Let’s face it: Q4 is rough. You are scrambling last minute to adjust your PPC campaigns, trying not to run over your budget, and writing promotional ads like “Buy Two, Get One Free!” to get that click rate up. It can take a toll on even the most seasoned marketing pro. 

But now that the madness of Q4 has subsided, you may be feeling the sweet relief of having some room to breathe, right? Good, because this is the perfect time to start planning your PPC campaign for the upcoming year.

Trying to prepare your PPC campaign for the year ahead of you may seem impossible – after all, PPC campaigns are dynamic and therefore responsive to both algorithm and market changes, and once you think you’ve mastered Google, it always finds a way to switch things up on you. But starting from a strategic place will make the fine-tuning period a lot less rocky.

Learning from your old data can skyrocket your PPC efforts into the new year, so let’s take a look at the best strategy possible for reusing last year’s data. 

Analyze Q4 Paid Search Campaign Data

You have all the valuable data you need from last quarter’s efforts. Now it’s time to put it to good use! 

Having a campaign with a ton of quality, lead-rich traffic is music to any marketer’s ears. So, look over your past data to see which marketing goals you met and which ones you missed. This is a great analytics trick to help you get the most value out of your old campaigns as possible. With this data, you’re able to replicate the strategies that worked. Similarly, if there were any opportunities you missed in Q4, the new quarter is the best time to learn from your mistakes and optimize your campaigns moving forward. 

Looking for a better breakdown on this process? Here are some simple ways to evaluate 2019’s performance for a better 2020.

Analyze Paid Search Impression Share

As we all know, the average position metric was sunsetted this past year. While this was a heartbreak for many PPC marketers due to its convenient optimization features, luckily there’s the next best thing: impression share. 

Impression share (IS) is based on either the number of impressions you have received or the number of impressions you were eligible to receive. This competitive metric can actually show you how much opportunity you’ve missed out on. To start analyzing your impression share, you can calculate [(Impressions served) / (1 – Lost IS)]. This shows the exact number of impressions you have lost out on in the past year. Having a low number is good in this case- it means you’ve exhausted your resources and seized every opportunity possible! Opposingly, having a high IS means you may want to go back and workshop your past campaigns to push forward into the new quarter. 

Seeing how many impressions you missed out on gives you a better idea of how much you can do with your campaign and whether you are competitive enough in the bid auctions. If your campaign is optimized, it is a good indicator that budget is an issue. And speaking of…

Prepare Your Paid Search Budget for the New Year

Have you planned out your 2020 ad budget yet? If not, that’s okay- let us give you some pointers! 

Unfortunately, there is no real formula for creating a PPC budget. However, by using last year’s data, you can come up with a budget that will fit into your growth and marketing goals. Being able to make an educated guess yields better results than going in blind and making an uneducated one.

Before you decide how much you should spend, establish your key performance indicators (KPIs). Your KPIs help you establish your own business goals as well as your shortcomings. Once you know your KPIs, your KPIs are the metrics you’ll use to determine how successful you are in meeting each goal. 

Consider your KPIs for this year:

  • How many people do you want to reach?
  • How often do you want someone to see your ad, on average?
  • How much engagement do you want someone to have with your ad?
  • How many sales do you want to get?

You can weigh these KPIs against last year’s actual ad spend and revenue to figure out where you’re going to shift your budget in the upcoming year. 

The most important KPI on every advertiser’s mind is return on ad spend (ROAS).

Having a high ROAS is what every advertiser strives for. To figure out your ROAS, you can use the formula [(revenue – cost) / cost]. If your campaign was profitable, it is okay to start thinking about increasing your PPC budget. If your campaign fell short on return, you can either decrease ad spend until your ad is workshopped and returns profit, or you can test out different changes with the same budget. 

Once you know your ROAS, looking over impression share will lead you to make better-educated decisions on your campaigns. If you are happy with how much your ads show up, that’s great! But if you have a 100+% ROAS and you’re only showing up for 20% impression share, your high-ROAS campaign might not actually have the visibility it needs to seriously impact your revenue.

Optimizing Keywords from Historical Data

Optimizing keywords is a personal favorite in terms of PPC tasks. Since keywords help people find your ecommerce store, you can learn more about your audience’s behavior by exploring which keywords actually drive revenue. It’s a win-win process! 

As a pro tip, keeping Google Analytics and Google Ads windows open next to each other is a great habit to get into because it lets you see the actual revenue the keyword has brought in. You may find instances of keywords with high conversion volume, or high costs but low revenue. For example, on rare (or maybe not so rare) occasions, you will find a keyword with a couple conversions that have cost a chunk of money with a revenue of $0. 

Analyzing a year’s worth of data can show you the real worth of a keyword. When auditing your current keyword strategy, pause the keywords that may not have been profitable for you. These keywords can be the death of a campaign and stunt your opportunity to grow. Simply pausing them can work wonders for your campaign in the upcoming year. Remember, keyword optimization is all about picking the low-hanging fruit. 

Identify search trends for your particular keywords using Google Trends, the Shopping Insight Tool and the Keyword Research Tool — they are all free! You just have to dive into the data, but it will all be worth it when the optimization decisions you glean from these tools result in higher ROI.

Communication with Your Paid Search Team

Communication is the key to any effective relationship — and businesses aren’t exempt from that rule. 

It’s absolutely vital to keep in constant communication with your team when preparing your campaigns. Staying out of the loop on important analytics or marketing research could not only cause confusion between team members, but it can also cost your business serious revenue.

Additionally, you can also plan for the next holiday by creating a holiday calendar with key dates related to promotions for the upcoming quarter or year. This will make it simple to pop a promotion on your Google Ads account or prepare promotion ads ahead of time. Save yourself the stress of waiting a couple days before the sale is going to happen before you build your campaign. 

The value of PPC for growing businesses isn’t stopping anytime soon. In fact, some projections show that online shopping will grow up to 4.8 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021. That means there’s a hungry market waiting for your business, but those potential customers need to know it exists first. 

Every day is an opportunity to get your brand name out there and increase revenue, so start creating those new year ads!