How to Cope With a Busy Workload in Search | DMA

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How to Cope With a Busy Workload in Search


Testing For Testing's Sake

Betas and new features. I love them. I can target people by their gender and age? Love it – get me involved. Bid multipliers? Amazing, where do I sign up? Remarketing Lists for Search, did you read my mind Google? And Bing, let’s show some love for the underdogs, the ad extensions are pretty good.

Let me set the scene. You have all these new features all running at once and now it is time to launch some ad copy tests and oh, don’t forget the mobile landing page changed recently. You have a wonderful shared project document and reporting suite. Beautiful.

Then cost and CPA spike but conversions don’t. You do some analysis; could it be the Bid multipliers? The ad copy? Has there been some PR about the new mobile site that has generated traffic through the mobile ads? You need to know, is it a one off? What’s working? You have actually no idea.

Do not be scared to space the launch of features and tests out. Some are a must – it would be ridiculous not to launch ad extensions with a campaign, but others can wait. You will be in a much better position to see what caused what. If you have a plan you’ll be ahead of the game and confidence in your ability will increase. You know you know what you are doing so let your plan and subsequent data prove it.

Example graph of trends

Being A Yes (Wo)Man

If you have read the Danny Wallace book you will know that life can be more adventurous and you might meet the person of your dreams if you say yes to everything. I have bad news for you, this is (probably) not the same in search. Saying yes to everything suggested could be bad for your digital plan.


Your boss knows their industry inside out but so do you. Targeting middle aged women on a Tuesday just because your boss thinks they are the only converters is not a good strategy to base your PPC campaign on. If after 3 months of holistic data they are right, buy them a beer (or soft drink) to celebrate how well they know their customer base but let the data prove it first.

Your to do list will start to resemble the contents page of a well-known blogging website. Keep it simple for your own sake.

They have a product that has the highest profit margin but it is not selling; your boss suggests running a broad match campaign for that product. Hmm, you and I both know there is a much better strategy that could be applied. Put together your own strategy and tell them why it should work better.

Ask: is it actually appropriate and will the money spent give value? Native advertising for a website that can’t produce content? Not a high priority. Dynamic search for a website with mostly pictures? Worth a test, but probably not high priority. YouTube ads based on a ten year old TV campaign? Let’s just take a step back with this one.

Do not feel scared to question the motives, you can negotiate and agree to tests but if you have an idea that you know will be a better case for the budget, fight your corner. Use case studies to your advantage or even anecdotal evidence. Remember they have hired you as you know your industry, so demonstrate your knowledge.

Don't Forget The Basics

Right now (but please come back) go and look at the last time you checked or analysed:

- Your bid management/strategy was appropriate?

- Your search queries report? Ensure there aren't some random high spending terms being matched to your modified broad match terms. Yes, this was a real matched search term (no it wasn't my own search, for clarification my husband has no issues with my tone of voice).

search query example

- Mobile / demographic bid multipliers?

- Locations of users, e.g. how many abandoned baskets are from people you can’t deliver to?

- If you have any duplicates after overzealous search query reporting?

- If you have any disapproved or limited ads?

- The basic metrics, like CTR, CPC, Ad Position or Impression Share?

- Your placements report?

You don’t need to do this daily or even weekly, but this is the bread and butter of your job, schedule in time to do this at least once a month. If this is good and healthy, everything else should be too.

Managing Your Time

Too many things to do

(source: XKCD)

Back in the olden days, in one of the first jobs of my career I was taught to be SMART and I still try to apply this methodology to my work now. Everyone has a different way that works for them but when it comes to managing your time and workload, this is a pretty good one.

S = be Specific

M = make it Measurable

A = is it Achievable?

R = is it Realistic?

T = make sure it is Time bound

I like to think that it explains itself but more information can be found here if you need it. Once applied you will find analysing tests you do and managing your time a lot more effective (stop ending tests at the same time!).

Now look at your to do list, is it in order of importance? If it isn’t it should be, try and order what you need to do today, this week and the near future.

For example, the background meaning of each item should read like this.

To DO:

1. The world (my career) will end if I don’t do this today.

2. My manager will be really disappointed if I don’t do this today.

3. This really needs to be done today.

4. This could probably wait until tomorrow but it’d be nice if I could do it today.

5. This can wait until tomorrow.

7. As long as I do this tomorrow the world will be happy.

8. This can be done this week.

9. This can be done next week.

10. How long can I put this one off for?

Utilise whatever works for you – an online system, the old fashioned pen and paper or post it notes. But make sure it is actually working for you, if it isn't try something else. Don’t forget automated rules; bulk operations and scripts are here to help you. There is nothing wrong with having automation as your friend as long as you sense check the logic, check there are no errors and that it is working correctly.

Using a shared project area with your manager is a good way for them to know what tests are running and what you have planned, as well as adding their own details such as promotional plans. You are in this together, you both want to succeed – this helps you work together to get the best possible outcome for the budget.

If you are interested in working with our highly organised Account Managers at Periscopix, then give us a call.

To view this article on Periscopix's blog as written by Search Team Leader, Lucinda Martin, please click here.

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