10 PPC New Year's Resolutions for 2011
1. I will use Broad Match Modifiers more
This feature is something that we PPC’ers have been wanting/needing for a long time. It is a real step forward in giving us more control over how we spend our money on broad match. But with great power comes great responsibility. It’s up to us to use BMM to its fullest potential, which unfortunately means more disciplined work.
2. I will use geo-targeting more
Geo-targeting has been around a long time, and like the new BMM it takes a disciplined approach to use it properly and effectively. Using geo-targeting gives us advertisers more control over how we spend our money, but it makes me tired just thinking about going from a few campaigns to a much more granular structure with several duplicated campaigns across different geographies. And of course, every time you try something new in AdWords it seems like you have to pay a “getting-started tax.”
The benefits of using a more granular account structure by geography are obvious and compelling: more control, more visibility, and a better chance of maximizing profit. Take a look at your geographic reports and focus on locations with above or below average conversion rates with enough clicks/cost to care about.
3. I will test my ads more
This might seem like something that I wouldn’t have to put on this list, but testing ads is one of those things that is easy to put off or ignore. I’m going to focus on my head terms, and get some fresh ads in my ad groups and see if I can increase my total conversions.
4. I will get more granular with my landing page testing
Over the past 4 years, landing page testing has been one of the biggest contributors to my PPC success, and yet I find that I haven’t taken full advantage of this powerful tool. Like testing ads, landing page testing is one of those things you can ignore too easily.
Basically you should have a customized landing page for every ad group; if it deserves a different ad, then it probably deserves a different landing page. Again, I will start with my higher traffic ad groups with above or below average conversion rates and go from there.
5. I will focus more on my mobile campaigns
I just got through splitting out my mobile campaigns from my search campaigns a couple of weeks ago, so I will be in a better position to take control. Like breaking out your campaigns by geography this creates more campaigns to have to monitor and make decisions on. Now I have to write new ads and start testing landing pages.
6. I will focus more on display advertising
One of my biggest PPC surprises of 2010 was the success of an AdWords display campaign (put together by my AdWords dedicated account reps).
Right out of the gate this display campaign started producing a good amount of conversions at a very acceptable CPA. I think Conversion Optimizer might have had something to do with it as well. Regardless, it has rekindled my interest in display advertising, which until last year hasn’t really produced much benefit for us.
7. I will outsource certain aspects of my PPC campaigns
I was recently introduced to a company for outsourcing ad testing, BoostCTR. You only pay (a flat fee) if they write a winning ad. I’ll just have to double-check that they will optimize for total conversions and not just CTR. Besides that, there is really no good reason not to try them out, and it fits in nicely with my “test more ads” resolution. I may also look outside for some landing page designs for my landing page testing resolution.
8. I will take advantage of AdWords IP exclusion more often
AdWords IP exclusion is a no-brainer. It’s like mining for negative keywords from your search queries, but it’s easy to forget that you have this control.
9. I will mine my search queries for negatives and new keywords more often
If you follow any of my writing on PPC, then you know I’m a big fan of search query mining. It’s the best way to find new keywords that convert on your site, but requires extensive use of negative keywords for the best results.
Search query mining is one of those PPC optimizations that is difficult to execute properly, but holds great value. I hope to take my search query mining efforts to a new level in 2011.
10. I will invest more in learning about SEO
I just took the SMX Biggest Search Geek test and only scored a 51%, which made me realize that I need to focus a little more on education. There weren’t that many SEO questions on the test, but I realized that I need to get to know my SEM counterpart a little better.
Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson
By Chad Summerhill, author of the blog PPC Prospector, provider of PPC tutorials, and in-house AdWords Specialist at Moving Solutions, Inc. (UPack.com and MoveBuilder.com).