PPC weeds We see this happen time and time again: In the midst of managing a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, marketers get bogged down in the details of the campaign without paying attention to what actually matters.  What actually matters? PPC return on investment (ROI), of course.  If you're managing a PPC campaign, you need to understand how all the little bits of data can play together and help you achieve a better ROI.  To do this, you should consider a few things:
  • What are your priorities? Your priorities tend to reflect on what you're being measured, and we hope you're being measured primarily on generating high quality leads.  If you're not, perhaps you need to examine why.  Do you have a long enough sales cycle that you can get a more immediate measure from number of leads generated or click-throughs?  Whatever your priority is, keep that in mind throughout measuring your campaign.  You should be asking yourself the question, "Am I getting closer to my goal?"
  • What words are you going after? One of the biggest PPC mistakes we see is when folks go after expensive, popular words rather than long-tail, more relevant ones.  Should you really go after "running shoes" when your product is only peripherally related to them? Probably not.
  • When you tweak, what are you tweaking for? We have seen people add random lingo in order to increase their relevance score without thinking about what phrases would generate quality traffic for them.  Perhaps you are obsessing about impressions , but never getting any click-throughs.  Make sure you aren't optimizing for clicks without making sure the visitors would be quality leads.  It's very easy to fall into the "I must do better at one metric" trap without keeping your high-level goals in mind.
  • Are you paying attention to your ads? It's easy to get caught up in the words you're targeting and let your ads languish.  Are you aggressively A/B testing your ads?  If you're not, you can do this easily in AdWords by running two ads per campaign in balanced views (don't let Google manage impressions for you), and when you have a good number of impressions each, pause the one with fewer click-throughs and write a new one.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  You should also always remember that effective ads include offers--in essence, they're calls to action.
  • Where are you sending your traffic? One of the most common PPC errors is to dump all the traffic onto your main homepage.  A better idea is to send them straight to landing pages so that you can get that click (that you paid for) to convert to a lead much sooner!

Overall, you have to keep your eye on the prize when it comes to PPC.  Make sure you're not getting lost in the budget, impressions, and clicks weeds--what do these little things matter in the big picture of generating quality leads?  PPC involves so many little details and tweaks, that it's incredibly ea.  Keep your goal in mind and keep working at it and you'll be sure to improve your lead quality.

Photo courtesy of sanderovski & linda .

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Originally published Jul 30, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

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PPC