In part one of this series, we talked about how getting to know your company and its business is the first step in working with a PPC agency.
In this post, we’ll talk about the second step: the PPC account audit.
The PPC Account Audit
Once we understand your company, we’re ready to do a deep dive into its PPC campaigns, ad groups, keywords, ad copy, etc.
Of course, this assumes the company has run some campaigns and has data to work with. If not, that’s okay too. Sometimes, it’s easier to start with a clean slate than clean up past mistakes.
But if the company does have an active PPC account, we’ll look for three things:
- PPC strategies that are losing money
- PPC strategies that are working but could be improved
- PPC strategies that may or may not be working.
Generally, the first thing we’ll look for are campaigns that are costing the company significant amounts of money with little or no return. You might think these are easy to spot, but that’s not always the case. In fact, it’s not usual for new client teams to proudly show us an ad that’s garnering all kinds of clicks—without realizing that the clicks aren’t converting and are wasting them money!
To accurately calculate PPC ROI, we have to accurately measure the company’s conversions and accurately calculate the conversion value. And if the goal is branding, the question of how to calculate ROI gets even more complex. For these reasons, it’s not hard for a money-losing campaign to masquerade as a money-making campaign or vice versa!. But when we find items we think are wasting money, we’ll consult with you and your team and, often, immediately pause the campaign to stop the bleeding.
More often, our audit will uncover PPC campaigns that ARE working. Your team may be very happy with these campaigns and reluctant to change them. But often, we can find ways to further optimize the returns. After all, if you had a choice of a five or 10 percent increased return, wouldn’t you choose 10?
And finally, we’ll use the audit to identify PPC activities that may or may not be working. (This gets back to our point about ROI complexity.) In these cases, we’ll usually let the activities continue but monitor them closely. Once we have more data, we’ll decide whether to discontinue them, change them or allow them to continue.
It’s All About the Data
We put so much effort into our PPC account audits because we’re big-time believers in data-driven decision making.
Our focus—always—is figuring out what’s making the company money and/or driving its leads. We don’t care if the strategy is innovative and cool—or old school and boring. We’re happy as long as it works and works well!
Consequently, your team might be disappointed when they come to us with a creative campaign idea, and we don’t immediately jump on board. Don’t get us wrong—we’ll listen, of course, and take the ideas seriously. But we’ll also look at what the data tells us.
After all, even though we may agree that the company’s new tagline is super clever and cute—that doesn’t mean we should use it in its PPC campaign.
Creative Strategy Development
Once we have the audit data in hand, we get creative. We’ll brainstorm ideas, look at past strategies and tactics, and refer back to all the ideas that bubbled up in the course of our audit.
And through this process of data gathering, analysis and creative thinking, we’ll develop an overarching strategy for the company’s PPC campaigns. It may be a variation of its existing strategy. Or it may be something entirely new. But whatever it is, it will be a change from what you (or your previous PPC agency) were doing before.
It’s understandable if that makes you and your team nervous. Adopting a new strategy is always risky. There’s no guarantee it will work.
But at the same time, that’s why you hired us. If you wanted things to stay as is, you wouldn’t have called us. But we’re glad you did. Because we’ve found that no matter how good the campaign, there’s always room for improvement. We’ve never yet reviewed a client’s AdWords account and thought, “Yep. Everything looks great here!”
That doesn’t mean we’re going to get everything 100 percent right at the outset. But that’s okay too. Because PPC management is a marathon, not a sprint. And success in PPC depends more on persistent management than brilliant management. Sometimes, adjusting one little detail can turn an entire campaign around.
So persistence in PPC pays off. And that’s what separates us from other agencies. We’re damned stubborn. And we never give up.
In our next blog post in this series, we dive into the PPC account audit in more detail.