When I first started in the PPC industry, I remember being a little overwhelmed by how much there was to learn. I was fortunate to have received great, thorough training at my first agency (three months’ worth to be exact!), but by the end of most training days, my head was swimming with all the information I’d been given — keyword match types, bids, ad copy, landing pages, tracking, targeting, editors, budgeting, best practices and on and on!
Obviously there are a ton of moving parts in PPC, and over the years I’ve come to realize that sometimes we marketers can get so preoccupied with ALL that we’re doing that we neglect some of the basics. Like ad copy reviews. I’m continually surprised to learn that a lot of account managers have no consistent ad copy review process in place. Let’s remember – the ad copy is what our target audiences are actually reading to encourage their click!
An ad copy review process was one of the first things I was taught to do, and although that process has changed, (we weren’t using pivot tables then, if you can imagine!) it’s still part of the regular account maintenance tasks I run. But before I dive into our ad review process, and offer you a link to a free automation tool, I want to give a brief rundown of AdWords’ ad rotation options.
Automated Ad Rotation
AdWords offers three ad rotation settings to help automate ad serving based on performance: Optimize for clicks, Optimize for conversions and Rotate evenly:
Optimize for Clicks
If you’re an Adwords campaign newbie, you might be inclined to choose the Optimize for clicks setting, as Google claims this is the ideal setting for most advertisers. However, if you are tracking conversions in your campaigns then this is likely NOT the best setting, as an ad driving the most clicks won’t necessarily be the ad with the highest conversion rate or lowest CPA. Here’s an example from one of my accounts:
Optimize for Conversions
If you have an account that is tracking conversions that is also higher volume then this can be a good setting to test. Optimize for Conversions will give preference to ads that are expected to drive more conversions based on both click through rate and conversion rate. My caution with this setting is the following:
‘ If there isn’t enough data to determine which ad will provide the most conversions, ads will rotate using optimize for clicks data.’
As mentioned above, Optimize for clicks isn’t going to yield the best results for accounts tracking conversions.
The Rotate Evenly option waits for 90 days’ worth of data before beginning the optimization process, which will be for either clicks or conversions depending on your campaign settings. If you’ve enabled a conversion-based setting, like Target CPA, then the system will base optimizations on conversion data.
In my opinion, this is generally the best setting to use. All the accounts I work on track conversions, and as a result this is the setting I usually stick with. Why not Rotate Evenly instead? Because my lower-volume clients’ campaigns won’t meet the conversion threshold minimum to use a conversion-based strategy like Target CPA bidding, and therefore their ads would be optimized for clicks which is not a good route. For my higher-volume clients, it is rare that ALL campaigns meet that conversion threshold minimum, and therefore Rotate Evenly would optimize for clicks in campaigns using Manual CPC bidding.
Our Ad Review Process
Regardless of which ad rotation setting you choose, you should have a process in place for identifying and pausing under-performing ads to get them out of the mix. It’s important that you allow your ads to accrue enough data to warrant pausing (I generally use 1,000+ impressions as a benchmark) and that you check that the KPIs you’re comparing are statistically significantly different.
For most accounts, we use the Impression to Conversion metric as our KPI for comparison. You can find this percentage by simply taking the number of conversions, dividing by the number of impressions then multiplying by 100. Here’s an example:
Once we calculate this metric, we determine if the ITC percentages are statistically significantly different. To automate this potentially time consuming review and analysis process, our Clix team member Jason Brown created this great tool that you can also use in your own accounts! If ITC is the right KPI for your accounts, then start saving yourself some time and grab this free tool!
What ad review process do you employ in your accounts? What time saving tips or tools have you created? Let us know in the comments section below!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our series, Get Your Time Back: A Little PPC Automation Goes A Long Way.