6 Ways to Spring Clean Your PPC Account

This is a guest post by Kenneth Andrew, General Manager SMB Strategy and Sales, Bing Ads

Alright, you survived the holidays and even the resolution-filled first part of the year. The winter weather is waning and it’s time to open your windows again! You know what that means – spring cleaning. But we’re not talking about your home (though that’s probably a good idea too), we’re talking about your business’s PPC accounts.

Similar to your closets, cupboards and cars, once the holidays die down, your paid search accounts need to be scrubbed and shined for optimal reach and ROI. Starting your spring off right with a few easy account changes will help you grow your business, remove inefficiencies and secure the results you’re looking for

So, put your gloves on and grab the Pine-Sol, here are 6 important ways to clean up your PPC accounts.

1. Clean up your keywords

When you kicked off your PPC campaign weeks, months or maybe even years ago, you began by targeting certain keywords, creating lists and organizing ad groups. When’s the last time those were reviewed? To get a solid return on your campaign, you can’t set it and forget it, because keyword relevancies and rankings change all the time.

To make sure your PPC efforts are paying off, take moment to look through your keywords and lists. Look back about 12 months and filter for low search volume and low impression keywords. These can have a negative impact on the overall Quality Score of your ad group or campaign and should be removed.

Once you’ve cleaned house, do some research and begin testing new keywords, eventually creating new ad groups, too. Here’s a quick how-to on keyword research to help. This is important because keywords can change based on time of year, products, and people, and new ideas are popping up all the time. Stay vigilant and take advantage of fresh terminology to give your account an extra boost.

2. Do a seasonal reset

If your small or medium sized business caters to consumers (B2C), this is a must-do. As you’re reviewing the last years worth of keywords, keep your eye out for anything seasonal that might be irrelevant and hit the pause button.

(For example, there’s no reason to put budget behind “snow boots” when the weather is heating up.) As you trim your list, think about how to put these resources to better use, replacing out of date keywords with ones more geared toward an upcoming holiday or weather change.

3. Recheck your campaign settings

It may seem unnecessary, but check your campaign settings, because default choices can take a toll on the strength of your PPC campaign. Location, language and time of day settings all matter, so make sure you’ve got it right.

  • Review your location targeting settings and download a geographic location report from Bing. This will show you where most of your ad traffic is coming from. Are there any new locations worth adding?
  • Check your language settings. Are your keywords targeting the right language and is your copy properly localized?
  • Time of day targeting can also make a big impact. Pull an hour of the day report and use it to inform any ad scheduling changes. You can even schedule ads using the most recent trend data to be more cost effective.

4. Assess PPC ad extensions

Ad extensions enable businesses to build customized ads that include things like a sitelink, a location or address, a phone number, a positive review or app link under the ad copy. They provide your customers or prospects with up front, actionable information about your business. (Learn more about ad extensions on Bing Ads.)

As you’re reviewing copy and keywords, take a look at any current ad extensions you have in place. Are they still accurate? Do the links still work? Could your ad perform better by adding different or additional sitelinks or call outs?

If you do make any changes, be sure to use the ad preview tool to understand exactly how the extensions will look and make sure there’s no duplicate information between the actual ad copy and the extension call outs.

5. Evaluate Audience Targeting

As you’re evaluating geographic reach, time of day, and keyword relevancy throw audience targeting in the mix. One of the best things about paid search is the ability to target a certain audience based on a variety of criteria. For example, through Microsoft Audience Ads, you can reach potential customers based on interests and preferences through Bing Ads – using AI technology and machine learning.

Maybe you’ve recently updated your inventory to include a new line of beverages geared toward yoga aficionados, make sure you’re optimizing your PPC account to target that specific audience. If you spend a little time researching the possibilities, you’ll see how detailed you can get with audience targeting, it’s pretty awesome.

6. Copy any changes from your PPC campaign to all accounts

If you make changes in one account, take the time to carry those over everywhere else. You may be devoting budget to campaigns running on Google Ads, Bing Ads and Facebook, so make sure they are all equally effective.

If you take some time this quarter to tidy up your PPC, these tips are sure to put some “spring” back into your campaign’s step and get your business better results.

About the Author:

Kenneth is the General Manager of SMB Strategy and Sales at Bing, working globally to help SMB customers. In July 2014, he was awarded the prestigious Bill Gates Founder Award from Microsoft in recognition of outstanding business results and leadership.

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