Keep Calm and Kill Adwords

Okay, so I don’t mean kill as in kill it completely and turn off your accounts. I do mean play around and take some risks with your marketing if you feel up to the challenge.

I’ve been working with Adwords and other PPC for about 7-8 years now. There are some facts about the Adwords machine that most clients who haven’t worked with an analyst don’t figure out before it’s too late.

The first is that money is essentially oil for the machine. This seems like an obvious statement, but factually eliminating or decreasing budget from any campaign can completely kill your impressions – in layman’s terms, Google will barely show your ads enough to  even make a ripple.

This is a good reason for an analyst not to charge clients based on their Adwords spend. When your analyst approaches you and says, “Hey, I really think Campaign xxx could use more cash,” if the analyst’s fee is based on what you spend, trust is immediately lost. You might think analysts are just trying to line their pockets when in reality, they may be doing the right thing for your account.

Fact #2 – Google Adwords runs your changes through an algorithm process, much the same as Google.com’s search results. All this stuff runs on an algorithm. If you’re making changes to keywords, ads or budget, it makes sense to leave 2-3 days in between changes so you can see their effect on the account. Making changes daily doesn’t give Adwords time to process those changes through the algorithm, so you could end up really causing some mayhem in your account and either over or underspending by a large margin. Plus, you’re screwing up your data over the long-term by making short-term, impulsive changes.

So here comes the meat of this blog – holiday pausing.

Many clients I’ve worked with over the years want me to turn their advertising off over the holidays. Some of you are doing e-commerce so you want your ads to be huge – these observations aren’t for you. For those of you who aren’t doing e-commerce – possibly providing consulting, services like insurance, etc., DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR ADS OVER THE HOLIDAYS.

Turn down your max CPC.

Why? Because your account stays active while still funneling traffic through Adwords, virtually resetting your CPCs.

Most analysts who manage your account are not actively bidding down on your keywords. Your top competitors could be making long-term website or account changes that put their quality scores in the toilet, meaning that your keywords could cost less and you’d never know – because Google gives us the impression that when we bid up to get on the first page for a keyword, our bids need to stay there. Lowering the bid will potentially take the keyword off the first page, and for our highest-performing keywords, we don’t want that.

If your bids are .50 or 1.00 per keyword over the holidays, this gives you the opportunity to bid them up again starting in January when you want your account to come back on. Google will tell you what the first page bids are pretty quickly – and you may be surprised to discover some of those bids are substantially below what you’ve been paying!

Test it. Try it. Don’t do everything all at once and take some care with this method – but at the end of the day, you may be overpaying Google. And that extra money can go a long way over the holiday!

Amber Turrill

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