Practical Ecommerce

Pay-per-click Advertising: Five New Year’s Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is good time to review your pay-per-click advertising campaigns and implement steps to improve their effectiveness. Here are five New Year’s pay-per-click resolutions that I recommend.

Resolution 1: Improve performance tracking

Attached is a spreadsheet called “Sample Monthly Report.” As a pay-per-click consultant, I use this to track overall monthly performance of client campaigns. Even though it is time-consuming to keep it up to date each month, interesting trends (such as costs-per-sale, seasonality trends, and click-through rates) begin to emerge after a few months. Monitoring on a weekly and daily basis is even better.

Screenshot of "Sample Monthly Report" spreadsheet.

Screenshot of “Sample Monthly Report” spreadsheet.

Resolution 2: Organize your account optimization schedule

Attached is a simple pay-per-click “Optimization Calendar” spreadsheet. It focuses on optimizing bids, keywords, ads and settings on each of your pay-per-click campaigns. It is based on a two-week cycle but you can adjust it to your schedule. Methodical Google, Yahoo! and Bing account optimizations will get you real results; sporadic knee-jerk optimizations won’t.

Resolution 3: Keep better track of your ad creative tests

The click-through rate affects the quality score of your ads. To improve your click-through-rate, use the attached “Creative Testing Schedule” sample spreadsheet to record your ad testing activity and results.

The idea behind the tracker is to realize that certain creative components work and others just don’t.

Resolution 4: Begin a record of major account updates

It is always a good idea to keep a record of major account changes. For example, if you removed a few under-performing keywords from your Yahoo! account on Friday but then your sales were low by Monday, you may want to go back and review the changes and, if needed, reverse them.

I found that writing down small changes is not necessary, but all major account updates should be recorded.

Resolution 5: Follow the data; use more tools

There are plenty of cool free (and paid) pay-per-click data tools. They are very useful for identifying ad winners, seasonality trends and a lot of other great stuff. Make smarter campaign management decisions in 2010 by using these, or similar, tools.

Greg Laptevsky

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  1. Louis Camassa January 25, 2010 Reply

    Great article Greg-I like the optimization schedule! You use the "Sample Monthly Report" for Bing and Yahoo, while using Google Analytics for Adwords tracking?

    Are you using Excel to keep track of all your client projects?

  2. Chris Goward January 26, 2010 Reply

    Excellent reminder to take a scheduled approach to improvements rather than the (more typical) reactive-overhaul approach.

    I would add Resolution 6: Begin a Continuous Landing Page Optimization discipline.

  3. gregl January 28, 2010 Reply

    Louis – I actually use the spreadsheet to keep track of all accounts. It’s there for high-level analysis and NOT a replacement for the analytics history from Google Analytics, etc

    Chris – couldn’t agree more…