How I Operate
I manage pay per click (PPC) marketing for service providers and online retailers. I make decisions based upon analysis of the big data that accumulates within accounts. I also maintain perspective of the big picture while developing strategies, executing on tactics, and delivering clients reports with worthwhile insights. Known for providing honest service, and motivated to help clients succeed, if numbers and data intimidate, or you have a paid search team that could use some mentoring, I’m here to help.
With AdWords I’m frugal. I optimize accounts to spend the least amount for the maximum ROI – and I succeed.
New Inquiry volume isn’t my favorite KPI because low quality inquiries simply never convert to sales. Sure, I could get clients with deep pockets greater exposure with impression volume, inquiry growth, and increased share of voice all day long, (Hello – Bing Search Partners, Google Contextual Display, Dynamic Search Ads (DSA), etc…) but I prefer not to unless I have access to premium placements though a DSP.
I enjoy expanding reach by testing new keywords, ad copy, and targeting, but I get the most pleasure from cutting all the fat as I optimize accounts until they are hyper-efficient.
I rely on math and excel to dig in and analyze account performance, cut waste, build around winners, and project trajectories for future performance. I keep budgets in check, and I use data to advise clients for how to drive their profits higher. I leverage PPC bidding constraints, and targeting to their deepest extent in order to secure clients their products best performing ad positions for the lowest price possible in search engine auctions.
I track and adjust campaign budgets frequently to ensure that the money allocated is spent throughout the budget period in an optimal way that maximizes the profit potential for my clients. You can learn a little bit about how I manage budgets by watching my “Manage Your PPC Budget Like A Pro“, tutorial.
After using keywordtool.io, ubersuggest, the Google Keyword Tool, SEM Rush, and Spy Fu to build logical keyword lists, and after ad groups have been running I pull the Keyword Search Terms Report. This report shows the queries which actually triggered my clients ads to show up in the SERP’s, and which relevant queries led to clicks and conversions. Based on the number of conversions, monthly impressions, relevance of a query, and cost, I determine if it should be added to the keyword list of an ad group, or added to a negative keyword list (at the ad group, or campaign level). Any keyword that converts within the CPA goal is absolutely added.
Sometimes I assign negative keywords at the ad group level but most frequently I assign them at the campaign level. Usually I have a shared phrase match negative keyword lists which I apply to all campaigns in an account, and then depending on the structure of the account I may apply exact match negatives to modified broad match campaigns. I prefer to build ad groups around 20 unique keyword phrases or less. When I launch a new account I have adjusted match type bids assigned by relevance but as the account matures I let the data guide my bid adjustments, regardless of match type. When an ad group expands beyond 20 unique keyword phrases there should be enough differentiation between the keywords in that ad group to notice how it can be divided it into more than one ad group.
I also perform spring cleaning with some keyword reduction to keep keyword lists lean so they don’t expand beyond control. Through performance analysis over time I learn which keywords aren’t receiving queries, collect impressions but no clicks, or never convert. I pause those keywords and label them so that there is a record of their performance I can quickly reference so I don’t revive past underperforming keywords if my KPI does a 180 flip from reducing CPA to increasing volume.
I’ve seen many poorly structured accounts that are laughable, and also a bit sad. It no longer surprises me when someone with a high ranking title is responsible for the mess or when it is the fault of a small digital marketing agency whose salesman promised the world and whose junior team under delivered, or worse yet, a massive advertising/marketing agency whose attempts at automation created an ugly Frankenstein structure which no human can possibly dissect and comprehend.
I get asked all the time, “Jason, what is the best way to structure an account? Can you show me?”
Knowing how to structure accounts properly is crucial to success in paid search marketing but few people I’ve met have the knowledge and experience to do this right. I have tried many different styles of account structure for different clients over the years and I conclude that there is no single account structure I’d swear by as a set it and forget it solution from launch through maturity. Secondly, choosing the right way to structure an account depends upon the following:
- Know that a great account structure by itself is not enough. Only if it is tended to regularly by a capable search marketer can ROI align with clients goals.
- Setting the expectations for your client by presenting a potential road-map for long term account management. Give them insight into how things should change and why. It is realistic to expect their account structure to shift and transform as their account matures.
- Knowing your KPI. For example, if your KPI for a new account is a volume/exposure goal you may want to begin with modified broad match campaigns to find keywords that convert and then role those converting keywords into exact match campaigns. This would be one approach to begin an Alpha/Beta style structure.
- Plan an account structure that is manageable within the constraints of the marketing budget, and team size. For example, if the new national account that you’re managing has a multi-million dollar budget, no substantial historic data to analyze, and a team of only 1-4 paid search marketers, then campaigns organized by state, and SKAG’s won’t be a wise choice for account structure because it will overwhelm the team. However, for a mature and massive account that has been running for years SKAG’s could be the perfect way to restructure if the KPI is to lower CPA.
Ad Copy Writing
Where does my ad copy come from? For starters, I write ad copy that somewhat emulates direct, and indirect competitors who have enough budget for someone competent to manage their PPC. I look at the competitors ads in the SERP’s and find language trends. Additionally, I notice if any competitors copy stands apart from the rest as uniquely positive. From their I can test, and begin to learn what resonates with the clients target audience because it will also be working for their competitors. For bigger accounts I’ve also been a fan of Boost .
It’s important that ad copy has a clear call to action, conveys any added benefits of buying from my client such as “Free Shipping”, or “24 hour emergency service”, and matches specific long tail queries because those are most likely to convert.
For quality score considerations it’s important that the ad copy closely matches the copy of the landing page so that the ad is perceived by Google to be highly relevant, and therefore cheaper for my client to run.
When I form Ad Groups from keywords I like to sort the keywords in that Ad Group by search volume, and then include those words/phrases with the greatest search volume into my ad copy. This increases the chances of words in my ads matching the query, and getting noticed because they’ll be in bold text.
I also prefer to end description line 1 with punctuation so that some auctions will show description line 1 as an extension of the ads headline.
My clients ads are set to run with as many extensions possible so that they can to take up more SERP’s real estate when the opportunities arise.
I choose to run ads evenly without giving Google any permission to automatically optimize which ads show. I regularly pull reports from Ad Words and track copy writing performance w/w or bi-weekly in excel to, contrast the performance of headlines, body copy, and extension copy. I keep the copy that’s statistically significantly better, not based by conversions but by CTR, and I test improvement of the lower performers by adjusting their copy to emulate the higher performers. All of the ad copy I write competes against itself. I continuously tweak ad copy to maximize it’s effectiveness and and retire under performing ad copy.
I use multiple types of bid management for different clients depending upon what they need. Sometimes it’s manual, and other times it is automated. One of my go to strategies within AdWords is a flexible bidding strategy in combination with automated bidding rules to ensure my clients ads only run in their optimally converting ad positions. Learn how I do this by watching my “PPC Bidding Strategy For Ad Position“, tutorial.
For larger clients I prefer to use Marin, which is an enterprise level bid management platform. In Marin I’m a fan of revenue bidding with multiple stage conversion goals.
I frequently use pivot tables, vlookup, concatenate, len, left, and if functions in excel along with sorting, filtering, text to columns, heat maps, and charts. Using these functions and features I’m able distill actionable insights from large .csv reports exported from Marin, Google Ad Words, and Google Analytics. Often a thousand lines of data can be boiled down to ten high priority lines. Learn a few of my approaches to analyzing data by watching my “Analyze Ad Position Performance”, “Conversion and Clicks Schedule Analysis“, and “PPC Landing Page Performance Analysis tutorials“.