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Greetings readers! Here is the screencap of this week’s PPChat session where experts discussed their experiences regarding performance dip for the accounts they manage, how do they explain this to their clients and more. This week’s session was hosted by Julie F Bacchini.

Q1: Have you been experiencing any performance dips for the accounts you manage in the last few months? If so, on which platform(s)? And for what industry(ies)?

DSA has been acting really weird and awful in some ecom ad accounts in March. Is DSA at the end of their life? @duanebrown

Love this topic – not so much a dip but have tested both Quora and Tripadvisor in recent weeks and have soooo not been impressed. TA in particular has been massively underwhelming when compared to alternatives. @PPC_Fraser

Yes. In Google Ads. For a technical school for IT type skills. Layoffs in tech, not so great for recruiting. @NeptuneMoon

Yup, since the turn of the year I’ve had 2 accounts see some notable dips. Both DTC brands. @dylanppc

Yes, but it appears to be mostly external factors (i.e. price increases on products or seasonality) @JonKagan

Happily, we didn’t encounter any dips in performance during the last months. On the contrary, performance was good on all platforms I manage, especially on Google and Meta side (SaaS account). @DianaAlinaAldea

I have one where there is quite a big dip. Thinking it’s mainly seasonal though as it’s a supplement brand and the “new year new me” phase should be over by now. Mainly Shopping / PMax. Another one is clearly external factors – economy, interest hike, inflation. @BorisBeceric

Facebook has been very up and down recently. April has been pretty bad. A couple clients have had a rough q1 but their performance is closely tied to interest rates, not much can be done there. Once you cut all the trash on Bing we have been seeing decent results. @selley2134

Yes – a commercial roofing client (lead gen focus) has seen a big dip in conversions from Google Ads since December. Didn’t see this trend in years past & still trying to get back to our historical lead volume. @adclarke10

Yes, Real Estate in the Eastern US on Google. @adwordsgirl

Nothing super noticeable, but there are dips and troughs throughout the year. and PMax has very little to compare against. big shrug. @JuliaVyse

Yup. Shopping campaigns in Google Ads have shown dips for my ecom campaigns. In lead gen, CPA and CPC has been higher in Q1 for me in Google Ads. @1tagupta

Seeing good results throughout Q1 going back to complete basics. No display/discovery prospecting. Remarketing excluding all current customers. Standard Shopping only, no broad match keywords. The basics still work. @matt_salberg

Yes, in Local Services Ads #LSA. Enormous spam problems, mostly due to 2 people, affecting lawyers in California. Although the rest of the LSA platform has major algo issues as well. ref:… @lenraleigh

Not performance dips so much as I have noticed an increase in competitive pressure, causing a lot of our campaigns to reset to a more traditional performance level. Of course, this is a dip compared to the last couple of years but it’s an important distinction. @MIchealGumbert

Q2: What, if anything, do you have in place to alert you to performance changes? Does it vary by platform?

We have bi-weekly reporting dashboards + monthly reporting along with custom alerts on Optymzr set up too. @adwordsgirl

Different by platform, but my team checks pacing weekly so we dive in and share info at the same time each week. @JuliaVyse

Rules/Scripts Google wise but super interested in some of the GA4 alerts which seem a bit more user-friendly. They’ll never be as granular as some specific scripts but serve as a great intro to performance alerts for junior team members. @PPC_Fraser

Dashboards where I can see performance for all of my clients at a glance & scripts that alert me of any account anomalies. I should be catching anything pretty quickly. @BorisBeceric

On Google, for example, I have a rule to notify me when an ad in the account spent more than a specific amount and didn’t convert. Also, I have many custom columns in Google Ads that can quickly do the math for me. @DianaAlinaAldea

On the other platforms, the spent is lower, and I manage to do the analysis more manually. @DianaAlinaAldea

I do love old-fashioned alerts in Google Ads for drops in impressions, conversions, etc. Also just regularly looking at the accounts. No one wants the client bringing a performance drop to their attention. @NeptuneMoon

I’ve got dashboard reports built for week-on-week, MTD and YoY comparisons so I’m looking at those a lot. I also get direct feedback/access to clients’ backend sales where I can frequently view actual sales performance throughout the month. @dylanppc

We have alerts in analytics set by hour day, or week (depends on client volume), that alerts us to what level of volume for our conversions we should be at by a certain time, and if we fall below it or over it by x% we get notified to take action. @JonKagan

We have created our own dashboard that compiles data by platform and updates daily. Not a ton of data but enough to show if something is up. @selley2134

We don’t really have something like an automated alert set up – mainly just go into the accounts each day & check on things ourselves. We also provide biweekly & monthly reports to clients, as well as check in on reporting dashboards made through Looker Studio/GDS. @adclarke10

Everyone on the team, including me. Does an ad account daily check. If there is one thing you do each month, it is this. Rules and alerts work until something breaks. Nothing beats getting in there and understanding the rhythm and flow of your ad accounts. @duanebrown

Talking about Google Ads, I do set a lot of Rules and Scripts to make me alerted. Just a bit of Javascript and you can have better control over the alerts. Also, I check the accounts twice a week. @1tagupta

Also, we have something like a collective revenue dashboard that I usually build for companies. They have all the data in place from their internal databases like Hadoop, Oracle, etc and then from the payment software like Chargebee. Takes time but worth it. @1tagupta

I don’t alerts on simply because of the number of accounts we have, but we do three times a week performance check that leads into an optimization process. @MIchealGumbert

Q3: When you find performance struggling, what are the first things you check? Does it vary by platform?

First things first – has tracking fallen off? @davisbaker

Is conversion tracking firing properly? -Are there any approval issues? -Any sudden changes in metrics like CPC, impr. share, etc. that can flow down to affecting “core” metrics. @timothyjjensen

This is definitely where alerts come in, helping to save time on spotting causes of performance drops. That being said, I often go back through audit notes to see if any changes made could have caused an issue and take it from there. 100% recommend writing stuff down. @PPC_Fraser

Check for website problems – broken or moved pages. Check conversion tags firing properly. Look at auction insights to see if someone came roaring in. @NeptuneMoon

Step #1 every time: Try and pinpoint the day things went downhill and work from that. @JonKagan

First thing I check is analytics. Is it platform specific? Is it site-wide? 5 Minutes in GA can usually give me a good road map of where to look next. (One big reason I’m dreading july 1st) @selley2134

I’d also check search terms to see if there was sudden activity on a particular term. Sometimes current events can impact here (and sometimes bad matching for a particular query can spike randomly) @timothyjjensen

If there’s a sharp drop in conversions, the first thing I check is that tracking is still set up properly. From there I hone in on the date we started to see performance dip & any specific changes/campaigns/ad groups/keywords/audiences that may have contributed. @adclarke10

Once we have a better idea of the timeline & potential causes, then we can start to analyze more in-depth, make recommendations, and start testing to reverse the trend. @adclarke10

Conversion tracking mainly, and where the dips in performance are coming from. Usually looking at product level as well, in case there are any products that are out of stock, disapproved or removed from the site without telling us. @dylanppc

We look at past performance over the last 1 – 2 months. Try to make sure it’s not SKUs out of stock, broken site or external factors like the post-Christmas slowdown we see in early Jan. Once we understand the problem. We review solutions and take action. TAKE ACTION. @duanebrown

A solution can even be as simple as lowering the ad spend in the campaign. Could be adding negative keywords. Not all solutions need to be huge changes. @duanebrown

I see tracking, GA4, attribution, conversion events firing, etc. I guess it is more from the Search perspective. I do also check the performance comparison for the time it started fluctuating. Then I look at the Search terms CPC and ads QS. @1tagupta

Sometimes, keywords and Copies get exhausted that need to be changed. A data-studio dashboard is going to help a ton with tracking the performance dips. I also look at the Google Trends and Keyword Planner for the causes. @1tagupta

Q4: How do you explain performance dips to your clients or stakeholders? Is there language you tend to use that makes it easier for them to understand and/or not freak out?

The thing that I have found that makes the biggest difference is a plan of action. Y happened so we are going to test X. I never guarantee things but showing them we are actively moving to try something new usually gets them to avoid the freakout in my exp. @selley2134

It’s definitely easier if you can pinpoint a culprit/likely culprit for a performance dip. Assuming you can explain what you found and what the plan is to address it. If you can’t find source, it gets trickier. I tend to then ask how things are for them generally. @NeptuneMoon

Be upfront about it, ideally communicating your perspective before they catch it. I always like to tie data to longer-term trends (i.e., we saw a dip in the last 2 weeks but we’re up YoY) @timothyjjensen

Break it down into micro and macro factors. Micro factors are anything we can control from within the accounts or landing pages. Macro factors include anything going on in the world which can impact performance. @ppcClickShark

It depends on the client. Some want the details as they are very tuned in. Some only want “we are seeing x and have identified y as the possible cause. Here’s what we’re doing to reverse the trend” @BorisBeceric

Most of my clients are also aware of “random acts of Google/FB” etc. because I talk about that. Some things are account specific, while others are platform tomfoolery. @NeptuneMoon

I enjoy making up words that aren’t real but sound really technical and blaming it on those. @JonKagan

Mainly highlighting the issue/cause and a brief explanation about it. Not all clients want an in-depth explanation, but they do want to know what the next steps are and who’s responsible. So it’s on me to give them that POA. @dylanppc

As a baseline, I present both good & bad numbers the same way so that nobody feels like we’re hiding something or gets spooked by a change in tone. I also make sure to explain what our next steps will be to combat the trend, and don’t leave anything open-ended. @adclarke10

We don’t really use any specific language to explain things but we do find a call tends to help ease any anxieties around performance. @adwordsgirl

I do frequent stand-ups to make sure that I and my Stakeholders are on track. We talk about what worked and what not. It is ideal to get the questions about the dips. So, I try to be prepared for that. Also, being transparent with the data is the key for me. @1tagupta

Explain it in plain English. One thing to do is always make sure clients/external people know that ad accounts ALWAYS ebb and flow. You are not always going up and to the right. @duanebrown

I’m very honest when things don’t go well and try to get them my best guess as to what is going on, I’d rather them hear bad news from as me from time to time than only good news all the time. @MIchealGumbert

Q5: If you can’t find anything specific that explains the performance weakening, what do you do?

Not everything can be explained. It’s disappointing, but we tend to show the work we do to fix the issue. a little peek under the hood can be reassuring. then we connect on what we can do next. @JuliaVyse

Start looking at external or tangential factors. @davisbaker

I will look at macro factors that might be impacting performance that we can’t see in any account data. And, I will ask the client if they are seeing a decline in general. I need to know if specific to PPC channels or more general malaise happening. @NeptuneMoon

Go mad for a few seconds. Then try to calm and try to dig even deeper. If really nothing seems to be an issue, I just pray it will be better tomorrow. @DianaAlinaAldea

Also, sometimes weird stuff just happens. And there is no clear why. In those instances, I generally suggest letting some time elapse so we can see if it was some weird fluke or a new and now ongoing issue we are facing. @NeptuneMoon

Also, I try to discuss it with another specialist or write on a discord group, to hear any opinions or ideas. @DianaAlinaAldea

We’ll talk about external factors with the client. They know their area/market better than us so sometimes just having a conversation about it helps us identify a few potential reasons. @adwordsgirl

Just say we double-checked everything and can not pinpoint why this is happening. If it is just 1 or 2 days, it can be a slow couple of days or even a slow week. @duanebrown

I have yet to find the ideal way to communicate to my clients about this – usually, I try to find out if it’s an industry thing if it’s just one channel or all of them etc. Also, like to suggest to NOT make too many tweaks just because something needs to be done. @BorisBeceric

If there isn’t an obvious cause (like a specific change or campaign), I start working through a bunch of analyses. Landing page, behaviour flow, dayparting, quality score, device, location, audience, etc. We’ll also look into new channels/audiences/etc to test. @adclarke10

Asking for some time is the general rule of thumb to see if we get better performance. I try to separate the campaigns at the base level so I know what is working and what not. If the fluctuation is relatively larger, I ask for help from different places. @1tagupta

If we can’t find anything in our accounts/on-site, we ask the client if there’s been anything going on in their business lately, in-stores, reviews, issues with payment gateways/processing, etc. Then review macro issues, which in SA there’s likely something. @dylanppc

Usually, I will try to see if there has been any related news recently and then ask clients what they are seeing on their end. What are they hearing from customers or their sales team. @selley2134

One more thing to add – you can’t scale forever in the vast majority of cases. If client expects growth every quarter, you might have an expectation problem on your hands. Clarify – what are the bottom line goals here? Are we meeting them? If yes, chill. @NeptuneMoon

What if you can find literally nothing to say and you almost go to the sync with no clue? Is the ignorance been a reason to lose a client? Is it fine happening? What do you do next after knowing that you lost a client coz you didn’t know about “X”? @1tagupta

I’m lucky in that I’ve built enough of a relationship with my peers that they understand performance is not a straight line up so I’m able to try different things to improve performance. @MIchealGumbert

Q6: Is there a particular performance scenario that is vexing you right now? Let’s help each other out!

Happy to answer the questions here. I have no questions for now. @1tagupta

Other than the DSA mentioned earlier today. Nothing else has been bothersome. Been doing more Amazon ads lately, so we are spending more time there. @duanebrown

I mean, asset performance and placement reports in PMax. but not sure this group can support directly. @JuliaVyse

I am curious what tweaks would you do to a Search campaign that has lost IS due to rank pretty high, but lost IS to budget is 0. QS is 8 to 10, ads have an excellent score. Campaign is on TCpa, and tried to increase it a little. Other clues to look into? @DianaAlinaAldea

I am still trying to find ways to keep performance consistent in low conversion volume accounts. It gets harder by the month in G Ads, as they so clearly favour automated bidding. It just doesn’t work well in some scenarios. Frustrating beyond words. @NeptuneMoon

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