search engine marketing tips

52 Questions for Paid Search Marketers

A few months back I combined 52 questions into a singular resource for web analytics professionals. This list is used by myself and others when analyzing website metrics for the first time and during recurring analytics engagements.

Recently, I received a request from an agency client for a detailed process for managing a paid search campaign, specifically in Google Adwords. Similar to the analytics resource, I modified a list of everyday paid search management tasks into a series of 52 questions organized into four categories: Keywords, Budget, Message and Conversion.

search engine marketing questions

If you manage one or many paid search programs, here is the expanded list of questions to help you improve your process and campaign results. Please note that all of these questions apply subsequent to initial campaign setup.

♦ Keywords
  • A – Can we utilize specific keywords to target those that are openly searching vs. actively shopping?
  • 2 – How are existing keywords performing from a click and conversion standpoint?
  • 3 – Are there opportunities to add/research new keyword phrases? negative keywords?
  • 4 – Are a few individual keywords monopolizing campaign budget?
  • 5 – Are there phrases that should be paused/removed due to poor performance?
  • 6 – Are there keywords that are appropriate for or targeted to a unique audience segment? Should they be moved to a separate ad group or campaign?
  • 7 – Are there any seasonal trends with keyword demand/performance?
  • 8 – How do geographic qualifiers (e.g. city, state, province names) impact keyword performance?
  • 9 – How can keyword match types be utilized differently to reach our target audience?
  • 10 – How should the use of brand terms be updated or modified?
  • J – Are there new trends or burgeoning search patterns that are causing us to consider additional phrases or campaigns?
  • Q – Should our campaigns include and bid on competitive search terms?
  • K – What can other channels (i.e. natural search, social media, online advertising, offline campaigns) tell us about the keyword phrases we should employ?

♣ Budget

  • A – Is the campaign spending the allotted budget amount?
  • 2 – Are there opportunities to expand the budget for the campaign?
  • 3 – At what point of the day is the campaign running out of budget?
  • 4 – Should campaign settings be adjusted to allow for more impressions and click activity throughout the day?
  • 5 – Should bids be adjusted to be more aggressive during certain days of the week?
  • 6 – What is the maximum CPC bid based on ROI for the product/services/brand we are promoting?
  • 7 – Should more dollars be dedicated to one campaign vs. another based on relative demand/performance?
  • 8 – Can ad group/keyword bids be modified to generate more or higher quality traffic from the campaign?
  • 9 – If certain keywords are not earning impressions and clicks, how should bids be adjusted?
  • 10 – How should the budget be divided for desktop vs. tablet vs. mobile users?
  • J – Are enhanced CPC or conversion based bidding strategies warranted?
  • Q – Is it necessary to automate spending or bidding strategies in any scenario?
  • K – What bid strategies should be created and deployed (e.g. Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Clicks, etc.) to accomplish campaign goals?
♥ Message
  • A – How is each advertisement (text/image) performing?
  • 2 – If ads are being tested, what are the results of the testing to date?
  • 3 – How should ads be modified to produce a higher click rate or to improve quality of visit?
  • 4 – At what point should ads be paused or removed from a campaign?
  • 5 – Is the call to action appropriate for the landing page to which the ads are delivering traffic?
  • 6 – Is there an opportunity to employ dynamic keyword inclusion in the ad headline or description?
  • 7 – What is the average position of ads in each ad group?
  • 8 – Is it necessary to schedule ads (on/off) in any scenario?
  • 9 – Should the ad rotation settings (optimize for clicks, rotate evenly, rotate indefinitely) be modified in light of campaign performance or an ad test?
  • 10 – How do intermittent campaigns and seasonality impact the verbiage used in ad messaging?
  • J – Does recent performance from other channels (online advertising, offline advertising) impact ad messages in any way?
  • Q – Is there a need to segment ads and keyword groups by audience/need?
  • K – Should ad extensions be applied for location, site links, phone calls, social annotations, product reviews and so on?

♠ Conversions

  • A – What is the conversion rate for each campaign?
  • 2 – Is there an opportunity to employ conversion tracking tags?
  • 3 – What campaigns, ad groups and keywords have the greatest impact on overall program ROI?
  • 4 – Are landing pages optimal?  Are there opportunities to modify/improve the landing page experience?
  • 5 – Should landing page headlines, copy and graphics be modified to match up with successful keyword ad groups and messages?
  • 6 – Are there opportunities to diversify landing pages based on the variety of active keywords and ad groups?
  • 7 – If landing pages are being tested, what are the results of the testing to date?
  • 8 – Should our testing program employ a standard A/B split test or do we have enough click activity to justify a multivariate test?
  • 9 – How should our landing page tests be modified to continuously improve upon results over time?
  • 10 – Should some landing pages be dedicated to garnering customer contact information, generating sales or both?
  • J – Are conversion metric expectations realistic for each campaign or ad group based on the nature of keywords and messages utilized (i.e. awareness building vs. deal closing)?
  • Q – When comparing paid search to other channels, is it more effective at generating awareness or completing transactions?
  • K – What are the historical patterns of paid search program ROI? What alterations or environmental factors have had the greatest impact on performance?

Do you have a similar process? What other questions would you include?