Managing an effective paid search campaign is daunting for even the most experienced PPC expert. And for us mere mortals, it can seem almost impossible, especially if it’s one of twenty other marketing activities you’re managing. Here are a few tips that can help you simplify your PPC campaign to make day-to-day management easier.

1. Clean Up Your Ad Groups

Credit: clogwog

When you’re feeling strapped for time, it can be tempting to toss hundreds of keywords and dozens of ads into one large ad group and let them run. After all, it seems logical that managing a few uber-ad groups would be far simpler than a dozen or more smaller, tightly coupled ad groups, right? Wrong.

Taking the time to set up several, tightly focused ad groups with highly relevant keywords, ads and landing pages will be simpler and save you time in the long run. The data you collect on these ad groups will be far more relevant and actionable. You’ll know quickly which keywords and ads are working well and which aren’t so you can more easily optimize your campaign to improve performance.

What’s more, you’ll see better campaign performance from tightly coupled ad groups. Google will award you with higher Quality Scores, which will lower your Cost Per Click (CPC), and you’ll see a better Click Through Rate (CTR) and Conversion Rate.

2. Make Bulk Changes to Your Campaigns

Making a bid price or ad copy change here and there in AdWords is relatively quick and easy. But if you’re making a large number of campaign-wide changes, you’ll be better off leveraging a campaign management tool like Google’s AdWords Editor or Acquisio’s bulk editor.

These tools allow you to make bid price changes to dozens or hundreds of keywords at once, or change ad landing page URLs in bulk rather than one by one. What’s more, they allow you to work offline, so network latency isn’t an issue as you work to make big changes to you campaign quickly.

3. Use Negative Keywords

Negative keywords let you prevent your ads from being shown for searches containing that negative keyword term. For instance, if you’re selling software and don’t have a free offering, adding “-free” to your negative keyword list will prevent your ads from being served when a searcher enters “free software” into Google.

Leveraging negative keywords can simplify campaign management by making sure only the most relevant traffic comes to your site, which will improve your CTR and conversion rates, and reduce the “noise” in your data analysis by filtering out visitors who are unlikely to buy your product or service.

4. Leverage Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is the practice of writing ads with variables, which will then populate with a user’s exact search term when the ad is served. When a user sees an ad with their exact search term included and bolded in the ad copy, they will be more likely to click your ad. Using dynamic keyword insertion can increase your click-through rate, which also improves your Quality Score.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion - Source: Redfly Marketing

The best part about using Dynamic Keyword Insertion is that it’s simple to do, and will save you loads of time! Rather than writing a separate ad for every keyword in an ad group, DKI will give you the same effect with just one ad.

Using DKI in your ads is simple. Just type {KeyWord:} and the default keyword you want to use if the searcher’s keyword is too long to fit in the ad. Then when a user sees your ad, they’ll see the search term they just typed in your ad, making it highly relevant and attractive to them. But be careful – DKI used improperly can result in ads that don’t make sense, so it’s best to avoid using broad match keywords in your DKI ad groups.

5. Use Ad Scheduling (to turn on/off your campaign automatically)

Credit: Kapa

Ad Scheduling, or day parting, lets you specify specific times of day, or days of the week when your ads will run. This can be particularly useful if you find that your customers convert on your web site during certain times of the day/week.

For example, if you sell products to other business in the U.S., it’s unlikely that you’re going to make many sales at 3:00 a.m. on Saturdays. So, it’s more cost effective to simply turn off your ads during this time of day.

Of course, doing this manually multiple times per week would be a huge hassle, so AdWords makes it easy schedule when your ads run with Ad Scheduling. To determine the best times of day or days of the week to run your ads, look at your conversion data in Google Analytics. This will let you see when your site is generating the most conversions. But be sure to take time zones into consideration.

For example, if your AdWords account is set to the Pacific time zone and you want your ads to run during normal U.S. business hours, you’ll need to run your campaign from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to account for all time zones in the continental U.S.

These are just a few ways to simplify your PPC campaign management. If you have other ideas, please leave them in the comments section below.