Why Your PPC Account Isn’t Living Up To Its Potential

By Rachael Law | @Law_Rachael | Account Analyst at Hanapin Marketing

When a PPC account isn’t hitting goals, there can be any number of reasons why. The hard part is figuring out what’s going wrong. Other times, while performance isn’t necessarily bad, it isn’t what it could be. In these instances, there is a lot of opportunity to get the account running to its full potential.


Today, I will go through common themes that I see in either prospective clients, new clients, or accounts that are red most of the time.


1. You Set It And Forget It


No matter how much you might be tempted to, please don’t set up your PPC campaigns and forget about them. They deserve your love and attention.


I often see this scenario as the case for remarketing campaigns. It might work perfectly to begin with, but left unchecked, things might change.


If I just described you, I’ve got a solution for you. Set up a calendar for recurring to-dos and tasks. We even have a checklist of tasks you should be doing. While you don’t necessarily need to be doing manual bid changes every day, consider even setting some automated rules to run every once in a while. And don’t forget to set time aside to really assess performance and strategy every so often.


2. Your Structure Isn’t Optimal


Account structure is so so important guys. Really. Don’t ignore it.


If you have new campaigns/accounts that you are going to launch, but haven’t yet, take the time to really think through your setup here. Think of your account structure like the bread in a PB&J sandwich. The peanut butter and jelly are your keywords/targeting and ads. Without solid slices of bread, the sandwich falls apart. And no one likes a sandwich that falls apart.


If your account is already set up and running, it’s not too late to restructure. Even a minor bit of restructuring can help, whether it’s just a few ad groups or campaigns. Having a proper structure ensures that each query matches to the most relevant keyword, which in turn shows the best ad and landing page experience possible.


Even a minor bit of restructuring can help, whether it’s just a few ad groups or campaigns. Click To Tweet


Is account structure a problem in your account? Let’s ask a few questions.


  • Are your keywords tightly themed into ad groups?
  • Are your match types neatly organized (either at the ad group or campaign level)?
  • Is cross pollution kept to a minimum?
  • Is your budget being optimally allocated between campaigns?


If you answered “no” to any one of these questions, you probably have some room for improvement. If you answered “yes” to all of these, then keep up the great work!


3. You Need More Budget


Sometimes PPC efforts need room to breathe. It’s hard to reach your full potential if you’re constantly capped by budget.


For example, if all of your search campaigns are losing >90% impression share due to budget, you’re only getting 10% of all of the available impressions out there. And since you don’t have enough budget to last you through the day, you’re likely running out of money in the early afternoon. That means that anyone searching in the evening won’t be exposed to your ads. This is a big missed opportunity.


It’s hard to reach your full potential if you’re constantly capped by budget. Click To Tweet


Take a look at the example below. Every campaign is limited by budget, with less than 10% of impression share. When we take a look at performance by time of day, we see that we’re running out of budget for the afternoon and evening.






If you absolutely can’t give these campaigns more budget, then consider using dayparting bid adjustments to save spend for the later hours (and double-check that you’re using standard delivery rather than accelerated).


4. You’re Not Testing


This issue is somewhat similar to the first item, “set it and forget it.” Sure, performance might be okay with what you’ve left running, but it probably isn’t what it could be. If you never test new things, you’ll never know if what you’re currently running is the best possible version.


Here’s a list of potential items to test.


  • Ad copy
  • Landing pages
  • Strategies / new initiatives
  • Bidding methods


You get the idea as the list could go on and on. Along the same lines, you should be running your tests long enough to get statistically significant data. This means that your winner is the actual winner, and the results aren’t just a happy little accident. Even though every test may not be a winner, the learnings and takeaways are just as valuable as a winning test. Trying ideas that don’t work are just as important as finding the winners.


Wrap Up


Even if performance isn’t bad in your account, I recommend taking the time to review your strategy and tactics. If performance is great, look for areas that you can expand into. Whether it’s new platforms or betas, there is always something to test.