Optimize Your Digital Marketing Optimizations Part 1: PPC

by Kelley Schultz April 5, 2016
April 5, 2016

“Optimize” has truly become a buzzword in the digital landscape and one that is now often used in sales pitches, resumes, and employee to-do lists. But what does it really mean?

By definition, optimize means “to make as effective, perfect, or useful as possible.”

That is a pretty broad definition when it comes to digital marketing efforts, and optimizations differ depending on the digital channel. Rest assured, optimizing digital campaigns is no small feat and often makes a digital marketer feel a bit like a hamster, running round and round in circles.

I like to think of optimization as a 4-part process that gets repeated daily, weekly, and monthly:

  1. Assess the data.
  2. Report the situation.
  3. Implement strategy.
  4. Repeat.

optimize digital marketing

This blog series will go through each channel and discuss what tactics need to be optimized and the schedule of optimizations. For this specific article, we will cover the PPC channel and later articles will cover SEO, social, and display channels.

Optimizing PPC

Building and then optimizing your PPC campaign is a tedious effort. Most accounts have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of unique keywords and match types. All of the keywords need to be categorized accurately into ad groups, and every ad group needs to have relevant ad copy for both desktop and mobile devices. Also, ad groups need to be properly assigned to unique campaigns, as a lot of targeting, budgeting, and bidding options are available only at the campaign level.

Optimizations for PPC accounts happen every day, every week, and every month.

Daily PPC Optimizations

Daily optimizations should be focused on specific keyword bids and campaign budgets. Look at these overall performance metrics on a daily basis: CTR, CPC, CPA.

  • What movement(s) did these metrics make (either up or down), why, and how can you capitalize or alleviate?
  • Do you have keywords getting a lot of clicks, spending budget but not driving any conversions?
  • Inversely, did your campaigns run out of budget early in the day, leaving efficient conversions on the table?

Note: Ensure you are tracking all conversions accurately, including call conversions, or you will be missing the complete picture of how your PPC campaigns perform.

Take action on your account daily to help improve overall performance.

Also be sure to complete daily keyword and landing page checks. Often times the daily keyword and landing page checks find errors the fastest and you can fix anything that looks off with the ad copy matching the query. Specifically, check in on your brand and high value keywords.

Weekly PPC Optimizations

Focus weekly optimizations on expanding and refining your account. Every week (if not more often) look at your search query reports (SQRs) and build up your negative list, but also add more keywords to your account and test them out for the next 7 days and repeat. Accounts shouldn’t be stagnant but rather always refined and expanded upon for optimum growth. Also, when you are pulling SQRs, take a quick gander at your impression share report and note you versus your competitor on a weekly basis.

Another key weekly optimization should be around performance reporting. Measure your data on a weekly basis and compare it against prior weeks.

  • Are the daily optimizations of bids and budgets helping improve overall performance?
  • What are the insights from the prior week and the action plan for the next week?

Be diligent about reporting and don’t miss a week, as the longer you take to derive insight the longer it will take to see results (positive or negative) from your daily efforts. Weekly reporting is a gut check to make sure the day-to-day optimizations are improving the account.

Monthly PPC Optimizations

Daily and weekly optimizations will be the big factor playing into immediate impact, but there are so many optimizations a PPC manager can make that putting some cadence against them is vital for sanity. So, while you can do the below monthly optimizations more often, my advice is to just make sure you get to them once a month at a minimum.

These optimizations include looking at performance metrics by geography, hour, and device, and implement bid modifiers based on conversion rates and CPA. You will be surprised at the way your campaigns differ by geography.

Note: Depending on your business, you should make mobile and hour bid adjustments at the start of your campaign. Just don’t forget to check in on them and adjust as data comes in.

The other big optimizations to make monthly, or bi-weekly depending on impression and click volume, are ad copy check-ins. Be sure to:

  • Pull a complete download of your ads.
  • Pause ads with lower click through rates.
  • Launch new ad variations based on top performers and based on company news.
  • Test and test again.

PPC ad copy is your way of branding your company – be thoughtful and use data to make decisions on your next variations to test.

Now, go jump on that hamster wheel and optimize your accounts – and then do it again. Want more paid search and mobile strategies to drive conversions? Watch this on-demand webinar now.

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