When you work in the same PPC accounts day in and day out, it can be easy to lull yourself in to a false sense of security. You get in to the routine of doing things in specific ways, or even worse, think that your advertising efforts are as good as they could possibly be. From experience, I can tell you that that’s almost never the case.
Often enough, the best ideas and optimizations come from a fresh pair of eyes -- someone that can tell you what you may be missing in your account blind spots. Entire companies have been built on the idea of providing advertisers with an in-depth gap analysis of their accounts. However, there might not always be someone around who can lend that helping hand, or you may not have the resources available to dedicate to a professional account audit.
With that in mind, we’re here to help pick up the slack.
Do you like opportunity? I like opportunity.
The Opportunities page introduced last August provides a one-stop shop for account optimization initiatives. In broad strokes, they fall in the following categories:
- Keyword Suggestions
- Match Type Expansion
- Bid Suggestions
- Budget Suggestions
These are all fairly standard suggestions, but with the application of a little critical thought (and a lot of Excel), you can find out if these suggestions are truly actionable insights.
Making the most of Bid Suggestions
The Opportunities page provides bid suggestions in four different flavors: First Page, Mainline, Top of Page, and Competitive Bid. There are pretty distinct benefits to each. If you’re not on the first page, you’re pretty much getting no traffic. If you’re not in the mainline or top of page, you’re losing out on a ton of CTR due to the low position and lack of Sitelinks. If you’re interested in beating your biggest competitors, the newly released competitive bid suggestions can definitely give you the edge you need.
While these are all great suggestions, you can also figure out whether or not they make sense for your business based on your break-even CPC. Let’s take a look at a real top-of-page bid opportunity report as an example:
This is a real report -- it provides us with our current bid, the suggested bid, and the projected impact on our impressions, clicks, and spend. If traffic is your goal, this is more than enough to make an educated decision about these suggestions. But if you’re worried about conversions, then you can do a little extra legwork to see which bids make the most sense for your bottom line. Here a sample of the finished product:
This is the same keyword list from before, except I’ve thrown in a simple VLOOKUP to cross-reference these bid suggestions versus the Conversion Rate and Cost per Conversion found in a regular old keyword report. I’ve also thrown in the break-even Cost per Click (CPC) calculation to determine how much I can afford to pay, on average, for a single click to each of these keywords. By doing this, I’ve identified several keywords that have a chance to net me some real wins just by bidding more to the tune of roughly 10-20 more conversions per week… all automatically generated by the Opportunities page.
This is just one example; there are other tricks I’ve used in the past that are equally as effective, but slightly harder for an Excel newbie to pull off (and harder to illustrate in just one blog post). Tricks like:
- Using Excel Solver to double-check your optimal campaign budget allocation across all marketing channels.
- Using COUNTIF formulas to determine the relevance of suggested new keywords, and VLOOKUP to make sure they’re not already in your account.
I’ll be writing more about those in the future, but in the meantime, let us know about your favorite ways to use the Opportunities page! Anything you’d like to see added to these reports? Find a novel new use for the insights you’ve found there? Let us know in the comments, or ping us on Twitter.