Spring Cleaning: 3 Super Easy Ways To Improve Account Performance


Is it just me, or does it feel like 2015 is just flying right by us? It feels like it was just yesterday that it was cold, rainy, and gloomy (oh wait…we’re in Seattle, it WAS yesterday!) and now we’re starting to see those warmer, sunnier days as we start to really get in the swing of Spring and move into Summer. I don’t know about you, but since I’ve realized that once you start to get older, time starts to fly by faster – I’ve decided that it’s time to make some changes in my life. I’ve started some intense spring cleaning, donating things I don’t need anymore, really learning how to cook, and all around making small changes in my life that are going to make a big impact on my happiness, wallet and productivity. Well, why not apply this same methodology to your paid search accounts? There are a number of easy changes you can make that can make a pretty big change in how your accounts are performing.

Don’t ignore mobile best practices

It goes without saying that mobile is a huge driver traffic now a days. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go read any article in the past 6 months to a year about how much mobile traffic has grown. In Q4 2014, smartphones and tablets drove approximately 40% of all paid search traffic on Google. So if you’re not optimizing for mobile traffic, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity to either generate revenue or increase efficiency on the table. A couple of tips for mobile optimization:

  • If you’re not using mobile bid modifiers, segment out your device data in the AdWords UI and make adjustments to your mobile bids
  • Don’t just set and leave these mobile bid modifiers though. Just like all bids, you should continue to analyze and test incremental changes to see if there is a positive or negative impact on your account’s performance
  • Make sure you have a piece of mobile optimized ad copy. This doesn’t mean just copying your existing ad copy and setting it as “Mobile Preferred”. This means to keep in mind character limits of what Google will show on mobile devices and tailor your messaging specifically to users who are searching on their devices. Selling desktop software? Don’t say “Download Now!”, instead say “Buy Now, Download Later!”. Also, make sure you let your user know that your site is mobile friendly by adding m. or mobile. at the beginning of your Display URL.
  • Lastly, if your site it not mobile friendly I don’t recommend that you advertise on mobile devices. You’re not providing your users with a good landing page experience and that will likely reflect on your conversion rates. That being said, remember that without having a mobile friendly site you’re losing out on 40% of all paid search traffic and you’ll be penalized by Google due to the newest algorithm update.

Extend your ad with ad extensions

That’s such a cheesy way to put it, but that’s exactly what ad extensions are made to do! Not only do they have an impact on quality score and then the obvious win of taking up more real estate on the SERP, but they also provide your users with SO much more information about your service. Normally, with just a basic text ad unit, you’re only going to have about 130 characters to work with. If you add in all available ad extensions, that puts you at more than 600 characters to make use of to tell users about your service. A couple of tips for ad extensions:

  • Use them would definitely be tip number one. Sitelink extensions (make sure to use the description lines as well), callout extensions, location extensions, call extensions – if you’re able to use it, make sure to not miss out on this opportunity!
  • Don’t just set them and forget them. Test them, see what messaging works best, test out directing to different pages on your site, and even try testing out directing your sitelinks to your social media pages.
  • Following the mobile tips above, make sure to create mobile preferred ad extensions and create specific messaging for your mobile users.

Audit your campaign settings

This seems to go without saying, but when completing account audits this seems to consistently be one of the most overlooked parts of an account. Interestingly enough, it’s also an incredibly impactful part of a paid search account so it’s not something you want to ignore. A couple of tips for your campaign settings:

  • Want to look at all your campaigns in one glance? Add in all the available columns in the AdWords UI, or my personal preference: review them in AdWords Editor. I personally prefer AdWords editor because then I can also really easily make bulk changes.
  • Language settings aren’t simply black and white. Whether you are only running ads in the US, or running ads internationally, typically there isn’t only one major language in that country. For example, in the US it is widely known that a growing population of Americans speak Spanish. Why not try testing out a bilingual campaign? Also, it’d be worth testing out breaking out a separate campaign for Spanish speakers with localized messaging.
  • Review your ad rotation settings. Are you trying to test out ad copy? Then if so, you really should make sure your ad rotation settings are set to “Rotate Indefinitely” in order to capture the most accurate test results.

Whether you’re an experienced paid search marketer or someone just starting in the industry, these are all important points to keep in mind when looking through your account and trying to capture easy, but impactful wins. These are all points that can be pretty easily looked over while in the daily grind of bid optimizations, expansions, strategy, etc. so why not take advantage of this spring cleaning time and do some spring cleaning to your paid search accounts?

Natalie Barreda About the author

Natalie Barreda is a digital marketing veteran who focuses on driving revenue for enterprise-level clients. Thanks to her six years of agency experience, she adept at predicting and responding to critical trends in paid search. Currently a senior client manager at Point It Digital Marketing, she primarily focuses on year-round seasonality and B2C e-commerce digital advertising. Completely self-taught, Natalie considers herself a results maven. In her down time, Natalie enjoys hanging out with her aptly-named dog Xena and exploring the Seattle beer scene.

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