7 PPC Lessons

Image Credit: nlearn.se

It was a busy summer for the team at Hanapin Marketing and I. We had some good wins and some bad losses. In the end, it was a summer full of lessons that will guide my career and our agency. Here are the top seven things I learned this summer about the business of PPC.

Create Top Performer Campaigns

Recently we broke out a highly effective campaign into three campaigns. One of these campaigns contained the top five keywords in the original campaign. These were all given their own ad groups with their own custom-made ads. We then took the next five keywords in terms of performance and did the same. Lastly, we left the rest of the keywords in the old campaign. The effect was a drastic lift in conversions from all three buckets! This was in addition to the improvement in Quality Score, the increase in CTR, and making it much easier to manage the account.

Verify Lead/Sale Quality

It’s easy to sit in your bubble watching lead or sale volumes grow and assume that life is good. It’s another thing to get back end data regarding lead quality and revenue amounts and optimize based on that. For most PPC pros this is a no brainer, but many beginners overlook the importance of matching up leads with sales, and sales with revenue. Also, insure that you don’t take your boss’ or your client’s word for it. Ask for the actual data so you can get your eyes on it so you can spot potential red flags and ensure that you’re not getting lip service only to find out down the road that quality is off when it could be too late to course correct.

The Busier Your Are The Worse You Are

If you are running around, putting out fires, hopping from one project to the next you are not going to be very good at your job. I don’t mean that you don’t have the ability to be good, I mean your brain, heart, body isn’t going to be able to keep up with the pace and mistakes are going to be made. More importantly, you are not going to be giving yourself enough time on long term strategies which means you are going to hit a wall that you do not see coming at some point.

Ads With Expired Offers Perform Well

If an ad has an expired offer, say something like, “Free Shipping Until 9/5”. It will typically perform very well in terms of CTR and Conversion rate for a few days after the expiration date. After a few days it will start to perform very poorly, though. So be careful not to let it run longer than 2-3 days.

A Quick Start To High Quality Scores Matters

I read a post once about bidding high on new keywords/new accounts for the first few weeks to increase average position and CTR. While I believe the impact of CTR on QS is relative to position, there is something to be said for starting out hot. Over the summer I battled low quality score on two accounts where the initial results were poor. It seemed like no matter what I did, better ads, raised bids, negative keywords, bid on exact match only, I could not get QS back to where it needed to be. After a lot more work than it should have taken, the ship was righted. But I can’t help but imagine how much easier life would have been if I would have only launched a few campaigns, such as Brand, that would have high QS and let the account gain some history before building it out on a larger scale.

Compelling, Illustrative And Easy To Create Reports Matter

This is a little self-service for the Acquisio folks, but it’s true. This summer was the summer of reporting for me. I made a concerted effort to give my clients more information and, more importantly, more insights that could impact their other marketing channels. The only problem with this was that we only have about 50% of our clients in Acquisio. So it started with using Acquisio’s reporting and when it worked it moved to everyone else. Which means about half the reports took 10% of my time to create them and the other half took about 90%.

We Are All Figuring This Out Together

When I hit a problem my first go to is, “there has to be someone out there who has figured this out.” A lot of times there are people around who can help throw ideas at you. But there’s no magic PPC wand, there’s no one out there that has figured everything out, and there is no one solution to the same PPC problem across different accounts. Us PPC’ers are in this together.

I’ve never met a group of people more willing to help each other out. I’ve received advice, been congratulating by landing big clients and asked for advice in return from people working at competing agencies. None of us have figuring everything out, but together we are piecing it together. The PPC agency is truly a case of a rising tide raises all ships. And we’re all moving up and to the right together.



Jeff Allen has worked in Internet marketing since May of 2000. He has led the development of a proprietary email marketing platform, generated over 12 million leads, been part of two mergers, and his work has led to the multi-million dollar sale of two agencies. He worked at Hanapin Marketing as the Account Director and was the leading contributor to their blog, PPCHero.com, before becoming President. At Hanapin Jeff works with dozens of accounts that range from mid sized businesses to billion dollar global conglomerates. Jeff has spoken at SES, Hero Conf, SMX and the Acquisio User Summit. His favorite feature of the Acquisio platform is the ability to do complex rules-based bidding based on ROAS.

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