In the PPC world, you will run into a lot of tips on how to improve or grow your accounts. Something we find is missing are real case studies; Discussing what the problem was, how you found the problem and what you did to fix or improve the account we feel can help new PPC’ers as well as veteran PPC’ers. Below each member of the PPC team has picked and discussed their most improved account from 2007, and what they did to make it successful.
In 2007, one my biggest account management achievements was continuing to grow my largest account. I was able grow our PPC campaign by 16% and this is pretty good considering it’s a highly competitive field. Of course, with any success there are lessons to be learned along the way, and I thought I’d share them with you. Here is a list of what I learned as I grew this account:
Lesson #1: No keyword list is ever completed; just abandoned. This account has a very extensive keyword list so I thought there was no new territory to cover. I was wrong! After rooting about the account I found a few keywords tucked away in an ad group that I thought could be expanded. I took these 3 keywords (can’t go into specifics), gave them each their own ad groups, and added approximately 75 variations to each ad group. And just these steps alone had a huge impact on my account.
Lesson #2: Google and Yahoo users are different animals. With this account I am constantly testing my landing pages. Due to limitations with the page design and our contact form no layout changes can be made. However, this year we did make some progress by adding a few new images within the text of the landing pages (not altering the format). Trust me: this was a huge leap forward! I thought these new landing pages were going to jolt my conversion rate. I was right and wrong. The new landing pages increased my conversion rate in Yahoo by approximately 3%, but they tanked in Google. Since the new landing pages were working well in Yahoo, I kept them, and I switched back to the old ones in Google. Remember, users for each search engine process and respond to information differently, so you must cater to them.
Lesson #3: All testing is good, even if some tests are unsuccessful. I am always looking for new search avenues; unfortunately, I often take wrong turns down the wrong streets. I am a believer in the third tier search engine. However, there is a reason they are labeled as so. In 2007 I tested 6 alternative search avenues and only one them worked moderately well. But if you never take a wrong turn, you’ll never take a right one!
Lesson #3.5: History does repeat itself. Since this PPC account has been running for over four years, I was able to predict the future! Or at least correctly interpret our past performance. Search trends are cyclical and if you can act accordingly, you’ll come out ahead. Using historical data and Google trends I was able to adjust bids for when the traffic would be at its peak; as well mitigate the sluggish low tides as well.
My biggest success in 2007 would have to be for a client that operates a niche job board. For a brief history, I operate this client’s PPC and SEO campaigns and at the end of 2006 helped this company launch a new website. Everything was new from the branding down to the nuts and bolts of the job seeker/employer database. The first few months of ’07 were rough as both the client and I learned the dynamics of how job seekers interacted with the new site content and found their way to submitting a resume (my SEO and PPC conversion statistic). In early summer, I suggested to the client that they reduce the amount of information requested in their resume submission to the bare minimum. Literally the core data that recruiting firms and staffing agencies needed to place a job seeker. To prove the raw power of on-page factors, in the first month resume submissions increased by 170%! Let’s just say that I was happy, the client was happy and there was a collective sigh of relief.
I began working on client accounts in March of 2007, and there is one client that stands out in particular that improved tremendously this year. When I began working on this particular client, we started out with approximately 11,000 clicks. The year ended with just over 19,000 clicks. We saw a 72% increase! However, 19,000 clicks wasn’t the highest it generated in 2007, due to the holiday slump, our traffic dipped a little, but in peak months traffic increased all the way up to 25,000 clicks which was an increase of 127%!
What I did: The main thing I did to increase traffic on this account was to first and foremost stick with the basics and perform some good keyword research. By researching which keywords were generating the most traffic and spending more time entering those into the account, I was able to save time by eliminating keywords that didn’t drive as much traffic.
The Key: The key to increasing traffic for this account was to get cheaper clicks. I was bringing in traffic at a 0.22 cost-per-click. Today, it’s at $0.14; and the lowest it’s ever been was at $0.11! By decreasing bids I was able to get more traffic through on our cheaper keywords, and less traffic through on our more expensive keywords. Therefore, with a set budget, we were actually bringing in more traffic at a cheaper cost than just driving lots of expensive traffic.
My Best Tip: Don’t forget the basics. Good keyword research is an on-going process. If you have a budget set on your account and you’re hitting it, focus your efforts on decreasing your keyword bids to generate cheaper traffic.