Many people are taking a hard look at their Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns on Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft Adcenter and trying to determine how to reduce their budgets. But I worry about how they are going about it. So today I would like to provide some tips/reminders of how to get control of your budgets that will keep your core campaigns performing.
Question 1: Are you wasting money on unmeasurable, ineffective traditional marketing that should be shifted to the web?
Take a good look at your OTHER marketing spends as they compare to your web marketing spend. If your direct postal mail campaigns are all waste, then it might make sense to cut back there and shift funds to what’s working.
Question 2: Are You Doing Enough Organic/Natural SEO on your website? (e.g. is PPC a crutch?)
If not, you may be missing tons of free traffic that converts nearly as well as a good PPC Campaign. Even small adjustments to many sites can boost traffic 10-20% in a matter of weeks. Paid search is a great marketing tool, but organic search is often far, far better.
But if you’ve made your way through these considerations, and determined that PPC must be reduced, then be careful you’re not chopping prize flowers out with those weeds and think through the process systematically.
We’re talking about focus, precision, and control. Things that PPC gives you in spades if you choose to learn and use them.
- Maintain high performance arrangements of keywords, adgroups, campaigns, landing pages.
- Reduce PPC Engines’ “flexiblity” with your money (e.g. take control of your campaigns.)
- Increase the Click Through Rates on your most important terms.
- Increase the Conversion Rates through proven techniques.
- Increase the Quality Score
- Reduce the waste brought about by laziness during setup, structure.
What not to do when cutting back on PPC:
- Reduce overall daily campaign daily budget amounts arbitrarily, letting Google / Yahoo / Adcenter turn off ads across-the-board some of the day.
- Arbitrarily turn off entire thematic campaigns.
- Arbitrarily cut keyword bids adgroup-wide or campaign-wide.
- Arbitrarily turn off entire sets of keywords in bulk
- Let Google / Yahoo / Adcenter decide on your keyword matches
What to do when reducing PPC Spends
- Take control of your keywords and match types!
- Reorganize campaigns and adgroups so you can tweak them in a way that makes sense for your business.
- Reorganize campaigns so you can precisely tune ad writing and landing pages, this can help your quality score and reduce click spends 20-30%!
- Utilize precision matching techniques (long tail, peel-and-stick, exact and phrase match.)
- Utilize dynamic keyword insertion (may require campaign reorganization)
- Take another hard look at negative keyword collections (campaign and adgroup level.) Check your server logs and search logs for new negative phrase ideas.
- Be careful with negative match types – filter away precisely without throwing out entire chunks of profitable terms.
- Develop high performance, low distraction landing pages for top products – I cannot emphasize this enough. If your CMS or shopping cart program don’t allow this, you’re using the wrong one.
- Utilize a vanity URL on display-URL setting and 301 to the same page. Domain names are cheap and this can boost click through rates 10-15% (along with quality score.)
- Daypart campaigns (especially if USA only or for purchases made on phone.) Look for patterns in your sales that would help you daypart more precisely.
- Reduce content network spend as appropriate. Utilize new placement matching and cut away poor performing properties from your content network mix.
In general, the recommendations follow a theme:
Reduce Google/Yahoo/Microsoft’s flexibility while increasing Quality Score and maintain tight control over when and which ads are displayed to whom.
(Whew, that’s a mouthful….)
So be careful out there, and as always – I’m available to review your PPC campaigns if you want a pointer or two. Just send me a note.