May 26, 2014
This week our blog series is taking a look at the most expensive “set it and forget it” mistakes. Sam, Carrie, Jake and Eric have already warned you about the Display Network, newly ill-performing keywords, sideways Search Partners and runaway Broad match keywords – excellent advice on all fronts! I thought for my contribution, I’d tackle how you can be sure not to lose track of those accounts you’re running outside of Google – even if they’re not the biggest lead/revenue generators.
If only it were possible to generate a consistent and acceptable return on ad spend for every client or brand by running in a single paid search engine…
But it’s not. The biggest engine in the game changes constantly, the searchers using it change their thought processes (almost) as often, and when neither of those things are happening – the specific vertical is shifting (competitors collapsing, cropping up, etc.). Google offers the largest PPC network and most (if not all) advertisers are in that space, as long as they’re allowed to be. The main reason being that’s where the bulk of paid search traffic and searchers can be found, but also because many other paid search engines base their interface(s) off the AdWords platform in some way or another. Its fairly logical follow-up that the bulk of most advertisers’ spend is in Google and as such those campaigns get the most attention. Many account managers gauge their overall account success on Google metrics, as again – it does tend to be where most PPC traffic comes from.
So you say you’re having trouble with (or killing it) in Google – what’s next?
It tends to occur that when Google either begins performing very well or incredibly poorly, additional engines or platforms are given consideration. We’ll go in to the benefits and drawbacks of some of these engines in a second, however it’s widely known that many of them give Account Managers the ability to fill-out their PPC funnel. Some will offer very targeted audiences with low CPAs and high quality leads; and others will have less-targeted or broad audiences, but they give you the ability to open up your brand name to those who don’t quite know they need you just yet. Get those users to your site and in a remarketing list, at minimum, and start building the need and value from there.
Here’s a quick list of some of the engines we see most often in these expansion efforts, in no particular order:
Is it worth it to manage that many additional accounts?
Many of these engines have their pros and cons; some have fairly small audience sizes matched with high conversion rates, where others could have larger networks at their disposal but the engine itself doesn’t tend to convert or push revenue. Additionally, some of these engines allow you to basically copy/paste your successful Google campaign, ad group, or keyword structure to save a little time with your expansion. Quick start-up can be a key factor in choosing which engines become priority for any particular account, especially in situations where Google’s traffic goes away somewhat unexpectedly (new competitor, change in ad policy, etc.). However, you can’t let a swift start or even lower traffic numbers allow you to ignore strategizing or optimizing for these engines. They have the unique ability of sweeping themselves under the rug among the averages, due to the numbers or lack of general understanding of what the engines are for (depending on who is analyzing PPC as a channel).
How can you maintain a properly weighted focus across everything?
There are ways to expand your paid search campaigns in to all these engines and not lose your mind. Some of the very best PPC managers are the busiest, so keeping things time-conscious and easy to maneuver is key. Here are just a few ways you can be sure to weight your account focus according to output, without losing touch with the complementary efforts:
- Use a tool that allows you to aggregate all your accounts in to one platform to monitor, rather than multiple engines to log in to separately. This obviously helps with the time management piece, but if you select the right tool – you can also set parameters on performance goals so your attention is taken to those accounts only when they’re not hitting necessary metrics.
- Expand your front-page reporting to include KPI or goal metrics per engine, not just total averages. Especially if you’re not using a tool like the one mentioned above, this puts the problem child spots right in front of you on a weekly and/or monthly basis. This can also show further transparency and understanding of the full account spectrum in those situations where you’re reporting to higher management or clients.
- As you’re building account MAPs (monthly action plans), be certain to build in specific check points and tasks for all your engines each month. PPC managers love a checklist and hate not completing one, so putting exact tasks on your MAP that are particular to these engines will keep them from slipping away. Make sure they’re precise to-do’s (i.e. ‘Implement new ad copy in LinkedIn campaigns’) and not just included in general account housekeeping, or you’ll end up still focusing only on the big traffic providers.
What are some of the ways you keep multiple engines in check for any given client or brand? Share your experiences and ideas with us in the comments section below!