What To Do When You "Inherit" PPC For Your Company

With the budget and staffing cutbacks happening in seemingly every part of companies these days, many marketing people are finding themselves unilaterally "inheriting" responsibility for PPC marketing in their company.

If Adwords PPC is suddenly your responsibility, what should your first steps be?

1.  Find Out if the Campaigns are Currently Profitable as They Stand

This is a big one.  Is the account hemorrhaging money overall?

(Note:  If you can't tell if PPC is profitable or not because there's no tracking in place, like Google conversion tracking or specific tracking URLs,  address this point first and get tracking in place ASAP!)

If the account is losing significant money, and you're not 'just there for branding',  then pause your campaigns.  You've got to stop the bleeding.  It's likely time to look at account structure...

2.  Closely Evaluate the Account Structure

Google likes to see campaigns nicely grouped by theme, (think one campaign per initiative or product) and adgroups and ads tightly configured by common root keywords.  Check to see if there are more than 10 (or so) keywords in each adgroup. If so, they'll need to be split into smaller groups.

For instance, here the root keywords' "crash(ed)" and "corrupt" are tightly grouped together:

  • Hard Drive Crash(ed)
    • “hd crash”, “hd crashed”, “hard drive crash”, “hard drive crashed”, “hard disk crash” etc…
  • Hard Drive Corrupt
    • “hd corrupt”, “hd corrupted”, “hd corruption”, “hard drive corrupt”, “hard drive corrupted”, “hard drive corruption”, “hard disk corrupt” etc…

If the account is nowhere near this level of organization and not profitable, start planning some time where you can redo the account with this level of structure going forward.

3.  Audit the Quality Scores

"Quality Score" is the system Google uses in conjunction with your max bid to determine how much you pay when someone clicks your ad.  If the Quality Scores across the account are poor, (think 5 or lower out of 10), you're likely paying more than is really necessary for clicks, perhaps making your account unprofitable as a result.

Often, better account organization (as detailed above) is the best way to improve Quality Scores across the account and lower ad costs.

Google turns off the column that shows you the Quality Score of each keyword by default, here's how to enable that column so you can see what's going on:  http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=21375

Additionally, you can run an account-wide "Ad Performance Report" to get a picture of your Quality Scores as detailed here:

4.  Cut the Fat

If the account is slightly unprofitable, just breaking even, or somewhat profitable (which you should be able to see with proper tracking as explained in point #1), have a close look at campaigns, adgroups, and keywords on an individual level and see if the Quality Scores could be improved through better account and campaign organization (as shown in point #2).

If some campaigns or adgroups are simply not converting, cut them.  Time itself doesn't make conversion rates improve.

In most organizations, simply having an action plan to get PPC back on track is the biggest step to success.  Use these main points to formulate the first steps of your PPC action plan.

Become Your Company's PPC Ninja!

These four strategies just barely scratch the surface of what you can do to turn yourself into your company's PPC ninja!

Our member's-only PPC training area includes in-depth tutorials on whipping your PPC campaigns into high gear:

  • Setting Up Your Search Campaign the Right Way
  • Adgroups Google Loves
  • Keyword Research in 5 Minutes Flat
  • Landing Pages That Convert Like Crazy
  • Uncloaking Google's Quality Score System

Get connected now with our member's-only training community!