3 Things You Can Do To Push Through Your PPC Plateau

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Online advertisers are in it for the long haul, and like any long-term relationship, it takes work to succeed.

If you’ve been working on a PPC account for a long time, you’ve been through the ups and downs together. You know what works and what doesn’t. You “get” the business, and you know just how PPC can support it.

But sometimes, you reach a plateau. It’s not necessarily a bad one – in fact, everything can be going great. ROI is up, things are running smoothly, and everyone is happy. No one may even be questioning your work.

Still, it can be tough when you feel you’ve reached that point where you’ve run out of creative ways to advertise the business.

Luckily, there is hope. In fact, this time of year is a perfect time to start thinking about how you can infuse that smooth-going PPC account with a little more creativity and rouse things up a bit in 2015.

So in this post, we’ll go over three things you can do to push through the PPC plateau (plus a bonus tip at the end).

1. Pretend The Account Is New

Do you remember all those strategic conversations you had in the beginning, when the PPC account was new to you? Have those again. It’s not a bad idea to set up an annual or biannual conversation with stakeholders to create that fresh pair of eyes that can be hard to use once you’ve been in it for so long.

Whatever your process is with a new account, go through it again. This can be everything from discussing business goals to auditing the account structure. Even the most efficient accounts are bound to amass some errors over the months – it happens to the best of us.

And if the team or client you’re brainstorming with is fresh out of ideas, prompt them with some. Have conversations around:

  • If there will be any new website updates in the next six months.
  • If there will be any promotional events to garner leads, like a webinar.
  • If there are plans to launch a new product, service or variation of anything being sold.

Basic PPC account auditing activities can include:

  • Analyzing the settings to make sure everything is still on the up-and-up.
  • Auditing sitelinks to ensure you’re taking full advantage of this AdWords feature.
  • Exploring the Google Display Network (GDN), Google Shopping campaigns or retargeting if you’re used to doing text-only search network ads.
  • Investigating any geographic hot spots serving the highest ROI that might be worth isolating for a campaign.
  • Laying a fresh pair of eyes on the times of day or days of the week you serve your ads.

2. Make Proactive Research A Process

How many times have you accidentally discovered the business has a new product line months after it was launched, yet no one on the paid search team was the wiser?

An annual or biannual “fresh eyes” approach may be a great start, but for the remainder of the year, you’ll want processes in place to ensure you’re plugged in. Whether you’re an in-house PPC manager or an agency, sometimes a lack of communication can be the reason you’re not working on new ways to advertise the business.

Often, something as simple as surveying a business’s teams on a regular basis to see what’s on the horizon can give you plenty of fodder for coming up with more advertising campaigns.

You can also make it a regular habit to check the website to see if anything new has popped up. Larger companies may not even think to alert their PPC manager when new sections of the site have been added, and paid search managers are often too involved in their AdWords account to notice.

3. Discover Trending Keywords Monthly

Managing negative keywords is something that every aged PPC account should have built in on a monthly basis. And when performing negative keyword research for a PPC account, you have access to query data that could yield some interesting trends.

For example, were people searching more this month for a specific color of a product you sell? Perhaps a change of seasons creates demand for autumn colors. This type of trend could spur a product-by-color campaign. If you dig a little deeper, you might find specifications like size also matter.

These type of opportunities present a profitable, low-cost addition to a PPC program, and they don’t take a lot of time to discover.

Bonus Tip: Explore Bing Ads

Yes, there is life after Google AdWords. No, it won’t yield the same results and you might be targeting a slightly different demographic, but depending on what you’re selling, it might be a prime audience. And if it will increase your bottom line, even just a little, why not?

comScore data for October show Microsoft sites and Yahoo sites (remember, Bing Ads targets both Bing and Yahoo) have a combined search share of roughly 30 percent. Microsoft sites garnered 3.7 billion searches in October, and Yahoo saw 1.8 billion searches – not exactly small potatoes when you put it into perspective.

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So, to recap: It’s never easy being creative all the time, especially when you’ve been in a “long-term relationship” with your PPC account. But next year, vow to push through that PPC plateau by doing what you do best: finding creative ways to advertise a business online.

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