The following steps will help you make progress, fast and without headaches (though they likely will come later).The most important word here is fast. These tips will give you a quick start to turning around the campaign you have inherited, without having to invest much time. Start with these tips and then move on to our other recommendations.
As we mentioned in the previous sections, more than likely you will focus on Google AdWords first, so that is where we will focus our attention in this section.
If your inherited account has multiple campaigns, you’ll need to check each campaign individually. Thankfully, this remains a relatively painless process.
Budget Options: Check to see if there is a daily budget set. Your daily budget ultimately will determine your daily spend in this campaign. If your daily budget is too low, your ads will stop showing at whenever your daily budget is drained. If your daily budget is too high, or is nonexistent, the chances of a ballooning spend increase significantly. Of course, Google helps you out with a simple “View Recommended Budget” link.
Delivery Method: You have two options here, standard or accelerated. Long story short, if you want to have evenly distributed impressions each day, go with standard delivery. The premise of standard delivery is that you will avoid spending your daily budget too early in the day. Alternatively, you can go with accelerated delivery, which will generate as many impressions as possible until your daily budget is spent. We typically go with accelerated delivery to increase the likelihood of hitting your daily budget. Too often with standard delivery, your daily budget isn’t met. You can tweak this based on other factors, such as keyword bids and ad scheduling.
Networks and Devices: Check to see if each campaign is targeting to Search, Display, or both. Best practice is to split out Search and Display into two separate campaigns to better control budgets. Also check and see on which devices your ads are running; computers, mobile, or tablets.
Scheduling and Serving: Too often you will see “Ad Serving” set to “Optimize,” which Google apparently recommends. However, we sure don’t. It would be pretty hard to split test ads if one ad got twice the traffic as the other one, wouldn’t it? Go with “Rotate.” Optimized ads are for the lazy. Be proactive and accurately split test your ads, continually rotating out the low-performing ads with new variations on a successful formula.
For “Ad Scheduling,” as a rule thumb these settings should not be altered yet. To determine when your ad should and shouldn’t be running requires in-depth reporting that will slow you down. However, this is a tactic you will want to return to at a later date.
Location and Languages: Unless you have some huge international campaign (which would be separated anyway for a myriad of reasons), you are going to have “English” only. The “Locations” option is much more important. Is your client local? Regional? National? This will determine where you want to target. For large PPC accounts, you are probably going to want to target specific states or the whole country. Relevancy is the key here, as someone from San Diego is probably not interested in getting their car serviced by a chain located in the Northeast. You want to get the most bang for your buck, so eliminate unqualified traffic with this option. It is even possible to custom target certain cities or regions, so there is really no excuse not to target your audience accurately.
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