Display campaign spring cleaning

The unending wisdom of Martha Stewart tells us that “there are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean.”  In that spirit, PPC Hero’s April series will cover some aspects of your accounts that are worth a good cleaning.  Structure, ads, negatives and more will all be covered.

Many accounts are focused on Search, because it normally performs better than Display. This is especially true for eCommerce and most direct response accounts. That sometimes leads to Display Network campaigns being a hot mess. I’ve inherited my fair share of accounts with Display campaigns that make me want to set the campaigns on fire.

To prevent your Display campaigns from getting so jumbled, I’m going to go over some great ways to clean up your Display Network campaigns. If you haven’t done any deep-dives in your Display campaigns lately- spring cleaning is a great time to start!

Start with what hasn’t been working for a while.

Check your campaigns, ad groups, and targeting methods.

When I sort, under my Display tab in AdWords, by status—I see this:

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 3.11.15 PM

So, there’s all kinds of keywords in my Display campaigns that aren’t doing jack for me. I have the date range set to this year to date, so that’s a long time for nothing to be going on.

My next step is to stretch the time ranges out and just review the keywords to see if there’s a reason to keep them around. Are they seasonal? Did they used to work and you should really get back to trying to test them again? If you have a legit reason for keeping them around—leave them! But otherwise, delete that junk!

Next, check out other targeting methods like placements. You can see in the screen-capture below that I have a placement that has had 0 clicks this year. Now, like with Display keywords: you need to review to see if it needs to stick around. If this placement did well at one point and you have the tolerance in your CPA or ROAS to bid more on the placement, perhaps you just need to increase the bid. But otherwise, this placement should just be deleted. There’s always a chance it can perform better as an automatic target, anyway!

Check out any topics, remarketing lists, ICM, or custom combinations you’re using as well. I don’t have any good examples to show you, but if you’re targeting something that’s not been performing due to either being paused or just not performing, you should consider deleting it. Again: review, review, review before deleting to make sure you’re totally done with it.

Look into what hasn’t been performing well for a while.

You can see in the placement report below that I’ve filtered for all automatic placements that haven’t converted, and this is, again, year-to-date. Anything that has spent over goal without converting should be excluded. This might seem like a “no duh” suggestion, but it’s really easy to miss placement that spend just a little at a time, but over goal over a longer period of time.

A huge part of the impact on your account from spring cleaning should just be looking for those little spending guys that spend a little here and there, so they never show up on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. report—but they’ll show for the poor performing budget hogs they are for way longer time ranges!

Another good filter to run on your targeting methods, keywords, and ad groups in your Display campaigns is anything that has converted over goal. Something that spend just a bit over goal for a conversion in a month might fall off your radar to worry too much about, but something that has spent way over goal for a few conversions for months is something you should really look for during spring cleaning!

Another place to look for stuff to clean in your Display campaigns is the category exclusions.

You’ll get to review all of the categories available and see performance by category. Maybe juvenile content doesn’t spend enough for you to care that it isn’t converting when you review bi weekly or monthly, but year-to-date it’s spent 5x your goal! Exclude that category!

There are a lot of ways to spring clean your Display accounts, and the key is to check for stuff that’s just dead weight and stuff that’s spending without hitting goals. Either way, it’s all stuff that’s bad for you account! Get your account in tip-top shape and ready for bikini season by cutting the fat!