Six Ways to Identify Poor PPC Campaign Management

Kris Skavish

July 15, 2013

Six Ways to Identify Poor PPC Campaign Management

There’s no doubt that managing a PPC campaign, whether Adwords or Bing, is challenging. There are a lot of moving parts: keywords, ads, bids, budgets, ROI, account structure, and on and on. When you have a third-party or employee manage your campaign, how can you know if it’s being managed effectively? While results—purchases, leads, and traffic—are certainly the most important measure, here are a few other indication that a campaign is not being managed effectively.

1. Daily budget is used up by 10am. Or noon. Or 4pm.
If the budget runs out at 10am, bids are too high. Lowering bids will allow you to get more clicks, all day long.
2. Brand keywords are being used, without a discussion of the pros and cons.
There are reasons to use brand keywords. It’s also an easy way to make your cost per click look good. But that traffic likely already knew about your business–should you be paying for those clicks? Make sure you understand the pros and cons and that you are providing direction to your agency, not that they’re making that decision themselves.
3. Use of the Google Display Network without your knowledge.
It’s super easy to take a search advertising campaign and turn it into a display campaign. Turn on the switch to advertise on the Google Display Network, and text ads appear on other, non-search sites. This is an easy source of cheap traffic that doesn’t usually convert as well to purchases and leads as search does, where users start by actively looking for something.
4. There’s a single ad in each ad group.
Ad testing is a hugely important lever to improving campaign performance. Running multiple ads allows you test different messages for the same group of keywords, but it also allows Google to show the best ad on mobile vs. desktop vs. tablet and on search vs. search partners.
5. All the keywords are broad matched.
It’s astonishing how broadly search engines match keywords. Computer repair? Let’s match that with sewing machine repair. Furniture Store? How about Staples office supplies? A well-managed PPC campaign has a mix of keywords, strongly favoring modified broad match (+keyword), phrase match, and exact match.
6. Lack of transparency.
It’s your account, you should be able to see any data you ask for at any time, or even better, have access to the Adwords account.

If your campaign rings any of these bells, don’t panic. Open a discussion with your PPC managers—they may have good reasons for breaking these “rules”. But these are good reasons to open up a conversation with your service provider, and depending on their answers, consider alternative management options.