If one thing is certain there will always come a time when we have to troubleshoot the performance of paid search campaigns. As routine as this task is when flustered by a downward spiral it can be easy to miss common pitfalls. Download an easy to use ppc performance troubleshooting template that will organize your analysis and allow for easy collaboration among teams.

My method for analyzing account performance includes a few components:

  • Set the stage
  • Loop in fresh eyes
  • Identify the telling metric
  • Process of Elimination
  • Communicate is key

Having a set method to following helps to organize thoughts and document findings.

Set the Stage & Loop in Fresh Eyes

KPI Overview Tab

The first sheet in the template is a KPI overview. This is designed to help organize data to be shared, but is also provides the opportunity to reflect on performance issues, recent changes and to chart improvements along the way. The big area I try to cover in this document are environmental changes. Is there a new competitor in the landscape? Did the engines announce any significant platform changes similar to their change in match type earlier this year.

This is a great time to share the document with colleagues or industry pals to get a fresh set of eyes on the account. Often times when you are deep in the day to day it is hard to see through the fog. This template is also helpful to provide others with starting points and an area to document the areas reviewed, any major findings or recommendations.

Identify the Metric

Common Performance Issue Tab

The common performance issue tab is not an exhaustive list of performance pitfalls. I use this list as a great way to find rabbit holes. My starter template is broken down into 4 main themes:

  • Conversion rate/ Volume
  • Climate changes/ Traffic changes
  • CTR variances
  • CPC variances

Under each theme are common red flags that help steer the direction on the troubleshooting road map.

Process of Elimination

Troubleshooting Action Plan

Once you have identified what metrics are declining the template includes an action plan that can serve as a guide for to identify potential reasons. The action items range from the most simple, such as reviewing change history, to more complicated analysis, including measuring post click, landing page and creative quality score.

Communication is Key

Whether you work in-house or as part of an agency team communication during performance challenges is most important. This template allows for documentation along the way and full transparency into the areas investigated. Visually laying out steps taken, documenting changes and results will help the team feel confident the proper steps are being taken to correct the course.

Download the template.

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