“Damn, We’re In A Tight Spot”: Persistence in PPC

Pay-Per-Click Campaign Management

Astute has worked with a number of PPC clients ranging from e-commerce to service industries with budgets big and small. This diversity in clientele has taught us a number of things about the PPC space: perhaps, most importantly, be malleable and be nimble.

Here are some places where the ability and willingness to change quickly and be creative have gotten us out of tight spots:

  1. We have multiple clients in the addiction rehabilitation space — a notorious black hole on Adwords over the past year. As a result, we have had to stay on our toes and be willing to pivot each time the rug is pulled from under us — and believe us, it has been. This has come in the form of disabling retargeting lists, blocking keywords, raising required bid costs, and much more. We know that if you don’t bend… you break.
  2. These ‘rules to live by’ also apply to tracking metrics. Most services aren’t particularly transparent about where conversions are coming from, how valuable they are, etc. and, unless you impeccably set up some fairly intensive tracking at the onset, it can be very challenging to accurately adjust later on. When using tools like Google Tag Manager it is essential to test event tracking and make sure that all systems are go or it is possible that you will miss valuable tracking metrics and may even miss out on the opportunity to begin filling your retargeting funnel.
  3. Balancing a good offense and a good defense. When advertising on Google Adwords, in many industries it is necessary to have both display and search ads for optimal advertising success, this way you are consistently channeling cold audiences to your site and enabling retargeting audiences to fill up. This strategy gives you the control to make retargeting bid adjustments on search/shopping ads as well as running continued display retargeting campaigns. Depending on your product/service, using only search ads can provide slow results and steep CPC, sometimes Display ads are the best way to get around these limitations.
  4. Working with a small budget can be limiting, but also allow you to focus so closely that you can optimize campaigns effectively. That said, a small budget can be temperamental — especially now that Google takes many liberties with regards to daily spend. Also, in our experience, often times the companies that tend towards the smaller budgets are in service-based fields that demand a high CPC. Naturally, this can be difficult water to navigate as you aggregate data inconsistently and learn slowly. With campaigns like this, the number one requirement is establishing an expansive negative keywords list before launching the campaign. We also strongly recommend sticking to a largely Manual CPC bid strategy until collecting enough data for Google’s algorithms to effectively automate your campaigns.

We find that these “tight spots” come to us more frequently than we wander into them. Some we’ve seen before, and some are brand new and become apparent to us as Google and Facebook’s ad platforms continue to change. That said, we find solace in knowing that they occur naturally and all digital marketers face them. The fastest way to lose in a digital marketing campaign is to give up, which is something that we just won’t do. It’s an evolving landscape and one where certainty is as much of a curse as a gift.