate anything that we don’t want to appear for. Generally, we should run SQRs a couple of times a week, but this does depend on the size of your account and the keyword match types being used. For example, if you only bid on a handful of keywords, you may only need to run an SQR once a week. If you have a large, complicated account with lots of keywords, you may need to run these SQRs every day on different campaigns in the account. We’d recommend running these as regularly as you need to, but certainly don’t leave the account for more than a week without running an SQR on the top traffic driving keywords.
Once an SQR has been assessed, you can add positive and negative keywords to your account to optimise performance. Adding negatives can help save budget that would have been spent on searches that we don’t want to appear for. Adding positive keywords will ensure ‘good’ queries are added into the account, allowing us to manage bids on that specific keyword.
One of the most important tasks to help drive performance of an account is bid optimisations. As long as your account is using manual bidding, you’ll spend some time each week optimising bids to get the most out of your account.
Bid optimisations can be done at many levels, including keyword, device, location and time of day. It is vital that you analyse performance of each of the different optimisation levers before making bid adjustments. For example, if you see that a particular keyword is driving lots of sales and has a low impression share, you can increase the bids to get more from it. Similarly, if you see that users don’t engage with your website between 9pm – 6am, you can add negative bid adjustments or exclude your ads from showing during this time.
The aim of any PPC account should be to use the budget in the areas that are driving KPIs for your clients. Therefore, assess these levers in relation to the KPIs and make the necessary optimisations.
Your campaign budgets should be at a level where you aren’t limited by budget. This means that your budgets aren’t big enough to cover the search demand in that campaign and your ads will stop serving at some point during the day. This can happen for a number of reasons including an increase in search demand or more competitors entering the auction resulting in an increase in CPCs.
We should check our campaigns as often as possible, but at least once a week to ensure we are not limited by budget. It’s unlikely that the status of this will change often, but it’s always good to ensure that campaign budget management is on your list of daily and weekly checks.
Aside from budgets and bidding, it is also important to consider the quality score of your keywords. Quality score has a direct influence on account performance. The higher your quality score, the lower cost per click you will achieve and in turn, the better your account performance will be.
As a monthly task, it is wise to analyse the quality score of your top performing or top spending keywords to see if you can make improvements and get better results. You may need to improve the ad copy, implement ad extensions or make changes to the landing page. When changes have been made, be sure to check back to see if quality score has improved and if CPCs have reduced.
Getting into good habits and assessing your account performance every day will make the management and optimisation process a breeze. By checking in every day, you’ll be able to spot anything that looks strange and get a feel for how your account performs over the course of the week and month.
Making changes to your account to gain efficiencies and help drive your KPIs is so important to the overall performance of your account, but, be sure not to over-optimise. Make changes to drive improvements and check back a few days later to see what impact they have had. If further changes need to be made, then go ahead, but we shouldn’t be optimising the same keyword on a daily basis.
If you need any help or support in managing your PPC accounts, reach out to a member of the Koozai team.