It’s a busy time of year.  There are so many products you want to sell, so many bids that need to be changed, so much ad text you need to refine.  We here are PPC Hero have thought that you might be able to benefit from some of our own personal time savers.  Spoiler alert: we’re very into templates.  Think of it like an early present, but the best kind of present: knowledge.

(Special thanks to Dave for giving two tips.  Now that’s some holiday cheer.)

My favorite time saving tip, whether around the holidays or anytime throughout the year, is hands down (borderline) obsessive to-do listing. I’ve written about this compulsion of mine before, but I stand by it whole-heartedly so I think it’s worth repeating! Basically, I make multiple to-do lists at different levels to make sure nothing falls off my radar and to keep me from scrambling around every morning in an attempt to decide where my day is headed. I put all actionable tasks in my email calendar as they come up. I also keep a legal pad with a ‘running’ to-do list so I can have a double check of my calendar. Then each week and day, I pull things off the legal pad list and my email calendar. This takes about 5 minutes each morning and saves me time throughout the day and week and ensures all my tasks get tackled on schedule.

One thing I do to save time is work on PPC accounts first thing in the morning before I even get ready for work. I find that I wake up with a lot of clarity on what needs to be done and that there isn’t anyone around yet to slow my work down! Beyond just the timing for when I do PPC, another time saving tip is to spend 15-20 minutes before you do your task thinking through the end result and determining if it is something you can create a template for. For example, if you sell a product where most of the keyword qualifiers are always going to be the same, I’ll create a template to use any time a new brand or product is offered by my client. It takes a bit more time the first time around but speeds things up on all the future keyword additions.

I usually get the task of perpetual keyword research and building out new accounts, so I’ve found that the best way for me to save time doing this is through the use of templates and a scratch spreadsheet to keep track of your work.  I’ve been a big fan of Sam’s old post.

When a client asks you to expand in to two new verticals in the span of a single week, having a solid, proven foundation to work with can make all the difference in the world when you’re tasked with meeting tight deadlines.  Keeping a separate spreadsheet on hand to work through your thoughts on a new account structure will keep your ad groups tight and your Quality Scores high!  Well, it does if you’re a scatterbrain like me, at least.

As we discuss our favorite time-saving tips around the holidays, I’ve found two items to be particularly helpful:

1.  AdWords Graph Analysis

One of my good friends and former colleagues wrote about this concept back in January of this year and it’s made an impact on the way I approach PPC performance analysis ever since. Essentially, this tactic involves getting to know your AdWords graphing options forward and backward. They’re incredibly powerful and have the ability to provide a visual understanding of when your account is taking off or tanking. This way, we can diagnose steep inclines and/or declines in performance from a variety of metrics. Perhaps sales are down and you’re wondering why? You might consider toggling the graph metrics to take a look at clicks and impressions, for example, to see if that’s where you’re falling short. When the holidays come around each year, having the ability to respond quickly becomes quintessential, as many ecommerce clients today rely heavily on performance this time of year.

2.    Re-thinking Delivery Settings On Top-Performing Campaigns

This has been incredibly helpful for me in recent months with the onset of the holiday season. As many of you already know, some campaigns simply perform better than others. Branded campaigns, for example, tend to boast better conversion rates compared to others. I’ve found that you can receive a nice performance boost when you opt into “Accelerated Delivery” for your top-performing campaigns. This feature will enable you to capture as many impressions as possible, rather than spreading out impressions throughout the day. Remember to keep a close eye on your budget though, as your account will likely spend it more quickly than accustomed.

I’m a big fan of using templates in Excel to build out your new campaigns or ad tests. In a previous post (that Eric wrote about earlier) I spoke about how much easier it is to quickly set up new campaigns once you have a robust template in place. It requires some up front investment and effort but in the long run makes things much faster. I’ve found this particularly useful with ecommerce accounts where I might be adding new product campaigns all the time that all have very similar keyword lists.

Having templates for ad testing also saves you a ton of time. Not only can you copy and paste all your URLs and similar description lines, but also you can ensure your tests are organized much more efficiently. You can set up the same 2-3 similar sets of ad copy, tweaked for relevancy, to run across all your ad groups, enabling you to collect data much faster. You can do things like find out if your display URL does better with or without a subdomain this way.

Something that I’ve found helpful over the holiday season is based off of Kayla’s post about using the editor with campaign experiments.  Over holiday weekends, you’re going to want to raise/lower your bids based on lead quality and your industry.  It’s not ideal to hack/jack up all of your bids for four days, as that could cause some problems when it comes time to revert them.  If you set up experiments with your existing campaigns then you can have the ACE do all of the hard work/timing for you.  Over Thanksgiving one of my lead gen clients shut their call center down.  They still wanted leads, but they knew that they wouldn’t be as valuable since their sales staff wouldn’t be able to call them right away.  I set up experiments for all of my campaigns with a 10% control/90% variable split, then set experimental bids with a 56% reduction (I needed more than 50% to account for the 10% control that would still be at full bids).  When I came back on Monday, I saw a low volume, but low CPL weekend: exactly what I was looking for.  And since the date range on my experiment had already ended, Monday’s performance was right back to previous levels.

Most of my clients are eCommerce clients, so the holidays are bonkers busy. It’s also the time when all of those client contacts that had been ignoring your emails and missing your calls decide to call/email you 50 times a day. “Oh hey, did you know about these new products we got a month ago and I never told you about?”  The biggest time saver in these situations to me is templating. I’ve made one for product-specific stuff that lets me get product-specific items up in 1/3 the time it would take normally. Putting adjective 1 product 1, etc let’s me find and replace to my heart’s content. I wrote an article about using templates for ad writing, so you can get some great information there about how to set up the ads for all these new campaigns your clients want done NOW!  I recommend you read the comments, there’s lots of great pointers in there!