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Hosted by @NeptuneMoon, this week’s PPCChat session was an interesting one. In today’s forum, experts shared their successes and failures while handling PPC accounts.

Q1: What is a PPC success story that you’re really proud of?


Beyond Meat. I’ve never done anything like that before, and the store visits, videos and the followup app campaign, across so many platforms was just a treat. I learned so much! and I feel like we accomplished so much. @JuliaVyse

I brought a pharma brand from non existence to #2 in the space, almost solely through search. @JonKagan

One of my favorites was taking a struggling service business who was competing against a behemoth and getting them so many leads we had to scale back our efforts from time to time because they couldn’t handle the volume. @NeptuneMoon

I took over 8yo account that had been managed by 2 big agencies & increased profits 643% in 7 months. (Also, beat a “very big name” CRO agency 7/7 in web page split-tests for same client.) @stevegibsonppc

I’ve been working with numerous people at an agency getting them to consolidate what they’er doing in FB accounts. We’ve improved performance across many accounts while reducing the # of ad sets in half. Less to analyze means more time for strategy/creative. @markpgus

I love proving that PPC is a channel you should invest in. It seems I always start with a small budget, hit the goals they want us to hit and then we continue increasing the budget. Conversions are like a IG Influencer getting likes, just gets me hyped everytime. @RyBen3


Q2: Did you do anything that might be considered unusual or against “best practices” in the process of achieving that success?


Well, because we were aiming for Store Visits rather than web conversions, we did lots of pr content promotion in our ppc campaigns, and we didn’t really aim at bid targets or CPA. It was pure volume. @JuliaVyse

Oh, yeah… but that’s normal for me. I’m not a PPC guy, I’m a direct marketing guy who specialises in PPC. So I always do things differently. ([spam]See my upcoming books for details etc. [/spam]) @stevegibsonppc

I had to extensively research pharma rules of advertising, to conquest a competitors name, with a brand ad, to ensure it doesn’t fall outside of FDA compliance. @JonKagan

I miss the days when you could more specifically target for smaller geo campaigns – with terms & targeting, which is what we did! Broadening of targeting in general (& the way things match, low search volume, etc.) has not been an improvement for locally focused biz. @NeptuneMoon


Q3: Did you face any pushback during the process of getting to the successful point on that account? If so, how did you handle it?


Yeah, pharma legal teams are not ones that enjoy listening to someone without a legal degree, about legal things. @JonKagan

When they hired the “big name CRO company,” they wouldn’t let me split-test some of the funnel pages, because that other company had free rein. Then when that company failed to deliver, split-testing ground to a halt for 6+ months. So I had a new version of homepage. @stevegibsonppc

(cont) and 3 versions of signup page (it was SAAS company) lying around for half a year before they finally tested them. So that was frustrating. When they were finally tested, all 4 pages/versions beat the controls. @stevegibsonppc

I didn’t get pushback from this client. I sometimes do, of course, and when I do I will explain in plain language what we are trying to achieve with the strategy on the table and how we think it will happen, what we will measure, duration, etc. @NeptuneMoon

Client: “Why aren’t we in top position for [favorite keywords]?” – Me: “Here’s the performance data for [favorite keywords] vs. [successful keywords].” – Client: “Oh.” Data is the great equalizer. @SEM_PPC_MattV


Q4: What was the biggest lesson you took away from this successful initiative?


That I don’t charge enough money. @stevegibsonppc

For the group I was working with, they expressed a lot of value to clients in THE ACTIONS they were taking where it needs to be largely THE RESULTS! Shifting thinking/Building confidence was huge. People will take risks if the reward = less heavy manual work lol. @markpgus

If you’re willing to read through government red tape and documentation, you can find oh so many loopholes. @JonKagan


Q5: What is an example of something you tried that just didn’t work (I hate calling it a “failure” because I think we can learn from everything we do, even when it REALLY does not work!)?


I was working with a client in the financial sector. Their print ads all had images of unhappy or stressed out people. They wanted to use them for PPC. Those images did not work well in the digital space. Campaigns did very poorly. Client was dissatisfied.@NeptuneMoon

1: Had another client who had major web site issues they had no interest in fixing, but wanted to run PPC anyway. Guess how those results turned out??? @NeptuneMoon

Part 1: Had a beast of a time getting shopping ads to perform for an ecommerce client. Continued trying to optimize for months without realizing that they didn’t have MAT pricing laid out for some of their vendors. They were killing me (and the client) on price. @ScottOmiller

Lots of figuring out how to position different businesses… When in reality, the companies are not paying for that. If a company cannot explain a compelling reason to take action then there’s no way in hell I can either! @markpgus

I listened to all those “website behaviour” gurus who said asking customers to register to buy reduces sales. Persuaded a client – who was forcing registration – to split-test allowing guest checkout. That version converted 31% worse. Oops. @stevegibsonppc

Bidding on “adjacent” category keywords to drive awareness. Back firing is an understatement. I felt… @JonKagan

I got burned by the Google Experiment Tool once…scared to use it again. @FindingAmanda


Q6: Were you trying something totally new to you or going against conventional wisdom or following a platform’s advice, etc.?


We thought we were being edgy and thinking outside the box. Turns out, there was a reason why others didn’t take this approach. @JonKagan

I was very much going with conventional wisdom. Afterwards, I realised few of these “split-testing gurus” were actually running split-tests. Most of them were just parroting what they heard from others. @stevegibsonppc


Q7: What was the biggest lesson you took away from this unsuccessful initiative?


If you have concerns about something the client is being insistent about, VOICE THEM. Doesn’t mean you won’t have to do it their way first, but you’re on record with your concerns. Set a clear threshold for when and how you’ll review things too. @NeptuneMoon

That a lot of big name gurus are just making shit up. @stevegibsonppc

Don’t let a gut feeling define an action, when all actual data indicates this won’t work in advance. ~”Don’t bring your gut to a data fight” @JonKagan


Q8: What is the biggest roadblock you face in making your PPC efforts as successful as you think they could be? How do you try to overcome it?


TIME. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to give everything the attention I want to. My best advice to overcome it is to be as structured with your schedule as possible. Make the rounds, get other people to look at it, and set up automated alerts. @ScottOmiller

Clients. Sometimes it’s clients that don’t want to let you test things that you know will work. Sometimes it’s clients who go into their accounts and nitpick every detail or want everything explained. I try to get them internalize that they hired a pro for a reason. @CJSlattery

Clients can be their own worst enemy when they don’t view working with a PPC pro as a partnership, where their specific biz knowledge + my PPC expertise = best case for successful PPC endeavors. If they can’t get there, it can’t work long term for me. @NeptuneMoon

Conservative/scared clients. They all want to try something cool and extreme, but way to often, when they find out possible ramifications of “out of the box” efforts, they back down quickly. @JonKagan

Champagne tastes on a beer budget is a pretty big road block too. Having a reality check about what things will cost to do well is necessary, even it it means you don’t get the project! @NeptuneMoon


Q9: What piece of advice would you give someone, or did someone give you, when it comes to success or failure in PPC?


1) Live for the algorithm, but never trust it completely. 2) Ask my wife what she’d type to search for something. 3) Make sure you totally understand your clients’ business models before you start building. You may miss BIG things if you dont. @ScottOmiller

Asking for forgiveness instead of permission, especially in a regulated vertical is a terrible idea. Show up with data, and you might not get kicked out of the room. @JonKagan

Don’t blindly trust tools. Tools can be amazing, but you have to know how to use them and verify what they are telling you is not way off! YOU are the expert. Act like it. That is why you’re in the room (or on the call, etc.)! @NeptuneMoon

Don’t listen to Google reps. They likely have less experience than you and their goals are not your goals. Learn from the other experts in the industry and don’t trust Google. They are looking out for Google, not for you. @CJSlattery

If you’re only optimising your ppc, but you’re not optimising your strategy, you’re probably missing out on most of your profits. @stevegibsonppc


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