Functional Vs. Performance Paid Search Strategies and Tactics

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

The way I have come to see things, you can take two, sometimes conflicting actions to an account. You can increase functionality or you can drive performance. I’ll emphasize, “sometimes conflicting” because there are certainly many times where making a functional change to an account changes performance. But that’s often not the purpose of the strategy or tactic but just a happy result.


Here are some examples of the two different buckets:


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Often times I see account managers talk more about what they are doing on the functional side vs. performance. Or I’ll see an account where performance is killing it but the client is focused on items they like or don’t like, functionally.


Either situation can create frustration for both sides.  For example, imagine you are a client and every week you hear about how the account is being restructured, embedded negatives are being added to improve keyword mapping, and that settings are being standardized. Performance is good, but let’s say you, the client, look in the account and notice that some ad groups are missing embedded negatives.


The natural reaction for the client will be frustration because things aren’t being done right. This in turn makes the account manager get upset because performance is good and the embedded negatives aren’t going to make a huge difference there.


Because it’s never just about performance, and it’s never just about functionality, it’s important to have a balance of both a good functional account that is hitting performance goals (and continuously improving).


The best-case scenario is to have at least two account managers actively discuss and debate account findings and initiatives. This will create friction as one person suggests a focus on performance and another on function. This is good friction as these are the right things to debate.


If you can’t have two different people on the account you should schedule some time to switch into the different frames of mind. One day, or hour, focus on functional tasks and another on performance drivers. Asking, “if performance was great, what’s the one thing I’d love to make this account more functional,” and “if performance was terrible, what’s the one thing I’d do to make it better” are starters for where to spend your time when you are switching from side to side.