3 Steps to Avoid PPC Account Erosion

Recently I had the opportunity to go to a large waterfall just outside Yellowstone National Park called Mesa Falls. This waterfall is as tall as a 10-story building and roughly 200 feet across. You can see the power, and beauty, even with my amateur photography skills and cell phone camera:
Upper Mesa Falls Idaho
The waterfall exists because of a layer of volcanic rock that is especially hard and has resisted erosion. This layer is known as tuff (seriously, I’m not making that up). So what does this have to do with PPC? I’d like to make an analogy.

The Waterfall Analogy of PPC Accounts

In this analogy we have two main characters; the river and the waterfall. The story isn’t new or particularly exciting. The river constantly flows over the rock, but the beauty is achieved because the tuff has refused to be eroded, leading to the dramatic waterfall.

  • The River – I liken the river to clicks and budget. Always moving. Sometimes faster. Sometimes slower. Varying across time and seasons.
  • The Waterfall – This is your account with all it’s keywords, ad groups, ad copy, targets, audiences, etc. If it’s solid it creates beauty as the clicks and budgets pour over it.
  • Erosion – The slow, almost imperceptible decay inherent to the constant pounding of the water. It’s happening all the time, no matter what.

The waterfall is beautiful, but just as everything has it’s opposite, erosion is working to destroy the waterfall. Slowly reducing it to rapids, then gravel, then sand.

How do we prevent this erosion and maintain the beauty of our PPC accounts? Here are 3 key steps:

1. How Tough Is Your Tuff?

The first step is to ensure your account is solid. This means correct settings, consistent testing, thorough keyword research, etc. You’re never going to have a waterfall if your account gets washed away with the first big budget push. Ensure your account foundation is solid, no matter how large or small the water volume.

2. More Water = More Memorable

Niagara Falls is nowhere near the tallest waterfall in the world, but people flock to see it because of the sheer volume of water flowing over the falls (85,000 cubic feet per second). The same goes for your account and campaigns. If they’re solid and producing beautiful results, the way to make them even better is to push even more budget through them.

3. Plan On Erosion

No matter how tough your tuff and how much budget you’re pushing there is always going to be erosion. Some erosion will come from competitors imitating your ad copy or bidding on the same keywords. Perhaps AdWords changes how the auction works or how accounts and campaigns are structured (like what’s going to happen later this year with expanded text ads, tablet bid modifiers, etc.) You’ve got to plan on change and work to keep your waterfall from eroding away.

Have you had erosions happen in your PPC accounts in the past? What are you doing to prevent erosion? Share with us in the comments!