Today’s post is a guest entry from Ian Lopuch, a top online marketing executive who has had direct P&L responsibility on over $150 million of search engine marketing spend during his 7+ years in the industry. In his spare time, Lopuch is an avid domainer, web developer, and blogger at PPCIan.
If you’re in the world of pay-per-click SEM, you’re probably aware that we live in a 24/7 industry. As long as you’re not day-parting heavily, you’re most likely managing campaigns around the clock. During the weekdays, you have all the time you need to give your campaigns proper attention and make sure everything runs smoothly. However, weekends are different.
On one hand, you could just work seven days per week and guarantee you always catch issues right away. On the other hand, you could just take weekends off and hope for the best. In my opinion, neither of these are good strategies. Strategy one is a recipe for burning out. Strategy two is a recipe for disaster. So, how do you still enjoy your weekends while making sure things run smoothly? Easy: Check out my four essential weekend campaign checks.
Weekend Check One: Do Your Ads Show Up?
The root of the worst paid-search problems is often a credit card or invoicing issue that forces your campaigns to go offline. If your campaigns are offline, you’re generating zero revenue from paid search. This is a horrible situation that could make you and your team look bad in front of your entire company or your client. The best way to avoid it? Make sure to consistently check your ads on weekends. Go to Google and Yahoo, type in your top keywords, and make sure that your ads show up. Don’t check just once; check a few times during the day. From time to time, click your own ads to make sure the landing pages are resolving properly.
Weekend Check Two: Quickly Sanity-Check Your Conversions and CPA
No matter what industry you’re in, conversions and CPA change by the day. Therefore, I don’t like to obsess too much if I notice a slightly higher CPA during the weekend. However, when conversions tank and CPA skyrockets, I know there is a major issue, and I’ll spend a few hours problem solving.
It’s for this reason that I always recommend checking your numbers on the weekends. It can be as simple as logging into your AdWords and adCenter accounts and sanity-checking the conversions and CPA. Are they in the right ballpark? Yes, you’re done. No, you need to investigate a little more. The good news: Most of the time, the answer will be “yes.” The bad news: When the answer is “no,” you will have a few hours of work that weekend. In the end, however, it’s totally worth it because you’ll be saving the day and doing a really great thing for your company or client.
Weekend Check Three: Watch Out For Affiliate URL Hijacking
Most affiliates are really great and help drive incremental conversions for your organization. However, some are not so good and make a bad name for all affiliates. What do the bad-apple affiliates do during the weekend? They like to think the big brands are taking it easy, and they start hijacking your brand keywords. (Here’s how to prevent this kind of brand hijacking!) While you’ll catch URL hijacking right away on weekdays, the affiliates think you aren’t watching on the weekends. Prove them wrong! Make sure to check your brand-name keywords during weekends. Click your own links. Make sure that your own tracking code is present.
Weekend Check Four: Watch Yahoo! Trending Now
Some businesses do well when their core terms are “Trending Now” on the Yahoo! homepage. Others perform poorly. If you have experienced poor conversion rates from traffic derived from the Yahoo! Trending Now, make sure to pay extra attention on the weekend. If a keyword starts trending in your category, check to see if your ad shows up when you click the link within Trending Now. If you show up, make that word a negative in your adCenter account. Remove the negative when the Trending Now stops. You will save your company from a lot of low-converting spend and avoid a high-CPA day.
So there you have it: four essential weekend PPC checks. I hope these help. As a PPC professional, your dedication to these weekend checks will set you ahead as superstar!