Managing Your PPC Account: 10 Tips for Tip-Top Results -
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Managing Your PPC Account: 10 Tips for Tip-Top Results

PPC Account ManagementSometimes the world of PPC can feel like it’s spinning out of control—and you might be feeling that you’ll never quite get your bearings. But fear not: These 10 tips will help keep you grounded, and help keep your PPC campaigns on the right track.

  1. Utilize free learning resources. The AdWords Editor is an offline editing tool for Google™ AdWords, and it’s a user-friendly and free lifesaver for Google PPC. Although Yahoo!® Search Marketing and Microsoft® adCenter offer similar tools, neither of them currently provide the level of functionality found in the AdWords Editor.

    There are many articles, tutorials, and webinars available online. Just be sure to use reputable sources, such as:

  2. Install conversion tracking. To track the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns, you need to track your conversions. And if you know your revenue-tracking variable, you can track your revenue and ROAS (or “return on ad spend”) as well. To add conversion tracking to your Google AdWords account, go to Tools>Conversions. If you need more help with this step, read my blog article on Google PPC Conversion Tracking for Beginners.
  3. Incorporate a logical account structure. PPC accounts are comprised of campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads. A campaign contains ad groups, and an ad group contains keywords and ads, with keywords and ads being closely related in style. Because well-organized accounts are rewarded with lower costs per click, your account structure should reflect a logical hierarchy.

    For example, if you have an account for your food store, you don’t want to mix terms related to “pickled peppers” with terms related to “porridge.” Instead, you might want to create a campaign for “jar foods” and then create ad groups for each category of jar foods that you sell, including pickled peppers. Next, you might want to create a campaign for “breakfast foods” and then create ad groups for each category of breakfast food that you sell, including porridge. When your ad needs to cover quite a few products, then it’s most likely time to create a new ad group or a new campaign.

  4. Turn off the content network. The content network includes a vast collection of partner sites for a given search engine. Ads shown on such sites are based on keyword theme: The system will scan the theme of a group of keywords and will attempt to place ads on closely related sites. In this case, you aren’t necessarily targeting someone who is in the act of shopping, but that person may very well fit your target market profile and be persuaded to shop in your store once he or she sees your ad.

    For example, if you sell Darth Vader merchandise, you may want to target Star Wars terms so that your ads are placed on websites, blogs, and other venues frequented by Star Wars enthusiasts. By default, the “content network” is typically turned on, but I recommend turning it off for your campaigns. You can turn off the content network within Google AdWords under Settings>Networks and Devices>Networks.

    If or when you decide to explore the content network, I recommend that you set up a separate “content only” campaign (with “search” turned off). For more information, read my blog article on The Google Content Network Gives Small Businesses a Lucrative PPC Option.

  5. Turn off mobile targeting. By default, Google AdWords allows your ads to display on mobile devices, but I recommend turning off that feature within your regular campaigns. You can turn off “mobile targeting” in Google AdWords under Settings>Networks and Devices>Devices. If you do decide to try mobile targeting, I recommend that you set up a separate mobile targeting campaign.
  6. Leverage with multiple types of keyword matches. Google AdWords uses “broad,” “phrase,” and “exact” keyword matches:

    • Broad: Your account keyword can trigger an ad if any one word in that term matches any one word in the searched term.

      your term = women’s fuzzy bunny slippers
      searched term = pictures of glass slippers online

    • Phrase: Your account keyword can trigger an ad if your term is searched with something before or after the term.

      your term = women’s fuzzy bunny slippers
      searched term = sale women’s fuzzy bunny slippers

    • Exact: Your account keyword can trigger an ad if your term is searched exactly as you have it within your account (excluding capitalization, but including punctuation).

      your term = women’s fuzzy bunny slippers
      searched term = Women’s Fuzzy Bunny Slippers

  7. Avoid duplicate keywords. When you’re building your account, it can be very easy to lose track of which keywords are where. In most cases, you don’t want two of the same keywords in your account because, in essence, you’re competing against yourself. Google AdWords provides an easy way to find duplicate keywords within the AdWords Editor. When you find them, you can delete or pause the duplicates under Tools>Find Duplicate Keywords.

    Note: You might have a good reason for using duplicate keywords when it comes to seasonality. For example, if you sell dry ice and you’re using a special Halloween campaign, you may have “dry ice” terms within your year-round campaign as well as your Halloween one—because you want the conversions in any way you can achieve them.

  8. Include negative keywords. “Negative” keyword matches exclude untargeted traffic. So, if you sell rubber chickens but not chicken soup, you may want to add “soup” as a negative keyword. In Google AdWords, negative keywords can be added at the campaign level or the ad group level. Here’s another example: Although “free” can be an effective keyword, you don’t want to use “free” in an ad group if you sell “alcohol-free” skin products.
  9. Test your ads. Just as most of us don’t like only one kind of ice cream, you shouldn’t subject your customers to tasting just one “flavor” of ad. Use at least two ads per ad group, so that you can collect information and then determine which types of messaging and value propositions work best with your customers.

    Google AdWords has a default setting that allows you to show the best performing ads more often. You can also choose to rotate the ads evenly, but I recommend doing that only when you add a new ad to the mix, so that you can give it a proper chance to perform. To change the setting in Google AdWords, go to Settings>Ad Delivery: Ad Rotation, Frequency Capping>Ad Rotation.

  10. Use the right language and location targeting. Be sure that your language and location targeting are appropriate for your target markets. For example, if you’re a U.S. company that only ships to the contiguous United States—i.e., not Hawaii and Alaska—you’re going to want to exclude those two states from your targeted area. Also, if you’re a U.S. company that ships to the entire United States and also Spain and you want to target people in Spain who speak Spanish, you can do so, but remember that your website is in English. If you decide to do any special types of language or location targeting, I recommend that you set up separate geotargeted campaigns accordingly.

When you take the time to incorporate these tips as you manage your PPC account, you’re sure to get the tip-top results you’re looking for in your PPC campaigns. If you have other tips that have worked effectively for you, I’d love to hear your feedback.

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  1. This is great information. While the tips are pretty basic, they are very focused and will work for 99% of users in my opinion.

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