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Jay's an all-around online marketing expert with over 11 years of experience in pay per click, SEO, conversion optimization, affiliate marketing and online communities. He's also a Dad to 3 growing kids. He is 10th percentile in fantasy football on a good year and when he's not working, you can catch him wrestling with his kids.

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Is Your PPC Marketer SMART?

Is your PPC Marketer getting the most bang for your buck? How can you know? Surprisingly, most of the existing PPC campaigns we take over for clients have not be properly set-up and maintained.  The result is a large amount of wasted budget, bidding on keywords or display ad placements which don’t convert.  Read on and I’ll show you how to find out if your PPC marketer is SMART, or just taking you for a ride.

1. Scale

All campaigns will grow and change over time for various reasons, including seasonality, budgets, new campaign launches and more. A PPC campaign that hasn’t changed for months, or years, is a sign to have a closer look.  Some questions to think about:

  • Are you made aware of significant trends in traffic? If you sell a product that is seasonal and the increased traffic periods have not been identified then you’re definitely missing out on key opportunities. Identifying seasonality and changes in buyer behaviour are critical to making your campaign a success.
  • Do you get recommendations from your PPC marketer about opportunities to increase awareness or generate more leads through a budget increase? It’s not always about spending more, but it makes good business sense to allocate additional budget when the ROI is there.

2. Management

There are many elements of paid campaigns that need to be managed daily, weekly, or monthly. Never, ever should campaigns be treated with a “set it and forget it” attitude. Some questions to ask include:

  • Are your ads being split tested?  How often is this done? No ad ever has an everlasting shelf life so ads should be regularly tested and evaluated.
  • Are keywords added regularly as new opportunities arise?  And more importantly, are negative keywords being regularly added in order to ensure that you’re not bidding on keywords which you either wouldn’t want to be associated with, or simply won’t convert? As a rule of thumb, you should expect to see negative keywords added on at least a weekly basis.
  • Are your bids being managed strategically an Ad Group and keyword level?  If all of your bids are the same, you’re wasting money.

3. Advice

Campaigns evolve just like your business does. Often times, we’ll see campaigns move in different directions for a variety of reasons such as changing budgets, ad inventory, or campaign objectives. Recommendations from your PPC manager should be frequent and clearly articulated.

  • Is your PPC marketer pro-active in offering suggestions for improvement before you ask for them? If they are, they obviously have your best interests in mind and are paying close attention to what’s happening in your campaign.
  • When campaigns don’t perform as well as anticipated, does your PPC marketer offer advice regarding what to do next to rectify or adjust? This is important. Campaign performance can vary greatly over time due to many different variables. It’s how your PPC marketer reacts and responds that makes all the difference.

4. Reporting

Reports should tell you a comprehensive, high-level story backed by supporting data. They should be clear, concise and easy to digest while still giving an in-depth look at the state of your campaign. Here are a few questions to think about:

  • Are you getting regularly scheduled reports that are intuitive and informative? Do you have a good understanding of what indicators show that your campaign is performing well, or needs attention?  Ensure that you understand your campaign’s performance so that you can hold your PPC marketer accountable.
  • Do you know what your top performing keywords are? Are you aware of which phrases are eating up the bulk of your budget? You ought to find out! Too often businesses wind up spending exorbitant amounts of money on keywords which are too broad and aren’t the most relevant to their product or service.
  • Have you been told specifically what work was completed during the last reporting period?  You don’t have settle for their word either – you can easily check the “Change History” in Adwords yourself and see for yourself what they’ve been doing.

 5. Testing

Some marketers don’t like this word because it means more work! But without ongoing testing, you’ll never know if your PPC campaign is really being all that it can be.  Here are some simple expectations you should have in terms of campaign testing:

  • Is your PPC manager consistently testing elements of your ads? This is called split testing and it needs to happen often. You should expect to see new ads being tested on a monthly basis.
  • What is your PPC manager’s testing methodology?  A/B tests or multivariate?  Generally, you need a high volume campaign in order to do multivariate testing so if your campaign is spending less than $5000/month, your marketer should be sticking to A/B tests.

By following these tips and questions, you should be able to quickly determine if your PPC Marketer is SMART or just going through the motions.  And if in doubt, have a third party perform an audit.  Unearthing the answers to these questions is actually very easy, but often overlooked.