Ad Copy Clean Up – What to Get Rid of & What to Keep
April 29, 2013
The unending wisdom of Martha Stewart tells us that “there are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean.” In that spirit, PPC Hero’s April series will cover some aspects of your accounts that are worth a good cleaning. Structure, ads, negatives and more will all be covered.
I just recently took a couple of days to go through my own closets and drawers at home in an attempt to rid my apartment of things that have just been “laying around” for the last year. I ended up finding some clothes and jewelry that had been tucked in to a box and forgotten about, and I also found some remnants from my college dorm room that did not need to be taking up space. My point of this seemingly boring story is that spring-cleaning isn’t always just for the purpose of throwing things out that you don’t need anymore. Sometimes, you find things you forgot you had and could absolutely use (or at least should give some TLC to)!
Not only is this my theory when it comes to cleaning up at home, I also apply it to my ad copy spring-cleaning. Certainly, the odds are more weighted towards things that I need to get out of my accounts rather than useful things I can find to use later. However, even with that being the case, there is a time to review your account ad copy…and the time is now! While it’s bright and sunshine-y out and you can keep yourself motivated! Right? Right!
So here are the 6 areas of your account’s ad copy and strategy that you should take some time to review and get under control before summer arrives:
- Ad Settings
- This isn’t just referring to the “typical” ad settings (rotation, delivery method), however you should definitely look in to those, too. With more migration to Enhanced Campaigns happening over the last and next few weeks, it’s imperative to triple check that none of your accepted settings for your ads have been altered. In addition to looking at your ad rotation and delivery method, I would really encourage you to take a look at any dayparting or ad scheduling settings you have in place. When was the last time you pulled this data to confirm that the current settings for time/day are still the best choices? Review what you have set up here and adjust as needed to prevent forcing yourself in to poorer performance simply from outdated data.
- Ad Extensions
- Similar to the ad settings section, I would imagine this is not an area of PPC ad account management that you’ve completely let fall by the wayside. I could venture to guess, however, that you may have given this segment less than the attention it deserves after you placed the initial extension set. Not only have the types of extensions available changed a great deal since last spring, again with Enhanced Campaigns rolling out, some of this functionality is changing and needs a revamp. My biggest pet peeve in this area is when sitelink extensions aren’t tested and rotated out just like the normal ad copy…so if this applies to you, determine what the next two rounds of sitelink tests will be and schedule them TODAY. Also take one of the newer extension types (social, dynamic search, app, etc.) and test one of those out in your account.
- Conclude Pending Tests
- The world of paid search lends itself to things popping up on our daily radar that take our focus off longer-term projects and tasks. Depending on your method, ad copy tests could be one of those things and unless you’ve got some auto-stops set to conclude ad copy tests within the interface itself, you probably need to be manually wrapping up experiments and making decisions on which copy wins and which one gets retired based on performance results. Usually the determining factor on when a test is complete is statistical significance rather than a set time period, which is also how concluding these tests can accidentally slip our minds from time to time if we get busy elsewhere. All I’m pushing with this spring task is to get in your accounts and be sure to conclude any tests that have accumulated enough data to do so. Once you’ve got all your experiments finalized…
- Delete Loser Copy
- …get rid of the losing copy. Of course don’t just hit the delete button and go about your business; download all the data and copy itself for that particular ad and then delete it. This keeps your account clean and easy to manage, but also allows you to maintain all the information for future reference on failed tests and what performance did result from the test despite that ad losing. Really though, there is no reason to have 25 different ad copy variations in an ad group, with all but 2 of them paused, especially if the first 5 or so were from years ago. The odds of any of that copy being usable today is slim to none, so pull the data just in case and get it out of there!
- Start Up Tests in Waiting
- Now that you’ve wrapped up any ad copy tests you had out there that were “over,” and deleted the copy variations that did not do well, it’s time to start the next round! A PPC ad copy tester’s work is never done! Now hopefully you’re utilizing a testing method that has the copy prepped for this round already, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t put off starting this next test until you have time to write new copy. First of all, you’ll never just have time lying around. Secondly, you’ll absolutely forget or get distracted by something else shiny and exciting. Let’s face it – ad copy writing isn’t exactly the most awesome task (though I do love it more than most). So in either instance, either come up with the next round of ad copies to test or implement the ones that are up next from your testing schedule.
- Other Engine Upkeep
- We can say until we’re blue in the face that all PPC search engines should be considered on an even playing field when optimizing or approaching their individual traffic markets, but that is never going to keep us from treating Google like the ultimate engine and then aligning Bing and the other engines up with what we accomplish there. This comes in to play with ad copy often, because we test the new copy in Google, and then duplicate the winners over to Bing, etc. I want to request that you stop doing this RIGHT NOW! For starters, there has been a lot of discussion around how the searchers for Google and Bing in particular have somewhat different qualities and things they look for in their paid search and organic listings…so why use the same message for both just because it worked for one? Even if I can’t encourage you to stop this practice, go make sure you actually carried through with replicating the winning Google messages over to your Bing account.
What else do you try to do at least once a year with your ads and ad copy that keep you on the road to success well after spring has sprung? Share your ideas and suggestions, as well as questions, in the comments section below! Thanks for reading and let us know if you have any topics you would like to see us cover for next month’s series!
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