PPC Lessons of 2012

The holiday season is a crucial time for effective online marketing campaign strategies. Let’s take a look back and see what we’ve learned this year and what we can build on moving forward!

Integrate the idea of being “evergreen – Traditionally, aiming to create evergreen content is a major goal in creating content for blogs, web pages, white paper, slideshows and more. The point is that the content will never get old because it contains long-lasting ideas that can be used for years to come. When using this in your paid ad copy, keep things simple, straight-forward and something that will rightfully belong in your ad group as you make other changes, while keeping this consistent.

Consistency counts – Small business owners might get the urge to spend more on PPC when things are going well and completely turn ads off when things aren’t so great. Just like with SEO, paid ads can be greatly affected (in a negative way) when it’s on an erratic schedule. Online campaigns should be kept at a consistent level even if it means cutting back on bids instead of completely shutting the campaigns off. (Again, it depends on your business and industry and it’s always best to consult with an experienced PPC consultant.)

Divide and conquer – No matter how much you plan, research and test, sometimes, certain phrases or keywords don’t perform so well. It could depend on customer preferences, search trends, and even the weather. (Yes, rain and cold weather can have a huge affect on customer spending behavior!) Instead of having the entire ad campaign suffer from the lack of conversions, it might be a good idea to move them to another group and keep the winners from suffering.

Stay focused – Speaking of testing, there is such a thing as too much testing. Dealing with irrelevant minutia of multiple campaigns can get to a person and prevent you from seeing the bigger picture in the long run. If possible, it’s better to choose a few of the most important metrics to consistent test and limit the amount of campaigns that are consecutively running. This way, you can actually sit back, analyze them, and make changes for the better instead of obsessing over the details… and even possibly getting yourself confused as the campaigns blend together. Never a good thing!

Do your best and be realistic – This isn’t just a reminder of what to tell your customers but something you should always keep at the back of your mind. It’s easy to manipulate statistics and even bring in more traffic, but it all comes back to one thing… is it relevant? Conversions will give you the answer to that. Promising something impossible like the number one ad spot all the time is overly ambitious and can also make your business sound less trustworthy. Building false hope of a successful campaign may sound enticing but it never leads to any good in the end. From the beginning, it’s important to set goals that you are capable of achieving and some that you know you can meet. This way, you can move forward to bigger and better accomplishments instead of trying to dig yourself out of a hole by making empty promises.

Paid search is expected to grow even more in 2013. Lists of important lessons will also grow but there will always be the core foundations that rarely change!

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