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The 7 Deadly Sins of PPC: Sloth #ppcsins

April 9, 2018

We’re covering the seven deadly sins of PPC all month. Check out the other posts in the series here:

We all know a little something about sin #5, sloth. I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m terribly lazy. While others are dashing off to the Crossfit post-work, you can find me moseying home to binge-watch Netflix and nurse a pint of Ben and Jerrys (because, honestly, who has the energy to cook after sitting in an office all day?).

I didn’t realize how serious my laziness was until a few months ago. I was on vacation in Haiti and I attempted a hike that the guidebook labeled “moderate – suitable for all physically fit people ages 12+”. It was brutal. When I complained to my mom afterwards that Lonely Planet had clearly mislabeled it, she pointed out that the problem was more likely on my behalf than Lonely Planet’s…

If an insult from your mother isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is. God knows, it doesn’t always feel good, but it was definitely a necessary “come to Jesus” moment.

So, this post is my “come to Jesus” for lazy PPC practitioners. I can’t tell you how often I hear advertisers claim that “PPC just doesn’t work for SMBs” or “it’s impossible to really control your paid search performance.”  The fact of the matter is, most of these advertisers are just plain lazy. According to data derived from our AdWords Grader tool, we’ve found that:

  • Only 1% of small business advertisers work on their accounts on a weekly basis
  • More than half (53%) of small businesses only optimize their ads once per QUARTER
  • 43% of advertisers haven’t added a new negative keyword in the past 30 days.

It’s no wonder they’re struggling with poor performance, given how little effort they are contributing to paid search.

PPC Account Activity Pays Off

There’s no disputing that consistent PPC account activity makes a huge impact on performance. A “set it and forget it strategy” yields mediocre performance at best. In reality, no matter how good an account is, you can always do better. Here’s a rundown of the basic types of PPC optimization activities and why they matter:

By completing these tasks regularly, advertisers will achieve higher Quality Scores, cheaper clicks and ultimately lower their CPAs.

Now I, for one, am in no position to lecture anyone on the perils of sloth. Instead, I’ve got three solutions to help you avoid the pitfalls of lazy PPC account management.

Solution #1: Make a Commitment and Stick with It

When I actually commit to ending an “exercise hiatus,” the hardest part is getting back into a healthy routine. Why? Because I absolutely dread the thought of going to the gym. Once I’m there and my endorphins are soaring, I’m happy as a clam, but the very thought of donning workout gear and walking to my local YMCA has kept me home more than once. If you don’t spend a ton of time managing a paid search account, you probably have a similar feeling when it comes time to work in your account; but often, the anticipation of working in it is far worse than actually doing it.

If you want to turn your performance around, stop procrastinating! Set aside time on a regular basis to complete account clean-up (bid adjustments, negative/regular keyword expansion, etc.). While the first few weeks may be overwhelming, you’ll find that it doesn’t take long to get into maintenance-mode where you only have to make a few tweaks each week. Not to mention, your PPC comfort level will increase tremendously!

Solution #2: Keep It In House with a Software Solution

It never hurts to employ a little help to get you back on track. There’s a reason why solutions like Weight Watchers and personal trainers are so popular – they’re fitness experts with all sorts of tried and true strategies to get their clients on a path to success. Not to mention, because clients are investing in these services, they’re more likely to hold themselves accountable and be diligent in their fitness routines.

There are numerous tools and consulting services that can play a similar role in your quest to improve your PPC account, making optimization recommendations and automating some of the more time-consuming aspects of PPC analysis and management.

Software is great because it empowers you to be a better account manager, without having to invest a ton of time and money.

Solution #3: Outsource Your Account to a Full Management Solution

Sometimes you have to take drastic measures to achieve the success that you are looking for. Unfortunately, oftentimes the “easy route” comes at a high price (for example, I would love to invest in both a personal chef and regular liposuction to combat my lazy habits). One of the fastest and easiest ways to reinvigorate your PPC account is to outsource it to an agency for full management.

If you decide to pursue this route, I caution you not to fall into your lazy tendencies while selecting an agency. Be sure to vet them diligently, have clear, candid conversations about your goals and expectations and explore references before signing on with them. Once you’ve kicked off the relationship, I recommend meeting with your new account manager on a regular basis for performance updates and campaign planning.

Erin Sagin

Erin Sagin is the Global SMB Solutions Go To Market Lead at Google.