5 Ways to “Cut the Fat” Out of your PPC account AND Your Body This Spring

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I’ve decided to write a 2-in-1 post on cutting out the fat of your ppc account, and your body if you’re interested in losing weight to shape up this spring. (Disclaimer: in no way, are my tips on cutting the fat from your body literal or endorsed by the food and drug administration :)

With each point on cutting out the fat in your PPC account, I’ll give you one pointer on cutting out the fat from your body. Okay, here we go:

PPC Fat Tip #1:  I can almost guarantee that you are spending money somewhere in your PPC account that isn’t yielding good profits for you.  Start cutting the fat out of your PPC account by adjusting your bids at the keyword level only.  Therefore, don’t assume that just because one ad group has a high spend with minimal conversions that all keywords are performing badly. If you lower your ad group bid at that point you could be cutting out a potentially profitable keyword. Go in at the keyword level, and only lower bids or pause keywords that are spending too much and not giving you the results you need. Even if you have only one keyword active in an ad group then so be it. If that keyword is doing well over time, leave it on!

Body Fat Tip #1: I can also guarantee that most of us have thought of getting into a swimsuit, trunks, or even a mankini this Spring and felt disgust at just the thought of it.  So, my advice to cut the fat out of your body is to not go on a diet like Jenny Craig or Slim Fast. You need to teach yourself how to eat the right kinds of “real” food, not pre-packaged boxed meals, and these programs don’t necessarily help you do that.   Go to www.foodnetwork.com and find recipes’ that use healthy foods that have many benefits like avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries especially – and start experimenting with cooking using these healthy foods.

PPC Fat Tip #2:  Cut out more potential fat from your PPC account by checking the content network, (if you have it running) and see if you’re spending a lot of your budget here without getting many leads or the right kinds of leads.  You can run a report in Google and in Yahoo at the campaign or ad group level that will only show you stats via the content network.  Run this report for an expanded time period and see if the leads you’re getting are in line with your cost-per-lead goal. Sometimes I find there will be one ad group that has spent a ton of money on the content network for some reason and I kick myself for not catching it earlier.  You can either pause the content network at the campaign level or set your bid at the ad group level to $.01 which will basically keep the content network running but at a minimal level.

Body Fat Tip #2:  I should have mentioned that last summer I lost about 25 pounds doing what I’m telling you in this post. So it is known to work, and it did work for me, but may not work for everyone.  Can you remember the last time you worked out? I don’t mean taking a leisure walk or played basketball, although basketball is a great fun sport to play while trying to lose weight.  By working out, I mean you need to feel like you’re about to die half way through, but you’re so motivated that you keep going until the end. Most people don’t have the discipline or motivation to do this, but if you want to lose weight, then you need to do it. If you don’t feel like you’re doing to die, then you’re not working hard enough.

PPC Fat Tip #3:  Using the category exclusion tool is only available in Google AdWords. This tool allows you to specifically allow or block certain types of webpages/content from showing your ads.  If you go to the tools tab in your AdWords account, and click on Site/Category Exclusion, then click on the topics tab, this will show you stats from websites that contain content like conflict and tragedy or edgy content like juvenile, gross, bizarre content or sexually suggestive content.  Of course your ads would only show on these kinds of sites if you are running the content network.  But also types of sites you can cut out are media types like video or embedded video and error pages, parked domains, forums, social networks etc.  You can literally see how much money you have spent on these kids of sites in whatever data range you’d like and see if you have generated any leads from them. If not, cut them out!

Body Fat Tip #3:  In addition to doing regular workouts that make you feel like you’re going to die, you can play other sports when you’re not working out to help burn additional calories.  Great calorie burning sports are football, basketball, tennis and swimming.  If you don’t play sports, just think about doing them with a friend. Remember, if you never leave your comfort zone, you’re not as likely to change and meet your lifelong goals.

PPC Fat Tip #4: Another section of the site and category exclusion tool is the…site exclusion section.  Again, only if you are running your PPC ads on the content network can you do this.  You can run a placement performance report in Google AdWords and find URL’s that are spending but not converting. Once you have your list of urls, you can go back to the tools section, the site/category exclusion tool, then site exclusion and add your list of url’s here so you’re ads no longer display on these domains that aren’t converting well for you.

Body Fat Tip #4:  Part of losing weight is to learn how to eat healthy. Yes, it sucks, but you must do it if you want long-term health benefits.  Learn to eat healthy snacks while you’re sitting at your computer reading PPC blogs.  Remember, in order to lose weight efficiently, you need to burn more calories that you’re putting in.  That means every piece of birthday cake, every M&M, non-diet cola, cupcake, Cheetos or whatever suits you as a mid-day snack need to be replaced with fruit, protein bars, and healthy versions of chips and/or cookies even.  I really like those 100 calorie packs, they’re great and get me over my chocolate cravings!  

PPC Fat Tip #5: Cut out fat by geographic performance. There is also a report in Google as well as MSN that you can run that will tell you how many people visit your site via their geographic location.  If you find there are certain areas of the country or other countries that aren’t performing so hot, you can exclude these countries or states from displaying your ads. Also remember, I wrote a post on this a while back, that Google is now adding Canada as a default location for geo-targeting to each and every new campaign created. So if you know you don’t want Canada added from the beginning, then you must go into your geo-targeting settings and remove them manually.

Body Fat Tip #5: My last tip is probably the most difficult to understand, and implement.  It affects almost everyone I know on a daily basis, especially people in our line of business. Here we go:  Cut out Starbucks sugary drinks! Just a Grande, caramel Frappuccino blended coffee drink with whipped cream is 380 calories.   Try a Caffe Vanilla Light Frappuccino blended coffee instead with no whipped cream for only 140 calories.

In all seriousness, cutting out the fat from your PPC accounts will allow you to spend that money on keywords that are generating good leads for you.  It will not only generate more leads for you, but it could also qualify your leads better, and it will also eliminate unnecessary clicks which can cause your click-through rates to drop as well.  Try cutting out the fat from your PPC account in April, and I almost guarantee you’ll see better results!

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  • http://bytebrite.com Denny Shimkoski

    Chocolate can actually be good for you, assuming it’s flavanol-rich dark chocolate and consumed in small amounts on a regular basis.

    Also, evidence suggests that aspartame actually makes you fat. Besides that, it’s toxic. So you might want to do away with that diet soda! Check out “Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic” on Amazon.

    Thanks for the awesome PPC tips!

  • http://kaindudley.com Kalin Dudley

    Good information, as a PPC Analyst I tend to come across a ton of inherited accounts and “cutting the fat” is always the first strategy that I use. I think that you have a ton of great insights here but I would like to add two more that most people tend to over look.

    First, once I establish where money is being spent and return is suspect, I would run a Search Query Report (3-6 months back) and export it to excel since this data can be overwhelming at first. When I run the report, I exclude all the unnecessary data like ad status, ad copy, destination URL, etc… I only want the keyword level stats. Then I use the data filter on excel to go to the Campaign level first, then ad group level so only the Search Queries in that particular ad group are showing. This makes the data much easier to consume and make decisions off of. Then simply start either adding good long-tail keywords or adding negatives that have high cost to them and are obviously bringing in the wrong type of traffic. I you have any doubt on the quality of a term, don’t touch it until you research the following. 1. run search on Google/Yahoo/MSN and see what types of ads are running. If they are offering the same product, traffic should be qualified you need to then look at your engagement metrics on GA or other Analytic platforms to see if it has a high bounce rate, low avg. page views, etc… you don’t want to kill a term that could be an “assist” term, which may not convert directly but leading to conversions for other terms. If the term has poor engagement, kill it until you can re-visit landing pages, ad copy. Could be you have the wrong landing page in place which is causing it not to convert.

    Next, you should look over your ad copy performance. Another problem I feel most people tend to do is have a set it and forget it mind set to running ad copy testing. If you review your ad copy, you may see one of many problems that cost money with little return:

    1. Ad has high CTR, low conversion rate- If you run your ads on Optimize, this is going to be the ad that gets the majority of your impression share since Google and Yahoo based ad performance on CTR.

    2. Top Ad gets limited impression share- You may run your ads on Rotate Evenly, which is what you should do when testing out your ad copy. However, if you don’t go back to review the performance, you may find your best performing ad is only getting a small fraction of impression share. Sometimes its an obvious difference.

    I hope this helps as well and as always, really enjoy reading the articles you guys provide.

  • http://www.ppchero.com Amber

    @ Wow Kalin, lots of great info here. And yes I agree with all of your tips. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://jabna.com Jabna

    Great post and great additional tips Kalin. # 3 is the one I have neglected most.

    I have found some success too with some campaigns only running on weeknights. I noticed co workers would shop online during the day but wait to purchase at night when they got home. If they pulled their credit card out while at their desk its pretty obvious they aren’t working.

  • http://www.ppchero.com Amber

    @Denny, thanks for that tip!!

    @Jabna, I’ve been skeptical about only running my campaigns during specific days or times merely due to different time zones. I do realize a lot of people do their searches during the day and buy at night…at least that’s what I do ; )

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  • http://adwordsdisasters.blogspot.com Matt

    Nice post Amber !

    I guess nearing an almost dying state while working out goes along with keyword-level bidding! I’m quite surprised none of these pieces of advice relates to the new interface of adwords which dramatically speeds up optimizations such as keyword & site exclusion with integrated search query & placement reports. But maybe are you also waiting for Google’s official rollout for that particular topic :)

    Anyway, you’ve made it to make me feel me guilty now. So i guess i’ll just have to go out running this afternoon. Damn.

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