We hear this going through business owners' and marketing executives' minds a lot when presenting the idea of managing their PPC campaigns for them. Many of them seem to have a fear of allowing someone outside of their organization (or maybe even someone on the inside) to take over control of something they may feel they already have control over. This is an understandable feeling, especially if their campaigns are making a profit.

They most likely feel that since they've built something that's working, why risk having someone else mess it up? Combine this with the fact that PPC platforms have put forth a lot of effort to make it easy for anyone to set up campaigns, and you can see why it might be hard to believe that letting someone else manage your PPC campaigns (while paying them a fee) is necessary. [tweet] Therefore, they become yeah, butters.

Why People Think It's Easy

Because it is. It can literally take 5 minutes to give your campaign a name, establish your audience with some keywords or interest categories, write your ad and hit enable. With a few clicks, you can be sending loads of traffic to your site just like that.

The problem is that although the interfaces of most platforms are easy to use, the systems that the platforms run on are complex. Given all of the buttons, bells and whistles that comprise the "control room" of the typical interface, when you go below the surface of creating a campaign, it can start to feel like you're sitting in an airplane cockpit.

Airplane Cockpit.jpg

Gaining the knowledge that will allow you to make the systems run with the most possible efficiency is NOT easy. What I mean is...

  • Naming your campaign is easy. Setting up campaigns to target the right user at the right time on the right device at the right price is not easy.
  • Entering some keywords is easy. Optimizing keywords for maximum profit is not easy.
  • Inserting conversion tracking code on your site is easy. Attributing lifetime conversion value in a multi-channel online and offline world to maximize ROI for your business is not easy.
  • Writing an ad is easy. Persuading searchers that you are the best choice for their time and attention on a page of numerous choices competing for clicks is not easy. 

Making PPC campaigns is easy. Maximizing their potential is not easy.

What They Routinely Do Wrong

The "yeah, butters" are much more likely to let you review their account at the beginning than take over complete management. Routinely when I do these reviews, I find many of the same mistakes being made over and over again because part-time I-do-it-on-the-side-as-I-also-run-my-business people only have the time, energy and most likely knowledge to do what is easy. Some of these mistakes include...

  • They enter keywords. They don't strategize how to use keyword match types to segment and bid on search queries to maximize profit.
  • They create campaigns. They don't strategize for the best account structure to optimize their account over time.
  • They enter across-the-board bids or bids that will put them in good positions. They don't create bidding strategies or do bid experiments to find the sweet spots of profitability at the ad group and keyword levels.
  • They write one ad. They don't write numerous ads from different perspectives, touching different features and benefits and using different language.
  • They do what they think will work. They don't go the extra mile and do competitive intelligence, analytics and qualitative research to find insights that will help them serve the customer better.
  • They let Google force transitions. They don't prepare for transitions in their campaigns and make adjustments.

Answers They Should Know Right Now

Yeah, butters typically don't keep up too well with feature changes in the PPC platforms, and who can blame them? It's even hard for a full-time professional. Just take a look at some of the following questions you should be able to answer for recent Google AdWords changes only. If you're a yeah, butter and you are scratching your head with most of these questions, it may be time to hand over the reigns to a professional manager. Your competition may already have and could be leaving you in the dust--or you're missing the opportunity to leave them in the dust.

  • What's the new ad extension in beta right now? What does it allow you to do?
  • What's the new bidding feature just released that gives you multi-level control over how you bid in the auctions? How does it work?
  • How do you calculate bid adjustments for time, location and device in the new Enhanced Campaign format? Which should you do first? Should you do all of them?
  • What newer feature allows you to analyze important data more easily in the Dimensions tab?
  • How many more display image ad sizes were recently added?
  • What new tool allows you to benchmark your display network performance against other advertisers in your industry?
  • What's the great new feature about Auction Insights metrics that was just added?

I won't keep going, but you can see how a part-time PPC manager can fall behind very quickly. Although PPC is like an engine that keeps running, it's definitely not a set-it-and-forget-it type of project. [tweet] Without proper care and maintenance, you'll eventually run out of gas.

What They Should Do About It

In the PPC world, it might be easy to throw up some campaigns, but the power is in the knowledge. Yeah, butters simply don't have the time or energy to stay on top of the game. And please don't take the bait that a Google representative can help make you successful. Everyone knows they have their own motives. Ultimately, they are too centralized and profit-driven to be on the front lines of PPC best practices and to always do what's ultimately best for YOUR business.

I know it sounds weird since they created and manage the platforms, but the online PPC community continually proves itself to be the experts that have to inform the world of what's right and true. Heck, I even recently had to teach a Google AdWords representative about a new feature in AdWords he had never heard of after I asked him a question about it. I got my answer from another PPC professional online.

If you want the best for your business through the PPC channel, hire a professional that lives and breathes PPC daily, pulling from the collective wisdom of the front lines. If you do, we promise to stop calling you a "yeah, butter."

Find out more about the Yeah, But series and links to other posts in this series.

September 16, 2013

Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.

Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

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