The PPC account takeover: how to make it click

Transform an underperforming strategy to one which delivers results, leads, and profitability.

When we win a new piece of business, a complete audit of the company's marketing strategy is undertaken by our team. Often, top of the list is a thorough analysis of paid search activity. In many cases, disappointing performance from PPC activity is the key driver for a business to change marketing agency. So how do we transform an underperforming strategy to one which delivers results, leads, and ultimately profitability?

Here Ben, head of PPC at The Garden, outlines our approach to a PPC strategy audit.

Immerse yourself in the company.

Chances are that the AdWords account is for an area/product you may not be familiar with at all. Spend a couple of hours looking through the client's website and what services/products they offer. This is invaluable information that will aid you in creating the best ads.

Trawl through the existing data.

It's easy to think that a clean slate will be the best approach, but don't underestimate the amount of data the account has gathered. Look at the search term report and get an understanding of what people were searching for. Were the keywords used perhaps too broad? Too narrow? Were they using the extended ad format? Are ad extensions in place?

Look at auction insights.

This sometimes gets overlooked, but it is perhaps the most important thing to look at when taking over a new account. The auction insight report will give you a comparison of the campaign against its competitors, looking at your impression share, average position, and top of the page rate for your ad. This can provide you with a really good basis of who your competitors are, and what you're up against. Once you've established who you're competing against, you can run an analysis on that website with third party tools to see what sort of keywords they focus on, and see if they target anything differently to how you would.

Learn from the competition.

As mentioned above, the competition can help inform you of what the general marketplace looks like. Why not have a look to see what their ads are like? Do you think the website you're representing offers anything that could help to stand out from the rest of the competition?

Check what sort of bidding strategy was in place.

This is pretty important: when taking over accounts we've often found an automated strategy in place, such as enhanced CPC. Once set up, the account will gather data and adjustments will get made automatically. Whilst this is pretty convenient in terms of time saving, it's generally not comparable to a manual strategy that will ensure that, with the right amount of time and effort put in, the account will be running more optimally than with an automated strategy.

So there you have it. There are many factors contributing to the ongoing success of a PPC strategy that consistently delivers leads and results. If you feel that your current provider doesn't apply the same level of depth, feel free to contact Ben and we'll happily perform a free audit for you.