You’re home alone on a dark Sunday night when you casually glance at weekend performance in your PPC management dashboard. You abruptly shudder in fright. Your pace quickens as your fingers, weighty and full of dread, slowly maneuver your mouse. And then you see it, slowly at first, then more clearly. And a shrill scream echoes into the night.

Is this a nightmare, or is something suddenly wrong with your Adwords account?

scary computer

Photo credit Maido155 via Flickr/CC BY

Today’s post relates the most horrifying of PPC stories, and tactics to avoid them. So warm some apple cider and gather round the fire… if you dare.

The Vanishing Conversions

Everything seems ok, until you suddenly stop getting conversions. Impressions and clicks are still there, so could it be a tracking issue? Maybe it’s just a bad day? In all likelihood, if conversions abruptly stop, it must be either broken tracking or something more sinister. In a worst case scenario, a slip up when implementing a new website or new landing pages could cause all of your ads to direct to 404 error pages.

Avoid the Scare

First, we always recommend strategic planning whenever any site changes are made. For example, never do a site migration on a Friday unless you have resources available to address any issues over the weekend. Next, make sure to cover all of your bases when moving pixels and tracking so you don’t lose any conversion data. And why not consider switching just a couple of test campaigns a few days early to catch any potential issues? Finally, make sure to check in with your PPC manager beforehand so that he or she can anticipate and plan for any changes.

Ghosts in the Shopping Feed

One day, when looking through your normally strong-performing Shopping campaigns, you feel a strange sense of unease. Aren’t those conversions a little low? Is traffic way down? No. It must be my imagination, you tell yourself. But still you wonder, are ghosts lurking in your Shopping feed?

Avoid the Scare

If your top performing products drop out of your Shopping feed, you’ll begin to see losses in conversions. The key here is communication and attentiveness – make sure you stay aware of feed issues and know when items are in and out of stock. If a top-performer is going out of stock, consider if you should increase bids for other Shopping ad groups or elsewhere in the account to make up for lost volume.

Vampires in the Campaign

There’s always that one ad group. It seems to have a voracious appetite for spend. It’s always exceeding your CPA or ROI goal. Could it be hiding a terrifying secret?

Avoid the Scare

Minor errors that cause runaway spend are like vampires, sucking up valuable budget that could be driving conversions elsewhere. Use this checklist (like garlic) to keep the vampires away before they can strike.

  • Are there any broad match keywords in the campaign sucking up spend on untargeted terms?
  • Are all keywords bid correctly? Are there any major outliers?
  • Do your keywords overlap with high-volume irrelevant search queries?
  • Do you need to add negative keywords?

There you have it folks – the strange, terrifying, but ultimately completely explainable world of PPC. Tread carefully this Halloween, my friends, lest you too fall victim to the PPC terrors.