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5 Ways to Prep Your PPC Advertising for 2014

  |  December 18, 2013   |  Comments

Take a second look for optimizations and opportunities that can raise your Google AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns to new heights in the New Year.

Advertisers can be tempted to slide right into 2014 using the same old approach. It's worth taking a second look for optimizations and opportunities that can raise campaigns to new heights in the New Year.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

1. Reconcile PPC Media Budgets

A new year means a budget review for both spend and potential in the upcoming year. Review media spend in all PPC platforms by month and by year. Determine if budget met planned budget, or was optimized over time and changed. Analyzing PPC budgets from month to month ensures media dollars are not slipping through the cracks and instead being focused on reaching goals.

Coming in under budget can demonstrate a lack of effort to utilize it fully and sometimes it can "disappear" for future planning. Going over budget could indicate results were good, so investment was increased, unless this happened unknowingly! Understanding where you netted out for the year per platform is important for moving ahead.

2. Creative Ad Changes

This is truly one of the easiest ways to put a fresh coat of paint on any campaign!

  • Offers: There are so many opportunities for offers and purchase incentives; it's only limited by your marketing imagination. Besides the expected percentage-off products for retail, offers for B2B can include free white papers, "how-to's," free assessments, ebooks, etc. 
  • Ad copy: Advertisers should be continuously trying new ad copy. If you have been using descriptive ads copy, change over to feature/benefit or pain point focused copy. A simple test can be to keep the same ad copy but just change up the call-to-action.
  • Banner ads: Running any display campaigns always benefit from using banner ads. The more sizes, the better. Google Adwords has an automatic image ad generator that uses your landing pages to create a basic ad. There is also a Ad Gallery tool (below) that offers various style templates to use to customize creative for dynamic ads, engagement ads, video ads, and general-purpose ads.


3. Out with the Old, In with the New Campaigns

  • Evaluate campaigns honestly based on their performance this year. Some will need to be added or deleted.
  • Try a completely new type of campaigns like Google AdWords Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA). 
  • This new campaign rolled out recently and advertisers still testing it out. This type of targeting takes website behavior and combines with search behavior to capture the consumer at multiple touch points.
  • Have you been using Bing Ads? Advertisers can easily import campaigns from existing Awords campaigns. Two distinct advantages to Bing Ads is that many advertisers see more efficient CPCs, and the ability to segment mobile device targeting.

4. Device Targeting Review

How did your mobile strategy do this year?

  • Look at paid search settings by reviewing this years mobile CPCs and adjusting big percentage based on performance. 
  • Review locations or time of day to identify trends and considering bid adjustments to capture this.
  • Make a plan for 2014 to increase conversions based on what you know and will learn. Will the optimizations focus on bids, ad copy, landing pages, conversion path, or all of the above?

5. Promotional Plans Schedule for the Year

As mentioned for offers, promotions don't have to be limited to discounts. Brainstorm creative content for the year and develop a set promotional calendar for 2014 to offer information or free white papers, free assessments, ebooks, or free trials.

Having a schedule will keep teams on track and continuously optimizing for results.

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Lisa Raehsler

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.

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