A Recipe for Client Success in PPC

Orange-Cupcakes-cupcakes-35381820-1600-1067The other day I was reviewing an AdWords audit for a small advertiser (about $1500/month in click spend). We went through many aspects of the account from conversion tracking to keyword match types to landing pages. We spent about 30 minutes reviewing the findings and recommendations before I asked if there were any questions.


For at least 10 seconds.

Sensing that the client was a little overwhelmed, I stepped in to explain that while there was a lot that needed to be done, none of it was complicated. It boiled down to 3 main areas:

  • Establish a solid conversion tracking foundation
  • Bring the account up to speed with best practices
  • Create a better user experience from keyword to ad copy to landing page (what I call the chain of relevancy)

With this simplified “list” we were able to make assignments and establish a logical course of action. But this got me thinking. Why was a set of recommendations that I felt were very basic and intuitive totally overwhelming this client (smart guy; multiple college degrees)? These are the reasons I came up with.

Too Much Jargon

Every profession has it’s own vernacular. Words that are precisely defined to those in the industry, but might as well be Klingon to people outside the industry. During the call, while discussing how we would improve sitelinks, I forgot to explain what sitelinks were. They’ve been around for years and I take them for granted, but he didn’t know what I was talking about until I had him do a quick search on Google and he saw examples of sitelinks. Jargon is a way that PPC professionals often make PPC seem WAAAAY harder than it really is.

Too Little Context

The PPC industry is ever-changing. Sometimes I wonder how anyone keeps up with AdWords, BingAds, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads, Facebook Ads, etc. Heck, Facebook just announced Atlas and it’s basically an entirely new platform. Yikes!

When you casually mention a new ad extension like the callout extension, not only do you have to explain what it is, you need to explain what ad extensions are in their entirety. You might even need to talk about how they work, when they appear, and most importantly, why anyone would go to the trouble to implement, monitor, and optimize them. Without the context, the “Why?” to what you’re doing, PPC starts to look more like Harry Potter than Hal Varian.

PPC Isn’t Rocket Science

Like Goldilocks and the 3 bears, we’ve seen too much and too little, but what does “just right” look like? To make your recommendations relatable you need a basic recipe with 4 main ingredients:

  • 1 cup of plain English words
  • 3 tsp of empathy (think back to when you were a PPC noob)
  • 1/2 cup of patience
  • Mix thoroughly with expertise

PPC should be more like cooking and less like rocket science. If you establish a firm foundation of tracking, implement best practices in account structure, test with a purpose, deliver a relevant customer experience, and optimize continually you’ll get great results.