Occasionally, clients decide to discontinue the services of their paid search advertising agencies.
Sometimes they intend to let their paid accounts run with minimal oversight or stop their campaigns entirely.
The motivation for this decision can vary.
Sometimes clients are experiencing production issues, and they want to cease advertising temporarily because they’re unable to fulfill the volume of customer orders the ads are generating.
Sometimes the client feels overwhelmed by the number of inquiries — and want to stop advertising until they’ve exhausted all of those leads.
And sometimes, it’s intended as a cost-saving measure. Clients decide to cease PPC activities for several months to “save money.”
But no matter what the reason, letting campaigns run without professional oversight – or shutting them down entirely – can have long-term negative consequences for their advertising and their business.
Here are just a few:
1. Clean Up Costs
At my advertising agency, when clients decline our services only to return in a few months and ask us to start managing their accounts again, it’s like taking on a whole new account.
Basically, we have to go back to the drawing board.
It takes a lot of time to comb through all account settings and make adjustments.
Often, it’s easier (and faster) to simply create new campaigns from scratch.
Because cleaning up accounts or creating new ones takes a lot of time, these activities come with a cost.
In some cases, that cost is more than if we’d just continued to manage the account in the first place.
2. Wasted Ad Spend
When an account is left to run on its own, largely unsupervised, it doesn’t take long for inefficiencies to creep in.
One of the most obvious ways this occurs is in wasted ad spend.
As PPC managers, we monitor our client accounts every day, and one thing we’re constantly looking for is irrelevant PPC traffic.
We’re constantly weeding out search terms that are attracting non-target audiences. Otherwise, clients end up paying for irrelevant clicks.
But if you don’t have good account management, this weeding-out process doesn’t occur, and you end up with wasted ad spend.
As a result, your cost-saving measure of pausing professional account management ends up costing you money.
For example, we once had a client who was a fashion consultant. Her ads started to show up in SERPs for the search phrase “how to become a fashion consultant.”
But she didn’t want to target people who want to get into the fashion business. She wanted to target people who needed her services!
Because her account was being actively managed, we quickly negated those search terms. But without ongoing negative keyword management, she would have ended up paying for a lot of “bad” traffic.
3. Loss of ‘First Mover’ Advantage
Almost every week, Google introduces new AdWords features and refines existing ones.
You only have to check AdWords help to see the many changes that have occurred over the past few months.
When you monitor these changes closely, you can often leverage them to your advantage if you act quickly.
But if you aren’t paying attention (or if your account is paused), you miss out on these opportunities.
By the time you reopen your account and discover them, you’ve missed out on “first mover” advantage.
4. Poor Automatic Adjustments
AdWords changes present another problem for accounts that aren’t being actively managed.
Google’s common practice in AdWords is to announce changes and then assign a deadline for account adjustments.
If you miss the deadline, it’s possible Google will make adjustments on your behalf.
However, the adjustments Google makes for you often aren’t ones you would choose yourself — putting you at a further disadvantage.
5. Missed Opportunities
It’s heartbreaking to open up a client account that’s been left unmonitored and discover missed opportunities.
This most often happens with elements we’ve been testing.
For example, we often test different headlines to see how they perform.
Sometimes, they all perform similarly.
But other times, one headline dramatically outperforms the others.
But because the account wasn’t being managed, this finding wasn’t acted on — and the opportunity was lost.
6. Entrenched Competitors
Clients may decide to pause their campaigns or let them run unsupervised.
But that doesn’t mean their competitors will do the same.
As a result, these clients have to make up a lot of ground when they decide to advertise again.
And they may never catch up with their competitors.
7. Higher Costs per Clicks
When an account is shut down entirely for weeks or months, it’s not unusual to experience higher costs per click when we reopen the account again.
We experienced this recently with a client.
The client decided to stop running all campaigns from September to December 2017.
As you can see in the following August 2017 report, the cost per click was $134 with an average position of 2.0. It was also the top converting campaign.
But in January 2018, the cost per click was $325 with an average position of 2.1!
In other words, in January the cost per click was more than double – for a lower position!
Anything they may have saved in management and account fees in those few months was quickly eaten up by the higher clicks per cost.
8. Sluggish Click Volumes
Another reason not to shutter your PPC accounts is slow click volume.
In some cases, we’ve experienced much lower click volumes when we’ve reopened accounts clients had opted to close.
Alternatives to Shutting Down Your AdWords Account
Given the negative consequences of neglecting PPC management or shutting down accounts entirely, it should be a last resort.
A better approach is to step back and take a broader view of what’s happening.
Maybe there’s something more fundamental going on with your business that needs to be addressed.
For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of leads coming in, then maybe this is an opportunity to grow your business. Maybe it’s time to expand your sales team?
Or if you’re struggling to keep up with order fulfillment, then maybe you need to make changes to your production process.
Regardless, before you take the drastic step of stopping PPC altogether, have an honest conversation with your agency. See what they suggest. They may have an alternative solution you haven’t considered!
So take a serious look at what else you can do before you decide to ignore or shut down your accounts.
Otherwise, you may end up spending more than you saved in the first place.
And you risk losing ground to competitors and missing out on opportunities that won’t come around again.
This article was originally published in Search Engine Journal.