I was reading an article about sharks and it got me thinking about PPC management. Sure, most people’s brains may not make that leap, but that’s the way I roll. Sharks have been around for approximately 450 million years. Their survival is not by accident; it is a result of evolutionary instinct combined with aggressive predatory skills. And the one biological aspect of a shark’s anatomy that really got me thinking was the fact they can never stop moving, otherwise water will not flow through their gills and they’ll die (especially for the whale shark). To successfully manage a PPC campaign, you need to have instinct, hunger and never stop moving.

Never stop moving. This thought is a direct response to “set it and forget it” PPC management. The choppy waters of paid search are never calm, they are constantly changing. And you need to be changing and moving accordingly. You have to keep swimming in order to get fresh air into you campaign. The list of account elements that need to be in motion at all times include:

  • Keyword bids: Adjusting your bids as you determine which keywords are your best performers and which are your weak links, as well as which ad position is the “sweet spot” for your ads.
  • Ad texts: Writing and implementing new texts will allow you to continually test your messaging, increase your click-through rate and conversion rate, and your Quality Score.
  • Landing pages: Same as with ad text, you need to always be testing the elements of your landing page. You may have a landing page that works great, but its teeth could always be sharper.
  • New search territory: Yes, you are running campaigns in AdWords, Yahoo and maybe MSN. But don’t be afraid to test new waters with alternative search engines. I can already tell you, any alternative search engine will drive a fraction of the traffic that Google & Yahoo do but it could be worth experimenting.

Stay hungry. Simply breathing shouldn’t be the only reason to remain mobile in your PPC account; hunger should be your motivation too! You may think that your PPC campaign is performing well, that it’s generating a good ROI, and that it’s growing your business – but it can always do better. Complacency can stall the growth of your campaign and you need to stay hungry for better results.

Use your instincts. Sharks can smell blood, and they have a keen sense for finding prey. Following your instincts is a good strategy, as you know your business best. Also, you need to follow your customer’s instincts as well. How do they search? What is the best way to get your product/services in front of them when they are ready to buy? But in this modern life you don’t have to live off of instinct alone, use all of the reporting tools that are at your disposal to make your survival that much easier!

How is the anatomy of your PPC account like that of a shark’s? I’m glad you asked. Here is a quick diagram. As you can see, the head is composed of keyword research & account structure; the mouth is your ad text; the ever-visible dorsal fin is your keyword; and we finish with landing pages and ROI.

pay per advertising diagram

Manage your PPC account like a shark: keep moving, stay hungry and use your instincts (and your customer’s instincts). Over millions of years, sharks have slowly evolved and your PPC campaign needs to keep evolving, because as we know, the strong, smart & fast survive.