Have you ever ventured into the PPC twittersphere? People are sharing hints, celebrating victories, joining together in shared frustration over Facebook ruining everything (sorry, Facebook, but your platform breaks way too often for a company boasting $16.9 billion in second quarter revenue). If you work in PPC, you are a part of a great online community. But as great as we all are, and we are all pretty great, all too often I see and hear grumblings about change.
Advertising platforms have their own agenda (see Facebook revenue numbers above). So I get it when Google or Microsoft come at you touting their latest greatest new and improved thingamajig, you want to stand up and say, “Damn the man! Save the Empire!” But here’s the thing: you may be able to save your record store (campaign) from being bought out (automation) and keep it running for one more night but eventually you are going to have to let go. Record stores close. Blockbusters go out of business. Manual optimizations fail.
The manual methods that work are the exception, not the rule. Repeat that to yourself every time you think you are outsmarting the system. Now before y’all tear me apart for drinking the Google Kool-aid, (because even though I said the PPC twittersphere is a pretty great place, y’all can be snarky. I won’t name names. You know who you are.), I am not saying you should implement every single recommended action in your account the moment it appears. That would be bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Here’s what you should do:
Learn everything you can about the latest initiative. If you have a platform rep, ask them tough questions. If you don’t have a platform rep, read all press releases and blogs and community boards. A high school English teacher always told me, “You have to know and understand the rules before you can break them.” She was referring to comma splicing but you get the idea. If you know and understand the change, you are better equipped to know if going against the recommendation is going to be the right move.
Test everything out. But with this ‘do’, comes a huge list of ‘do nots’ (not to be confused with donuts).
- Test something for a week. Not a big enough sample size
- Test something with a tiny fraction of spend. Identify a strong, reasonable, proportionate amount of budget to devote to the test.
- Test something on a low traffic campaign, unless the test is set up to drive more traffic to said campaign.
- Don’t go into it cursing the powers that be. Approach with optimism and good intent and you will be pleased with the outcome.
Look (listen), I am not always thrilled about PPC platforms adding and taking away features. I still go looking for the Display Planner in Google. I still consider myself relatively new to this industry and I’m always learning. Always. Which makes it exciting. Can you imagine working in an industry that doesn’t change and adapt? Poor Coke tried something new in 1985 and people freaked out.
Make things easier on yourself
If you could take all the chores you hate to do and automate them would you? Please sign me up for a robot that takes my clean, folded laundry from the basket and puts it in the drawers. PPC is made up of so many tiny metrics that spin a web for us to work through. It is easy to get tangled in tasks. Keep your eye on your north star goal and let automation be your guide. Sure you are going to have to keep things in check. But if you are managing thousands and thousands of keywords, why in the world would you want to do bid changes manually. Gross. Almost as gross as New Coke.
“If you want something enough and your heart is pure, wondrous things can happen!” Famous words from Joey Tribiani. I had to fit one more pop culture reference in here. I recently attended a training and the trainer was talking about intent. When we approach a situation–be it a tough conversation or a sticky problem–with good intentions, we can get what we need and want. Ulterior motives, hidden agendas, wanting to prove a point to huge corporations like Google and Microsoft won’t do you much good. You will fall behind. You will be miserable. You won’t be able to catch up. You want success in PPC? Approach automation with an open mind.
Some of my RSAs are working great. Some are working okay. A good handful of my Target CPA campaigns are killing it. A few still need some work.
Without automation, some of my campaigns would be doing great and some wouldn’t. That is PPC.