3 Tips For Getting Over A PPC Plateau

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It happens to the best of us.

No matter how ambitious your ad testing gets, no matter how many new items your e-commerce site adds to stock, you’re going to plateau. At a certain point in a PPC account’s lifetime, there is going to be a point where you think you’ve done it all. You’ll exhaust every angle you can think to write ad copy from. You’ll keep running increasingly unimportant search query reports that aren’t yielding any new and exciting positive or negative keywords. You find yourself uttering one of the worst four-letter words in all of marketing: “Done.”

It happens to the best of us.

Most times, a PPC account plateaus because of the length of time it’s been running. With every year that goes by, there’s less and less to test, especially when an account is still yielding a positive ROAS. Sometimes it’s because of a client’s specialty. If you’re running an account for a business that has an extremely hyper-specific service, you could throw every related keyword you can think of into the mix and still not break 60 total keywords. Sometimes an account just has such a low budget that any and all testing takes months to gather a relevant bucket of data.

Just like fashion and Facebook, a PPC account’s improvement never “ends”. Here are three tips on how to break out of a slump and mix things up in your plateaued paid search account:

1. See Your Customers From A Different Angle

Don’t just bid on keywords that will be top of mind for people searching for what you’re selling. Think about the other related things that may be on that same person’s mind. Sound confusing? Here’s an example: last year, we were looking for all available angles for a local dog walking service client of ours. The client mentioned that a lot of the people looking for a new dog walking service were people that had just moved into a new neighborhood. So in addition to having keywords in their account that had to do with dog walking services, we also created a campaign filled with keywords that were centered around “local moving services” and “moving in Chicago”. The campaign was a great success in boosting our traffic from an unexpected source when our monthly traffic had pretty much leveled off.

2. Check In With Your Competitors

Something I think gets overlooked in a lot of PPC account maintenance is making a point to check in on what your competitors are doing every once in a while. There are lots of tools out there that will mine the keyword lists of our competitors, and it’s nice to look in and see what they’re doing from time to time. They might have thought of a new source of relevant traffic (see above) and you want to make sure you’re keeping up with them step for step. It’s also important to keep and eye on your competition when it comes to pricing. If you have nine competitors advertising a better deal than you have, you’ve probably got your explanation as to why your account isn’t growing anymore. Plus, spying on your competition counts as espionage. Who doesn’t want to be a secret agent?

3. Free Your Ad Copy

Everyone loves free. It doesn’t matter what’s free, because it’s free. You’ll spot the word “free” over most other words on a computer screen because “free” costs you nothing but your time. So why can’t you use the word in your ad copy to give it a boost? If you get down to it, your business should be able to give away something free. It could be a free whitepaper download. Or a free trial of your program. Or free shipping. Find whatever it is that you can give away free and do it. And then update your ad copy to say so. That could be the one thing to really steal some traffic away from your competition.

Don’t get stuck when your account hits a new plateau. Just step back, try some tips like the ones above, and climb the next highest rock wall you can find.

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  • Val Johnson

    I didn’t know this before, but with site extensions on your Adwords ads you can give people several options to visit your page, or, just offer a bunch of different ad copy in the form of links that all point to the same place. Do you have sitelinks setup, and actively gaining impressions/clicks in your account? If that sounds tricky, it isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. You can get help by just giving Simon a ring, his number is 240-455-3886.