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How to keep your PPC Campaigns in Check

Pay-per-click (PPC) can be a key player in many modern digital marketers’ online strategy.

It’s not really surprising that PPC is something everyone wants to try out when 41% of all search engine clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on a search results page. That’s pretty sweet pickings for someone that knows they can make money from the sales or leads their ads generate.

Search engines have invested huge amounts to make paid search results better than the organic ones that come just beneath. Far from being as annoying as the overly intrusive banner adverts of yesterday, PPC ads have now become seamlessly intertwined with a browsers online search journey.

New features like Google Ad Extensions have helped increase browser satisfaction even more. With adverting as a whole resulting in around 64.6% of consumers clicking on Google ads when shopping online.

In fact, thanks to their focus on keywords, users arriving on a page through PPC ads are 50% more likely to make a purchase than organic visitors. What’s more, PPC ads increase brand awareness by a whopping 80%.

Another appeal of PPC is the immediate results it can return. Get it right and a PPC campaign will drive traffic, leads and customers. They can also bring significant revenue as soon as an ad starts running.

Great! But there’s a problem.

PPC as it stands today isn’t quite as easy as it was just a few years ago.

Nailing your businesses’ PPC campaign can lead to fruitful results. But, it requires planning, time, hard work and energy to make a PPC campaign bear fruit in 2019.

Get it wrong, and neglect your PPC or encounter any problems beyond your control. Which in turn can effect your campaign. Then it could be one of the most expensive and wasteful costs in your digital marketing strategy.

That’s why carrying out regular checks and ensuring your PPC campaigns are working as they should is crucial. Otherwise you could be throwing money at something that’s not giving anything back in return. No business wants that. Yet, all over the world PPC campaigns are left to work away with little to no oversight.

How to do a PPC Audit

So you’ve laid some solid foundations for your PPC campaign. You’ve kicked off your PPC keyword research and whittled your ideas down to a keywords list. You’ve created killer copy for your ad and have a quality, optimised landing page containing relevant copy and a clear call to action.

Your budget is set and your ads are all live. So what’s next? Sit back and wait for the sales to roll in?

Not quite, in our experience you can take the first months planned spend and write it off for most campaigns. As soon as you turn on, your competitors will be all over your site like a rash figuring out what you do and at what price point. If you generate leads you’ll find your invalid rate is at its highest in the first few weeks. Just as opposing marketing teams suss out your offer.

The truth is that when your PPC campaign is live, the hard work isn’t over, it’s just started. Don’t fall into the trap of neglecting to check on your ads. A PPC campaign isn’t something you can set up and forget about.

PPC Audit Report central

Regularly checking and managing your campaigns will ensure that they continue to remain effective. Aim to constantly:

  • Add to and refine your keywords list (did you know that a tiny change in keyword like “design vs designs” can get an entirely different type of client/user journey stage?)
  • Refine your landing pages modifying your CTA to line up with search queries you start showing for to boost conversion rates.
  • Review any costly keywords – if they are expensive and underperforming you may consider stopping using them.

PPC Audit Report Central

But checking your campaigns isn’t just about seeing what keywords are working.

If your heating isn’t working but your boiler is, the first thing you’re likely to do is start checking your radiators. In a car, your engine might work but the car might not be moving because perhaps your brakes are stuck on. With PPC, sometimes keywords aren’t the only thing you need to keep an eye on.

Like a mechanic checks a car is in working order, you need to go over each aspect of your campaigns to make sure something isn’t holding you back. After all, nobody wants to be bidding on keywords and receiving nothing in return.

Here at Report Central we check and test that our keywords are triggering ads every single day. Several times a day in fact. Not only do we check our keywords, but we track our landing page load speeds, form successes, CRM integrations and even if Google is working.

How do we check if Google is working and what did we do when we saw a glitch?

We use a third-party tool called iSearch to see what a user’s browser would see in our desired search locations. The iSearch tool has the functionality to simulate live Google Ads auctions by geo location, language and device.

Basically it allows us to pretend to be in the local area that we are running a campaign in. We need to do this slight bit of espionage. If we’re running search ads in the USA from Manchester in the UK then if we were to search “Billboard Advertising” from our office we’d get a result for Billboard Advertising in Manchester. This doesn’t really help us see what our competitors are doing.

It was by carrying out regular keyword checks that we noticed that one of our clients (and their competitor’s) adverts were not being triggered by their core term. Although our organic search results were all there.

It’s at this point that you have two real possibilities to consider.

  1. Google has banned your keyword.
  2. Google is broken.

Not ones to back away from a problem, we got on the phone to Google to explain the problem – read our post on what happened here.

After several more hours and conversations with Google’s support, our query got pushed up a level as a possible glitch in the algorithm and BOOM! magically within the hour the keyword came back online. Although it was never confirmed that we spotted a glitch, we think the relevant team at Google discovered the glitch and fixed it.

It goes to show the importance of regular PPC checks

Ideally, you need to be checking your PPC campaigns every day, several times if you have the resources.

Regular checking and reporting helps you observe how well your ads are comparing to the competition, as well as ensuring that your ads are entering auctions as expected – which you can also monitor from your Google Ads interface. One day if you’re as obsessive about your campaigns as we are you’ll be able to “feel” problems (but that could also be excess caffeine).

Daily checks not only give you peace of mind that everything is running smoothly and working as it should in your PPC campaign, but they also mean you can perform regular account optimisations and ensure you are following Google’s best guidelines.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and in the unlikely event that you do encounter a problem like we did, you’ll have the confidence and knowledge that there is a reason beyond your control for the sudden disappearance of your best performing keywords adverts.

Next Steps – if you’ve contacted Google support and still don’t have the answers, why not ask us?

For further guidance or a helping hand with your PPC campaign the Report Central team are always here to help. Why not see how our PPC team can find the little things that make a huge difference for your campaign?

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