I love PPC management, and a huge part of that job is looking at my clients’ PPC data and making decisions based on what’s happening in the account. But sometimes you can get so overwhelmed by the data that it’s hard to know what to do. One of the owner’s of JumpFly calls it Analysis to Paralysis.

Data is good, data is important, data is what you should be looking at to make decisions based on what’s best for what’s going on in your account. PPC ManagementBut there are some things to keep in mind when you’re looking at your PPC data.

1. Nothing stays constant over short periods: a keyword that performs well one month may tank the next month and rebound the following month. Looking at too small of a time frame of data can really hurt you in the long run. Make sure you look at the keyword and its history over time.

2. Make sure to have enough data to make a good decision: having enough data is easy when you’re talking about search terms that gets hundreds of clicks a day. But what do you do when a search term might get only 10 or 15 clicks per month? You give it time. And unfortunately, there’s no hard or fast number of clicks or amount of time that you need to give to a search term to see if it works.

3. Look for trends but don’t spend so much time looking that you lose your mind: you know that old adage, “When you can’t see the forest through the trees?” That’s particularly true with PPC. Sometimes, if you spend so much time immersed in the data analysis, you can’t view your PPC campaign objectively, which makes it harder to make decisions.

4. View your account objectively: No matter how strongly you believe that a keyword should work, if the data proves otherwise, lower the bid or turn it off. For example, you’d think that for a company that sells golf shoes, the keyword “golf shoes” would be a great term. Actually, it’s not. People who search “golf shoes” tend to be in the research phase of their search, not the buying phase. So “golf shoes” spends a whole lot of money, but converts only rarely. This also includes the area of “ego bidding,” which is bidding high on keywords just so you can be number 1 for that term, regardless of the payoff.

5. Make sure you can track conversions: if you are an ecommerce site, looking for lead generation, selling services, no matter what you are doing, with very little exception, you MUST have conversion tracking in place. Conversion tracking, especially for ecommerce companies, is incredibly important. If you sell online and you’re average order is $47, and I can’t tell how much it costs for you to get that conversion, then I can’t tell what words are producers and which are money suckers. Conversion tracking lets me get you the best ROI possible – if a search term spends a lot but rarely converts, I can put that money someplace where it will payoff. I’ve had a clients how have told me that search terms don’t or won’t work without even trying them, just because they “know.” How do they know? Even if you’re a service company, you need conversion tracking – if you’re average service is $200, and it costs you $150 to get that lead, is that cost effective?

6. Test, test and retest: if something doesn’t work once, it doesn’t mean it won’t ever work again. It might work if you used a different landing page, or tried a lower position or tried site targeting.

All these items above rely on data analysis to know what works and what doesn’t, but remember, don’t get so caught up in the analysis that you forget to step back and look at the account as a whole.

Something New in the Data:  Google now separates data Search from Content.  Read the Google Blog for more information.