SMX East: Reviving A Failed PPC Campaign

    October 7, 2008

At the session "Reviving A Failed PPC Campaign" the speakers discussed how to turn around a failed paid search campaign.

(Coverage of the SMX East conference will continue at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

Alissa Ruehl, Manager of Paid Search Services, Apogee Search, said there are many ways a campaign can fail such as plenty of clicks that don’t convert.

Ruehl said to run Google’s query report and cut out irrelevant clicks and impressions. Also look at search terms through your analytics program.

Occasionally, keywords should be deleted. "Make sure your ads are coherent and responsive." Keep out unqualified traffic and don’t be afraid to qualify your ad.

Use a call to action and prepare the searcher for conversion in the ad. Focus on action verbs and avoid generic calls to action.

Make landing pages relevant, have clear goals and calls to action on your landing page.

Joanna Lord, Senior Search Strategist, shared tips on surviving a dip.

1. Isolate the problem
Keep detailed team-based records (daily blogs)
Internal database (suggests Twiki, Yammer, Basecamp)
Hold a meeting

2. Consider the context
Go beyond vertical
Tools, applications, engine changes (
Industry movement, mergers, buyouts

3. Determine the plan
Go beyond hedging your losses
Each company is different, don’t make assumptions
Make well-analyzed, incremental movements

4. Execute
Hardest one for most companies
Don’t waste time overanalyzing
Don’t change multiple variables at once
Set reasonable expectations post-execution

Lord stressed, "Slowing yourself down is really essential in this industry."

Andrew Goodman, President, Page Zero Media, said, "Success and failure are just flip sides of the same coin."

Correctly building a campaign requires strategy, architecture, patient execution and testing. Quick fixes can make things worse.

"Our mind wants to have a reason for things," said Goodman.

Two kinds of account failure:
Quality Score Failure
Measurement and Strategy Failure

Quality Score:
Tight targeting
Catching bad guys

Strategic Planning
Form action plan collaboratively.

WebProNews Video anchor Abby Johnson contributed to this report.