6 Quick PPC Insights, Fixes and Tests

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

PPC accounts can get sideways fast. There also isn’t always the time to dig into the problem at the exact moment that they issue is realized. These are 6 tips that can be used to quickly find a problem or to at least put a good effort forward to improve performance while you are finding the time to dive deeper into the account.


1. Find Trouble Spots with Specific Keywords Using the “Week” Segment.


When I have a big drop in performance I typically find that it is one or two specific ad groups or even keywords that have been affected. A quick way to see which ones is by segmenting by week for a period of at least 30 days and look for campaigns that have a big drop. Then I click into that campaign and find the ad group that has the biggest drop, and then the keyword.  Here’s how I do it:


Look at the past 30 or 60 days in the Campaign view and segment by “Week”.



As I scroll though my campaigns I see one that saw a drastic drop last week. So I click into that campaign and do the same thing (segment by week) for the ad groups.



I see a similar story here with one ad group seeing a reduction in conversion rates of nearly half and a doubling of the CPA. I then click into that ad group and find the keyword with the same story.


From here I have a lot of options depending on my goal:

  1. I can view the Auction Insights option and see if I have new competition.
  2. I can bid down if I can make up volume somewhere else.
  3. I can do an SQR.
  4. I can write new add copy.


Whatever I choose to do, I am going to get the biggest impact by focusing on those few handfuls of keywords that saw the biggest drop week over week.


2. Test Display URL Copy


I often find that Account Managers either really like or really dislike using the display URL to sell addition feature, benefits, or to stuff the ad with the search term one more time. This means that if you look into their accounts either all of their ads are doing this or none of them are. Setting up a test for this is very quick and an often overlooked quick win.


Two ideas to test are:

  1. Test the same ad (your current top performer) with the search term in the display URL (i.e. www.example.com/example) and without it.
  2. Test putting the search term in the display URL compared to a call-to-action in the display URL (i.e. www.example.com/FreeQuote)


Setting up a display URL test is very easy. All you do is copy the best performing ad and change the display URL. Because of that, it’s s simply way to get a lift in an account.


3. Pause All Keywords That Have Spent 4x Your CPA/CPL Goal Without Converting.


This is pretty obvious but often overlooked. You can do a quick filter in the keywords tab looking back for the past 90 days and simply pause all keywords that have spent four times your CPA goal but have 0 conversions. Of course, if you have a strict CPA tolerance then you should probably delete anything that is double or triple CPA goal. I tend to let a keyword go a little longer than that because I find that a keyword that has spent double CPA goal still might get two quick conversions and be within goal.


4. Changing the Call-to-Action Above a Lead Form


Just this past week I saw a lift in conversion rate of 30% simply by change the call to action above the lead form to be more benefit driven then the typical “Contact us now!”

What did I change it to? I simply tested the best performing headline on my best performing ad.


5. Raise Keywords to First Page Bid


This is an oldie but a goodie. It’s also something that is often forgot about as a way to get a quick lift in volume. The way I do this is by going into the AdWords Editor, opening the “Advanced bid changes” option. In one click I can raise everything to page 1 bids, and I can also set a cap, which I always do, to make sure I don’t blow out my CPA!


Advanced PPC bid changes in AdWords Editor


6. Exclude Your Worst Performing State or Country


Many accounts target all of the U.S. and the Account Manager doesn’t go back to insure that every State within the U.S. (or other country) is hitting CPA/CPL targets. Using the dimensions tab it is easy to look across all the states that are driving traffic and then go into the settings tab and adding any States that perform far worse that goal as a negative location.


Finding Best PPC Geo-targets using the dimensions tab


You can see for this client that South Carolina is much worse than other states (triple goal) and that all 4 of these states perform worse than goal. These states could either be added as negative locations or broken out into new campaigns and bid down significantly.