No silver bullet in PPC

17 Rebecca D'Cunha

“So what’s the secret with PPC?”

The question is usually something along those lines. I feel a bit like scrooge cancelling christmas writing this post (especially if you’ve found this post searching for the PPC silver bullet) because, quite frankly , there simply isn’t any silver bullet with PPC.

This is not to say that paid search can’t be complex (it often is) , or that there aren’t really any ways to make a difference to a campaign – just that there’s no 1 overpowering method to suddenly reduce your CPA or increase your clicks. You’ll need to do better than that.

There’s now more settings and options with adwords than there have been. Whether you want to add videos , text links or phone numbers to your ads, you can now do it. There’s new keyword match types, mobile device targetting, new ad formats and the ability to ‘remarket’ to people who’ve previously visited your website.

These changes , combined with future improvments, make PPC one of the most exciting areas of digital marketing to be involved in – it means that , increasingly , every paid search account is different not only just in the keywords and campaigns , but in a whole range of ways.It also means that we need to take even more time to understand not just all of the options available to us, but how we can apply these to the client account in question.

The impact on PPC is subtle, yet important. Any marketeers approaching PPC with a fixed methodology are likely to find their work increasingly ineffective. To give an example, I’ve seen checklists and process plans for PPC management – while best practises can be beneficial, a checklist applied to every client is a classic way to get things the wrong way round.

As with traditional marketing, the best way to approach a PPC is to start with the objectives of the  business in question – for us, it means understanding our client. It may sound banal to point out that understanding a client means understanding how best to make the campaign work, but it’s nevertheless the case. The most important part of the planning phase for a new PPC client is in being able to map activities according to the level of impact they will have on the client – how much difference optimising them will actually make. When you’ve done this, you know what you need to spend time on, and what you really need to get right.

For cleints, rotating ad-copy can make all the difference , while for others it’s all about conversion rate optimisation. If rotating ads frequently doesn’t make the difference, don’t feel compelled to do it every week. Equally, If reducing the dropout of a form doubles your return on the entire campaign, do feel compelled to spend every last hour trying to achieve it.

If anything, the ‘silver bullet’ of PPC could be as simple as understanding the impact of your work, before you start.