“True Detective” approach to managing PPC campaigns.

Do you know what PPC management is really all about? It’s about being able to deliver maximum results with minimum effort from your side.

It’s about being a true detective.

It doesn’t mean that there would be no challenge. PPC management is not a boring job – it’s an interesting investigation. And of course, you always reward yourself at the end of the day (cheers). Your PPC decisions can lead to your business either making a fortune or you losing everything. 

Each PPC success is life-changing for many people.

So, how do we deliver results? Over the past eight years, we have created a system that delivers a positive return on ad spend for most of our clients.

 

First of all, here is a bit of information on how we organize this process.

  1. We work in Basecamp. It stores useful information about project strategy. Also, each project is subdivided into two to-do lists – a hypothesis which are in test and to-do/ideas.
  2. We work in teams. Each team has a separate Google doc where all projects, as well as project goals and budgets, are listed.

What is the process? On the surface it’s very simple and straightforward:

The real heart of this process is a weekly check, which I will focus on in this article. Before that let’s examine all other three aspects:

Two-step onboarding set up and strategy assessment.

Step 1. Onboarding call with the client to define goals and fill strategy draft doc You have to learn all about the client’s businesses in-depth to deliver results. Unlike most of your peers, you became an expert in many areas.

Step 2. Set up campaigns based on checklist.

Daily check.

Once we created campaigns and defined goals we need to make sure that we are moving in the right direction. Each PPC manager creates a personal dashboard in dashthis where he can see the performance of all his PPC accounts on different levels.

Daily check has two main goals:

  1. Control budgets – make sure that campaigns are live, that profitable campaigns are not limited by budget and we are not overspending.
  2. Check if there are any significant downs in revenue or cost per conversion. Based on the law of small numbers it’s ok to have drops and downs. But if there is a steady drop in performance 3 days in a row, we alarm the team leader so that we can react accordingly.

Ping client on Friday.

We perform frequent light way touches by pinging clients at least once a week. We send them feedback based on this draft. This does not take a long time. But it keeps everything in order in Basecamp since clients have constant access to every project.

Biweekly check

PPC management is about being able to find the highest frequency hypothesis, which really influences the sale. It’s about hard thinking – not about robotic bidding behavior.

To reach the clients goals we follow this process:

Let’s breakdown the process step by step:

    1. Test your previous hypothesis and take notes on the learned content in a strategy doc. Before you can make any new assumptions you need to check how your previous hypothesis worked out.
    2. Check if we achieved the goal. If yes, the account manager will jump on a call with the client to determine new interesting and challenging goals.
    3. If the goal has not been reached, make a list of hypotheses. Write down any ideas, even those that might be stupid. The idea is to follow your creative flow and think of all possible ways to achieve your goal. We have created specific audit templates, both for Google and Facebook. You can just copy & paste these templates and find all possible ideas for your project.
    4. Determine one or two hypotheses, which in your opinion would have the biggest impact on the results. If you have trouble with choosing the right hypotheses, prioritize with ICE scoring
    5. Take action

The main goal of the weekly check is to determine the highest frequency hypothesis which yields the highest influence on results. It’s very easy to start doing some boring routine tasks – but usually, it’s useless. Nevertheless, there are actions which we take in each account every week. 

Weekly checklist Facebook Ads: 

  1. Check if we meet the monthly budget. Be 100% sure that profitable ad sets are not limited by budget.
  2. Check past hypothesis 
  3. Add new ads every 2 weeks
  4. Kill ads with poor results – keep not more than 3 in cold ad sets and not less than 3 in remarketing. 
  5. Never pause ads with good postive results. 
  6. Boost relevant posts from the page 
  7. Make sure we use relevant Instagram and Facebook pages
  8. Make a full audit if we don’t meet clients goals
  9. Post weekly update in a team doc

Weekly checklist Google Ads: 

  1. Check if we meet the monthly budget. Be 100% sure that profitable campaigns are not limited by budget. Even in not profitable campaigns, it’s better to limit CPC instead of decreasing budget. 
  2. Check past hypothesis 
  3. Check search terms report. Filter by CPC and cost. Add negatives.
  4. Bidding. Auto bidding where we have conversion data. Check IS for best keywords.
  5. Is CTR lower than 3% on Search Network? It’s an indicator of low traffic relevance or weak copy. 
  6. Make a full audit if we don’t meet clients goals
  7. Post weekly update in a team doc

Set up rules: 

  1. Each set up must be done using a checklist
  2. Campaigns should be launched during the first five working days after the initial call with the client (or 24 hours days after getting creatives). If there is a problem with conversion tracking, first test traffic campaigns. 
  3. If there is a delay from the client (access, creatives etc.) ping him every day to meet rule number two. 

 

Be clever – be Sherlock! Ask yourself which one action will have the strongest influence on clients and test only this assumption! Forget about the less important details. Perform 20-80 analysis and make sure that you and client have implemented the most important 20%. Be like a train which moves on the high speed. The final destination – clients results. If you are using 80-20 principle in work it means that you: 

  • find the easiest way to achieve project goal – save your and clients time
  • become best in few things and neglect others, for example, don’t try to be great both in PPC and SEO or AI
  • identify the most profitable segments of traffic on different levels and make sure client optimizes his offer and website for most profitable segments
  • focus on the work which you do the best – don’t take tasks which belong to other people 
  • judge your work based on results, not based on how long did you work 
  • choose only 1-3 most important hypothesis and implement them on the highest possible level 
  • don’t work with clients who don’t follow your recommendations – you would not be able to fully test your assumptions in this scenario
  • think big – think different and never copy-paste your competitors
  • make fun 🙂 

 

Sometimes we determined the winning hypothesis and increased revenue 10-fold working on account of only a few hours per month. However, it took us a lot of time to come up with such an assumption. We did some serious brainstorming together.

To summarize – if you follow the system it will work for you and simplify your life. Be clever and proactive – instead of doing boring repeatable tasks, find how you can automate and achieve more with less. Be a true detective.

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