This is a guest post by Nupur Birla
Most of you PPC Analysts would spend your time in evaluating and optimizing your clients’ accounts periodically for 2 simple and important reasons – Lower Costs & Better ROI! Of course every advertiser has a different goal and hence the optimization techniques involved would differ. It can involve ad copy enhancement, additional keywords to be targeted, more organized campaign structure, strategic changes to bids, etc.
While doing so have you ever been in a total state of confusion on identifying your first step to begin with? Here is a ready checklist to make your in-depth performance analysis faster & simpler.
- Historical Account Performance
You basically run an Account performance report for different durations to ascertain how the account has been performing over the past few years/quarters/months/weeks. It helps you understand if there had been a sudden spike in Conversions/CPA or any other metrics during a given period. Then you could be looking out for all possible reasons for that change. It could be seasonal or due to certain changes in the Adwords campaign like geo-targeting, budget, landing page, incentives, etc
- Campaign Performance
Normally an account is divided into several smaller campaigns. A campaign summary report would help you judge the strong/weak performing campaigns in the account. Have a look at the daily spends of these campaigns to check if any of them meet their daily budget on a regular basis and if there is scope for overall budget reallocation to further boost the number of sales for the account. Dig a little deeper into the ad groups/keywords for these campaigns to see if there are specific set of ad groups or keywords that are responsible for the overall damage/progress of that campaign.
If these are top ticket items, they should be structured in a campaign that can have an uncapped budget.
- Search v/s content
It’s essential to know which network for the account spends the most and is profitable. An account performs differently on both Search and Content network and hence the plan of action would get altered accordingly. The first and foremost step would be to split the Search and Content campaigns for the very basic reason that both the networks function differently. Search is more intent oriented where a user types what he/she is looking for whereas Content is more theme based i.e. your ads get placed against the most relevant content on the sites which are Google’s properties.
The keyword themes need to be tighter and more specific in a Display network campaign compared to Search-based for Google to comprehend your keywords and showcase ads accordingly on the most relevant partner sites.
More competitive & popular are your keywords, higher would be the CPC’s on Search. Similarly, more well-known or niche are the partner sites, the bidding strategy would vary to get ads placed on such websites. Also, bids can be altered at keyword level in Search campaigns whereas in Display campaigns (keyword contextual targeting) the bids are adjusted at ad group level
- Bidding Strategy & Match Types
A recent keyword performance report will help you check the latest positions and competitive bid pricing for all your keywords. It will also help you filter the high/low performing keywords/themes across all your campaigns.
Once the best/worst performing keywords have been filtered out, it’s time to take action against them. You could either pause the worst performing one’s or drastically lower their bids as the first preventive step to bring your CPA under control! Push bids for the stronger one’s gradually (this is one of the very effective techniques to improve the quality score of your keywords!) Make sure that your high converting keywords are active in Exact match type so that you are spending efficiently on more targeted and relevant traffic.
- Placement Performance
Like a keyword performance report, a placement report would assist you in identifying the kind of placements/sites where your ads were displayed. Of course not all these placements would be of relevance to the product you sell or the service you offer. Eliminate the one’s which are of no importance and build out a strategy on integrating the one’s which have significance. A simple solution would be go through the pages of such sites, study the content on these pages and put the URL in the Google Keyword Tool. This will help you discover some completely new keyword themes to target!
Ensure that the campaign has a healthy list of negatives to weed out irrelevant clicks. It’s very simple; run a search query report to identify the kind of searches that triggered ads for the campaign and then keep adding relevant negatives (preferable single word in broad match unless they prevent relevant clicks!) Similarly, negative placements/sites can be deployed after running placement reports.
- Reach of the campaign
The keyword structuring within a campaign can be classified into different categories
- Keywords targeting all products/services (for e.g. wedding shoes, debt settlement, etc)
- Keywords related to your Brand & Competitors (for e.g. wedding4you.com, www wedding4u, etc)
There are various tools to help you identify newer keyword themes. The best one would be the search queries, for a simple reason; they tell you what your potential customers are typing to find you!
- Ad copies
Compare the ads across all relevant ad groups and decide which one had the best CTR’s. Analyze the various elements in your copy that would have driven the CTR’s up and try incorporating those in your new set of ads.
- Landing Pages
Firstly, check if there were multiple landing pages used. If yes, identify the best performing landing pages by comparing their respective conversion rates. You could also attempt to find the best ad copy/landing page combination and try maintaining that arrangement. Perform a brief audit for the pages which seemed to have had a lower conversion rate to discover areas that could be worked upon from the usability perspective.
There are definitely a lot of areas which would have to be looked in detail based on the type of business you advertise for, the way your account has been structured, the history associated to your campaigns/keywords, etc. I hope all of these above pointers would give some direction in executing your thought process in action.
Nupur Birla is a professional writer and blogger, associated with Offshore Ally - A premier virtual assistant and link building company. She has contributed many posts on PPC and other related topics.