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Paid Search Troubleshooting Tips You Might Have Missed

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

 

As paid search marketers, you set metrics to measure performance and pace your performance against goals. If your report is setup properly, you are able to track performance on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It is pertinent to track your performance on daily or weekly basis because in no time, you can spot any spike or slump and take action immediately. It sounds easy, but the hardest part is – What Should I Do If I See Abnormal Trend in My Report? How do I troubleshoot it?

Many online marketers start panicking when they see a downward trend in their report. Stop freaking out! There are so many possible causes to it. Please note that this article is not to show you how to optimize your campaign but rather to troubleshoot your campaign if you see performance dip. I’ve put together a cheat sheet here, let go over them one by one below.

1)      Changes in Paid Search Account – Check the change (log) report and see if any change had been done on keywords, match types, max bid, target bid, bid rules, text and image ads, network, campaign and adgroup settings.

2)      Budget Issue – See if you reached your daily budget cap and the budget set at Client Level.

3)      Change in Landing Page – It is pertinent to check if your landing page was up the whole time, including the conversion funnel (each and every funnel step!) and Confirmation Page. Most common case I see is that one of the page in the funnel was down after scheduled web/content push. If possible, as your web QA team to QA your funnel every time web/content push is completed.

4)      Pixel Issues – Pixel drop off is also a common thing. Make sure somebody QA the pixel every time web/content push is completed.

5)      Product Change – This is the part that gets neglected the most. Performance drop in many cases have to do with change in product features, price, shipping policy, refund policy, etc. If you can prove by numbers that product change caused decline in sales, that’s great! If not, make sure you keep track of the change date and put a note on your report to get yourself covered.

6)      Seasonality – If you are new to the company or industry, makes re you get performance report dated a few years back. Don’t panic when sales declined. – It could be seasonal. For example, Hotels and Vacation packages bookings rise in the summer and during holiday seasons, and decline after.

7)      External Factors – Make sure you don’t leave this out! External factors such as economic recession, political election, natural disasters (hurricane, storm, earthquake) could impact your sales performance. Make sure you re-evaluate your media plan to maintain a brilliant scorecard (dashboard).

If you have more to add to the list, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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