Dealing With A Seasonal Slow-Down In PPC

If you’re managing a retail PPC campaign this time of year, you might want to skip this one. You’re probably running around like a crazy person trying to manage the huge upsurge in traffic, so you don’t need to hear about the problems of those of us in the non-retail space this time of year. But, if you’re in the business of selling services or business-to-business products, you’re probably sitting around twiddling your thumbs as you watch your traffic dwindle down to a fraction of the usual volume. This post is for you guys.

If you’re just starting out managing a PPC account, it can be a little disconcerting watching your traffic go down as the end of the year approaches. But, this is only natural as most people are too busy preparing for their holidays, doing some retail shopping, and trying to conserve the last of their yearly budgets. There’s not much you can do to pick up more search volume, because it’s just not there. Instead, focus on auditing your account over the past year so that you can get a great start in January. Here are a couple things you can look at:

  • Budgets: What are your spend patterns over the previous year? Are there any campaigns that are reaching their budget limit? Are there any campaigns that are under-spending, so that you can move budget dollars to more profitable campaigns?
  • Yearly patterns: What months do you get the most traffic? Conversions? Sales/leads? Knowing this ahead of time can help you plan accordingly in the next year.
  • Keywords: Which keywords are driving the most traffic? The most conversions? The most expense? Now would be a good time to look at your cost and CPA metrics at the keyword level, and cut out some keywords that might be costing too much to get coverage on.
  • Search queries: Run a search query report covering the previous year. Read the report, looking for individual words or phrases that are driving traffic, but not converting. Add some negatives to help filter out this expensive, ineffectual traffic.
  • Text ads: When was the last time you looked at your text ads? Now might be a good time to give your ad copy a refresh, and audit any split-tests that you’re running that you might have forgotten about.

Just because your account won’t be very busy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be either. Use your free time to do a deep dive into what your account metrics are telling you. With a few adjustments, you can set up your account to get even better performance once traffic picks up after the new year.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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