When Will's not in the office analyzing PPC campaigns and writing ad copy, you can find him going on walks, hanging out in coffee shops, and snacking on Double Stuf Oreos.
Across industries, businesses experience seasonality where demand is higher or lower based on factors such as time of year. Seasonality varies across industries - peak season for one industry may be shoulder season for another. In wake of COVID-19, many industries are seeing a downturn in demand, and during these times, it is critical for businesses to maximize their return on investments. With pay-per-click (PPC) and paid media advertising, the focus should be to get smarter and more effective when demand is down.
Stop the Noise
When tightening up PPC, start with keywords and match types. What are users searching that matches with keywords and causing ads to be served? The search query report outlines what searches led to a user clicking on ads. This report helps us identify and negate irrelevant terms and searches (or “noise”) to prevent our ads from being served. Identifying and negating these terms is important because they can drive up spend without increasing conversions, thus hurting the bottom line.
As PPC changes and the overall match types get broader, it is imperative that we monitor our search queries consistently to ensure that the most relevant traffic and searches are being driven and any irrelevant terms are being weeded out. The search query report also helps us identify new keywords to include.
Find Your 20%
For those not familiar with the Pareto Principle (commonly called the “80/20 rule”), approximately 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. With PPC, this means that we can expect about 80% of results to come from 20% of keywords. Therefore, we want to identify the 20% high performing keywords and bid aggressively on them, as we know these keywords will drive the bulk of overall conversions, even in seasons where demand is down.
But what do we do with the remaining 80% of keywords? Well, we will look for any keywords that have a high cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and/or a low conversion rate and diagnose them as much as we can. These keywords may have high CPAs due to irrelevant search queries, increased competition (check the auction insights), or ad copy that needs refreshing. Regardless, we will want to reduce our bids on under-performing keywords to increase our spend efficiencies. We can also identify any long-tail keywords that have lower search volumes but strong conversion metrics and ensure that our bids on them are competitive.
Another way we can tighten our PPC program during downtimes is through implementing smart bidding. Smart bidding is a fully automated bidding strategy where Google leverages machine learning to dynamically adjust keywords bids and serve ads to users most likely to convert. Google identifies signals such as device, location, and time of day to optimize keyword bids. These insights help the program to run more efficiently and tighten spend accordingly. Now, automated the bidding strategy may sound daunting, but this can help improve results and maximize conversions. Smart bidding is particularly helpful when a PPC program is constrained by budget.
Use Your Signals
Like smart bidding, we can identify patterns based on signals such as device, location, time of day, and day of week to adjust our bids accordingly. For example, if we notice demand is significantly lower on weekends, we can set bid adjustments to lower our bids accordingly. Conversely, if most conversions occur during business hours, we can adjust bids to bid more aggressively during these hours. Identifying these patterns and optimizing accordingly will maximize PPC performance.
Whether there is seasonality or a crisis such as COVID-19, we need to get more tactical with our strategy when demand is down. Due to the adaptability of PPC, we can monitor COVID-19 impact on search demand and pivot strategy as needed. When we tighten our PPC program in times where demand is down, we will be equipped to succeed in both down times and peak times.
For assistance with an optimal PPC strategy, contact our team of experts.