Keeping PPC Accounts Fresh

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “Keeping PPC Accounts Fresh.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you combat the client notion that account activity has become complacent (whether that be after 6 months, 1 year, etc)?

  • Setting up quarterly goals and making sure the client is aware of any new betas/features. – Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
  • Efficient reporting. Clearly let the client know what you’re testing on a regular basis. Follow up with the results. – Bryce Liggins (@BryceLiggins)
    • Esp if you “stay ahead” of them. give info, ideas, & ask q’s before they come to you with them. show ’em you care! – Maddie Cary
  • New tests, betas, optimizations….Its important to always have established goals to work towards. – Brett Fratzke (@BrettFratzke)
  • Always be emailing/discussing new ideas and features available – show your passion to continue growing the account! – Matt Umbro
  • Determine if there are any new testing opportunities. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • Continue to understand their business goals and find new ways to meet them. – JD Prater (@jdprater)
  • Data. Always have data to back up both good and not to good performance. – Kimberly Wingo (@wimmiekingo)
  • Being really open with communicating what changes you’ve made & are testing to show you’re really active and paying attention. – Jillian Minor (@jillbenimble)
  • Constant communication on continued opts, changes, beta opps, & system changes help keep trust. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • It’s a correct assumption, by and large. However usually better to keep a good manager than hand over to someone else. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • Show client you’re not only active, but following thru!. Set weekly, monthly, quarterly, 1/2 year, & yearly initiatives + goals. – Maddie Cary (@MaddieMarketer)
  • Lots of open communication about sales/promos/offers, and documenting that those things are being used in updated ad copy. – Jen Salamandick (@jenrsal)
  • Literally put new life into an account by having some one else review it. Fresh minds prevent things from going stale. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
    • Good point, telling a client that you’re regularly having others review the account for opportunities is reassuring. – Jillian Minor
      • It’s also a great way to involve newer staff on projects and have them think creatively. – Mark Irvine
  • If the client is worried about complacency, it’s time to start communicating w/ them ab strategy & day to day optimization. – Kelly Sullivan (@kellylsullivan)
  • Accounts should be continuously tested and optimized in order to provide further value to the clients. Communication is key. – Juan Restrepo (@juanrrestrepo)
  • If you’re transparent with ad copy/kw/lp testing, -hopefully- the client won’t accuse you of being complacent. – Marcus Snyder (@marcusnyder)
  • Consistent reporting for transparency. Communication with clients, especially if major changes are needed. – John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
  • New features, better attribution and constant interest to integrate, complete and aid other marketing strategies through PPC. – Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
  • Provide explanations along with the data you provide. Explain the testing and projected goals/stretch goals. – Brandon Green (@BrandonPPC)
  • The client’s emotional state is very important here IMO. Do they “feel” you are working in the account? Need to be assured. I.e., could be doing boatloads of work, but if you never communicate that they don’t “feel” you are on top of things. – Kirk Williams
    • Exactly. Need to be cognizant of how the client perceives you. – Matt Umbro
  • Keep an open line of communication w/ clients re: testing & new feature implementation. Show results, even if it didn’t work. There’s always the change history report if you are desperate. – Amanda Sides (@amanda_sides)
  • Communication & Transparency are key. – Megan Ginecki (@megster88)
  • Long term strategy and plans. Requires some vision but laying that out will actually help growth too. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Always work to delight the client by showing you care about their goals. – JD Prater
  • Honesty & expectation setting re: account changes & results. Open discussion for new ideas w/ data-backed recommendations. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)

Q2: Generally you can show great results YoY during the first year of management – how do you continue this trend into year 2?

  • Keep up to date on any and all changes outside of just PPC(more so in-house).Look at overall performance and adjust from there. – Brooke Townsend
  • #1 Setting expectations. It’s a lot different when you’re competing against yourself, it becomes a game of incremental growth. – Jillian Minor
  • Pivot strategiest to stay current with the client goals and changes in their customer base +continuous testing. – Bryce Liggins
  • Communicate the likely trend from the beginning so client is not thinking YoY growth will always be +50% every year. – Kirk Williams
  • Looking for segmentation opportunities to bring fresh markets out of existing is always good. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
  • Testing new things, while optimizing and building off of things that performed well that last year. – Kimberly Wingo
  • Look at trends YoY and upcoming trends. It may not always mean growth, so adjusting to those possibilities. That being said, you have to communicate all of the new things you’re trying to show you didn’t just give up. – Brooke Townsend
  • You need to have different goals year2. Looking @ any 1metric everyday for 2 years is going to be troubling. – Mark Irvine
  • If yr 1 has been great then you’re likely looking to scale. Then a matter of KW expansion, new networks, better offers, etc. – Luke Alley
    • I see year 2 of PPC as deep-diving into things like CRO, LP testing, new peripheral audiences. – Kirk Williams
  • Testing and iterating upon what works. Opt into betas but be willing to fail fast and try something new. – Nicole Mintiens
  • It’s also critical to manage client expectations. Get them used to incremental increases instead of sweeping improvements. – Bryce Liggins
  • Schedule when goals will get evaluated up front so the table is set to establish goals going into year 2. – John Budzynski
  • Landing page testing/opt is often where it’s at for year 2. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • This goes back to complacency, even if results prove to be steady you need to prove testing & budgets have been optimized. – Juan Restrepo
  • Never stop improving. Keep up with the latest features, anywhere you can get some extra real estate, take advantage. – Amy Valleskey (@amy_valleskey)
  • Finding new segments, listening to the data and adjusting strategies to be in-line with the target audience. – Marcus Snyder
  • Y2 is also time to start increasing the budget incrementally to see how much scope for scale there is. – Steve Cameron
  • Funnel re-scope: test new landing pagedesign(s), copy, meta tags, H1 & H2, imagery, forms, thank you page engagement, etc. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • Y2 can be about client buy-in to do something different, like moving into another market or focusing on a new service. – Jen Salamandick
  • Rather than vastly improving results, shift the conversation into finding new audiences where there is potential for conversion. – Matt Umbro
  • Build off of learnings (both the good and the bad). Be transparent & set realistic expectations. & obv. TEST TEST TEST. – Amanda Sides
  • You can measure brand growth via PPC YOY by analyzing the gap in revenue between multi touch attribution & last touch. – James Kravic (@JKravic)
  • Apply bigger budgets to the efficiency gains already made. Not always an easy sell, but logical. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Focus on landing pages and the nuances that produce high conversion rates. Test responsiveness and make the conversion easy! – Brandon Green

Q3: If you were looking at an existing account, what signals/features would tell you the account is being well managed? Why? (And it doesn’t necessarily have to be an audit that you are doing – just looking over an account)

  • Good structure: logical, ad groups not too big, etc.; and activity – being managed activey. – Melissa Mackey
  • Tightly themed ad groups/campaigns. Regular activity in account (bid changes based on goals, etc.) – Brooke Townsend
  • Easy is relative. This is just test after test. Word after word. – Brandon Green
  • Strong click through and conversion rates. Detailed/active change history report. – Megan Ginecki
  • Clear campaign naming & organization, smart, robust keyword lists (+ & -), relevant ad copy per AG, bid settings being tested. – Maddie Cary
  • Month over month improvement first. Change history second. Then looking deep at structure, match types, bells & whistles. – Luke Alley
  • Graph change history actions vs. their goal. Do people respond when they need to? – Mark Irvine
  • One of the first items I review is if new features are being utilized – they may not be working, but shows initiative. – Matt Umbro
    • Yeah but new features can be a distraction. I put far more weight on basics like good organization, MT usage, negs, etc. – Kirk Williams
  • #1 is poor relevance of keywords->ads->landing pages. Lack of conv tracking is another red flag. Also, lack of testing. – Steve Gibson
  • Look at what the account is utilizing. Is it structured well for both search/display? Using bid schedules & ad extensions? etc. – Kimberly Wingo
  • Bid adjustments, extensions, campaign structure, ad group size, indication of ad copy testing, regular optimization. – Kelly Sullivan
  • Any broad match keywords? Is the account linked to GA? Is auto tagging on? So often yes,no,no. Geo targeting, language targeting, negative keywords. There’s so much we take for granted that is sadly missing in many accts. – Steve Cameron
  • Quality score, geographic targeting of top performers (neighborhoods anyone), superb account organization, CPA focused, etc. – Brandon Green
  • Are you utilizing all ad features to make your life easier? (Ad schedules are HUGE). – Brooke Townsend
  • Is adwords linked to analytics? – Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
  • No Broad match w/ modifier, Beta’s, applicable extensions, 300%+ ROAS, 30-50% Operating Profit, SQ Report is always telling. – James Kravic
  • Settings is a big one too – are they default or do they show thought for each individual campaign? – Matt Umbro
  • Knowing which KWs are driving conversions, and not wasting money on KWs that are not converting. – Dan Askew (@DanAskewPPC)
  • Are you taking up as much real estate on the SERP page as possible? (use of all relevant ad extensions, etc.) – Brooke Townsend
  • New features are not always to be jumped on – I’ve had very mixed success with Call Only campaigns. – Steve Cameron
  • The most telling is whether or not similar keywords are thoroughly/carefully parsed by ad group. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • First thing to me is if the account structure was logical. If I can’t make out the hierarchy at a glance it’s a bad sign. – Jillian Minor
  • How often they add negatives. No one wants their ads to show for diapers when they’re a moving company! – Brandon Green
  • Strong organization is the best foundation you can have, and from there I like to see detail – enhancements for the account. – Amy Vallesky
  • Linked to Google Analytics, change history, structure/segmentation, conversion tracking. All very telling of the acct. mgr. – Amanda Sides
  • For lead gen it would have to be some form of conversion tracking. You have to know what’s working? – Garrett McGregor (@mcgregor212)
  • Increasing number of targeted Campaign types, Ad groups, Ads, improved CTR, increasing spend and ROAS. – Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)

Q4: Should clients expect their agencies/PPC providers to attend conferences, follow blogs, write articles, etc? Why or why not?

  • Clients should expect agencies to stay up to date. How the agency does that is their choice. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
    • Completely agree. As long as you are knowledgeable/up-to date that’s all that matters. They probably don’t care how. – Amanda Sides
  • Yes. You can’t keep up with all the changes without it. No good curriculum for PPC besides those sources. – Luke Alley
  • That’s a tough one. Many expect these things but don’t want to pay for/allot time for them. – Melissa Mackey
  • They should expect them to stay up to date on relevant PPC changes, to stay as competitive as possible. Conferences are tricky. If they’re willing to pay for conferences, then yes. Can they determine an ROI from attending one? Actionable changes? – Brooke Townsend
  • No! Clients don’t bear that cost, so they shouldn’t have expectations. Plus you don’t NEED to attend these to stay informed. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • I don’t think clients should expect that, but I strongly believe that agencies should expect that from themselves. – Marcus Snyder
  • Absolutely, yes! There’s no better tool than having someone who is well-read on their industry. – Amy Valleskey
  • I would if I was them. I’d want a nerd handling my account. You wouldn’t let Shaq make your wedding cake would you? – Brandon Green
  • It’s not something that will be in the contract, but it’s necessary to keep campaigns up to date and relevant. – John Budzynski
  • For the most part yes, we expect our service providers to stay up to date on new items. – Matt Umbro
  • Clients should expect agencies to stay on top of industry information, trends, tools, etc. Good agencies do this regardless. – Brett Fratzke
  • Clients should expect that PPC managers are taking that initiative to stay up to date. How depends on the agency/person. – Kimberly Wingo
  • Nope. Clients’ priority should be their own goals, KPIs and internal learning. They don’t do enough of that. – Rohan Ayyar
  • If you hire a freelancer for $100 a month, you get what you pay for, but in most cases clients should expect constant learning. – Matt Umbro
  • Yes – the the nature of the industry is constant change. – Roxana Hassel
  • An agency should always strive to stay on top of new trends & technologies. So in that regard, yes! – Spencer Hudon (@SpencerHudonII)
  • Clients should expect agencies to stay informed – I love conferences & blogging, but there are other ways to keep informed. – Mark Irvine
  • I think clients can expect agencies to stay up-to-date, but how will they know? – JD Prater
    • I think it’s more anecdotal – they see things happening with their competitors that aren’t being done in their account. – Matt Umbro
      • Agree here. I think part of it is expecting the agency to educate the client on industry trends. – JD Prater
  • Conferences: clients don’t bear the cost, so they should have no expectations. Blogs, literature, etc: can’t be current w/o. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Clients should not be the ones telling their agency about new features, best practices, etc. There is a reason they hired you. – James Kravic
    • Jumping in for 1 sec – true, but they will almost always ask about things they’ve “heard about”. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • So, “staying up to date” isn’t the same as blogging/conference attendance imho. You def need to stay up to date, rest varies. – Melissa Mackey
  • I love blogging & conferences, just saying that not all agencies allow for this on company time/dime. – Melissa Mackey
  • In many cases, that’s how agencies land clients in the first place. So that’s a given. – Rohan Ayyar
  • Yes let them know what we learn at each event. Clients love that we are staying relevant and their account is staying relevant. – Dan Askew

Q5: Ultimately, to grow your accounts in Google you need to delve into the Display Network in some capacity beyond remarketing, what are the smartest ways/strategies to get into Display Network advertising and succeed?

  • Depends on the goals. Is it to brand? Or to have a certain ROI? If branding, broaden your audience based on the interests/relevance of our product – with caution. – Brooke Townsend
  • I come from trad advertising background – it’s all about targeting. Get that right & the GDN is great. – Steve Cameron
  • We’ve seen it take time to filter through crap sites… also lead quality tends to be lower; so have to set those expectations. – Luke Alley
  • A lot of local SEO strategy is quite applicable to Display. – Julie Bacchini
  • We’ve had good luck layering diff targeting in GDN: e.g. keywords+interests. – Melissa Mackey
  • And for gosh sakes, turn off the AdMob/mobile settings! Especially if you don’t have a mobile friendly site. – Brooke Townsend
  • Target and bid on placements you know are populated with the target audience. Demographic, exclusions, contextual targeting. – Brandon Green
  • Use managed placements. Go after websites that you know are relevant to your market. – Megan Ginecki
  • I mentioned it earlier, but Gmail Sponsored Promotions! Easy to setup and low cost per clicks. You won’t see a ton of conversions, but people WILL click to your site at extremely low CPCs, potential for remarketing. – Matt Umbro
  • I’ve been seeing crazy higher CTR in some clients using In-Market audiences. Seems to be more targeted. – Kirk Williams
    • I would use in-market with caution, depending on products. I ran for a month and it failed miserably. Definitely worth testing out again. I tried it when it was in beta a year ago, so willing to try with tighter targeting. – Brooke Townsend
  • Layer multiple targeting types to control reach & spend for lead gen campaigns. Constantly monitor performance. Automated Rules. – Kelly Sullivan
  • Use display to deliver/reinforce a message focusing on the brand story, campaign, or PR; not on an “instant CTA." – Rohan Ayyar
  • By drilling down with demo-targeting options, A/B testing creatives and some landing page CRO magic. – Marcus Snyder
  • I am a big fan of YouTube. Clients make amazing videos that nobody ever sees. Pointing that out is a great start. – James Kravic
  • Layering keywords, placements, audiences, age, topcics, etc with custom creatives. – Jonathan Ng
  • Use GA to help plan GDN – consider referrals for managed placements& view performance by demo/ affinity. – Mark Irvine
  • I like to add my Remarketing ALL Visits list as exclusion in normal display campaigns to keep those people groups separate. – Kirk Williams

Q6: From a client relationship perspective, how do you keep things fresh?

  • I’ve found that my clients don’t really care as much as about “freshness” as much as they do results. – Kirk Williams
    • Granted, but how do you avoid the standard emails/calls and really make sure you are discussing new strategies. – Matt Umbro
  • Weekly to Monthly reports, regular phone calls, constant communication through email. – Garrett McGregor
  • Be a pusher. Revisit original goals. Remind them of what you need from them to continue to grow. – Mark Irvine
    • Yes – it is often about what we need from them rather than the other way around. We don’t work in a vacuum. – Steve Cameron
  • I don’t know if I’d characterize as “freshness” but we try to bring proactive ideas to them geared toward their industry. – Julie Bacchini
  • Constant communication (weekly/monthly). Having a positive relationship w/ respect. Sending holiday gifts don’t hurt either. – Kimberly Wingo
  • On-site visits – if nothing else it encourages face to face communication! – Matt Umbro
  • Always super excited about fresh stuff. That makes them super excited as well most of the time. – Roxana Hassel
  • Invested clients keep account improvements flowing. If client isn’t invested we have to work harder at everything. – Garrett McGregor
  • But only call if you’ve got something to say – not just because it’s Thursday. – Steve Cameron
  • Also, competitor reviews quarterly. Landscape can change FAST. I’d rather find it than have a client telling me! – Julie Bacchini
  • Ask them about their industry/market. You can learn more through them than any other way. – Brandon Green

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Amanda Sides (@amanda_sides)
• Amy Valleskey (@amy_valleskey)
• Brandon Green (@BrandonPPC)
• Brett Fratzke (@BrettFratzke)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Bryce Liggins (@BryceLiggins)
• Dan Askew (@DanAskewPPC)
• Garrett McGregor (@mcgregor212)
• Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
• James Kravic (@JKravic)
• JD Prater (@jdprater)
• Jen Salamandick (@jenrsal)
• Jillian Minor (@jillbenimble)
• John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
• Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
• Juan Restrepo (@juanrrestrepo)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kelly Sullivan (@kellylsullivan)
• Kimberly Wingo (@wimmiekingo)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Maddie Cary (@MaddieMarketer)
• Marcus Snyder (@marcusnyder)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Megan Ginecki (@megster88)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
• Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
• Spencer Hudon (@SpencerHudonII)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)

Keeping Streamcaps Fresh

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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