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The Top 12 Ways to Grow A Stale PPC Account

Published: September 30, 2014

Author: Katherine Pellegrini

It happens all too often that right at the end of the quarter, your client suddenly comes up with incremental budget that they expect you to spend in PPC while still maintaining your KPI goals. Or perhaps you have a client with an unlimited budget, but their campaigns are at 100% impression share with nowhere to go.  Or maybe you just took over a legacy account and you want to find quick wins to get in good with your new stakeholders.
Regardless of the situation, every client expects to see growth from their account.  Maybe you think you have tried everything to bring new converting visitors to the site, but you are probably wrong.  Below is my go-to check list when trying to grow a paid search program.

Leverage Google Analytics

Now, I barely passed my GA certification, but even an intermediate GA user like myself can find some great stuff by exploring the depths of the Google Analytics UI
Internal site search – Comb through what users are searching for on your client’s website, and start bidding on any terms that aren’t currently in your PPC keyword portfolio.  Everyone loves new keywords!
New regions – Find out which regions drive most of the traffic to your client’s website and start targeting those countries with PPC ads.  English-speaking countries are a great place to start; people in Canada and New Zealand need love too.
Site Paths/Time on Site – See which pages users are spending the most time on and include those pages as sitelink extensions for your top campaigns.

Opt your campaigns into targeting Google Search Partners

This is a quick way to reach new users, and you can monitor this performance by segmenting your campaigns by Network.

Bing it on

I have seen a theme of clients putting all their eggs in the Google basket and never trying to expand to new engines.  For weary clients, suggest at least moving over their branded campaigns and even their top non-brand keywords.  CPCs tend to be cheaper on Bing, so this is a good way to double down on what’s working well in Google.  Additionally, Bing is the default engine for Internet Explorer, so if you aren’t on Bing you may be missing out on 30% of the market.

Add Mobile (you knew it was coming)

-If you are not already running PPC efforts on mobile, launch a few campaigns into a mobile test and see if it sticks.

-If your clients don’t have a mobile-friendly site yet, launch click-to-call only ads on mobile devices so users searching on their phones are able to call and get what they need from their phones After 30 days, pull a report to see how many times the phone number was clicked, and use this as ammunition to push for a mobile site.

Use Google Dynamic Search Ads

Ensure you aren’t missing out on relevant searches by allowing Google to dynamically serve ads based on the content of your landing pages.

-For advertisers with constantly changing inventory, it is hard to keep up with manual keyword additions to ensure you are targeting every single offering on the site.

-I recommend housing this in an entirely separate campaign with a very limited budget.  Keep a close eye on performance and add negatives and exclusions often.

-Google reports that during pilot testing, most advertisers saw 5-10% more clicks and conversions with satisfactory ROI

Break out Best-In-Class campaigns (BIC)

Do you have a stellar non-brand term that drives a large chunk of your conversions? I often find cash-cow keywords like this living in campaigns with hundreds of other keywords and being limited by budgets.

-Try launching a BIC campaign that houses one or two of your top keywords

-Grant this campaign a higher budget and ensure it only contains your top-performing ad copy

-Do ad copy and landing page tests in other campaigns and roll out the winners to your BIC campaign

Practice competitive conquesting!

-Use tools like SEM Rush or Adgooroo to look at your competitors’ keywords and ad copy. Are there any terms they are bidding on that you aren’t? If so, add them to your program. Is their ad copy more compelling than yours? If so, draft up something better!

-Launch a competitive campaign and bid on your competitors’ brand terms with copy highlighting your competitive advantages.  If your price point is better, include that in the ad.  If you are the only advertiser in the group with free shipping, drive that home. (Note: Keep a close eye on these as CPCs tend to be high due to low Quality Score.)

Launch PLA programs in other countries

If your client ships all over the world, consider trying Google shopping in Canada, Australia, and beyond. These countries tend to see lower PLA volume than the US but are still a great way to expand your reach.


Use remarketing lists for search ads for groups of keywords that are of good quality but have a cost-prohibitive CPC. Sometimes you can’t afford certain upper-funnel keywords, but when layered with RLSA, they become fair game.

Try US Hispanic targeting

Consider copying your top-performing campaigns and targeting Spanish speaking users in the US.  If you can easily get your hands on localized versions of your top keywords, ad copy variations, and landing pages, this is a great way to reach new users.

-The US Hispanic Pitch:

i.     US Hispanics make up almost 17% of the US population – and this number is growing!

ii.     CPCs are cheaper – Spanish keywords on Google.com can be up to 40% cheaper than English keywords

iii.     8% of the daily queries searched on Google.com in the US are in Spanish

Take a peek at the Google Opportunities tab in your accounts

Google compiles some nice recommendations specific to your campaigns that are easy to implement under the “Opportunities” tab of each account. Not all of the recommendations make sense for every advertiser, but once in a while I find something great hiding here.

Make sure you’re doing the obvious

-Ensure top campaigns (especially branded campaigns) have their ad rotation set to accelerated.

-Set your ads to optimize for conversions.

-Increase bids for keywords currently falling below the first page to give them a chance in a good position

-Look at missed impression share. Are you missing out because of budget or rank? If so, open up budgets and increase bids.

-Pull a keyword report for the past 6 months – are there any converting keywords that were paused in the past that you can turn back on?

-Pull a conflicting negative report – are there any negatives in place that are blocking qualified traffic?

-Remove day parting and bid multipliers. Revisit these bid adjustments; maybe they aren’t needed anymore, and they’re limiting quality traffic.

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