PPC campaigns also have a life of their own. From creation to optimization to reaching your goals to more optimization, PPC campaigns have their own life which needs to be evaluated to determine their effectiveness.
At the beginning of each year, it is a good idea to sit down and evaluate your PPC campaign from several perspectives to ensure that it is still working the way you intended.
Have your goals changed?
The first step to any successful PPC campaign is first to evaluate the goals of the campaign. Usually, when a campaign is first being created, there is thought around success metrics. Questions like “If we accomplish this, we’ve been successful” are bantered around until there is a consensus around what the goals of the campaign should be.
However, businesses change, marketing changes, and new products emerge, and you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Should your goals be changed or modified?
- Are you using the correct success metrics?
- Can you measure everything necessary?
Are you using the correct keywords?
Much has been written about the long tail of keywords. It is important to ensure you are using all of the keywords that are profitable to your campaign. However, the New Year is also the time to evaluate if you should change the matching options your keywords are using.
Evaluate the website where you are sending traffic. Are there new sections? Are there new products? Are there fewer products, meaning you should remove those product-related keywords?
Last, keywords change over time. Not only should you do more keyword research, but if there are keywords you once wrote off as unprofitable, you might consider testing them again to ensure that you still shouldn’t be using them.
Do your ads point to existing landing pages?
Web sites change over time. New pages are added, and other pages are deleted. Are all of your keywords going to pages that still exist? This is a serious question— I’m always amazed at how often I find ad copies going to non-existent pages. It can be useful to run a spider through your destination pages to make sure they still exist.
A quick way to accomplish this:
- Open your account in the AdWords editor
- Export your campaign to a csv file
- Open the file and keep just the destination URLs
- Open the free Xenu or another spider
- Use the check URL list in Xenu
- Find your broken URLs (Note: This technique will not work if your site responds with a 200 code when a 404 page is requested)
Does your ad copy change over time?
If your ads contain items that change, it is time to do an ad copy audit. Do your ads have outdated shipping policies, offers, prices, or discounts? Don’t let a searcher find an incorrect ad copy and have a bad experience with your site because you can no longer match an advertised offer.
The new year is also time to do an ad copy audit. Here are a few Search Engine Land articles from the past year that can help you with this process:
- Anatomy Of Compelling Ad Copy
- Eight Essentials For Crafting Killer Paid Search Ad Copy
- B2B Search Tips: Writing Killer Ads
Do you have old tests still running?
Were you running a basic split test, found some results, decided to let it continue running, and then forgot about it? The new year will bring new opportunities to begin testing again. It’s also time to find any tests that you forgot were running, end them, compute the results (you should have lots of data), and then make sure the results are still relevant.
Once you’ve found your old tests, it’s time to think about new tests. What do you want to learn this year? Map out a few tests that you want to run and then stick to the schedule. You can test anything: ad copy, landing pages, time of day, content match, and so on. Just remember the point of testing is about reaching the consumer. While testing is crucial, it’s also important to note how many tests you can run at once.
What do you want to learn about PPC this year?
- Understand Google AdWords quality score?
- Learn to use some new tools?
- Learn how to optimize a campaign?
- Learn how to block low quality traffic?
A checklist of things to do is a great way to gain perspective if you’re just starting out with your PPC campaign. However, without the knowledge of what all the advice means, it can be difficult to implement all of those suggestions.
Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter all offer PPC certifications. You can learn directly from the engines, or (and I prefer in combination with) attend a marketing conference where you can gain even more knowledge and perspective about running successful PPC campaigns.
It’s a new year
The new year means it’s time to reflect on the old. Don’t let the remnants of your old PPC campaigns get in your way. Conduct a full audit of your PPC campaigns, and adjust the old settings to take advantage of the new PPC features.
Welcome to 2008. Happy new year!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.