The last in our series of guest posts from Microsoft Advertising on how to get started with online advertising.

Having created an adCenter account and set up campaigns with ad groups, keywords and text ads, Shah’s Cars is now well on it’s way to become a roaring success in the online marketplace. The purpose of this blog post is to discuss what to do now once your account is live.

In Charlie’s previous post, Pay Per Click (PPC) for SMB Part 11 - Understanding All Of The Key Performance Indicators & Reports, we learnt how the performance of your account is tracked and measured. To ensure the performance does not stagnate you will want to put a little time into maintaining your account. In addition, if you want to stay ahead of your competition putting some time aside to further optimise your account will go a long way too.

Five simple steps to maintaining your adCenter account

1. Resolve Editorial Dissapprovals – With a new account you’ll want to check the 'campaign alerts' section on the 'home' tab (see screenshot below) for disapproved ads or keywords. Make any changes necessary to avoid leaving money on the table. Repeat this whenever you upload new ads or keywords to your account. Refer to this article on editorial disapprovals for more clarity.

2. Give 2 Minutes a Day – It’s not a bad idea when starting out to do a quick top-level check of the account trends during the past 24 hours on a daily basis. This way you can spot any potential issues immediately.

3. Review Your Account Weekly – Once a week, review the performance over the past 7 days and consider revising bids, or make possible changes to your text ads if they could be performing better (we suggest using 3-4 ads per ad group, replacing under-performing ads where necessary).

4. Run a Monthly “Check Up” – On a monthly basis block out some time to analyse the performance of your account. Review how the account has been trending over the past month and the results of any optimisation/testing you may have done. It’s also worth searching on Bing if any new competitors have entered the marketplace who you need to be aware of and react to.

5. Be On Top Of Your Budget - Once your campaigns budget have been depleted, your ads will no longer be delivered for that day or month (depending on your settings) and the campaign paused. If you see an alert in the home tab, as illustrated in the screenshot below, then increase your budgets or you will continue to miss out on potential clicks.

Top tips to improve your account performance

Account not delivering enough impressions?

If your ads are not showing as much as you would like then you’re not getting enough impressions. Here are a few ideas for you to consider…

  • Increase volume of keywords – Easily find more keywords to upload to your account with our previous post on the Microsoft Advertising Intelligence tool (see previous posts below). Also branch into other keywords such as generics if you’re currently just bidding on brand and product terms. Remember to use synonyms, for the term ‘cars’, you can also have ‘automobiles’, ‘motors’ and ‘vehicles’ for example.
  • Avoid going on budget pause – As mentioned, if your campaigns budgets are too low and become depleted your ads will not show while your campaigns are paused. So again, stay on top of this, especially as Bing continues to grow.
  • Bid on all match types – While you may start off just bidding on exact match, for example, while assessing and measuring the performance of your adCenter account, also bidding on phrase and broad match ensures your ad is displayed as much as possible. However, it’s best practice to bid higher on exact match as this will deliver the most targeted traffic.

Getting impressions but want more clicks?

If your ads are appearing and you’re getting impressions but not enough clicks then we’ve also got a couple of tips to help you with that too…

  • Focus on relevant keywords - To encourage more clicks you need to make sure you have bid on keywords which are relevant to your ad. Review your keyword list for relevancy. Moreover, irrelevant keywords are likely to be disapproved.
  • Optimise your text ads – Improve your ads by incorporating branding and a strong offer, focusing on USPs, and using calls–to-action and dynamic text where appropriate. This will improve your CTR resulting in you getting more clicks, and will also increase your ad positions as a result. Our earlier post on writing great ads should help.
  • Increase your ad positions – Most clicks come from the top 3 positions. If you increase your ad position, you’ll increase your clicks. Again, simply bidding higher on your keywords can make a huge difference. However, consider demographic targeting for more efficient use of your budget.
  • Add negative keywords – When bidding on the term ‘car’ in broad match, your ad could also appear for ‘cheap car insurance’ or ‘car practical test’, thus bringing down your CTR. Stop this by adding negative keywords which will primarily consist of products and services you do not offer, or anything which is not relevant to your ad. Refer to our post on Negative Matches for more information.

This concludes our series on PPC for SMB. We hope you’ve found this beneficial in helping you get up and running on Microsoft adCenter.

Other blog posts in the 'PPC for SMB’ series:

PPC for SMBs #1: Paid and organic search

PPC for SMBs #2: An introduction to Bing

PPC for SMBs #3: An introduction to Microsoft adCenter

PPC for SMBs # 4: An introduction to Microsoft adCenter Desktop

PPC for SMBs #5: The Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Tool

PPC for SMBs #6: Setting up a new adCenter account

PPC for SMBs #7: How to find keywords

PPC for SMBs #8: How to write great ads

PPC for SMBs #9: Bids and match types

PPC for SMBs #10: Negative match types

PPC for SMBs #11: Understanding KPIs and reporting