Tips for Shaking Off PPC Frustration

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

As rose-colored as my glasses may be, I still find myself frustrated at times. In some cases it is due to specific goals that I am working on surpassing. Sometimes it is because ideas are not flowing from me as quickly as they might at other times. And of course, there are always those times where you’re so busy you can’t seem to get caught up. But whatever the reason, frustration doesn’t do a lot of good, especially in PPC.

However, PPC is bound to get you frustrated at one point or another. So here are some tips that can help you shake off the frustration and move forward with what you really want, which is doing really good, profound, meaningful, and smile-inducing work.

Figure Out Where Things Went Wrong

Sometimes, an account’s performance starts trending down, in the bad way, for no apparent reason. But I have found that most of the time I can trace back my step using the Change History tool and see exactly what happened. Mr. Rob Boyd wrote a great post that can assist with this by using Graphs in Google. If you can identify what happened, you can reverse it and you should get back to where you were.

Get Back to PPC Fundamentals

Perhaps the single most important element in mastering the techniques and tactics of racing is experience. But once you have the fundamentals, acquiring the experience is a matter of time. -Greg LeMond

For me, frustration often stems from me not fully-understanding something. It could be not understanding why performance isn’t what I hoped for. It could be knowing what I need to do but since I haven’t done it before I don’t know how I am going to do it. And I am sure there are many other times that I don’t understand something and thus get swept up in frustration.  Getting back to basics helps reduce this, almost immediately.

First, if your account is set up utilizing PPC best practices, it’s going to be easier to manage. So that right there will help. Second, I find that frustration melts away as I take action. So even though I might not be doing something totally original or new, starting with what I know how to do gets my brain moving. And that often does lead to new, frustration-blasting ideas bouncing into my head.

Here are some go-to-fundamentals that can help get you moving and shake off those PPC frustrations:

  • Test some fresh ad copy.
  • Adjust bids based on an “ideal” CPC.
  • Take you top 5 ad groups, by clicks, and break them into 10 smaller, more tightly themed ad groups.
  • Open up your Opportunities tab in the AdWords interface and add some new keywords to your campaigns.

Let Go of the Past

Historical data is fun, yes I am a geek, and can help guide you to make great decisions. It can also tether you to the past and keep you from moving your account forward. That’s because what happened last year, or two years ago, or maybe even 6 months ago might be irrelevant now. And trying to perform like you used to, or find out why keywords no longer work for you might be futile.

Cases where past performance is not the best predictor of the future are:

  • After major account restructures.
  • If a major world event or news story was the primary reason for an increase/decrease in traffic.
  • If you don’t understand what past optimizations occurred or why (if you are new to an account and haven’t been effectively downloaded on the history.)
  • If new competitors with deep pockets show up, or old competitors stop bidding on your terms.

Letting go of past performance and focusing on what’s happening in the here gives you a fresh start. And it’s tough to be frustrated when working from a clean slate.


What about you? Are there any specific frustrations you encounter regarding PPC? What are they, and what do you do about them?