The Seven Best PPC Learnings from January 2013

To wrap up January, we wanted to look back at what happened this month and the best things that came out of it.  After polling the office, here’s what the staff of PPC Hero considered their best lessons from the month.

A continued source of learning for me, and this month was no different, is product listing ads. They can get otherwise unknown, small sites SO MUCH traffic if done correctly. But another problem is that these small, unknown sites are normally pretty tight on their budgets. So,while there are a lot of people out there that advise SKU level bidding (which is great if you have a handful of products and can memorize SKU numbers), I discovered searching through my PLA search queries to see how different product segments perform can help me identify what I should really be targeting by. Maybe any search term with a certain product name performs really well. I could make a new PLA campaign to prevent it being slowed by budget and have just one target, which will target this product name. Step 3: Profit!!!

This month was all about Facebook for me. Not only did I learn that they will lock you out of your own account if they sense even the slightest security breach (learned this the hard way…), but I also learned that conversion tracking is now integrated directly into the Facebook interface. For those of you familiar with Facebook’s tracking previously, I’m sure you can relate here. Prior to this change, you couldn’t track desired actions without manually tagging your URLs for Analytics. However, that is no longer the case! It will be interesting to see how this evolves in the coming months, but I’m glad to see that this issue was finally addressed on Facebook’s end.

I learned all about AdWords Scripts, which was so enlightening that I felt compelled to make an entire post about it.  They run the gamut from custom keyword performance reports, ad performance reviews, and custom Quality Score tracking – and that’s just what I’ve learned from my brief experience with them.  I’m looking forward to exploring the automation, reporting, and analytical opportunities made possible through their use, and so should you!

I learned that duplicating a campaign and targeting one version to “Physical Location” and the other to “Location of Interest” can lead to greater insights and more distinct management of the KPI’s then having both grouped together. Obviously this makes the largest difference for campaigns that make heavy use of geo targeting, such as businesses with a physical location that they want to drive foot traffic to.

This month I learned that ad copy changes that seem as if they will obviously be beneficial for CTR or conversion rate, don’t always work. A couple months ago, I added some more targeted messaging to my international campaigns’ ad copy to try and increase more qualified ad clicks. While I didn’t necessarily see a drastic change in performance either way, the change certainly didn’t help as I thought it would. Due to other performance issues and ROI also being too low on those leads, said campaigns have since been paused this month.

My ad testing methodology really improved this month using the Jeff Allen’s patented ad testing matrix. Even though leaving tests until they are completed to statistical significance makes a lot of sense in theory, I’ve found that setting up weekly times to download and review my ad copy + having the new copy for the next 5 tests planned in advance has really helped. By doing this I’ve been much better about identifying poor ad copy that was dragging my CTRs and CRs down, and also at reporting on findings to my clients who can get a much clearer picture of all the work going on in their accounts.

The best thing for me this month was definitely attribution modeling though Google Analytics.  We’d all applied to get whitelisted into the beta back in 2012, but when it finally appeared in our accounts I caused quite an uproar in the office with my excited celebration (which may or may not have led to a new vocal character that we all refer to as “The Prospector”).  I spent a good portion of January learning about what it has to offer and then conveying that to my clients, but the best part is that I’ve only just begun discovering what to do with it.  Seeing how campaigns interact with one another is fascinating, and it’s yet another report under the Multi Channel Funnels drop down in GA that is well worth a visit.