A PPC Carol: The Ghost of PPC Present

Ghost of PPC PresentHaving completed his lesson from the Ghost of PPC Past, Ebenezer now awaits the arrival of his 2nd visitor, the Ghost of PPC Present. His wait isn’t long and soon the room begins to fill with light, laughter, and the presence of a peculiar ghost.

The Ghost of PPC Present is loud and gregarious. He talks endlessly about all the new features, platforms, and products available in the PPC industry. He speaks of the now and lives in the now. However, recognizing the limited time afforded he looks intently at Ebenezer and says, “Are you ready for the message I bring?” Ebenezer responds in the affirmative and they are whisked away.

Lesson #1 – Prepare

Their first visit is to the home of Bob Cratchit. The home is very modest and they see Bob’s family cleaning, cooking, and preparing for their feast. Many of your PPC campaigns could similarly use a little cleaning and preparation for the holidays. The first place to look would be your campaign settings. If you’ve created your campaigns over the years the default settings in AdWords or AdWords Editor have probably changed over that time. Here are some dusty corners that I’ve often seen in need of attention:

  • Ad Rotation – Make sure you’re consistent. I recommend even rotation for ad testing.
  • Devices – Did you just spitball your mobile bid modifier or did you calculate it by looking at segmented data? Take a few minutes to segment by device and see how performance differs. Then set mobile bid modifiers accordingly.
  • Target/Exclude – I recommend using “People in my targeted location” settings on both. It tightens things up and ensures more focused spending.
  • Locations – Are you consistent? This is one of the most common inconsistencies I see while doing audits.
  • Extensions – While not technically a setting, make sure you’re taking advantage of all the extensions you can. It’s additional real estate and usually gets you more clicks.


Lesson #2 – Enjoy the now

The next visit is to the home of Ebenezer’s nephew Fred. The home is small, but brimming with holiday spirit. During the holidays it’s easy to get caught up promotions and the end of the year. But it’s possible to still enjoy the holidays like Fred with a few tricks.

  • Automated Rules – This great feature from AdWords allows you to label campaigns, ad groups, ads, etc. and set a rule that will pause them, or reduce bids, whenever you want. This is particularly helpful for holiday sales or promotions that need to end at midnight, so you don’t have to be online when the time arrives. You just wake up and find an email telling you of the changes made.
  • Delegation – This is something I’ve struggled with over the years, but if you have the help, make sure you spread the work around so that nobody is too burdened. As they say, “Many hands make light work.”


Lesson #3 – Be Grateful & Unplug

In his visits to the homes of his nephew Fred and Bob Cratchit, Ebenezer sees that both of these families enjoy their holiday, but he sees other similarities. Both are grateful for what they have, no matter how meager. Sometimes PPC professionals complain about not getting as much budget as other departments or not getting the credit (attribution) they deserve. However, we need to be grateful for the measurable nature of our channel. Be grateful for even simple attribution and the analytics and tracking we have. Sure it’s not perfect, but it’s way better than it used to be. Be grateful for all the other PPC pros who share and answer questions (I’m looking at you #ppcchat).

Secondly, unplug occasionally. If you’ve set up your automated rules and budgets and notifications and delegated, you should be able to step away and enjoy for a time. The mental, spiritual, physical, whatever you want to call it, break will help you come back refreshed and energized.

Another Lesson Learned

The visit from the Ghost of PPC Present had a profound effect on Ebenezer. He was gaining an important perspective and with the departure of this friend he awaits the third visitor, the Ghost of PPC Future.