5 Ways to Push Through the Proverbial PPC Wall

It happens to all of us eventually. We manage our PPC campaigns day in and day out and then one day — boom! We hit a wall.

What do I do next? Is this really all I can get out of my PPC campaign?

Even more startling are those PPC managers that never reach the wall due to stagnation. The “set it and forget it” crowd.

Today we’ll cover five common sense ways to push through the proverbial PPC wall so that you can truly maximize your PPC potential.

1. Leverage Existing Campaigns

When you think there is nothing left you can do to improve your PPC performance, the first thing you should do is take a deeper look at your existing campaigns. Hundreds, if not thousands, of articles have been written on this topic. But here are some of the high level ideas:

  • Review your campaign settings.
  • Analyze your current ad testing and pause losing ads.
  • Find keywords with Quality Scores under 7 and break them out into smaller, tighter ad groups.
  • Review search query reports and find new negative keywords.
  • Test your landing pages.
  • Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

It’s so easy to become blind to some of these mundane tasks when you’re entrenched in a PPC campaign, but all of these little tasks add up to big improvements in performance.

2. Don’t Neglect or Ignore Microsoft adCenter

While I still grumble about Microsoft adCenter from time to time, I’m becoming more of a fan with each passing day. As I spend more time managing my adCenter accounts I find that I’m achieving a proportionate level of increases in performance, too.

If you already manage an adCenter PPC account, don’t ignore it. While it may not drive as much traffic or as many conversions as AdWords, it’s still an important piece of the PPC puzzle.

Millions of people actively use Yahoo and Bing search every day and they want to do business with you, too. For those of you who still haven’t started advertising on Microsoft adCenter, well, if you’re looking to get past your PPC wall — look no further.

3. Display Advertising: Duh, Winning!

Cheesy Charlie Sheen references aside, display advertising is “where it’s at.” There is a tremendous potential for any PPC advertiser to discover new customers and dramatically improve PPC performance with Google’s (and Microsoft’s) Display Network.

Create some display campaigns and push some exciting, enticing text ads out and get the ball rolling. Create some image ads — animated if you can swing it — and get those out there, too.

For those of you already complaining because you don’t have the resources to create image ads, Google AdWords has the Display Ad Builder which you can use — for free.

And don’t forget about Microsoft adCenter. Microsoft has a large Content Network (different terminology, but is the same as “Display”). Just note that for now, you can only publish text ads to this network via adCenter.

4. The Art of Remarketing

Remarketing is a fun, exciting extension of Google’s Display Network. For the sake of an example, let’s pretend that you have exhausted all options in your Search Network campaigns, you have rocked your Microsoft adCenter account and dominated the Display Network (this work is never really done, but we’re pretending).

What is left? Start targeting those website visitors that did not convert.

Remarketing lets you place a cookie on a visitor’s computer. When that visitor leaves your website without converting, you can begin to show ads on Google’s Display Network to entice them to come back and complete their purchase.

You can fine tune remarketing to segment visitors by webpage, product, etc., so that you deliver the most targeted ad to them in the future. This is a powerful method of PPC advertising and one that you should consider using ASAP.

5. Social PPC

The new Wild West of PPC advertising is on the social networks. Facebook, LinkedIn, and now Twitter (to name a few) are all developing super-targeted PPC advertising platforms.

There is some learning curve to these platforms as they are considerably different from the comfort zones of Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter. But don’t let that deter you. They are easy to learn and manage.

So when you’re feeling frustrated because you’ve hit the PPC wall, take a deep breath and open a Facebook Ads account and expand your PPC horizons!


There you have it — five common sense ways of pushing through the proverbial PPC wall. Or PPC brain block. Or whatever you call it.

My hope is that I have inspired a few of you to press on and find new and exciting ways to improve your PPC performance. Does anyone else have suggestions on ways to improve PPC performance when you feel there is nowhere else to go?

This article was originally posted April 1, 2010 on searchenginewatch.com.