New Year PPC Management Checklist: Starting 2019 Off Right

As the new year begins, you may be wondering which PPC tasks to include in your 1st account audit to start 2019 with a bang. It’s a critical question because pay per click advertising requires steady attention and you can lose a lot of money with a set-it-and-forget-it approach. PPC accounts generate a large and steady flow of data which is extremely useful for optimizing ads and budgets but can be challenging to sort through due to the difficulty in interpreting all the key performance indicators (KPIs). Improving your PPC Management should help you get more and better conversions at a lower cost. The following checklist, while not exhaustive, provides a great starting point.

2019 PPC Checklist: 7 Key Tasks For Better PPC Management

Online advertising is a dynamic, ever-evolving and high-potential marketing medium. It’s tremendously powerful and can be extremely efficient if well-tended. A well-managed paid search campaign includes weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and bi-monthly tasks designed to fine-tune, streamline, and optimize conversions, ad spend, and your overall campaign strategy. The following list is not an exhaustive PPC Checklist, but a great place to start optimizing your account for the new year.

  1. Review Keyword Strategy
  2. Manage Negative Keywords
  3. Optimize Budgets & Bidding
  4. Review Landing Pages  
  5. Refresh Ads
  6. Optimize Day Parting
  7. Check Campaign Settings

1) Review Keyword Strategy

Run a keyword analysis report to review your current keyword strategy, paying special attention to keywords with a high click-through but low conversion rate. Low-conversion, high-cost keywords should be paused along with keywords with a low CTR. Look for potential new keywords to add through keyword research using keyword tools and the search term report. Run an analysis of your competition’s keyword strategies for additional insights. High-converting keywords or new keyword groups may warrant new ad groups. Review all match-types to ensure you’re going after your intended search terms. This task would normally be run bi-weekly.

2) Manage Negative Keywords

Run a search term report and examine it for irrelevant search terms you could add to your ad campaigns as negative keywords. This is extremely important for a high-converting account as it keeps unqualified users from seeing and (more importantly) clicking on your ads. This will increase your probability for conversion while bringing your cost per click and cost per conversion down. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t have any negative keywords blocking search terms you want triggering your ads. For newer campaigns, you could run this task weekly as you build out your negative keyword list. Once your negative keyword list is healthy (i.e.- once you’re not seeing a search term report filled with irrelevant search terms anymore), you can drop it down to bi-weekly.   

Negative keywords are extremely important for high-converting, lower cost campaigns as they keep unqualified users from seeing and (more importantly) clicking on your ads. Click To Tweet

3) Optimize Budgets & Bidding

While Google Ads utilizes a daily budget, it’s easier for most business owners to operate with a monthly budget. Review your target monthly budget and see if your current strategy is more or less hitting it each month. If you’re often grossly underspending or running out of budget before the end of the month, an issue is probable, but additional analysis will be needed to determine next steps. Review your bidding strategy to ensure you’re not paying inflated amounts for low-converting keywords. Your budget and bidding should normally be reviewed weekly.

4) Review Landing Pages

The user’s landing page experience is key to conversions, so it’s important to continue optimizing your landing pages. Evaluate the performance of all your landing pages, identifying low-performing pages you can remove to direct more traffic to your higher performing pages. Generate new variations based on your top performers so you can continue A/B testing and improving your landing pages in an ongoing fashion. You’ll want to keep testing your form type & length, copy & headlines, and videos & imagery, etc. Make sure the copy reflects your ad copy and add metadata if you haven’t already. This helps increase your quality score. This task is normally completed monthly.  

Pro Tip: When A/B testing ads or landing pages, for best optimization results, test one component at a time.

5) Refresh Ads

Analyze all your ads with a volume of impressions sufficient for evaluation. Pause your low-performing ads and write new ads to test against your champions. Best practice is to keep at least 3 ads running in every ad group so you’re constantly split testing ads. Test new headlines & descriptions. Focus on highlighting benefits over features. For all low-traffic campaigns, this task can be completed monthly, but for ads with sufficient traffic, it’s best to complete bi-weekly.  

6) Optimize Day Parting

For all ads with at least a few months of data (1 year or better is optimal), review the performance by the day of the week and the hour of the day. This will allow you to increase bidding during peak performance and lower or pause bidding during times of little or no conversions. You’ll also notice daily/weekly/monthly/annual trends and seasonal shifts which will allow you to fine-tune your campaigns even further. This is normally a bi-monthly task.

7) Check Campaign Settings

Errors in campaign settings are easy to miss and can cost you money over time. To prevent that, verify that the campaign settings for all your campaigns are in fact correct. Make sure you’re targeting the intended locations, devices, networks, and languages. Verify your additional location settings reflect your true intentions. There is a big difference between targeting everyone in a specific location and everyone who is physically in OR shows interest in a specific location. Verify all settings reflect your custom strategy. Incorporate this into your monthly task workout.

Great Work! But Don’t Stop Here

Well-tended PPC campaigns compliment your organic SEO strategy to generate a balanced, high-volume lead-generating, internet-dominating digital marketing machine. You can’t leave your PPC marketing on autopilot to accomplish this, nor is there an end-all-be-all checklist that will get you there. It requires steady and focused attention, constant testing, and ongoing data analysis and optimization. Want to have the highest conversions rates at the lowest cost possible? Get the new year started on the right foot with this checklist.

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Joey is a Digital Marketing Analyst at ITVibes. A lifelong writer, he combines his affinity for written expression with a love for helping people create winning content marketing strategies that help businesses boost their brand and reach their target audiences. Joey holds a Bachelor of Science in Leadership and Biblical Studies and has enhanced his skills through professional marketing certifications. Writing is more than a profession for Joey, it is his passion; On a personal level, he also enjoys writing songs (lyrics and music), poetry, and storybooks for children.