This post was originally published in February 2020, and last updated in April 2022.
As a PPC practitioner, nothing’s quite as daunting as revamping an account and waiting to see how it performs post-launch. Talk about pressure! Revamping a Paid Media structure is quite an undertaking but usually a deeply necessary one. As your project evolves over time, so do the engines and best practices that advertisers should align their marketing efforts to.
What your paid media efforts were focused on five years ago, isn’t necessarily helping reach your goals today.
We get the hesitancy to restructure both from the practitioner side as well as the client side. We’re here to walk you through the ins and outs of a restructure done on a project here at Seer, in an effort to prove just how valuable this change can be in meeting campaign goals.
The structure of this account prior to this major optimization still generally followed the best practices of 5 years ago when we first started our partnership with this client. Although the engines, strategies, and best practices have changed drastically since then.
To ensure our campaigns are running using all the tools and strategies available to us now, the Seer team reassessed the structure of our search and social campaigns in order to improve performance and efficiencies in management.
Consolidate or Pause Campaigns
We looked for opportunities to consolidate similar themes that had evolved and become repetitive across multiple campaigns over the years. As Google continues to evolve and become smarter through all of its improved algorithms and datapoints, it benefits from a consolidated and simplified structure. You'll see this is a theme that holds true throughout this post, not just at the campaign level. Examples below:
- Do you have multiple campaigns targeting the same theme that you can combine? Over time, you may have launched iterations of the same theme across different campaigns in an effort to have proper SERP coverage and budget control, but is that method actually performing well? Based on experience, we assume it can be doing better!
- Do you currently have any RLSA counterparts that haven't performed over the last year? It may be time to pause those to redirect spend to more efficient campaigns.
- Further, it may be worth reassessing if Retargeting is even warranted in your Paid strategy. Take a look at your attribution to see how long it takes users to convert. We found with one client that RLSA campaigns' juice wasn't necessarily worth the squeeze, as 99% of users actually converted on their first visit.
- On the flipside of pausing, is there an opportunity to revamp how you target your audience through existing or net new campaigns?
- You can see below how we recommended a new campaign build for this client based on the campaign goal and audience.
While you're making optimizations at the larger campaign level, it's worth investigating to see if all of your settings are accurate and the best they can be.
- Has your location strategy changed over time? Maybe you now want to ensure you're negating certain locations or expanding targeting to new cities that bring in significant conversion volume.
- What kind of traffic has Search Partners brought in? In our experience, switching this setting off is an easy opportunity to spend more efficiently and capture more qualified leads.
- Do your tracking templates reflect the categories they should (i.e. Brand vs. NonBrand, Google vs. Microsoft, etc)?
Another big action item should be to assess your bid strategies. Google has come out with advanced smart bidding strategies over the last several years that enable advertisers to capture more traffic, conversions, and impression share as efficiently as possible. Are there any areas you're not yet leveraging automation to boost performance? We've seen big success with maximize conversions and bidding to conversion values, especially.
Revamp Your Ad Groups & Assess Your Keywords
Once the campaign-level components have been sorted out, it's time to move onto the more tedious (but crucial!) steps of a restructure, ad groups and keywords. We recommend continuing to live into the theme of simplicity through the following steps:
- Migrate all match types into the same "multi" ad groups. We've tested aggregating match types across most Paid accounts at Seer and shown that the engines are able to optimize better when keywords are combined vs. segmented.
- Ensure your ad group level and campaign level negative keywords are accurate.
- Pause any keyword that hasn't performed over the last year to redistribute that spend to converting terms.
- Think of overlapping or repeated keywords to ensure only the most relevant keywords in an ad group are present.
- Check your Search Terms Report to add in any converting term you're not already bidding on!
- Similarly, conduct competitor research to see where competitors have coverage that you don't already.
- Test Pure Broad Match! This is something we've seen success with when the correct measures are in place.
- We continue to test and see improved results across multiple clients at Seer, especially when negative keywords are implemented regularly and the test is launched in a highly qualified audience.
- Consider launching a Dynamic Search Ad ad group to capture any long-tail search queries that might not have explicit coverage already.
Google has evolved over the years and believe it or not, didn’t always accept all sorts of misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations of keywords you bid on.
Update Ad Copy to Better Align with Keywords, Landing Pages, and Other Channels
Across both Paid Search and Social, we implemented brand new ad copy that aligned with holistic marketing initiatives. That’s right, we’re talkin’ the same or similar brand messaging across TV, Programmatic advertising, Search, Paid Social, the works.
It was noted that we have a few different audiences we target depending on where they are in the conversion funnel, as well as how they plan to use the product. Because the audiences are different, messaging needed to be different to speak to each group of people and resonate best, thus increasing CTR and CVR.
In terms of best practices, we also made sure the following steps were taken:
- We maxed out the number of headlines and descriptions in Responsive Search Ads (and ensured every ad group had at least one RSA).
- We removed and copy that wasn't performing, using Optmyzr's ad copy optimization tool.
- We ensured all relevant ad extensions were applied throughout the account and at the proper level, including Sitelinks, Callouts, Structured Snippets, Images, and Calls.
- With this, we analyzed extension performance and ended anything that wasn't performing, and launched anything new that might have become available over time (updated stats from the client's website, new pages to drive to using sitelinks, etc).
Restructured Paid Search Campaigns
Before vs After: Google
- CTR increased +22%
- Conversions increased +200%
- CPA declined 48%
Before vs After: Microsoft
- Conversions increased +184%
- CVR increased +13%
- CPA declined 6%
Ultimately, PPC spend decreased -18% year-over-year while sessions to the clients' website increased +35% with a more efficient cost per session. Conversions increased +101% at a -59% lower CPA -- which was 73% below our goal CPA. We also saw a +98% more efficient ad CVR.
While of course, the Seer team made optimizations throughout the year to improve performance, we can attribute the significant increase in conversions and efficiencies despite a decrease in spend to the account restructure we had implemented.
Restructured Paid Social Campaigns
Before vs After: Facebook
- Impressions increased +30%
- Clicks increased +276%
- CTR improved +190%
- Spend increased +30%
- Sessions increased +249%
- Conversions increased +644%
- CVR improved +98%
- CPA improved 83%
Still on the fence about deciding to go for it and restructure your account? Reach out! We’d love to chat with you about possible approaches.
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