Q & A: 4 of the Most Commonly Asked Questions about Paid Search (and How to Answer Them)

qaHaving worked in paid search for about 4 years, I get a million questions about how it works, what it does, and why it’s worth it. Most people who don’t work in the industry don’t even know it exists (example: my parent’s think I’ve been working for Google for the past 4 years) and those who do know it exists (and don’t work with it on the daily) don’t fully understand all the ins and outs of it.

Luckily, that’s where Account Managers come in. We specialize in owning an account’s success and having the answers (or being able to investigate to get the answers) whenever our clients need them. In my experience, here are 4 of the most commonly asked questions about paid search.

Q: Why can’t I see my ads?

A #1: Budget – This is one of the first things I will check if I see that my client’s ads are not showing. If you haven’t allocated a large enough budget to capture 100% of all search traffic then your ads will either show evenly throughout the day, or consistently show until your budget is depleted (according to your campaign delivery settings). Also, a good metric within the AdWords UI to use to determine how much search traffic you’re actually losing out on is ‘Search Lost IS (budget)’. This shows you how much impression share you’re losing due to a limited budget.

A #2: Ad Rank – Similarly to the budget, if your ad rank is too low then Google will not serve your ads. The metric you want to review to see how much impression share you’re losing out on due to ad rank is ‘Search Lost IS (rank)’. I’d also recommend reviewing quality scores and bids, and if there is opportunity to optimize here – make some adjustments to help increase ad rank.

Q: Why do I see my competitor’s ad when I search for my brand name?

A: Bidding on competitor’s terms – This is a fairly common practice in the industry. If you are searching for your brand terms and see your competitor’s terms that means that they are bidding on your brand term. I typically recommend running a competitors campaign for my clients since users are searching for the service you provide and if you have stronger value propositions than your competitors, you can highlight your brand over theirs. Also, this is a very common practice to use as an RLSA campaign and target users who have visited your site then started looking for your competitors.

Q: Why isn’t my ad at the top?

A: Bids – Oftentimes, the reason your ads aren’t showing at the very top is because bids are set too low. Increase bids (or find ways to decrease your CPCs by optimizing to improve quality score) and I’m sure you’ll see an improvement in your positions.

Q: How can I tell is this is working for me?

A: What are your goals? – The best answer for this question is a question. Every business measures success differently. It really depends on what your goals are to determine if the current approach is working for you. What are you trying to produce with using paid search? Are you trying to drive traffic to their site? Then driving in clicks and measuring CTR is likely most important. Are you an e-commerce client? Then a ROI/ROAS goal would make most sense. How much of a return on investment does your client have to see in order to make using paid search profitable for their business?

What’s Next?

If you’d like to see how other clients are rocking their PPC campaigns, you might take a peak at our Rhapsody case study.  We helped them increase their leads by a billion percent.  Ok, maybe not a billion, but we’ve helped them a lot.  Take a look!

Get Involved

If you’re interested in having your burning PPC questions answered, add them to the comments below.

Natalie Barreda About the author
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