This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by Robert Brady. PPC experts discussed about what PPC efficiency means to them, channels helping them improve their efficiency, how they track it, what tools they use to improve efficiency and more.
Here is the screencap of the discussion that took place.
Q1: PPC Efficiency is broad, so expect lots of follow-up questions. First off, what area of your PPC work are you super efficient with right now?
After years, we’ve finally begun to lock down both account communication requirements and optimization process for our accounts. Still a little ways to go, but Asana and Harvest time-tracking is helping a lot. – @PPCKirk
Lately I’ve been feeling really efficient with bulk changes. Been killing mass ad changes and KW tasks in Editor/Excel lately. – @robert_brady
Google Ads and Bing. Been doing that the longest and it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. from account setup to managing it. We work on a 2 week cadence with clients and that helps a ton. Some client prefer to talk bi-monthly or monthly and so we don’t chat ever week with each client. We do emails as a way to chat. – @duanebrown
I guess this depends on what “Efficiency” is going to mean in the discussion. Are we talking highest ROAS type stuff or more time management (biggest payoff with least amount of work)? I’d say getting parts of an account into automation. From a strategic position at the account level creating segments and groups that will respond well to automation. – @markpgus
Personally, I’ve gotten super efficient with tag creation/implementation when launching new campaigns. I’ve previously had to wait for other teams/people/depts to do this, so a while ago I took the time out to learn this aspect myself! – @AzeemPPC
Ignoring Google’s terrible recommendations. – @hostedby20i
Processing search terms for negative keywords. – @Pete_Bowen
Setting up new campaigns and the reporting has become super efficient – mainly because we’ve doubled the size of our team – @Galliguez
because I am saying it outloud, it’s gonna collapse on me, but I am oddly efficient at audience creation and targeting – @JonKagan
We’ve been pretty efficient with starting campaigns with fewer keywords to better conserve budget – @marccxmedia
Super efficient in search and display. Less efficient in FB ads mainly due to no offline editor. – @marksubel
Q2: In what areas are you struggling with efficiency?
Email. Always email. I’d also say campaign organization, though I think I’m starting to realize this and changing. Was too bulky from good ole days. Just don’t need a million campaigns anymore with Google’s close variants/DSA getting better/etc. – @PPCKirk
Project communication where I am not the lead is a struggle for me. – @NeptuneMoon
I think having top performing ad groups that are exact match is something that is killing a lot of us. Do we really go and mine search term reports all day there? Or should we approach it from a different strategic perspective. But definitely a major inefficiency – @markpgus
More work then I can do on my own, which means hiring a new person to form our first squad of 3. We try to keep things to a simple form here and one reason we don’t sell hours. Finding a balance when a client does/does not need a long email to explain something. – @duanebrown
The fine line of being involved with client issues that are not directly related to us. Example: when Google suspends your accounts for unpaid invoices, but they’re expecting us to help them resolve them. Not our problem. Pay your bills. – @BrookeOsmundson
As I’m in-house… internal billing is annoying – @Galliguez
My biggest inefficiency is in setup – creating a ton of low-volume keyword or audience variant targets that won’t generate much. This might be tied to exact-match changes but performance doesn’t suffer. – @ferkungamaboobo
100% due to being completely stubborn, I widely struggle with script creation – @JonKagan
We’ve been struggling here and there with some campaign performance metrics week-over-week – which may or may not be efficiency related. – @marccxmedia
Q3: What channels are getting you the most efficiency for your budgets? What channels are getting less efficient?
Efficiency LinkedIn Instagram, Less Efficient Twitter – @MrAguilar_
From an awareness standpoint, YouTube and FB are great for CPV. Google Search is getting less efficient, but that’s an obvious one.– @BrookeOsmundson
Less efficient = hyper-local call only campaigns – @Galliguez
Search is still the most efficient (as it should be). FB/IG is getting more difficult to be efficient outside of ecomm. And LinkedIn is just too expensive. – @jdprater
I get great efficiency from @BingAds when I can convince clients to fire it up. FB is tons more competitive over the last 12-18 months & much harder to get the efficiency. Been getting more out of Amazon Ads for a couple ecomm clients recently as well. – @robert_brady
This is a tough question because each platform has strengths and weaknesses. The wrong combination of platform and objective will always suck. Bidding on competitor terms in search might not be great… But retargeting those users in FB during a sale is – @markpgus
@BingAds is super efficient for my health care clients (half my business), but now I am seeing some decent traction from @Yelp, but it still leaves me questioning it since it remains on site – @JonKagan
Our Call Only campaigns are pretty efficient, but our straight Search campaigns could be doing a little better. All of this is through Google Ads, of course. – @marccxmedia
Most efficient: Amazon & Bing Less efficient: Baidu – @gblecon
Q4: How are you tracking your efficiency?
We began working *everything*…. I mean… *e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.* into (1) Asana and (2) Harvest to track specific projects and time to specific clients and tasks. It’s been immensely helpful in finding inefficiencies. other thing about running all tasks through a PM System is it allows you to easily prioritize… then focus first on actual priorities. That’s Key to Efficiency IMO, devoting more time to what is important and less to what’s not. IDing priority is 1/2 the battle. – @PPCKirk
Bizible and Google Analytics. – @MrAguilar_
Timetracking. Any given tool will work for that. But we only measure time and not relate that to performance in campaigns. Sometime’s an hour of work is not as efficient as 15 minutes of work for another client the next day. – @StephanieErne
Take a step back and ask if this is the best way to reach the outcome we want as an agency and for clients. If I do something repeatedly and it feels like it’s taking to long, double check I’m not making more work for myself. Even one less step can save time – @duanebrown
We use a mix of GA and platform’s pixel depending on the situation. – @marksubel
Q4.1 For spend efficiency, where are you getting the “truth”? Heard GA so far.
Being in leadgen, truth comes when you & client review their CRM report and you ask “Soooo, what’s happening with the leads we sent over?” I’m always guaranteed by next words out of their mouth to learn what they think of us. – @heyglenns
In addition to web analytics – call tracking data and downstream CRM data – @Galliguez
When it comes to spend efficiency in regards to conversions, we verify the conversion codes and call tracking first and then monitor account CPAs compared to bids, the budget, etc. – @marccxmedia
Q5: What tools do you use to improve your efficiency?Hearing @asana and @harvest. I use @basecamp with some work too.
Allocadia has made me even closer to Finance teams. – @MrAguilar_
I use Goa Marketing which audits all campaigns, keywords, ad copies, etc. – @gblecon
@toggl is good for basic time tracking – not fancy, but does the job! Automating a lot of reporting helps too. I like @swydo for that – frees me up to just to the analysis/ insights/ recommendations. – @NeptuneMoon
Anana tracks everything we do. Beyond that it’s understanding the outcomes we want and knowing what excel and tools can do features wise. Not enough people know vlookup, macros and those bits that save tons of time – @duanebrown
Q6: Already hearing a little chatter about this, but what effect is automation having on your efficiency?
If it’s going to happen again, automate it. – @PPCKirk
Automation SHOULD give a +ve bump to quality, at the very least because something is being done consistently. Advice to my younger self: When you’re mad that someting ^#$ed up! Stop & ask if investing in automation could stop mistake from repeating. – @heyglenns
It saves time & money – automated bids, pacing, Bing campaigns synced with Google, scheduled actions, automated audits, etc – @gblecon
This won’t win me any fans, but it helps with my overhead cost (ie staff), which trickles down to the client cost. Not to mention, we see it improve our CPC more often than anything else. – @JonKagan
Automate your stupid stuff away. 3 hours of work will be revenue neutral for a 15-minute task over 1 year. – @ferkungamaboobo
Helps with account management and maintenance. That free time goes into thinking about what else we can do for the client to grow the business. Maybe test out a new channel like Bing or Amazon, get them into a cool beta or run a new a/b test. – @duanebrown
It buys you ‘thinking time’ on an account because it saves you time on the easy, repetitive stuff. I also think as a PPC expert you should jump on the automation train before it is to late. More and more get’s automated so you need to evolve your job to not just pressing the buttons but acquire other kills that will be needed more in the near future. – @StephanieErne
Start with something small to automate – you don’t have to go nuts right off the bat. Scripts can be a good place to start, there are very specific ones that have excellent documentation. – @NeptuneMoon
All about automation. In FB I automate almost everything from a structure/audience perspective. I’ll dive deep in the data initially and then go hard with Lookalikes for Cold Audiences while getting people through the funnel with actions. Search is a little different because… KWs but DSAs are excellent to keep running for continual exploration. Leveraging initial audience building so you get similar audiences which improve the signals sent to the machine when bidding – @markpgus
I love automation. I try to automate as much as repeatable stuff as possible. – @jdprater
Somewhat meta, but using automation makes you better at using automation. Both the learning curve of structuring a task so that it succeeds with automation. And also developing an eye for automation where you start seeing lots of opportunities for automation. – @JasonStinnett
eing able to set bid adjustments, audience targeting, and the like does make running/managing campaigns easier and more efficient on a weekly basis. – @marccxmedia
Q7: Last question, what is the one piece of advice you’d give a new person in PPC on this topic? Be specific.
Prioritize what is most important, automate what can be automated. The more you work into a process, the more you actually know where your time is going and can make yourself more efficient to invest that saved time in more clients/experiments/growth/REST/etc. BTW, I am convinced this is key to the PPC agency not becoming defunct in a new, automated world. If we embrace automation/process we can still charge rates so it doesn’t make sense to take things in-house, but can manage more clients efficiently to maintain margins – @PPCKirk
Don’t even think about entering this industry until you start having uncomfortable thoughts about how advanced excel formula’s work in your day to day life. Also, if you want to be in “creative”, search is not for you – @JonKagan
Be flexible. The key to longevity is to adapt to changes and keep yourself in a position where your specific knowledge continues to bring value. – @NeptuneMoon
For bulk changes it’s worth the time to get to know AWE. Much efficiency. Such time save. – @_kingjosiah_
Read, read, and read some more. Then do, do, and do some more. Then write, write, and write some more. – @jdprater
When tracking time, be totally honest with yourself. There IS time that you waste through the day. That’s okay, but measuring helps you eliminate/minimize it. – @robert_brady
Embrace automation and the current state of the industry. Don’t let others get you hung up on the old times and old strategies. Move with the platforms not against them… Also breathe and wait for a level of significance to be reached before making changes – @markpgus
Few things beat hands-on experience. Reading and understanding will only get so far… you need to get into the account and work on things. Best way to learn and grow. It’s ok to be wrong. – @duanebrown
Proceduralize everything. “Special cases” don’t happen *that* often. – @ferkungamaboobo
Make sure you love it. Work takes up so much time, if you don’t love it you should seriously find something else. But on a more PPC level: Stay on top of changes and news. Invest time in learning more & more & more. – @StephanieErne
Clear understanding of the client business & brief Try to explain technical stuff in a very simple manner, share business insights/trends Get as many best practices as possible from your team, conferences, training – @gblecon