Have you evaluated your 2016 PPC efforts and considered what you want to accomplish in the next year? Now is a great time to reevaluate your PPC goals. Whether you work with an Account Manager or manage your marketing yourself, January is a great time to reconsider your goals for the coming year. As we wrap up the holiday season and reflect upon the past year, we look forward to improving in the New Year using these general guidelines.

With the dust settling on the new year, it’s time to light the fire on 2017 plans. Image via Pixabay.

Why Reevaluate Your Goals?

PPC goals ensure that your paid search efforts are in line with your overall business goals, allowing you to measure the impact of your PPC efforts on overall business growth. Your goal will also give you a clear guide to set strategy and prioritize optimization efforts. Setting a PPC goal can be a complex process, see here for guidelines on how to set an appropriate goal.

Growth vs. Efficiency Goals

While PPC goals come in many formats, we can generally categorize them into either a growth or an efficiency goal. Growth goals typically have a minimum return on ad spend (ROAS) or CPA at which your business is able to remain profitable but focus on growing revenue/conversion volume. For growth goals, you generally should not be capped by budget. As long as you are meeting your minimum ROAS or CPA, you should continue investing budget to increase revenue/conversion volume. An example growth goal would be to increase revenue at a minimum ROAS of 2 with an unlimited budget.

An efficiency goal is geared towards improving your current ROAS or CPA, essentially driving higher profitability at or below a specific budget. An example of an efficiency goal would be to reduce your non-brand CPA from $300 to $200 at or below a $30k budget. Which type of goal you select will dictate the PPC tactics your Account Manager deploys.

When should you change goals?

While the New Year is typically a time for change, you should only change your paid search goals if there is a good reason. The first step is to evaluate 2016 performance to determine whether you were able to meet your goals. Once you’ve done this, you should decide if a change in goal is appropriate. Below are some scenarios where it would make sense to adjust your PPC goals for the upcoming year:

  • You consistently achieved your PPC goal in 2016
    • Example: You currently have an efficiency goal to achieve a ROAS of 2, which you achieved throughout the year. Given that you are able to maintain profitability at your current budget, you should consider adding some budget to focus on growing revenue or conversions in 2017.
  • Your overall business goals have changed
    • Example: Your business is refocusing on driving higher profits in 2017. Previously you were looking to break even on advertising efforts and thus had set a goal ROAS of 1. In order to make your PPC efforts more profitable you might want to consider an ROAS goal of 1.75.
  • You’re launching a new product or service
    • Example: Previous paid search efforts focused on growing conversions for your core service. You’ll want to consider tracking an additional conversion action for your new service and adding a secondary goal to grow conversions for this service at a specific minimum CPA.
  • You want to increase new customer acquisition
    • Example: You can achieve new customer growth through investment in top of funnel efforts such as GDN Display advertising, YouTube advertising, keyword expansion or more general keywords. You may want to consider adding additional budget for those efforts and/or lowering your ROAS/CPA thresholds in order to have the ability to invest in higher funnel initiatives that can help you drive more new customers.

Build upon these guidelines to carve your own solution for PPC success. Don’t shy away from having a goals discussion with your Account Manager to make sure that you have the right PPC goal for 2017!