● Expect that the “campaign rules” were broken
● Look for bidding issues and opportunities
● Review and update your ads and landing pages
Advertisers often observe diminishing returns in their paid search optimization efforts.
The big wins that come in the first few months get harder to replicate as keyword
research gets played out and ad copy and page optimization efforts yield only small
improvements if any improvement at all. Unless something disruptive happens in the
marketplace, a new product is launched or something breaks it is not unusual to find
mature paid search campaigns that have not been modified for months (or years) at a
It’s no surprise to say that paid search benefits from active management. But not
everyone has the resources to keep focus on paid search week in and week out. So before
re-engaging the consultants or putting the in-house team back on the case, here are a
few areas that merit a first look and where you can make quick improvements to the
campaign ROI (or at least not embarrass yourself when the experts weigh in).
Trim the Fat — Review your phrases
It didn’t happen on your watch, but some bad ideas likely crept into your campaign at
the tail end of the intensive paid search effort. Whether it was an oversight, forgotten
experiment or an act of desperation, there are likely some phrases that you are bidding
on that simply have no business being in your campaign. Mature paid search campaigns
often involve thousands and thousands of keywords — and it’s not unusual to find some
phrases active in the campaign that have no business being included but were included
when the good ideas started running out. It takes a lot of time, but a comprehensive
review of all active phrases is a good place to start.
End the Lazy Bidding
If you’re not living your paid search campaign every day, then you probably don’t have a
real idea what you are paying for each individual lead. Mature campaigns will often have
some ad groups that are performing well – lots of cheap leads—and others that are
generating leads but at a much higher cost. Essential to campaign management is to have
an understanding of your cost to acquire. An extra $1 per lead may be the difference
between making money and losing money. Over time, the bidding landscape can change
and mature campaigns will often been bid up unnecessarily or have budget levels that no
longer align to the auction.
Remember where you are – Geotargeting Creep
Poorly defined geo-targeting rules can be a drain on your marketing budget. Ensure that
your campaigns are running in areas that you actually service – there is no point paying
for unworkable leads.
Stagnant Landing Pages
You need to get obsessive again about conversion rates. Have you looked over the
landing pages? It’s not unusual for seasonal or time specific elements to be included in a
landing page and this is forgotten in the mature campaign. When you have autumn
pictures running in the springtime, the prospects who come to your site don’t get a
confident feeling that you’re really in business. When auditing your paid search
campaigns, look at all your landing pages. Does the page communicate the right
information? Is the call to action and the sales workflow correct? If you’re answering
“no” then stop the ad from running.