Whether you love it or hate it, spring cleaning is a necessary evil that we face every year. The media hammers us at this time of year with reminders to clean out our closets, our garages, our pantries, even our Facebook friends! But experts say that tackling the clutter is actually good for you, and can increase your productivity. So why not extend that focus to your PPC accounts and spend a day giving them a thorough shakedown, and get rid of the things that just aren’t doing your ad campaigns any good?
FACE-TO-FACE: If you generally use a third-party API to handle your campaigns, skip it and log into your account directly. Sometimes there’s a wealth of information and suggestions to be found there that won’t show up in your third-party interface. Get up close and personal with your accounts on a regular basis to make sure you’re not missing anything.
REPORTS: If your ad platform allows you to customize reports, take a minute to make sure that you have the most important information up front when you need it, based on your goals. If you’re focused on Quality or Relevancy Scores, position them where you want to see them. Move columns to where they best suit your needs and get rid of data that doesn’t impact you. Make sure you export a copy and think about how it will look to a stakeholder who isn’t well-versed in PPC. Is it worth spending the time to create a template that tells the story clearly to everyone?
DEVICES: With Google’s “mobile-friendly” update rolling out in April, SEO experts are going to spend some time making sure they’re ready to roll with the new algorithmic changes. It’s probably time to make sure that your mobile ad campaigns are returning the way you would like them to, and analyze whether or not you could be doing more device-based targeting. Check to make sure that the landing pages you are serving to your mobile audience are also optimized to display properly.
KEYWORDS: If you are using keywords to target, review them to make sure they aren’t outdated. If they aren’t performing, or if their performance has dropped in the last quarter, decide if it’s time to kill them off. See what search terms are triggering your ads as well and sort through them for possible additions to your keyword banks, including negatives. Eliminate duplicate keywords. Restructure ad groups if necessary to create stronger performers. And my favorite piece of advice from Larry Kim at Wordstream: “…delete the bottom third of your account and re-deploy that spend to remarketing. These are your low CTR, low impression share, junk performers. Lose the dead weight, it’s dragging you down.”
LANDING PAGES: Are you sending your traffic to the right place? If you’ve made site updates, you might have better conversions if you send them to a destination that will provide a better user experience. Site updates can also lead to broken links, so make sure that you’re not sending traffic to an error page.
AUDIENCES: With so many ways to target these days, it’s easy to build up overlapping target groups as you test different segments. Double-check to make sure you’re not running ads to an audience that’s exhausted or out of date. Is your original email list for custom audiences still valid? Are your remarketing pixels up-to-date and triggering? Have you looked at your backlinks and traffic to see if you’re overlooking a new audience? Reviewing these areas can give you new ideas for gaining brand exposure.
AD COPY: If your ads aren’t performing like they were, it may be time to refresh them. Are you using keywords in the copy? Do you have outdated terms? If you’re running the same display ads, prevent “banner blindness” with new sizes or graphics.
EXCLUSIONS: It’s always a good idea to know where your ads are displaying and decide if those placements makes sense or not. Review your site placements and exclude anything that isn’t relevant to your brand. There’s no point in serving ads to an audience that isn’t going to care.
GOALS: A lot can change in a year. Are the overall goals of the campaigns still in line with your business model. Are they working for or against your KPI (Key Performance Indicator) expectations? Sometimes this task means getting several other stakeholders to provide input, even if it’s just to validate an existing direction. But if you manage accounts for external clients, it’s probably a good idea to touch base.
EXTENSIONS: AdWords extensions are a great way to make your brand stand out. Check to see if you’re making good use of this feature and that the links are still valid. If you have a strong local presence and haven’t explored geo-targeting in your campaigns, this might be the perfect opportunity.
AUTO-PILOT: If you have any campaigns with automated settings, give them a once over to be sure that the parameters are still valid. Do you need to change your bid strategy? Are the schedules still inline with traffic and performance?