In the post-holiday haze of gluttony, millions of people each year vow to start a new diet and exercise regimen at the start of the new year. Are your PPC accounts feeling pudgy? Want to tighten your belt on your results and efficiency? Being ready to go at the start of the year will be a lot easier if you do some prep work as the year closes out. The key to hitting the ground running getting your act together before the gun fires. Knowing where you stand will practically write the game plan for 2015 for you.
Assess Year-over-Year Performance
Before churning out another monthly report for your account(s), pull back a little and look at the year’s performance compared to last year’s. How was your Q4 compared to before? Did you see the same seasonal trends throughout 2014, or were their shifts that might dictate when you start promoting seasonal messaging earlier/later?
While one of the things we love about PPC is the ability to score quick wins, it’s still a long-term marketing channel and it needs to be viewed as one. Understanding the way your account(s) direction in the market is heading can give you insight ahead of time, so you can have the necessary talks if you spy a trend that could continue into 2015.
Put on Some Fresh Eyes
It’s easy to get locked into a habit of managing your accounts a certain way. Take a step back and evaluate what you have going on as if you were auditing someone else’s account. Is there an opportunity to break out your ad groups in a more granular way? When was the last time you tested ad copy? Are you seeing geographic patterns that might lend your account to Campaigns broken out by city or state in a way other than you’re doing it now? Have you taken advantage of Analytics to get another view of data and user behavior?
It can be hard to view our own work objectively. If you don’t think you can, find a PPC buddy to take a peek. Everyone has their own style, and someone else’s take can breathe some new life back into a tired setup.
Trim the Fat
Maybe your MCC is cluttered with inactive accounts. Maybe you have bloated ad groups, full of keywords that aren’t getting impressions. Over time, organization can fall by the wayside in the day-to-day management. These are things that don’t necessarily hurt your performance, but they can slow down your efficiency in other ways if you’re wading through a swamp of useless information that’s cluttering up your precious screen real estate.
Even if they are things you can’t get rid of, figure out ways to organize them more easily by using things like Labels, or Comments in offline editors for your search campaigns. As you implement the plans you create for 2015, you’ll be glad to have the clutter out of the way.
Plan Your First Quarter
You did all that work analyzing, cleaning up, and taking a fresh look. What are you left with? A list of areas that could be tightened up, cleaned up, and buffed up for the new year. It might seem like a random assortment of tasks, but you’d be served well in grouping those things together and plotting them as a more cohesive effort – not only for you, but for your clients or stakeholders to understand the higher-level reasons these tasks need to be done. As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to treat PPC like any other long-term marketing channel, and those channels all have over-arching goals with paths to success. If you’ve gotten your ducks in a row already, the plan is practically written!
There’s nothing worse in PPC than feeling like you are constantly reacting to things: metrics, Google tool changes, last-minute requests, and all those other fun things. Getting your organizational act together in the quiet moments at the end of the year is a perfect time to become proactive instead of reactive. Setting yourself up to be a step ahead makes those times where reacting become a lot less stressful, and likely even reduces those instances overall.
So: stretch, breathe deep, tighten the belt, and get going!