This week, I created the below guide to break account growth down into an easy to digest format. I often see accounts grow to a point of stability and growing beyond that point always seems to be challenging. As an agency, it seems like every time we get together to address growth on a client, we come up with a plan that seems, on the surface, to be unique to that particular client. What I’ve found is that, while the details are always going to be exclusive, the primary strategies rarely change. Because of this, I white boarded out the basis for growth with a few of my team members. Below is what we came up. The key being, don’t over complicate growth. Diagnose what levers you can pull and then pull them. Enjoy!

Three Buckets To Grow:

  1. Gain Impressions– If your impression share isn’t 100%, you have room to grow. Period.
    1. Adding Keywords – Every keyword will have it’s own additive impressions.
    2. Increasing Bids – If you are below first page bid or in lower overall positions.
    3. Improving Quality Score – If you are rarely shown due to low QS or your QS makes your bid price too competitive.
    4. Add campaigns or channels – The more channels, the more impressions and opportunities.
  2. Gain Clicks– This is how you truly “grow” your account.
    1. Everything from impressions plus:
    2. Improving CTR
  3. Gain Conversions– Ultimately what you want to see.
    1. Everything from impressions and clicks plus:
    2. Conversion rate optimization.

The action items for each of the above triggers:

Adding Keywords

  1. Google Keyword Tool
  2. Mine SQRs for targeted keywords
  3. Look through old or paused data, other channels, etc.
  4. Google opportunities tab
  5. Old fashioned keyword research

Increasing Bids

  1. Position analysis and bid increases.
  2. This is typically limited by conversion rates. Understand that relationship.

Improve Quality Score

  1. Silo out your keywords in a more logical manner.
  2. Write better, more relevant ads.
  3. Bring users to more relevant landing pages.
  4. Delete poor performing keywords with poor ctr.
  5. Create new campaign when breaking out existing poor segments. This will give you a better opportunity for higher QS.

Add Campaigns or Channel

  1. Are you doing display? Remarketing? AdCenter? Second or Third Tiers?
  2. Look into horizontal markets for advertising – If you sell a widget, what horizontals can use that widget? Do you have campaigns for all of them? Don’t only target to “widgets.” Also target to “widgets for magicians,” “widgets for farmers,” etc.

Improving CTR

  1. Ad testing – Understand the relationship of CTR and Conversion Rate. They aren’t always linear. True growth is conversion growth.
  2. Eliminate poor keywords that don’t convert and bring down overall CTR.

Conversion Rate Optimization

  1. This is NOT just on page – Test ads and push/pull keywords based around conversion rates.
  2. On page A/B testing – when looking at on-page optimizations, I typically like to reduce the variables within PPC that can contribute to fluctuating conversion rates. Mainly, stop ad testing or adding/reducing keywords.

Understanding PPC Relationships:

Conversion Rates Versus Keyword Positioning – This is absolutely essential to growing an account. Every single account has a cutoff line for success. That cutoff line is controlled by conversion rates. Improve your conversion rates and you’ll have a higher tolerance for keyword bids or success. Double your conversion rate and you should be able to use keywords that previously had CPAs twice as high as desired.

Click Through Rate and Conversion Rate – Ask yourself what true growth on an account is. Do you want more conversions or clicks? We typically want more clicks, which lead to more conversions. However, the highest click through rate ad isn’t always the highest lead/sale-generating ad. You should be striving for both but don’t sacrifice sales volume for click volume.

Putting it all together:

Every campaign is going to have room to grow, diagnosing exactly what each campaign is in need of is going to be the key to unlocking it’s growth potential. Only focus on one item per campaign and work towards improving that particular area. Plot out exactly what each campaign is in need of and generate action items surrounding those needs. Don’t over complicate things and schedule out your tasks so you can remain in control of your growth. Use labels in AdWords, they can make segmentation easier and will also make it easier to check progress. Look at impression share metrics, as this should always play a role in your decisions. Most importantly, diagnose and address your account limitations.