So you inherited a PPC account. You took charge of things, won the client over, and planned and executed your account-wide optimization. Things should be going swimmingly, but suddenly you realize that the account isn’t performing as you had planned, and worse yet, you aren’t reaching your goals. What do you do?
First of all-DON’T PANIC! Take a deep breath and allow yourself to think about the situation logically and objectively. Second, pick up the phone and contact your client. Explain the situation to them, and be honest. You’ve been keeping track of the changes you’ve made, and have kept the client up-to-date throughout your relationship-so they know you’ve been working hard on their account and will work with them to get things fixed. Just remember that no matter what’s going on, you must keep the lines of communication open between you and your client.
With your breathing back to normal and the client brought up to speed, now it is time to begin troubleshooting the account. Start by reviewing the basics. Have you mistakenly lowered budgets? Check geo-targeting and language settings. What about network targeting? Refer to your management notes to see if you changed your usage of search, search network, and content network targeting. When you created new campaigns, did you forget to reset your Ad Delivery Method settings to Accelerated instead of Standard?
If your account settings are all in place, begin pulling keyword reports. Compare keyword performance from the date you began your account optimization to the present compared to the same number of days/weeks/months prior to the optimization. Starting with keywords will allow you to work backwards into the other changes you made-regardless of the new ad groups and campaigns.
Look at which keywords are suffering in your new optimization plans. Use this as your starting point, then work back to the changes you made surrounding those keywords. Did the keyword get moved into a new campaign or ad group? Did you copy the best ad text from the old ad group to accompany the keyword to its new home? Or did you forget and write all new ads? Worse yet, did you get impatient and move ALL of your keywords at once? Looking for these small clues will help you determine if you’ve reset your Quality Scores throughout the account-in which case, you will have to be patient as your account reassesses and rebuilds your Quality Score .
Another good place to look is your landing page usage. Did your optimization plan involve switching landing pages? It could be that your new landing pages just don’t work as well. One area that can trip up PPC managers during an optimization is bid adjustments. It’s not unusual to accidentally lower (or increase) bids from the ad group level when shuffling your account around in an optimization. It could be that your keywords are now under (or over) spending due to their bids, thus throwing of your performance goals.
Once you’ve pinned down the problem, it’s time to figure out a plan of action to fix it. Discuss your plans with your client and make sure they are on board. Implement your changes and continue to review, troubleshoot, and tweak until the account is back up and running. Just remember: don’t panic, keep your client informed, and methodically troubleshoot your account until the problem has been found-and fixed.