Everyday best practice for B2B PPC accounts

Too often, B2B digital advertising and PPC accounts in particular, are set up and left to run with a limited check on how they’re doing.  In most cases the ads just keep running, but in some cases the budget gets exhausted and you’re done – left underwhelmed with the performance and the number of leads generated.

In the most part, B2B PPC accounts are designed to generate leads. Therefore, the number one priority has to be the cost per acquisition as the primary metric. The ability to determine ROI from PPC in B2C is tricky as it’s usually not the only contributing factor the sale, and the sale is often months, sometimes even years, down the line. (Check out this post that outlines the fundamental differences between B2B and B2C PPC).

In some cases we might track to marketing qualified lead (MQL) for channel performance and monthly or quarterly reporting, but the primary metric for everyday PPC activity is the cost-per-acquisition (CPA).  Therefore, we live and breathe by the CPA, but that’s not everything we look at… 

Here’s a roundup of the key things we keep an eye on within our B2B PPC accounts which I’ve split between Search and Display campaigns:

Search Ads

We’ll start off with a quick eyeball of all the campaigns, checking status and performance. This would include budget overview, CPCs and volume of conversions, plus CPA of course.

Budget and burndown

Budget is crucial. We’re often fixed against a target monthly spend so we have to meet that whilst still delivering the CPA. There’s always the opportunity to shift budget between campaigns to maximise performance, assuming the client is okay with this.

We’ll also check the burndown rates and check we’re pacing as expected. If we’re not, we’ll adjust or reassign budget again.

CPA

Usually in B2B PPC accounts, CPA is a biggie. As part of performance checks, we’ll monitor campaigns for target CPA.  We’ll evaluate next steps and determine the best appropriate action: pause, reassign budget, accept and continue (but monitor), and flag with client.

Whilst one campaign may be delivering at a high CPA, there are likely campaigns delivering under the target CPA, so decisions here need to be made in the context of the whole programme and not just an individual campaign. 

Insight into how the leads from a campaign perform is always useful as it can directly effect what happens next if the CPA is under or over.  Which leads me onto the next point…

Lead quality check in CRM

The decision to scale up or pause a high CPA campaign depends on the quality of the conversions. Therefore, we advocate access to the CRM to review lead quality. Adding in this step ensures better management and better outcomes for our clients.

New campaign performance

If we’ve put any new campaigns live, we’ll have a good look at their performance and which ads and keywords are working. We’ll adjust settings, add negatives or pause if it’s tanked.

Keyword performance

We’ll check overall performance of keywords, check cost-per-clicks and conversions, and see what search terms are cropping up to manage into negatives.

Optimization score

The optimization score by Google is also incredibly handy. We’ll keep an eye on optimization levels and check the recommendations to ensure campaigns are in tip-top condition.

Identify new campaign opportunities

Once we’ve done all of that, we’d also see if we can identify any new campaign opportunities or keyword opportunities to expand the activity. This will always be feedback to the client for review before implementation.

Display campaigns

Same deal as above, but more specifically we review audience targeting to see whether it’s delivering against our predefined CPA targets. If the campaign isn’t quite delivering, we tweak the targeting and reassess. Then we move onto creative messaging and how we can adapt the creative. 

So how often?

With some clients we’re running simple accounts with just a few campaigns, so it’s literally just a quick check of the above every few days to keep on top of things.  Then we’ll deep dive at the end of the month.

With other clients, the set-up is far more complex. For example, one client has 10 Google Ads accounts aligned with their internal reporting and budgeting structures. Across the 10 accounts, the budgetary control is both separate and consolidated, so the budgetary checks take longer and are more complex. In addition, the number of campaigns and creative is far greater, and the rigour associated with the lead gen targets is far more aggressive, so we’re in that client’s accounts daily.

We also have a few little helpers…

These include automation rules, mainly around budgets and then real-time tracking of spend via Data Studio to make monitoring burndown faster and more efficient. This wraps their whole B2B digital advertising spend across all channels and not just Google.

If you think we could make a difference to your B2B digital advertising, and especially your B2B PPC accounts, then let’s talk.

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