Patience Is A Virtue, Dangit!
Recently, we took on a PPC campaign that has years and years of Adwords data to play with. I couldn’t have been more excited to dive in, improve their revenue, lower their costs, and completely WOW them with their new and improved ROI.
Unfortunately for me, that is not how the first two weeks of this campaign played out. Let me start by saying that I will not disclose who this client is, or what they do. I will say that they are an ecommerce store and that they have approximately four years worth of conversion data for me to work with. Their products are highly seasonal, related to holidays, and they had approximately 20 active campaigns, all of which had ad groups containing less than ten broad match keywords with no other match types. Sounds like a PPC dream, right? All I need to do is pop in some phrase and exact match keywords, set up a couple of algorithms, rewrite the ads for best practice, and let it glide its way to a home run.
Imagine my surprise when the next day my CPA had doubled from the previous day. In a panic, I undid the changes that I made, but the damage had been done. The next day, the CPA was still too high. Google was telling me that it didn’t appreciate me messing with the years and years of stuck-in-a-rut auctions it had been running. My colleague likened this campaign to dating a girl with emotional baggage and a bad credit score. You can tell her all day long how she SHOULD improve, but you can only lead that horse to water. You can’t make that train wreck drink it.
This pattern went on for about a week and a half. I would make a change, Google would slap my face and send me into timeout the next day, and I would undo what changes I made. It was getting incredibly frustrating.
I finally had an epiphany. What the hell am I doing? I wasn’t even giving Google enough time to adjust for the changes I was making. Don’t I tell all my clients that patience is the only way to successfully get through the first month of a PPC campaign? Aren’t I CONSTANTLY asking others to be patient? Why am I not following my own advice? Google’s algorithms need time to adjust where and how often your ads are shown based on keyword match type, budgets, bids, and a number of other factors that I was changing daily.
Finally, I felt like I had a solid plan. I made a change, and then I forced myself to not touch it. A day went by – things didn’t look great, but didn’t look horrific either. Another day went by – ever so slightly better. I let it run over the weekend and came back on Monday expecting the absolute worst, and was pleasantly surprised by how well it did once I gave it a chance to catch up. I was so worried about the short term that I didn’t allow for success in the long term.
The campaign is not running at the ROI I would like it to. It’s been about 3 hours since our last success in Adwords, so I think I will give it a little more time. I do have to say that we are 5% closer to our goal than we were when I left the office on Friday. If we continue with incremental successes, I think they will add up to something amazing.
It’s important to remember that not all campaigns start off with a win. This is why it’s important to have experienced eyes on it, even when no changes are being made. If you are of the “set it and forget it” sect, I pity the money you are losing in PPC right now. Constant tweaks should be done on a regular basis to keep your campaign neat, efficient, and making you money. So have a sympathetic heart for your PPC Account Manager. We probably stress over your campaign more than you do, and it’s not even our dollars being spent. Oh, and remember to tip your waitress.