People don’t want to see your ad when they’re using apps. Period. There’s not a lot else that needs said. Most businesses don’t need app ads in the digital marketing mix. There’s too many ways it can go south, and too much heavy lifting that needs to be done to make the initiative work. Jumping to this stage is literally throwing good money at bad.
Brands. They have so many advantages. Multiple locations, huge budgets, inventory. You name it. But as it was written and retold so many times before…David can slay Goliath. Small businesses can beat big brands with local SEO warfare.
As an AdWords management company, our team has seen a number of “reports” (using the term loosely) that second-rate and novice PPC management companies send to their clients. Often times it’s nothing more than a screenshot out of their Google My Client Center, or a top level report showing impressions. If you’re AdWords management team isn’t showing you AT THE MINIMUM three of the four items below, you may need to consider a switch. Actually, if you can’t see an ROI (or see how the exposure is playing a key role in ROI), it’s time for a switch. But that may take time to see. Here’s some leading indicators of what needs to be present to “know” if you’re pay-per-click management company is actually making you money or taking your money:
Reporting on Conversions: Conversions can be sales, or leads, or even just goal conversions (like video views). Whatever they are, you know that you’re spending your money on something other than “impressions and clicks”. Those things matter…but if you aren’t getting that bottom line shown to you on a regular basis, you should.
Reporting on Remarketing: To report on remarketing, one must first be running a remarketing campaign. Subtle hint. This is less about reporting and more about seeing that your AdWords campaign team is recommending best practices. You can remarket at numerous steps to prospects, including at the cart abandonment page if you have an e-commerce website. Even if you just use it to generate cheap brand impressions, it’s one of the most powerful PPC tools out there (and one you should certainly be using).
Reporting on Mobile vs Desktop Performance: Yes, it may be that one campaign works great for both mobile and desktop. But how do you know if you aren’t seeing it reported and split out separately? Depending on your business, you may want to focus on driving phone calls from mobile users versus form conversions from desktop users. You may want a completely different set of ads for mobile based on usage patterns. Regardless, you need to see if there’s a need or not. Any PPC management company worth their salt will show you regularly.
Reporting on MOM or YOY Performance: This is something that always throws up a red flag. If your current AdWords contractor isn’t showing you trends, benchmarks and the improvement that’s being made over time…there’s a good chance they don’t want you to see it for a reason. Either they aren’t making progress or worse, they’ve moved the needle backwards. A good partner will be forecasting future campaign performance and showing you trends each month.
Reporting on a Plan: What’s next for your campaign? What is being done to improve performance? Are additional landing pages being created based on keyword research? Are other digital marketing tactics needed to multiply the value of the current campaign? A little strategy should come every month. Not getting the things listed above? Maybe it’s time you found a new digital marketing partner company…
If you’re reading this blog post, either you currently HAVE a PPC management company working for you, or you’re looking at hire a digital advertising company. I think you’ll find some value here, so please read on. But first…how much do you really know about how PPC “works”? If you’re doing your homework right not and trying to make a good decision about who you hire, first know the basics. The following video is dry and can move slowly, but it will absolutely arm you to understand the basics of PPC management concepts:
Now that you have a baseline understanding, you can start asking meaningful questions. Anyone that says they’ll manage your PPC campaigns should be able to explain to you, just as the video does, a number of things. Things such as how the auction system works, how quality score works, what levers can be pulled to improve average ad position/rank, etc. This is a baseline. If there’s even a HINT of uncertainty during this explanation, do yourself a favor and move on.
Here’s a few other terms & concepts that you’ll want to be on the lookout for. If you’re researching companies right now, ask about these items. If you’re currently engaged with a PPC management firm, look for mentions of these items with your performance reports or activity logs.
Negative Keywords: The list of terms that you don’t want to bid on is actually just as important as the list of terms that you do want to bid on. This list should start out strong and grow each month. Previous reports show that as much as 40% of click activity is wasted activity. Don’t be a statistic! Make sure whoever is touching your accounts is managing negative keywords aggressively.
Remarketing: We covered the difference between remarketing and retargeting in this post. Regardless, if you aren’t using this fantastic tool for both branding AND as a sales driver or conversion generator, you’re missing out. This is the most important development in the past few years for advertisers…the ability to track your prospects for 30, 45 or even 60 days with reminders about your company, or a compelling second-chance offer if they abandoned their shopping cart. PPC management companies that don’t bring this to the table probably lack the big-picture view to really grow your business.
Ad Copy Testing: If budget doesn’t exist to do A/B testing for your landing pages or to engage in other landing page optimization efforts, as a baseline your ad copy should be tested constantly. Slight tweaks in phrases or wording can impact both click-through rates and conversions. A word of caution here though…make sure your sample size is large enough to be statistically valid before making global decisions about ad performance. Speaking of ad copy, make sure anyone involved with your paid advertising understands dynamic keyword insertion. Especially for shorter phrases, this is a great tool to match user intent with your specific ad.
There’s a lot more that you should be on the lookout for when you’re evaluating PPC management companies. However, the items below are baselines. If you aren’t getting this now, it’s time to move. If you’re doing your homework before hiring help, make sure these are all covered.
*Additional Note* Unfortunately, many pay per click management outfits have tunnel vision. They only want to focus on this one channel. If your real goal is generating more leads, you may want to look for a partner that also understands organic search, display advertising, email marketing and social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The end result isn’t a cool paid advertising campaign…it’s generating profitable leads and sales.
As always, happy marketing, and we’ll see you again soon!