We believe it is imperative to formulate a robust strategy, whether implementing a new PPC campaign or taking over an existing account. As standard we:
Determine campaign settings
Audit existing channel marketing activity
Collate client's marketing & media assets
Produce launch timeline
We are strong believers that if we don't have a clear and tangible understanding of what our clients would like us to achieve, we will never meet their expectations. We split the campaign metrics into two groups, ‘performance’ metrics and ‘optimisable’ metrics.
In an ideal world we would lock one of the performance metrics and optimise the campaign to achieve that performance metric. Our preferred method is to lock the CPA, making acquisitions, cost and clicks all variables. Often we may have to set the cost as the primary KPI to manage the campaign within a specific budget, if this is the case we can have a CPA as a secondary KPI, however it becomes more of a target rather than a guaranteed deliverable.
If reducing the CPA and finding efficiencies is a priority, this must be managed carefully and methodically, over time. Dropping the CPA too fast will result in fewer acquisitions. On the flip side, generating a higher volume of acquisitions whilst maintaining CPA also takes time if done properly. Our overriding campaign trinity is 'test, analyse & refine.'
Knowing our clients’ expectations and campaign KPIs helps us make sure our campaign optimisation decisions are in line with the client's commercial strategy. There is no point spending time and effort on getting great results in a category that is not important to you.
Here are some examples of the things we consider:
Understanding our clients’ USPs is essential when we create ad copy and landing pages that stand out. Knowing what makes our clients special helps with seed keyword ideas, landing page relevance and to distinguish them in the marketplace.
How important are demographics for a paid search campaign?
Some would argue, if someone searches for one of your keywords (let's say "Nintendo Wii Just Dance") it doesn’t really matter if they are male, female, sixteen or sixty. Well, we think it does matter. You have to make your landing page count, and to do that, it won't hurt to target your key demographic.
As social media becomes more important, demographic targeting is becoming more widespread, as the main targeting options on social networks are all demographically based. Identifying your target demographics and gearing your campaign towards them is an important element of success in PPC.
Is the campaign performing better than this time last week? Last month? Last year? It is important that we always know the answer to this question. For this reason we build a seasonality map.
If there are notable peaks and troughs, or a general trend of decline, it is imperative that we understand them before we start to optimise the campaign. Anticipating seasonal trends and recurring external factors such as industry or social events, ensures that we can prepare and react appropriately when we experience fluctuations in the performance of the campaign.
Maintaining continuity of data is extremely important. So important that we’ve built a team dedicted to analytics. We are fully aware that we will be benchmarked against historic data and therefore invest time to establish how things have historically been tracked and reported. We then agree how we are going to track conversions, revenue & ROI going forward.
When we take over a campaign, we often find that it has grown organically, over time. Lots of different ideas and strategies will have been put in place at different times and by different people. This can lead to inconsistency, duplication and missed opportunity in the ways accounts, campaigns, and adgroups are named.
So we provide a structure and naming convention. This is a regularised format for naming accounts, campaigns and adgroups, no matter how big the client, or how extensive and varied their history in PPC.
It brings the following benefits:
The proposed convention is an integral component of the strategy document we produce. The structure should be based on the campaign site taxonomy using existing categories and sub categories. Other considerations include geographical and language targeting, the purchase cycle requirements and product range.
Once a campaign structure has been decided and the campaign has been migrated, we identify a section that is roughly 10% of the total conversions/revenue and implement the new structure on that section.
When the performance of this subset is stable and successful, we then plan the transition of the remaining campaigns over to the new structure. It is important that this process is not rushed and facilitated in a methodical and controlled manner to alleviate any potential shocks or surprises.
We never assume that because a campaign has been running for a long time that all the right keywords and managed placement sites have been introduced to the campaign.
Our starting point for keyword generation is defining a list of seed keywords. To generate a seed keyword list we:
Once we have a list of seed keywords we then add each seed keyword to its own ad group, according to the structure and naming convention.
We then go through the stemming process. This is where we find tail keywords containing the seed keyword. We also ensure that we submit each keyword on all three match types, introduce appropriate negatives and remove duplicates within the account.
The best source for finding relevant, converting websites for the managed placement campaigns is within the auto targeting placement campaigns. We mine all the converting sites and add them to the account allowing us to isolate the top performing sites and bid more aggressively.
In addition, we use the targeting tools within Google to find more relevant sites and use Google Analytics to identify top referring sites.
When taking over an account we always conduct a full audit. This often reveals some quick wins and helps us prioritise our approach. The main components of this audit are:
All the information and processes we've described here are incorporated into a client-facing strategy document. We don't consider this to be extra work; it's an essential part of our service. Producing the strategy document is a pre-requisite for delivering excellent service and a successful campaign.