Like most things in life, managing a PPC campaign is anything but black and white. You can follow best practice guidelines, adopt recommended systems and try to institutionalise the whole process, but at the end of the day every client, every campaign and every search engine user will always be different. PPC management will always demand an absolutely fluid approach.
But as much as I suggest it might be futile to try and identify a structure to it, we can to some extent at least, pull out a bit of a pattern which seems to appear time and time again. So here’s my rough, generalised, middle of the road, typically average interpretation of how a PPC campaign can be managed.
Check for any anomalies in the data that may suggest tracking issues, as even a day of lost data could have serious implcations towards the evaluation of the campaign. It’s also worth monitoring the level of spend daily, as sudden movements in spend levels may indicate a change in user behaviour.
Individual keywords will likely need more than 48 hours to return robust enough data before you can make a decision on whether to optimise the bids again, but your adgroups should be monitored regularly to pick up on any sudden changes to your ad position or CTR. Perhaps a new competitor has started advertising on the same terms as you and you may be forced to become more competitive very quickly.
Analysing the past week’s search queries will bring to light any new changes in user behaviour, which could include users who are beginning to use different terms to search for your product, but then also new search queries which aren’t relevant to your product and so need to be added to your campaign as a negative keyword. This is also a good point to update the client with the recent week’s stats and news of any account developments, and most importantly giving the client the opportunity to give any feedback and update you with changes to their business or product line.
You should always be testing new areas, and while an appropriate level of data is likely to be reached after a particular level of search volume rather than a certain period of time, 2 weeks is usually long enough to evaluate your test area’s performance. Equally, bigger changes such as amendments to the account structure will have likely had enough time by now to allow you to properly evaluate the effect of the changes made.
With any test areas or substantial changes now having enough time to provide robust enough data, we’re able to make the important decisions about the overall stategy of the account, and decide on plans for the next month’s activity. With a thorough review of the past month’s performance and the next month’s strategy in mind, it’s a good time to report back to the client and get their feedback on the past month and make sure your strategies are aligned for the upcoming month.
This is of course only very brief and there’s huge parts of the optimisation and campaign management process I’ve left out, but please let me know your thoughts – how would your approach differ?