After over 10 years of directly running PPC search campaigns, managing agency PPC teams, and performing countless campaign audits, one lesson learned stands out above all others. The biggest impact on the ROI of a PPC campaign does not result from any optimization strategy. The biggest impact comes from mistakes. And avoiding mistakes is the single most important thing any campaign manager can do to ensure long-term success.
I’ve been involved in many complex strategy implementations requiring weeks or months of work to complete. Integrating with CRM systems to factor lead quality into bid optimization. Creating cross-channel attribution models based on multi-click assisted conversion data. Factoring in lifetime value for retailers after selling a first product to a new customer. I could write a lengthy list of examples. But when these resource-intensive projects are complete, I rarely see performance improvements exceeding 20% to 30% of previous levels. However, I have experienced or identified an unsettling number of situations where campaign mismanagement has resulted in almost a complete loss of ad budget to unwanted traffic. And quite different from the weeks of work to get an improvement, these losses can occur in mere hours.
What campaign management mistake could be so devastating, you wonder? I’ve seen campaigns for regional advertisers with geo-targeting set to worldwide and driving the vast majority of traffic from users in Malaysia. I’ve seen decimal point errors in bid uploads result in thousands of dollars spent on a non-converting keyword in as little as three or four hours. I recently audited an online university that spent over $17,000 in a three month period on people searching for winter school closings. I’ve known more than one PPC analyst who has lost his/her job because they forgot to turn off display traffic in a retailer’s search campaign. Just one oversight like this can eclipse all the gains earned from months of optimization work.
If you want your PPC campaigns to be successful, don’t make mistakes! And the first step to avoiding mistakes is knowing where they are likely to occur. In my session at the September Digital Dealer conference, I will review the five most common areas where mistakes are typically made. These are the same five areas that I first dive into in any campaign audit. I will explain what to look for to determine if your PPC campaigns are suffering from one of these performance killers. And I will further discuss ongoing processes and safeguards to prevent mistakes from happening in the future. Whether you manage your own dealer search campaigns or want to ensure your SEM agency isn’t accidentally wasting ad dollars, this session could provide the single biggest ROI benefit you take away from the conference.
See this presentation and more at the 17th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, September 23-25, 2014.
An Internet marketing veteran, Miles Olson has over 15 years of experience in the online advertising industry. As Vice President of Customer Engagements for SearchForce, Miles oversees the company’s initiatives for delivering sophisticated technology implementations that meet the competitive demands of brand agencies and advertisers.
Miles’s experience includes developing customized digital marketing programs for Time Warner Cable, State Farm, Merck, and OfficeMax. With a keen focus on delivering high ROI and excellent value, he has implemented many cutting-edge digital marketing strategies that leverage his knowledge of paid search and bid management tools through advanced campaign automation, optimization, and third-party system integrations.