#PPCFright2014: Day 1 – Exorcise Your PPC Demons

#ppcfright2014 the exorcistYou all remember when you first watched The Exorcist. You were terrified. It’s OK – you can admit it. If you haven’t seen it, let me summarize: Creepy kid goes crazy, talks with a creepy voice, spins her creepy head and pukes creepy green pea soup all over the place! Exorcist does his job and removes the demon. It’s a bucket full of awesome! And now that the season of Halloween is upon us, it’s time for all of us to practice our skills as exorcists. We must exorcise in our personal lives (I don’t care what you do after 5 pm or the weekends, people!) and our professional lives, too. Lose those demonic pounds, man! #wordplayisfun

What the heck does all of this talk of exorcisms have to do with PPC or digital advertising as a whole? Demons. Yup, I’m giving in to the Halloween hoopla. Your life in the PPC industry is full of demons. These demons come at us in legions (for they are many!) through performance issues, apathy and general stagnation or friction in our relationships with decision makers.

Cue the dramatic music! Put on your black frock! Grab the bible, holy water, cross and mirrors (you know, because you can’t look the possessed directly in the eye)! Let’s get on with the exorcism…

The Set Up

When little Sally’s mom calls to report that her daughter is possessed, you jump into action. You grab the tools of the trade and race to the scene of the action. Once there you survey the surroundings and start interviewing the family and anyone close by. Has there been any paranormal activity? When did the possession first occur. What, exactly, is the demon trying to tell us? Armed with your simple weapons of truth and a bit of knowledge, you head in to confront the gnarly demon.

Our jobs as PPC managers follows a similar path. Recognizing that there IS a problem is the first step. It may not be as simple as getting a call from the possessed’s mother, but the signs are there none-the-less. Have meetings with your boss/client become strained? Perhaps they stopped showing up? Has performance nose-dived (this one should be obvious, no?)? Has performance plateaued (not as obvious)? Do you feel like you’ve been making the same changes over and over just because you have to? All of these circumstances are a PPC demon and something that must be exorcised.

Verify Possession

Any exorcist worth their salt will only proceed with the ritual of exorcism if they have verified that a demon does in fact exist. You’ve heard the stories from family and friends, but now you must confirm. Speak to little Sally – speak to the demon and see what happens. And when that demon does finally speak… you’ll have no excuse left not to take action!

PPC and digital advertising have the advantage of massive amounts of data – a glorious paper trail of the life and health of your campaigns. Behind all of that data is a multitude of settings, ad units and weeks/months/years of changes that have impacted performance. Whatever the demon that is plaguing you, the next step is to complete an account audit to snuff out the problems at hand. If the problem is simply stagnation on your part, or your team’s, then it makes sense to have that audit completed by a fresh set of eyes. On the relationship side of things, that can be a bit trickier. Look to your email communications and be conscious of the tone of meetings to determine if there is a demon hiding in there that could jeopardize your relationship with decision makers.

Take Action

Truth is on your side. The demon has spoken! Call on your knowledge, faith and experience to cast that demon out! After brandishing your cross, soaking the possessed in holy water and reciting a bunch of fun stuff in Latin, the deed is done. Little Sally is now herself again and ready to great the world.

PPC audits serve a specific purpose. You discover and point to a problem and prescribe a solution. To exorcise your PPC demons simply put those solutions in place. Duh. Whether fixing mistakes, filling targeting gaps (or removing a targeting blockage) or testing new ideas/ads/channels, you will feel empowered knowing that you are on the road to recovery. If the demons are on the personnel or client/boss relationship side, pull up your bootstraps and get on with those difficult conversations. Talk through the results of your audit with your team. If need be, shift account managers to refresh and resolve PPC-fatigue. With decision makers, schedule a special call and have a heart-to-heart. Make sure everyone is on the same page and discuss a concrete plan that both sides agree on.

So there you have it, folks. I’ve managed to create a very weak analogy between exorcism and PPC account audits. I hope it has been entertaining and informative. If that’s the case, then you are in for a helluva roller coaster, because you’re going to get 13 full days of this AWESOME stuff!!!