Following up on our last blog about automating SEO, I wanted to discuss the similarities and differences with automating PPC, as well as share how we go about it at Digital Uncut.
Whilst the future of SEO is about building human relationships, PPC is in contrast, instead moving more towards humanless automation, with the exact match and daily budget changes being Google’s most recent attempts.
Whether those specific changes are beneficial is worth another post. For now it is clear that PPC requires active, human management to be successful. At the same time, there are tools and automations that will improve your PPC results. Here are ours.
PPC Tools & Automations
1. Google Analytics & CRMs
Understanding the performance of your PPC campaigns is important for delivering results, and essential to improving results over time. This is why Google Analytics (GA) and CRMs are at the top of our list.
GA’s engagement data (bounce rate, avg. session duration, etc) can help evaluate campaign performance and identify where/what needs to be refined. Additionally, if set up correctly, goals in GA can be used as conversions to further aid optimisation.
CRMs can take it one step further by tying spend to actual customers, not just the anonymous data GA provides. This is useful for understanding lifetime customer value and/or lead quality. If you’re optimising for leads, and not high-quality leads, you could be heading in the completely wrong direction.
2. Supermetrics, Google Sheets & Zapier
Combined, these tools allow for almost endless PPC automations.
Firstly, Supermetrics, can pull data from almost any PPC source (AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, GA too). Manipulate it so you have the data you need, and then place it into a Google Sheet. Importantly, it can repeat this every hour so your data is always fresh. Then Zapier takes actions based on the data in your sheet!
Here are some of the ways we use this powerful combination of tools:
Basic account health, e.g. notifications if your ads stop running, or overspends
Combining search query reports to speed up adding negative keywords
Budget tracking & projections to help optimisation and improve ROI
Ad test notifications when you have a statistically significant winner
Reports and performance analysis at search term level
We also have Zapier notify us in Slack and Trello, for example, when we have a decisive ad copy test winner.
3. AdWords: Editor & Scripts
AdWords editor, the unsung hero of AdWords account management. You can’t manage accounts efficiently without it, and so no list would be complete without it. The same goes for Bing’s editor.
Some of the tasks we use Scripts for include:
Monthly budget monitoring
Regaining control of daily budgets
Examining competitors over time
Checking URLs for 404 pages
Here are a couple of resources to find those scripts and many more!
Anyone clicking your ad too often is wasted spend that is lowering your ROI. This is where ClickCease, a relatively unknown, but very useful PPC tool steps in.
Beyond bots and ad fraud, competitors often click on each other’s ads (because they know it’s costing the other money), and some users simply click your ad because it’s easier than typing in your URL.
ClickCease will automatically block IPs if users click too many times within a set time frame, all of which is adjustable. This will stop anyone from clicking your ad too often, and help improve your account’s ROI. They’ll even automatically submit refund claims to Google if the clicks look like bots!
5. Ahrefs and Spyfu
It can obviously be very valuable to know what keywords your competitors are bidding on, but this was previously not easy data to obtain. Google certainly doesn’t hand it out.
Both Ahrefs & Spyfu make it relatively easy to see competitor keywords by regularly searching and crawling thousands of keywords in Google.
Ahrefs is really an SEO tool, however if you have a licence already, you should be using it for competitor keyword research. Spyfu is likewise very useful for this, and in certain industries provides a wider range of keywords than Ahrefs.