Sometimes the world can be overwhelming – this year, in particular, has taught us all that. We recognise the need to take a step back from work, relax and readjust, and come back feeling refreshed. But if you run PPC campaigns single-handedly, how can you do that without everything you’ve worked hard for crashing down around you?
I think you deserve a break, so here are my top 5 tips for taking a PPC holiday without disaster striking.
1. Organizing your suitcase
Just as you would prepare for your trip by packing a bag, preparing your PPC accounts for your departure is highly important. If you don’t spend time thinking about what you’re packing, that’s how you end up going swimming in your pants.
Organization is what will allow you to relax during your break because you know everything is being taken care of. Choose to take a break when things are naturally quieter for you; with so many holiday events coming up, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don’t try and give yourself too much to do by going away around an already stressful time.
Make sure you’ve got the basics covered: are your email permissions turned on so anything urgent comes straight to your inbox? Spend some time looking at the foundations of your ad campaigns – if they’re done well then you reduce the chances of running into any problems. Also, be sure to remove any time-specific offers before you leave as you won’t be around to make adjustments after they’re finished.
For added peace of mind, I recommend downloading the app version of your ad manager. Whether that be the Google Ads app or Facebook Ads Manager app, having a quick and easy way to check in on how things are going if you really feel the need will make everything a lot less stressful. The fact many of these apps have limited functionality will work in your favor too as it’ll stop you from getting drawn into making optimal CPC changes and ruining your break.
2. Run things at the right times
A good way to set up hands-off ad management is to utilise ad scheduling. By ensuring that your ads are only running on set days and times, you can focus your resources on your optimal performance times.
Furthermore, use the ad duration feature for ads or extensions which you may only want running for a set length of time, such as Black Friday weekend. This will make it easy for you to structure what you want running and when. If you have campaigns spread across multiple platforms, performance times will vary as different platforms have unique user habits. Creating a schedule for your absence which takes these into account will allow you to leave a smart plan in charge for a few days.
3. Setting house rules
Just like you would if you were leaving a teenager home alone, don’t leave without setting some strict ground rules. Rules are a great way to set in stone a level of control which will ensure things go smoothly when you can’t be there.
Rules I recommend setting up include:
- Budget caps
Depending on what time of the month you’re looking to take a break, and for how long, there are a variety of different rules that may suit you. For instance, setting up a rule that pauses campaigns that have spent a certain budget partway through the month will ensure you don’t overspend in the first half. Other options include an overall budget cap or receiving alerts if you spend over half the daily budget before lunchtime.
Either way, putting some rules in place will make sure you don’t overspend.
- Broken URLs
Set up a rule to pause campaigns which use a URL for a page that’s not working – that way, if a page of your site goes down, you won’t be wasting budget or making a bad impression to new customers.
- Under and overperformers
Just because you’re away from your computer doesn’t mean you can’t be optimizing your ads. Set rules which pause underperforming campaigns so you can look at how to make improvements when you get back. Similarly, allow a rule to increase the budget of a campaign which is knocking things out the park – you want to be able to bring in as many leads as you can, especially as you won’t be present to make real-time changes.
- Optimal CPA
Do you know your ideal cost-per-acquisition? Knowing the lifetime value of your customer is important at all times, but particularly when you’re thinking of having some time off. By having a rule which adjusts your keyword bids based on their cost-per-conversion, your ads will be much more manageable and it’ll be easier to stay on track. This rule will not only help you to maximise the number of conversions you can get but ensure they’re at a sensible price.
There are lots of different automation rules out there that can manage things on your behalf. Be sure not to set up any which contrast against one another. If possible, create your automation rules in the same place for all your platforms so you can clearly see what’s going on.
4. Use automation tools
Make life easier for yourself and use a platform which does everything in one place. If you have Google, Facebook and Microsoft ads running, for instance, it’s a lot of effort to manage them separately. By utilising software which houses all of your ad campaigns, you can make changes across them all in a third of the time.
Here are some of great free options:
- With a little know-how, you can set up PPC scripts to run 24/7. There are unlimited ways you can use them after the initial set up and use them to set up rules as mentioned above.
- Microsoft’s free Digital Marketing Centre holds lots of promise for managing your PPC ads and social media in one place. You can set up automated rules with it to streamline your departure and is well worth a look.
- Adzooma’s free PPC management platform has loads to offer with optimisation, automation and reporting for Google, Microsoft and Facebook ads all under one roof. Inside, you can action all of my tips from custom rule creations to ad scheduling and alerts. Nifty.
Last but not least, enjoy yourself! If you’ve taken the time to set things up and have sufficient backup plans in place, your PPC campaigns will be fine without you. Your campaigns might even be better for it if you return refreshed.
Consider leaving a friendly “back soon!” message for your customers and OOO email for other correspondence giving you extra peace of mind.
Your well-deserved PPC holiday
Many of these tips and tricks can be used all-year-round to make things easier, but even more so if you’re taking a break. Making the most of free platforms out there will take a lot of the workload off your shoulders too. If you’re struggling to do other aspects of your business single-handedly, consider outsourcing to experts for things like SEO, branding and PR. Using technology to support you can make things a lot more hassle-free than you realise.