The Single Biggest Mistake You Can Make In PPC
January 6, 2012
Managing a paid search campaign takes a lot of thought and energy. There are many moving parts and a mountain of data to continually sort through. There are many inputs and an equal amount of outputs. Everything you do has an impact and no change is insignificant. With so many factors to consider, it’s a wonder SEM’s retain their sanity. While I’m not ready to self lobotomize yet, keeping control of your account and knowing how and why things happen is paramount to be a great PPC Manager.
My single most important piece of advice for keeping your PPC sanity is not in what you should be doing, but what you shouldn’t be doing. That advice? Don’t ever make a change without fully understanding your desired outcome. It seems pretty simple yes? I think so. Unfortunately, I can say that this doesn’t always happen. You aren’t always going to achieve your desired outcome, but if you don’t understand what you’re shooting for, how can you stand behind your decisions? This advice falls through so many different aspects of PPC. Setting up proper tests to measure success, knowing what changes influence what metrics, understanding when to focus on what, but mainly just knowing what and why you are doing are all important aspects of this.
By not thinking through the potential outcome of your changes you run the risk of heading down the rabbit hole. Allow me to explain. If you have a nicely performing account and take a laissez-faire approach to a change, followed by another change, followed by another change, the collection of those changes can put you in a bad place. What’s worse is getting back to the original performance is three steps away and because you weren’t paying attention to your desired outcomes to begin with, you might not be able to retrace your steps precisely enough. Rebounding from these mistakes takes time and what might be a small issue today could be a large issue when compounded with others later.
On the other hand, if you know what your desired outcome for every single change you make is, when your test runs through conclusion you can make an immediate determination of success and fully implement the change if it worked or reverse the change if it didn’t. As I said before, you aren’t going to have a 100% hit rate in achieving your desired outcome. It’s acceptable when it doesn’t happen, so long as you reject the test. If you don’t understand what you were shooting for and move right into the next change, you’ve introduced too many variables before concluding an existing test and that’s simply crazy.
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