Managing pay-per-click campaigns outwardly seems like a digital marketing task that you don’t necessarily need to watch like a hawk. And for many business owners and directors with tasks piling up one by one, this notion is very appealing! But once you get the bird’s eye view of how PPC advertising works, it becomes clear why the old phrase “set it and forget it” doesn’t quite work out in marketers’ favor.
In my role as a Digital Marketing Coordinator, I manage several clients’ PPC accounts, particularly in Google Ads, weekly to monitor performance and make changes when necessary. After keeping track of the edits I make, I’ve found that the only things that you can set and forget are campaign settings if they have been made correctly. Typically these settings, like language, location targeting, goals, and bid strategy aren’t altered unless an error was made in the initial creation of the campaign. Aside from these, I recommend keeping a close eye on each campaign, specifically these top four areas that make or break performance.
As time goes on, Google will collect performance data on your advertisements. It will show you how optimized your ads are and grade them on a scale of poor, average, good, and excellent. I encourage you to review and potentially edit each advertisement copy weekly to make sure you’re not overlooking any grammatical errors, missing out on including keywords in headlines, etc. This will help you avoid negative scores. Additionally, seasonal sales, promotions, or business updates you’d like to push are great additions to ads, but as they come to an end, you’ll have to go remove the headlines and descriptions outlining them to avoid false advertising.
Search trends change very frequently and so do the keywords used to trigger advertisements. While you won’t always have to add or remove keywords from each ad group, changing the match type to broad, phrase, or exact will be fairly standard as well as pausing ineligible words. When adding new words, I like to go into a trusted keyword research tool, like SpyFu, to find options with a good CPC that works with the budget.
First off, when working on Google ads, it’s important to keep in mind that Google can spend up to 20% extra of your budget every day. This may not seem bad for clients with small budgets, but as the target spend increases, 20% of that number will grow, too. Secondly, depending on whether your company offers specials or promotions, adjusting the spend for each campaign is a great way to encourage sales or interest in specific products and services. Don’t be afraid to use the budget to reflect your sales goals.
Occasionally, Google and/or web hosting sites will update terms and conditions that alter or break conversion tracking codes. If your account is set up to track conversions, make sure to check weekly that each code is tracking properly whether it be a call, website visit, or sale. One of the more recent updates that throw marketers through a loop was Google’s implementation of Consent Mode, which has caused a significant portion of data recording to be hidden from search engines. Staying on top of these updates can seem tedious and boring, but knowing how each one affects your advertising is so valuable.
Of course, these are not the only things to keep in mind when optimizing your PPC ads, but they are the broadest and most important. Each day, Google will show the optimization percentage each account, campaign, and ad group has and will provide recommendations on how to improve. Sometimes these suggestions are great and point out elements that need to be fixed, but other times it’s better to dismiss the notification. Turn off the auto-apply recommendation option and look closely to ensure you aren’t adding 75 unnecessary keywords to your ad groups (yes, this actually happened to me). Following these guidelines will help boost your confidence in monitoring PPC. Just remember that successful campaigns aren’t built in just one day; it’s all about ongoing revision.