If you started a pay-per-click campaign but became too busy to really keep it updated and functional, you might have a stagnant account on your hands.

While a stagnant account might be sending a few visitors your way, it is more likely that it is just costing you money, without actually providing you with any returns. PPC is a great way to get your link at the top of the search results as quickly as possible, but if you let your account lapse, it can be an expensive and ineffective drain on your marketing budget.

Here’s how to fix your pay-per-click campaign when it is has gone off the rails:

1. Start by auditing the account.

Take a good, long look at the account, or pay a professional to do it.

Before you can know what needs to be fixed, you need to know what needs fixing.

If you are using AdWords, Google provides its own set of tools for evaluating an account.

Look at your keywords, how much you are paying for the keywords, how many views you are getting, how many clicks you are getting, and how many returns, if any, those clicks are providing you.

While you do not have to pay for views, you do have to pay for clicks, even if none of those clicks actually make you any money.

This is a dangerous and destructive place to be in and is a sure sign of a stagnated account.


2. Evaluate the structure of your campaign.

Whether intentional or unintentional, your campaign has a structure.

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Which ads are shown to whom and when?

Does that data line up with what you know about your customer?

For example, are you showing ads that will appeal to your young millennial customers during a time of the day when young millennials are likely to be online and searching for a business like yours?

Paying for listings in search results when your target customer is not even searching is a structural inefficiency that can suck your budget dry.


3. Evaluate your campaign goals.

When was the last time that you looked at your campaign goals?

Does your campaign even have goals? If it does have goals, do they still align with the overall goals of your business?

An example of a useless goal is: “Get more page views,” or “Make more money.”

These goals are unachievable because they are neither concrete nor actually that meaningful.

Aim for a certain number of clicks or a certain amount of returns, and then build a plan that actually makes that goal achievable.


4. Decide whether your bidding strategy is working for you.

Many small and medium-sized businesses, in order to make sure that they do not have to pay daily attention to their PPC accounts, have automatic bidding set up.

If this bidding strategy is not being monitored, however, eventually it will stop working, making it impossible for you to actually get clicks.

Your account will be constantly in flux, just like the market is constantly in flux.

Allowing automatic bidding to continue to run without updates or check-ins over time will probably allow it to fall behind.

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5. Evaluate your keywords.

One of the biggest reasons a PPC account starts to fail is because it is using the wrong keywords.

While you might see an initial boost at the beginning of your campaign, eventually, your ad will begin to be pushed out by better, more targeted ads that have a better handle on their keyword strategy.

If you have not looked at your keywords recently, and you have not started using negative keywords, now is probably the time to start.

You might decide you need to get rid of some keywords altogether (expensive, low-performing ones), or to adjust phrasing or placement.


6. Rewrite your ads.

This can be one of the most disheartening parts of running a PPC campaign.

You have to pour a lot of time into writing those advertisements, editing them, making them snappy and attractive.

But sunk cost and time should not be a metric for the worthiness of those old advertisements in your revived campaign.

The bane of the PPC industry is how quickly content expectations change. W

hat worked six months ago may not work now.

What worked a year ago definitely will not work now.

Accepting the fact that you will have to write and rewrite your ads frequently can help to keep this in perspective and ensure that your ads are up-to-date and engaging.


7. Evaluate your landing pages.

Landing pages for your PPC campaigns are a good way to stay engaged with those who click on your links—but only if those landing pages are effective.

These pages are just as much a part of PPC as the advertisements, and thus require as much time and attention.

Especially in relation to your website, are they modern? Is the content informative?

Does it encourage the viewer to click back to your homepage and make a purchase, sign up for your email list, or contact you?

Do your landing pages have specific purposes?


8. Split test everything.

You may be revved up to make changes to your account and to start improving it—but do not jump in with both feet.

There will be no way to tell if what you are doing now is better than what you were doing then, unless you split test your keywords, your ads, your landing pages, etc., etc.

For any change you make, set up a split test protocol so you can evaluate what is actually working and what still needs to be worked on.

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