Recharge your PPC Profitability
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Recharge your PPC Profitability

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eTail East 2013 Presentation: Top Five ways to Diagnose and Treat a Paid Search Slump. Actionable tips to maximize your Google AdWords profitability.

eTail East 2013 Presentation: Top Five ways to Diagnose and Treat a Paid Search Slump. Actionable tips to maximize your Google AdWords profitability.

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  • Hi everyone! Today I’m going to talk about 5 ways to recharge your PPC profitability.
  • I’m Purna, and I’m the senior marketing manager at Stroll, an ecommerce company in the education and self-help space.
  • Every once in a while, after having worked on an account for several years with successful results, there can come a dreaded slump. Core KPIs just fluctuate without a seeming trend and can be an uphill battle simply to return to the base numbers of the past. You’re frustrated, management is worried, nothing seems to be working and you’re possibly considering making sacrifices to the Google gods in hope of salvation.
  • You don’t need to be a master diagnostician like Dr. House to solve the issue; taking these five key steps will allow you to revive your account. Even if you are not necessarily seeing a dip in profits, proactively performing these steps will help your account operate at peak performance.
  • Key takeaways from this session will be:How to accurately diagnose issuesRecommended treatmentsAnd how to keep your account running at peak performance.
  • Separating out the search and display networks, you can gain a clear understanding of the big picture by looking at the macro trends across each of them. This top-level overview of performance will provide the best roadmap for problem-solving.
  • First, look at the totals for each network as a whole, month over month, for the past 12 months. This will give you the best insights into how your core KPIs such as CTR, CR and CPAs have been trending. Chances are high that you will immediately spot an issue such as a slow, but clear, decline in any of them.
  • For example, a slow decline in conversion rates may be less obvious when you are working on the account month to month; but looking at the last 9 months, you can see how big the dip really has been. Alternatively, response rates may be consistent but you’ll notice a decline in the number of impressions you receive per month, which could mean increased competition or declining impression share reducing your order volume. You can now easily glean the problem areas that need improvement to help you pick up the pace again.
  • Now that you have identified which campaigns to work on and which metrics have been under-performing, you can quickly dig deeper into them to identify the solution.
  • It’s time to have some fun with excel.
  • To do this, pull your data from AdWords by pulling a campaign report by network for the desired timeframe.
  • Then, pretty up the spreadsheet and normalize the trends for months with differing numbers of days in order to really compare apples to apples by adding on:ProfitsOrders per DayProfits per Day
  • Now that you have identified which campaigns to work on and which metrics have been under-performing, you can quickly dig deeper into them to identify the solution.
  • As most PPC managers well know, quality score has a big impact on cost efficiencies as well as ad position. If you find CPCs and thus CPAs creeping up, chances are a large percentage of your impression volume is going to lower quality score keywords. Regularly keeping track of your quality score is a good practice to consistently measure the health of your account.
  • Quality Score determines:If your ad will be shownThe position of the adHow much you pay for the clickIf sitelinks will workIf the ad will be displayed on a content siteWhere on the content site the ad will be shownAnd more…
  • Quality Score determines:If your ad will be shownThe position of the adHow much you pay for the clickIf sitelinks will workIf the ad will be displayed on a content siteWhere on the content site the ad will be shownAnd more…
  • Quality Score determines:If your ad will be shownThe position of the adHow much you pay for the clickIf sitelinks will workIf the ad will be displayed on a content siteWhere on the content site the ad will be shownAnd more…
  • Quality Score determines:If your ad will be shownThe position of the adHow much you pay for the clickIf sitelinks will workIf the ad will be displayed on a content siteWhere on the content site the ad will be shownAnd more…
  • A great tool to easily monitor your quality scores is Tenscores. It’s pretty inexpensive as well, and connects directly to your adwords account.
  • Tenscores has an easy to grid format that lists the campaigns and shows cumulative scored by campaign, which AdWords does not provide, and also shows the impact the quality scores are having on your costs.
  • Alternatively, use excel and pivot tables to gain an understanding of weighted quality scores by campaign. Or another tool I like is by Brad Geddes, who offers a Quality Score Analyzer tool at CertifiedKnowledge.org
  • It’s important to note that though Enhanced campaigns combine desktop and tablet into one, and mobile is automatically enabled, Google continues to track quality score differently for each device type. Unfortunately, we can’t see them, but by keeping an eye on average CPCs and editing ads specifically for mobile, we can aim to further influence QS there.
  • Quality Score determines:If your ad will be shownThe position of the adHow much you pay for the clickIf sitelinks will workIf the ad will be displayed on a content siteWhere on the content site the ad will be shownAnd more…
  • Every so often, especially when things aren’t running as well as they should, it’s good to go back to the start.Take a look at the basics and settings, since often in trying to work on more advanced tactics, the simpler items get missed, when in reality they could have a big impact.
  • Review your negative keywords list, to help you increase your CTR, CR and lower your CPA. Most common issues I’ve come across include too few negatives, which means more irrelevant clicks and wasted money or OTOH, too many negatives which restrict traffic too much, causing you to lose potential clicks and conversions. I’ve also seen examples where a campaign level negative hurting one of the ad groups, or negatives that are really meant to be on a campaign basis added to only one or two of the ad groups in the campaign. Finally inappropriate use of match types when placing in the negative keywords.
  • Review your placements report. Some managed placements could no longer be working as effectively as they once were, or there could be underperforming placements that should be excluded under the automatic placements. I’ve also seen strong placements throttled by low bids. It’s best to prune placements on a continuous basis, once a month at least.
  • Review your ad group set-up. Could your “all” search query report indicate that there is room for additional ad groups with more focused ads? Common issues I’ve seen here are too few ad groups or ad groups with too many themes in them, e.g. as in this example, movie and film should be in separate ad groups. I’ve also seen ads not running or irrelevant ad copy leading to poor performance.
  • Check your campaign settings. The daily budget cap could be limiting you; or the conversion rate variation across devices isn’t properly taken into account. I’ve also seen dayparting and geo-targeting incorrectly set up, or worst of all the same campaign targeting both the search network and the display network.
  • Especially under enhanced campaigns, it’s best to:Review mobile bids carefully turn off mobile if it isn’t converting well for you. The Conversion rates across the devices are very different. Also, since we can no longer separate tablet and desktop, ensure the landing pages are responsive and flash or other elements that could be compromised on tablets are accounted for.
  • Check for any technical errors. Some landing pages might not be working properly, or perhaps the AdWords conversion pixel isn’t firing, which could be a huge problem if you use CPA bidding. Or there could be an error with mobile redirects that are artificially deflating response rates.
  • If you want to manage AdWords keeping the 80-20 rule in mind, then adjusting bids would fall well into the top 20% of things you could do to make an 80% impact.
  • Test out the different bidding options Adwords offers.
  • Test out the different bidding options Adwords offers.
  • Run a report on the top 15% of your highest spend keywords—if the majority of them are unprofitable, then it’s time to review your bidding strategy. Manual bidding, while providing a greater degree of control, can easily get cumbersome with large numbers of keywords. Switching to automated bidding is one of the quickest edits you can make, and the results can really pay off.
  • If your focus is on maximizing clicks, you can test automated bidding to maximize clicks, while letting Google know to stay within a CPC bid limit. Alternatively, you can try enhanced CPC bidding (as long as you have conversion tracking installed), which still works on manual bidding but will adjust your Max CPC bid on the chances of the ad converting.
  • If you have a clear understanding of your ideal CPA, or perhaps the maximum you’d like to pay for each conversion, then consider either target or max CPA bidding. CPA bidding works by using the historical data on a rolling past-30-day basis (with greater emphasis placed on most recent history), to enter you into auctions where and when you are most likely to gain a conversion. It adjusts factors such as your bids, times of day, as well as keywords and placements.
  • For the display network, consider testing the Display Campaign Optimizer (DCO). To use it, simply set a CPA and set up ads in the campaign. Google will do the rest of the work for you to choose different placements and either spend more on winning ones or cut losers and continuously look for additional placements to run. It’s a great way to expand your reach.
  • However, when using automated bidding be careful to:Not change bids too frequently. Especially with CPA bidding the DCO, slower changes to bids work best. The system takes a couple of weeks to really settle in and figure out what works best, so if you must make bids, make them in smaller increments.Keep an eye on response rates. If conversion rates decline, then you can see impression and order volume fall, as the system will bid lower in order to meet the goal CPAs set.
  • Competition: Has there been a new competitor? Are current competitors working heavily on their account and bidding up, thus causing you to lose clicks or perhaps your CPCs to rise? Are they offering a new promotion or deal? Keep a careful eye on your top AdWords competitors, and look for changes to their ads or positions. Use tools such as WhatRunsWhere.com to keep an eye on their display ads or SpyFu.com to track their keywords and text ads. Also check their landing pages frequently, to track any tests they may be running there.
  • Even the most successful ad or landing page can lose its effectiveness over time. Simply, there comes the saturation point when the creative has just been there and done that, and is now past its peak. This is seen even more frequently with image ads on the display network. Carefully analyze the response rates over time and always be testing new creative that you can roll out to keep performance strong.
  • Even the most successful ad or landing page can lose its effectiveness over time. Simply, there comes the saturation point when the creative has just been there and done that, and is now past its peak. This is seen even more frequently with image ads on the display network. Carefully analyze the response rates over time and always be testing new creative that you can roll out to keep performance strong.
  • Key takeaways from this session will be:How to accurately diagnose issuesRecommended treatmentsAnd how to keep your account running at peak performance.
  • Doing a thorough check and audit of the account is recommended on at least a quarterly basis to keep things running smoothly. When working on day-to-day tasks it’s easy to get lost in the trees, and looking at things from a big picture standpoint will help you more clearly see the proverbial forest and create an action plan to keep the profits flowing
  • Thank you very much! Add me on LinkedIn or say hello on Twitter. It’s been a pleasure, thank you for your time.

Recharge your PPC Profitability Recharge your PPC Profitability Presentation Transcript

  • Purna Virji Senior Marketing Manager at Stroll • 7+ years in Search Marketing • Columnist at Search Engine Watch • Speaker at SMX, Affiliate Summit, Moz & More. • Ex-agency, now in-house
  • 3 Every once in a while…
  • 4
  • 5 Key Takeaways: • How to Accurately Diagnose Issues • Recommended Treatments • How to Remain at Peak Performance
  • TIP 1: Go Macro Review macro trends separately for search and display networks. 6
  • 8 • Look at the totals for each network, month over month, for the past 12 months. • Provides the best insights into how core KPIs have been trending. • Immediately spot issues such as a slow, but clear, decline in any KPI.
  • Clearly issues are with the creative: landing page + ad
  • 10 NEXT… Drill a little further down by looking at each of your campaigns in each network individually.
  • Image Source: bilalsarwari.com Not enough to look at past few weeks only for each campaign. Might mean concentrating on too many diff. strategies. Streamline efforts for maximum profit impact.
  • It will look like this: screenshot
  • • Pull Data from AdWords 13
  • - Profits - # of Days in the month - Impressions per day - Clicks per day - Orders per day - Profits per day • Pretty it Up & Normalize Trends by adding: 14
  • Diagnosis: Complete
  • 16 TIP 2: Analyze Quality Score If you find CPCs (& thus CPAs) creeping up, chances are a large %age of your impression volume is going to lower quality score keywords.
  • The Evolution
  • • Systems designed to track if ads were relevant enough to warrant an impression. • CTR carefully tracked. • KWs w/ CTR below 0.5% permanently disabled. • Unhappy advertisers, so evolved. • Introduced minimum bid • Bidding on less relevant terms = more expensive • Hoped that would weed these out. • Competing with the big guys- Overture • Moved from CPM to CPC pricing. • Solution to maximize revenue: Ad Rank= Max. CPC * CTR • Driver of AdWords’ Success
  • • Goal = Great user experience • Biggest driver remains CTR • Other relevancy factors also counted
  • 20 Why is Quality Score Important? Optimize Spend and Reach….BUT • Can provide incredible costs savings • Best to tie into response rate improvement efforts.
  • 21 Impact on Costs CPCs:
  • 22 Impact on Costs CPAs:
  • 23 Quick Facts: • Differs Across Networks • Differs Across Devices • Changes on the Fly • Changes quickly with large CTR changes
  • 24 Easy Option 1: Use a Tool Like Tenscores
  • 25 Scores Campaigns + Shows Consequence
  • - Use pivot tables in excel to manually pull the data (quite simple) Alternatively: - Use Brad Geddes’ Quality Score Analyzer tool at CertifiedKnowledge.org 26
  • Extreme Makeover: Quality Score 27
  • 28 • Separate Low QS keywords into their own ad group. • Re-group ad groups into tighter themes. • Test new ads to improve QS and C-rates. • Landing Page- Bounce Rates + Time on Site Extreme Makeover: Quality Score
  • 29 TIP 3: Going Back to Basics Take a look at the basics, since often in trying to work on more advanced tactics, the simpler items get missed. In reality they could have a big impact.
  • Common Issues: • Too few or too many negatives Negative Keywords 31 Image Source: searchengineland.com • Campaign level affecting ad groups • Inappropriate use of match types
  • Common Issues: • Managed placements deterioration Placements 32 Image Source: wordstream.com • Too many underperforming placements • Strong placements at low bids • Prune once a month at least
  • Common Issues: • Too few ad groups Ad Group Set-up 33 Image Source: imcredo.com • Too many different “themes” in same group • Ad serving issues • Ad copy not relevant
  • 34 Common Issues: • Daily budget cap too low. Campaign Settings • C-rate variation across devices • Dayparting and Geo-targeting incorrectly set-up • Targeting both search and display network
  • 35 Caution with Enhanced Campaigns: • Review mobile bids carefully Campaign Settings • C-rates very different • Can exclude mobile but not tablets • Make landing pages responsive
  • 36 Common Issues: • Landing page errors Technical Issues Image Source: designgala.com • Conversion pixel not firing • Mobile redirect errors
  • TIP 4: Analyze Your Bids The Pareto Principle: Adjusting bids would fall well into the top 20 percent of things you could do to make an 80 percent impact. 37
  • Bidding Options:
  • Flexible Bids: • Located in the Shared Library • Enhanced CPC and Target CPA options exactly the same thing • Target Search Page Location= Similarities to old Position Preference bidding • Maximize Clicks is Automatic Bidding for clicks • Flexible = Can set Strategy & Re-use across other campaigns/ad groups
  • 40 Which Bidding Option to Choose? Image Source: ppchero.com
  • 41 - Test automatic bidding to maximize clicks, while letting Google know to stay within a CPC bid limit. FOCUS: Maximizing Clicks - Or, to focus on clicks with conversion goals in mind, enable enhanced CPC bidding, which will adjust Max CPC bid based on chances of the ad converting.
  • 42 - Consider either target or max. CPA bidding. FOCUS: CPA Goals - Uses historical data on a rolling past–30–day basis (greater emphasis on most recent), to enter you into auctions where & when most likely to convert. - Adjusts for factors such as your bids, times of day, as well as keywords & placements.
  • - Consider testing Display Campaign Optimizer (DCO). 43 FOCUS: Display Network - Select CPA bidding (Target is recommended) and set up ads in the campaign. - Google will then do heavy-lifting to optimize placements & continuously seek new placements to test. - Great way to expand your reach and conversion goals.
  • PROCEED WITH CAUTION! 44 Don’t change bids too frequently.{ } Keep an eye on response rates.{ }
  • 45 TIP 5: Analyze External Factors If the account is looking good but you’re still losing impression share or seeing costs rise, then external factors could be having an effect.
  • 46 Competition - Has there been a new competitor? - Are current competitors optimizing heavily? Recommended Tools: .- WhatRunsWhere.com to keep an eye on their display ads - SpyFu.com to track KWs & text ads. Check competitor landing pages frequently, to track any tests. Keep a careful eye on AdWords competitors & look for changes to their ads or positions.
  • 47 Creative Burnout The bests ads & LPs can lose effectiveness over time. Always be testing new creative that you can roll out to keep performance strong. Image Source: growthgiant.com
  • 48 Company-wide Issue - Talk to other marketing leads. - Potential Reputation issue? - Offer uncompetitive? - Jointly seek solution.
  • 49 In Summary: • Use Macro-Reports regularly. • Pay attention to (but don’t obsess over) Quality Score. • Audit the Basics consistently. • Test Different Bidding Options. • Track the Competitive Landscape.
  • FINAL THOUGHT 50 v v
  • 52 Doing a thorough check and audit of the account is recommended on at least a quarterly basis to keep things running smoothly.
  • 53 Say Hello or Ask Questions Anytime: www.linkedin.com/in/purnavirji www.twitter.com/purnavirji Read More At: www.searchenginewatch.com/author/2499/purna-virji