By Jimmy Madden & Stefan Schulz


Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

As far as we’re concerned, this is one of the most overused, misleading sayings in the book.

Peak performance is built on refined repetition. Yes, trying something new is exciting and opportunistic, but oftentimes old is reliable and far more efficient over the long haul.

In fact, doing the same thing over and over again can help you create a new and improved you. This is pretty much the whole premise of the $9.9 Billion Personal Development Industry. So maybe sanity is doing more of the same (when the same is tried and true).

Calculated repetition is obviously a precursor to betterment—an hour a day of physical activity, fifteen minutes of meditation, sitting down for dinner with the family every night—is it us, or do these sound like activities of a pretty stable person?

Automation and perseverance are two words that we generally identify with as something positive. It’s likely fair to say that many of the world’s most successful people and organizations would credit these concepts as imperative to their growth and success.

So, is AdWords driving you insane?

If the answer is yes, then there’s a 99.9% chance that you are doing too many different things (wasting time), and not enough of the small, effective things.

One of the biggest challenges advertisers experience with AdWords comes from what makes the platform so powerful: data and control.

Very quickly you can find yourself overwhelmed. Jumping from keywords to ads, to modifying column views, to adjusting your bids—your eyes grow wide and you get the sense that you aren’t making any progress. We call this Swamp Soccer because you’re literally so “swamped” that it feels like you’re trying to kick a ball stuck in the mud.

Follow our lead

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Aha! — a saying we can actually agree with. If AdWords has you playing Swamp Soccer, your first reaction will be to close out your web browser and come back once things (mainly you) have cooled off.

Realize that you’re not going to double your conversions and slash your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) in one breath. It’s very rare that one barely recognizable intricacy within AdWords caused your budget to bleed. So take a deep breath, and follow our daily routine.

Step 1: Get some coffee and chill out

This is a super underrated part of the daily checklist. If you’re not a coffee drinker, that’s okay — chilling out in some fashion, and getting your mind right first, is what is really important.

AdWords and PPC management can be stressful, especially if a lot of core business is riding on the success of your campaigns. Generating leads and sales is the name of the game, but if you’re lacking focus or stressed out, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for failure.

At Orpical, we typically start off our routine with another practice in zen. It’s important to make a conscious decision every day to not have our pay-per-click campaigns control us. We control them. After all, we’re the PPC managers.

This can be challenging, especially with mobile apps and general ease of access, but blocking out time ahead of the grind is 100% worth it.

Step 2: Choose a campaign, then LOCK IN

Once the mind is right, it’s time to look at all active campaigns from a thousand-foot view. From there, we make a decision on where to focus. Ultimately, all of our energy goes into that SINGLE campaign.

There may be times when dozens of active campaigns exist in our accounts. It can be tempting to alternate back and forth, from campaign to campaign, trying to assuage your nagging feeling that you should be doing more. But you need to fight that temptation — trust us, having a thorough insight into a single campaign is far more valuable than collecting piecemeal information for every campaign.

The same can be said for single-campaign managers. If you don’t have to manage 10+ campaigns, you can hone in on each ad group, taking deeper dives into bidding strategies and keyword allotment.

Successful PPC managers are comfortable locking into one area of focus because they know it leads to positive results. Thinning your attention across campaigns only leads to ineffective, partially-addressed issues scattered throughout your account. These are going to build up, and they’re going to cause you more headaches than if you take each one at a time, and improve each one day-by-day.

“Microfocusing” is valuable for all PPC professionals, and it allows you the presence and clarity necessary to truly diagnose your concerns. Your attention is a critical resource for your campaigns, so avoid creating a scarcity.

Step 3: Get out of AdWords and onto the website

Running ads is a waste of time and money if links are broken, forms don’t work, or your website has some nasty bug on it. Run some general quality assurance on the website; pay close attention to your goal funnels and make sure there are no snags; look at desktop and mobile.

Spend a little time in Analytics to make sure there are not any unusual reportings such as high bounce rates or low average time on site. Quality score is a great indicator of how valuable and effective the landing pages associated with your ads are, and all PPC managers should be consistently conscious of this metric.

It’s always possible that you aren’t in control of all web properties available. If you’re someone who can’t individually improve the website to meet your quality score goals, consider informing whoever administrates the website that they have an opportunity to improve. Are there enough Calls-To-Action on the site? Do your landing pages properly funnel users to a conversion opportunity? Is navigation clean, simple, and obvious to newcomers?

User experience is critical to lead generation and total ROI, so don’t let the website itself get in the way of your AdWords campaigns. Improving the website is a win-win for all parties involved, and can only benefit your PPC results.

Step 4: Start with yesterday, not today

Did you ever notice that link at the bottom of the AdWords dashboard that says “Reporting is not real-time”? It’s pretty important.

Depending on your attribution model and how conversions are reported, data often doesn’t transfer over to AdWords instantly. This is especially true when sharing information from Google Analytics. This means that the most current data isn’t the full picture, which is why we always recommend starting every morning with a quick trip to yesterday.

Historical data, in general, is far more defined, holistic, and a good reference point to pick up on anomalies. Trends are easier to spot and solutions arise with clarity once the metrics are consistent and true.

We’re usually paying attention to performance with clicks, cost-per-click, conversions, and cost-per-conversion. High volume keywords that are pulling in low conversion totals are red flags. Be sure to check things like quality score and ad relevance, as they too are more reliably reported after some time has passed.

Most modifications that you end up doing will not make a giant impact within the next 12 hours, especially if they’re geared for improving the campaign and not simply halting a process altogether. Progress takes a little bit of time, so you need to embrace the journey and use the time to your advantage. Any anxiety about making a difference is a natural reaction, but it simply isn’t aligned with how AdWords operates.

Step 5: Trust your instincts, then make changes

All of the above steps are crucial, but at some point during the day, you will need to make decisions. What needs to be changed? How can you improve them? What can be done right now, today, to improve your PPC campaigns?

Up until now, our checklist is almost exclusively about creating an environment in which we can begin to answer these questions properly. Every change has a consequence, which is why your AdWords settings need to be managed with a deep sense of purpose and efficiency.

Two of the most common fears that motivate PPC managers are a fear of doing too little and a fear of not doing enough. The former rests on their laurels so as not to upset the almighty target CPA; the latter overcompensates for a single challenge by creating five smaller ones as a solution. Both result in improperly managed campaigns.

So here’s how you strike a middle ground: don’t make changes unless you’re confident.

We know, it’s almost stupidly simple, and a little frustrating. But it’s true.

If you think there is an area for improvement in your campaign, find the evidence to support your solution. You are a professional; you know this stuff, you know what to look for, and you know the signs that something is wrong. If you don’t, do research, check forums, talk to industry peers until you can understand the problem fully.

Is a keyword eating up a third of your daily spend? Pause it, but be sure you know what other keywords can effectively take its place. Are your negative keywords actually excluding valuable opportunities you hadn’t previously recognized? Find the search data to back up the decision, then remove them. Sometimes, not making any changes is the right decision too. Best case scenario, you made all the right calls last week, and the optimal strategy is to wait and collect data for future changes.

Whatever your action is, you need to believe in it, and not do it out of fear. Make your decisions with confidence, supported by evidence, and you will be able to rest easy knowing you’ve done as good a job as you are able to do.

Step 6: Learn from yourself

There is no better teacher than your mistakes. While everyone strives to be perfect, no one bats 1000%.

Whatever you do, diligently and thoroughly document your actions and observations in some form or archive system or log. It can be in AdWords Notes, Evernote, or even a simple Word Doc — whatever it is, just make sure you keep track of your daily activities for future reference. Every mistake you make is one more guideline to follow in the future.

Furthermore, always go through the changelog for the previous day or multi-day period. Review the last changes you made within your campaigns, even if you made them less than 24 hours ago. Fresh eyes can do wonders for concentrating your AdWords efforts. You may catch changes that don’t make sense in hindsight or be able to revise changes based on newly acquired data.

Every line of work benefits from having an editor of some sort and PPC management is no exception. If you don’t have someone who can review your progress and provide feedback or critiques, be that for yourself.

Summary

Insanity might be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Yet, it’s also said that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

(It’s pretty ironic that these two sayings can exist so peacefully with such clear opposing views).

But enough of the wordplay. It boils down to this:

Changing things up too much with your PPC efforts can actually be an imprudent management practice. Whereas finding a balanced routine and creating good habits is a surefire way to combat advertising stagnancy.

The team at Orpical Group has increased the performance of AdWords campaigns for both product oriented and service based businesses. We’ve managed advertising budgets from as little as $1,000/month, to upwards of $60,000/month.

Our people, processes and experience have helped cut cost per acquisition of paid online advertising by over 66% in some cases. And while it’s true that change can be good, and sometimes unavoidable (e.g. website redesigns), a vast majority of our successes come from within an existing framework.

Borrow ideas from our checklist, or build your own good habits. Whatever you do: deliver constant control, creative resources, and fresh perspective to make AdWords accounts stable and your advertising dollars longer.

When you ask a simple question like “how much does pay per click cost,” you’d expect a simple answer.

The reality is this: pay per click costs vary depending on the platform that you choose to advertise on, your industry and target audience, your bidding strategy, and how you choose to develop, manage and optimize your campaign.

To get a better understanding of what pay per click will really cost you and your organization, follow the three step process below:

Estimate your raw advertising costs

Per WordStream, the average cost per click in AdWords across all industries is $2.32 for search and $0.58 for display.

Additional studies found that highly competitive, broad set keywords like insurance, loans, mortgage, and attorney can cost big bucks, all over $45.00 per click.

When it comes to pay per click campaigns on search networks, you can get a general idea of what your keywords will cost pretty easily. Both Google and Bing, for example, provide Keyword Planners that provide useful insights such as volume of searches, competition, and suggested bids. These are helpful for estimating your raw advertising costs so you can properly set a daily, weekly, or monthly budget.

Note: It is not a mandate that you should always use the suggested bids, it is totally your decision to use it or not. If you do not wish for your cost per click to go beyond a certain threshold, you can optimize your bids using your findings from actively running the campaign.

Calculate set-up time and expenses

Do you have an existing website and optimized landing pages geared for conversions?

If not, you have some more work cut out for you, and additional expenses. A website can cost as little as $1000, up to and over $5000 depending on many different factors. Check out our infographic for more info: How much does a website cost?

Have you researched and segmented all of your keywords into hyper-targeted ad groups? Did you write effective copy for your ads to create action? Was conversion tracking set-up properly so you can measure cost per acquisition?

It takes less time to do something right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong.

The costs associated with setting up your pay per click campaign properly are some of the most important.

As the old saying goes: You get what you pay for.

Make sure that your website loads fast. Create focus groups to evaluate your value proposition. Confirm that there are no bugs in your system. Your preceding web development, quality assurance , and campaign setup create the backbone of your pay per click campaigns.

Note: Carry a certain degree of “enough is enough” when it comes to set-up time. Man would have never made it to the moon if the people at NASA did not set a launch date. And there were many follow-up trips to the moon post launch, each with a specific mission geared by knowledge acquired from the past.

Explore pay per click management services

You’re live. Now what?

As we’ve explored in the past, the “set it and forget it” mindset is a dangerous one to carry when it comes to pay per click.

Ultimately, you will need to make a determination of whether or not you are going to manage your pay per click campaigns in-house, or rely on a pay per click management agency or consultant.

Many businesses choose to say yes to less stress and hire an outside pay per click expert. In return, they receive years of experience, creative strategy and insights, access to premium resources, and the sometimes undervalued fresh perspective.

This creates a cost and operations efficiency, which boils down to the one thing that really matters: increased profitability.

Pay per click agencies do more than just help you pick your keywords and watch your spend. They continuously test ads and landing pages, develop new market segment strategies, and provide invaluable consultation. They are supposed to be profitability partners for your organization.

Note: Pay per click agency and consultant rates vary. There are different models including hourly retainers for optimizations, and fixed percentages based on total advertising spend. Make sure you carefully vet your agency or consultant prior to signing a contract that’s hard to squeeze your way out of. Agencies should be flexible. Don’t feel pressured or assume that you need to get locked in to something crazy. The one sole goal of a pay per click agency is to deliver quality leads and a return on your investment. If they are not doing that, then why should you continue to pay for their services?

Choosing the wrong Google AdWords manager can severely impact your business.

Google AdWords, and search marketing in general, pose a huge opportunity for you to promote a large portion of your business. The difference between a well-managed campaign and a badly managed one can mean thousands of dollars in potentially gained or lost revenue.

There are many routes to go: You can look to hire internally, or you can go the route of hiring a freelancer, or you can turn things over to an agency.

As an agency that provides pay per click (PPC) management services, we may be a little biased, but we are not here to advocate against other PPC services. Different models work for different businesses. Factors such as industry specifications, business objectives, and of course, working capital all come into play.

With that being said, working with a Google AdWords Agency has its own unique advantages. Consider the below points as you look to bring on a partner in profitability.

  • Experience

    By providing access to tools, deep knowledge, and experience, an agency is worth the added expense. We return your investment in us by creating more efficiency, more conversions, and less management for you.

  • Account Structure & Quality Score

    A good agency refines and segments your keywords to the point where there are only a handful of keywords per ad group. From there, we take the effort to create specific ads for each of those ad groups. This allows us to achieve a higher quality score for your ads, ultimately lowering your cost per click and overall spend. Simply put, we save you money and increase your overall profitability.

  • Negative Keywords

    If you don’t remove keywords that you don’t want to advertise for, you’ll waste a lot of your spend. Those costs alone could justify management services. As an AdWords Agency, we understand how people search and will be able to eliminate tons of irrelevant searches for you, allowing you to maximize your advertising spend.

  • Ad Extensions, Campaign Settings, & Tracking

    We make sure you get the most out of AdWords and all of its powerful features. We set up ad extensions for your phone number and address, links to specific content on your site, and even drive reviews. In addition, we adjust your campaign settings to match your operating hours, target the right prospects, and setup tracking everywhere to give you an accurate cost per acquisition (CPA).

  • Web Design

    One of the many overlooked aspects of Google AdWords management is the correlation of campaign success and web design. A/B testing landing pages is important when attempting to lower CPA.  With the growing use of the display network and remarketing tools, having a graphic designer and webmaster that you can rely on also comes in hand. We create visual representations of your business that drive engagement.

A Google AdWords Agency may add to your upfront cost, but access to tools, in-depth knowledge, and experience provides a better long-term opportunity when it comes to obtaining a return on investment (ROI). There is nothing stopping you from learning AdWords yourself. Though, there is inherent risk in doing this as it will take you away from doing things that only you can do (the things that put you in business to start with).

Set it and forget it.

Five of the most dangerous words in the world of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.

Unless you are Scrooge McDuck, with expendable cash out the wazoo, the autopilot approach is hardly acceptable when running your own Google AdWords campaign. Now, if you have chosen to entrust someone else to manage your campaigns, well–then it is 100% unacceptable.

Studies show that the average cost-per-click (CPC) in AdWords across all industries is $2.32 on the search network. Without a defined budget, negative keywords, narrow context targeting, modified broad match, mobile optimization, and smart bid management, those costs can add up quick.

(This is why so many businesses seek out AdWords help)

However, an unfortunate reality in life that many of us learn the hard way is you don’t always get what you pay for. But that doesn’t need to be the case! At least not with Google AdWords management. Certainly there are things that you can do to protect yourself from ever ending up in a bad relationship. Though, even the most careful scrutiny and our best intuition can easily be outmatched by swindlers, or worse, those we consider to be our friends.

So what do you do?

Likely you are here reading this article because you have a gut feeling that you could do better with Google AdWords. Your gut is probably good indication that something is awry. That’s a start, however, I want to give you more than just a gut feeling to go on. I want to give you precise things to look for so you can first approach the person managing your AdWords, then either a) find a resolution within your existing arrangement, or b) replace your provider and/or find an alternate solution.

If you check any of the below boxes, I’d recommend taking immediate action.

You’re not involved

You’re in business for a reason. You know your industry, your audience, and you have accomplished a lot from time, experience, and maximizing your opportunities. In doing so, you’re in a financial position where hiring an AdWords Management Company makes strong business sense. It’s one less thing for you to have to worry about, and, it is a proven, effective way to reach people who are searching for your products or services. With the proper analysis, budgeting, and messaging, you can scale your business and further increase profitability.

An AdWords Manager’s role is to bring a certain set of skills to the table. This includes, but is not limited to, market research, data analysis, copy writing, web development, and strategic design. An AdWords Expert is extremely versatile. In a way, you can usually depict them as a true “Jack of all Trades.” With that being said, an AdWords Expert is not you. They rely on you for additional insights–insights that took you years to acquire–to build, optimize, and deliver award winning PPC campaigns.

If you are wondering if you are paying too much for your Google AdWords Management Services, take a look in the mirror. Do you see yourself distanced from the agency or specialist you hired? If so, you may need to make some changes. This does not mean that you need to pack a bag, pitch a tent, and live in your AdWords account. Simply, on-going communication goes a long way, often finding a way back to your wallet. Remember, communication is a two-way street. You are not getting proper AdWords help if your manager is not actively involving you in discussion and constantly looking to pick your brain. And you are almost certainly paying too much for management services if you don’t have a minimum of reading access on your account.

Bad reporting

I was recently approached by one of our web development clients…They were frustrated and seeking alternate options for their AdWords management. Now typically when this type of interaction occurs, I’m naturally a little curious and want to discover what was the final nail in the coffin?

To get a better understanding of the motive for move, I first ask some fairly basic questions. Who is your current provider? How and when did you get started with them? What is your current AdWords spend? What percentage of those costs go to the management services? Can you explain to me why you are looking to move?

Almost every business owner has a grasp on the above questions. And from my experience, many of the answers have an eerie similarity. “This guy, Jerry, who is a friend of Mary, our operations manager here since 2008, has been running them. The terms of the original deal have changed over the years, but we’re paying something like 30% on top of our AdWords costs. They used to be really proactive, but now we get a basic monthly spreadsheet showing our total spend…” And so on, and so on.

The last part, the monthly spreadsheet (report), is what prompts my second line of questions. These, as you might expect, do not usually provide the same detailed responses. Do you know your average cost-per-click? What is your conversion rate? What is your average customer-acquisition-cost (CAC)? How many of your conversions are sign ups on your website versus calls? What are your top performing keywords and ad sets?

“Ummm…”

I ask all of these questions to prove a point: that the reporting is weak. Really, the only thing that I’m interested in, and the main thing you should be interested in, is your CAC. Chase Hughes of Kiss Metrics explains in detail why the CAC is The One Metric That Can Determine Your Company’s FateIn essence, the CAC is used to optimize the return on your advertising investments AND help analyze the scalability of a company. This is huge from both an operations and investment perspective.

Don’t get me wrong, the other data is important, but only for those managing the campaign. Over-reporting can be equally weak reporting. An AdWords expert could literally generate thousands of different reports for your review, but that’s not an effective use of their time, or your time. If anything, excess data can cloud the truth and prevent you from realizing what really matters: how many leads were generated and how many sales were made.

Day 365 looks like Day 7

When you hire someone to manage your AdWords campaigns, you are paying for a service, not a fixed product. This concept is often overlooked, especially following early success.

Marketing is all about finding a way to beat your base. Search engine marketing and Google AdWords are no different. Just because you have an ad that seemingly catches the eye, a landing page that converts, and an internal sales team that can close, doesn’t mean that things can’t be better.

A/B testing is slowly becoming a lost art primarily because of today’s marketing automation fixation. But even the smallest of A/B Tests can prove to be wildly effective. Take any one of Unbounce’s 12 Surprising A/B Test Results for example. Statistics that show adding a couple testimonials can increase sales by 34% are probably worth paying attention to.

You may find that you may never be able to beat your base. You might have knocked a home run out of the park on the first swing. Most people say “If it ain’t broke, break it.” Living and breathing marketing, I couldn’t disagree more. My motto is “If it ain’t broke, break it.” That way when the day comes when it doesn’t work, you know why it broke, and how to fix it.

You may not agree on the station. You may not agree on the playlist or the genre or who the best rock band of all time is (Led Zeppelin, obviously). You could loathe Christmas carols or Classic Rock or whatever the office mandated soundtrack to your day is. (Anyone who’s ever worked in retail or at a bank knows this truth all too well).

Or you could be like most people, who enjoy a sampling of their favorites in the privacy of their headphones or ear buds.

Despite what your music preferences may be one thing unites us all. Music is scientifically proven to have a positive impact on productivity in the workplace. Study after study confirms the science behind it, acknowledging that the chemical known as dopamine is released in our brains when we hear music, and dopamine helps boost our mood. A happy worker is a productive worker, making music its own kind of catalyst to business success.

Combine that with a well-laid out business plan that appropriately integrates elements of the ever-evolving world of social media, search engine optimization and search engine marketing, and you have earned yourself a one-way ticket to paradise.

So the time is now to channel your inner music lover and embrace the ambiance provided by a compilation of search engine marketing tracks sure to entertain and inform you of everything you should expect from a search engine marketing company worth their weight in Grammy’s.

#1 – TLC – No Scrubs

Identify the right keywords, scrubs need not apply

Most search engine marketing services revolve around a pay-per-click model, which is exactly as it sounds. You want to drive traffic to your website, and clicks get them there.

How that happens begins with a process of identifying the ideal keywords to use that will fit best with your goals, product offerings and target audience. A big part of creating a successful pay-per-click marketing campaign is knowing what keywords do and don’t work for you.

A good search engine marketing company “don’t want no scrubs.” When it comes to hanging out the passenger side, PPC marketing can’t get no love from anything but the best keywords that promise the greatest impact for the campaign.

#2 – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

Keep your ad campaign’s eye on the tiger

Once the most effective keywords have been identified, it’s time to play around with different configurations of PPC advertising. Trying out a few different ad sets and ad variations to see what works best for your unique search engine marketing campaign is akin to keeping your eye on the prize. That’s where a pay-per-click agency thrives by “rising up, straight to the top,” “just a plan and its will to survive.”

#3 – Phillip Phillips – Home

Bring it all home (to your landing pages)

Once the keywords are understood and the ads are created, it’s time to bring it all home. Curb appeal has its perks in the PPC management realm, where search engine marketing services companies want you to “know you’re not alone, ’cause we’re going to make those landing pages their home.” Often the landing page is just that, a welcoming beacon that can either make or break the entire pay-per-click process.

#4 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Ain’t no mountain high enough, to keep us from getting leads to you, babe

Tracking installation and testing are the next steps to making sure everything will fall into place at campaign launch. Like any of the steps in the process, this is one that involves careful consideration and collaboration from everyone on the team to make sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. A good SEM company is confident that together they can help clients reach new heights. And more importantly, track where exactly those leads are coming from. “Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no river wide enough, to keep us from getting leads to you, babe.”

#5 – The Smashing Pumpkins – Today

Today is the greatest (campaign launch day)

It’s time for all that behind-the-scenes work to go live. The keywords are in place, the landing pages are ready and today is the day. Campaign launch is the day we say “we wanted more, than your old page could ever grant you” and “today is the greatest day you’ve ever known.”

#6 – The Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn

No sleep, no sleep till we’re cooking.

Whoever said life is more about the journey than the destination knew something about the future of AdWords, Bing Ads, and other search engine marketing platforms. The work doesn’t end after launch, it begins. Search engine marketing is an ongoing process of monitoring performance to ensure the pay-per-click advertising process is doing its job. PPC management agency professionals get no sleep until the campaign is optimized and countless hours are spent working on and tweaking the ad copy, analyzing top performing keywords and adjusting bid strategy, among other things.

#7 – Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven

SEM is your stairway to heaven

An effective adwords management company ultimately conducts an assessment that includes providing analysis and feedback from the overall campaign. It is at this point that pay-per-click management services are evaluated for their return on investment. It is something most PPC management companies know will “glitter in gold, because you’ve bought a stairway to heaven.”

#8 – Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffet – It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere

And it all starts all over again tomorrow

And the best part of it all is that a good SEM company knows when its quitting time. (Aside from the overall effectiveness of search engine marketing services, obviously). They know when it’s time to put down the spreadsheets and data and let off some steam. Because tomorrow is another day.