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An Unsuccessful PPC or Online Display Ad Campaign Could Cost You That Gucci Bag

We were recently brought in to manage a client's paid search and display advertising program. Although we have been working with this client for a few years, our initiatives shifted focus from email marketing and website design and development to paid search and online display advertising . In order to generate the greatest ROI for the client, we needed to re-immerse ourselves into the client's business from a search perspective. To do this, we conducted meetings with each of the client's business units to gain insight on the specific program goals, objectives, target audiences, geographic target locations, and most importantly -- how we would measure success. Prior to these meetings, we shared a discovery document of probing questions with the marketing directors so that their internal teams could take the time to consider these questions, evaluate and make recommendations prior to exploring them further in our strategic meetings.

When it comes to implementing an effective paid search and online display advertising campaign, the trick is really to understand how the user will be searching for the type of service or product you are offering. Diving deep into the customer's psyche and knowing where they'd be in the customer journey cycle is critical as that will affect the keywords and phrases bid on. It will also affect the geographic locations and websites targeted. Taking a holistic approach to this type of planning and strategy is crucial to a successful paid search or online display campaign.

The deliverables post our meetings included providing an online media flight plan including a targeted publications list, search campaign types and a recommended budget for each -- display and search. Presenting this information to the marketing directors helped validate our recommendations.

Now came time to implement and test. I can't stress enough the importance of truly managing these campaigns on a daily basis as it's critical to reallocate dollars during real-time testing if campaigns aren't proving effective. Waiting days or weeks to track campaigns can equate to dollars wasted and will impact the success metrics originally identified during the planning process.

Don't be afraid to ask your client critical questions that are not only related to the client's overall business goals, but how their targeted audiences will search. Has a focus group been conducted? Do we have a sample of customers that can be interviewed on how they started their search process? Do your homework. Sometimes we are too close to our own business and the lingo we speak is not how our customers speak -- this goes for our client's customers too. The way the marketing director may search may be completely different than the way a customer may search. You'd be surprised on how different those terms will be. Don't spend dollars on terms that are too broad or that do not fit into the customer's lingo. Imagine you are bidding on keywords with your family's grocery money or your splurge money (Gucci bag?).

My point is this, don't waste money. Do your homework and test your campaigns. Be mindful of your client's budget as you would your own. After all, you're both focused on managing a successful campaign that drives results. And hey, if it proves to be a huge success, there may just be a Gucci bag in store for you.