Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New PPC Campaigns Don't Start from Scratch

Did you take over a PPC campaign from some else? Do you have a collective Quality Score that is below average? Want to start from scratch but don't want to start from scratch?

New PPC Campaigns & Quality Score
Don't worry, Google Adwords understands that sometimes an account history is doomed and the only way to salvage the PPC account is to start from scratch. That is a completely new account, new email address access, new billing information; a completely new Google Adwords PPC account.

So you ask, "Why don't PPC accounts start from scratch when it comes to quality score?" Google Adwords starts new accounts at the industry average, then during the first few weeks or so Google will identify the true quality score of the new PPC account and make the change. This will give you a chance to compete in your industry, especially if you are an advanced PPC expert starting with a brand new PPC account.

How to Start a New Account (Step-by-Step)

Step 1 - Make sure to have completely new Display URLs (Google has a Display URL Quality Score). Use non-www display URLs or add keywords after the slash in the Display URL (e.g. Domain.com or www.Domain.com/keyword)

Step 2 - Create the complete account with Google best practices, you want to catch your competitors off guard with a complete account upgrade. They won't know what hit them. Fully Sync your campaign and ad groups, use the keyword themes in the ad headline, display URL and keyword theme of the landing page. Keep your ad group keyword themes tight (3 to 5 keywords per ad group max; usually plural and non-plural versions of the same keyword).

Step 3 - Before the campaign goes live, make sure you have the correct settings. This can kill any account or campaign. Pick the right location (e.g. geographic area), language, devices and network (always keep content and search network campaigns separate, they have different successful CTR and the content will hurt the search quality score if not separated).

Step 4 - Pick a minimal budget amount & standard ad delivery method so you can control budget initially. There is always one keyword that has multiple meanings, you could spend thousands even before you see initial campaign results (Google has an hour delay since they are not able to show statics in real-time).

Step 5 - Create ad groups separately for Exact & Phrase Match keyword themes. If you have time put the exact match negative keyword in the same phrase match keyword ad group, do it. This will take out the guess work from Google and give you better CTR & lower CPC. Google naturally tests paid search results 10% of the time, which means unless you have negative exact match in the phrase match campaign the phrase match ad group will show for the exact match keyword 10% of the time. Bad for quality score, CTR & CPC.

Step 6 - Initially, bid higher to capture more clicks, try your best to pick keywords that you can rank on in position 1 to 3 for the cost you are willing to pay. The better your CTR, the better your Quality Score, the lower you pay CPC. The initial increased cost will result in a higher CTR, giving you a lower long-term CPC.

Step 7 - Start identifying negative keywords after the first 3 hours your PPC account goes live. This will also help your CTR. It is also ok to create a list of negative keywords even before the campaign starts, just make sure they will not restrict your initial visibility.

Constant Improvement
Don't make a change unless you have a good idea of how it will improve your PPC campaign. Make sure to ad new text ads into the ad rotation and look at "See Search Terms" report to identify new keywords you can add to Exact Match.

Measured Risk
It is ok to try new things but introduce new risk a little at a time. You don't want to hurt your PPC campaign CTR and Quality Score with a bunch of crazy ideas. That is why you started from scratch in the first place. If you have the time use the Experiment tool or Google Conversion Optimizer or Google Website Optimizer. These tools will help reduce risk and test new ideas at the same time.

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