How to Jump Start Your PPC Account for Next Year

By Diane Chelius | @DianeChelius | Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

As we are closing down the year, this is a great time to go through and audit your account to prepare for the next year. In the last few months, everyone is trying to achieve year-end goals, take advantage of seasonal traffic, and to plan out their paid search strategy for January.  While pushing towards the end of the year finish line, sometimes the everyday maintenance takes a backseat in order to tackle some hefty goals. In this article, we are going to discuss some great housekeeping tips to help your account get a jump start in January and get your account squeaky clean!

Cleaning until squeaky clean

When you are auditing an account, it is easy to go down a spiral to pull reports for the sake of reports. Here is a list of tasks to look at to make sure that your account is where it needs to be and could provide you with new tests for next year.

  • General Settings
  • Ad Extensions
  • Keywords

General Settings

Now it is time to get down to business and take a deep dive into our accounts. Whenever I am auditing an account I work on frequently I have to pretend that this is the first time I have ever seen this account and that there are areas that need to be tuned up. The best place to start is the campaign settings and look at Ad rotation.

During the past year, you might have added a lot of new campaigns for a new promo, product, or location and kept your settings to default. Look at your older performing campaigns and see if you need to switch your rotation to optimize, optimize for conversions, or not to optimize at all. Mary Hartman wrote about ad rotation in more depth with “The End of 2 Ads per Ad Group: Optimized Rotation Means More Ad Variety and Volume.” Take notes about the variations of this setting and if you should test switching to another option.

After looking at ad rotations, take note of which campaigns are using Search partners, what your delivery method is, and your targeting method. Often these settings are checked when you get a new account and not touched again. Allow yourself to explore this area of the account and analyze if you should switch any of these settings around.

Ad Extensions

Extensions are another place where you might look at when you first go through your account but don’t return to as often to keep up with other account growing tasks. Take some time to check out if there are any newer ad extensions types that you could utilize. Adwords has been rolling out newer ones, such as promotion extensions, and your account might benefit from these newer extensions. I prefer auditing my extensions through the Adwords Editor so I can see at a glance which campaigns are missing any extensions. Your newer campaigns might not have a call extension and it is easy to quickly add it in the extension on a campaign level. Here is a list of the current extensions Adwords allow and see if there are any new ones to implement.

Keywords

Going through Search Query reports to look for new keywords is done frequently, and Alaina Thompson has written about “Easy-To-Build Pivot Tables for Quick SQRs” on how to use this report for keyword expansion and for eliminating wasted spend. But when auditing, look at how many keywords are in each ad group and see if you need to make more granular ad groups. When you have too many keywords in an ad group, it could lower the overall quality score since the keywords may not all fit the ad copy in that group. You might notice you need to regroup some of your keywords and freshen up ad copy to make your keywords more relevant to your copy.

Popular keywords

Final Thoughts

By auditing the account like it was your first time you have ever seen the account, you might find some quick tweaks and new ideas on how to start the new year. When auditing, it is easy to go down the rabbit hole and start looking at everything such as every campaign setting, ad extension, account structure, and keywords. This list is just your personal starting block on where to begin and you could find yourself going through bid modifications by device or by changing the targeting type of your audiences in your remarketing campaigns. Let yourself go through this rabbit hole for a bit, but make sure that you are come up for air during your audit and take notes on what you have seen and ideas of what to test. After an audit, don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to make changes all at once, make a list of what would have the most impact on the account and implement those changes first. This year might be quickly coming to an end, but we have a whole new year of PPC ahead of us to test ideas you may have found while auditing your account.

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