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How Often Should You Update a PPC Campaign?

So, you’ve chosen some search keywords, set your bids, written some sizzling ads, and even gotten your targeted landing pages together. Your pay-per-click campaign is all ready to go… so how long should you wait to update it?

This can be a really important question, since most online advertising isn’t as profitable as it could be from the start. In fact, successful marketers have been known to double, or even triple, the results from an effective campaign by tweaking different elements like the wording of their ads, or the placement of a “buy now” button on a landing page.

You can’t know what to test, however, until you’ve seen how your current ad, keyword, and visitor combinations work together. So how do you decide when it’s time to freshen things up?

We think a good rule of thumb for updating your PPC is once a month, or every 10,000 impressions, whichever comes first. That way, you don’t overreact to any temporary blip, and you give developing trends enough time to prove they’re statistically significant.

Like any good rule of thumb, however, this one has a couple of exceptions:

When your PPC campaign is bleeding money. If it seems like you’re blowing through your Internet advertising budget and not seeing any results, or even any kind of activity that looks like it might lead to results later, then you might need to re-envision your campaign from the ground up. Are you sure you’re appealing to the right audience, that you have competitive products and prices, and that your offer stacks up well against the competition?

When you have really low quality scores for important keywords. Having low quality scores means you’re going to pay far, far more than you need to for each and every click. That, in turn, kills the efficiency and profitability of your campaigns. It’s okay to live with low quality scores for the first week or so of your new ads while you build up a bit of account history, but after that, they could be a sign that you need to pause and reassess.

When it’s a brand-new campaign. Brand-new campaigns are a unique challenge. On the one hand, you want to give them time to develop and perform, but you also want to grow them and evolve them as you study search patterns and your competitors. If nothing seems to be going exceptionally wrong, let your new ads run and see what happens; but if you spot an obvious problem or issue, don’t let it fester while you collect analytic data.

Knowing when to tamper with your pay-per-click campaigns is just as important as knowing how. Ignore the advice here and you could find yourself constantly switching from one idea or tactic to another, never really finding out which ones work. Or worse yet, you could keep spending money on a losing campaign month after month. To avoid both problems, it’s important to have a strategy for regular review and testing, so give our rules of thumb a little bit of thought.

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