How long does it take for PPC to actually work?

Analytics, Paid Media Advertising

We get this question a lot, so we thought we’d write a quick post on it. The short (and annoying) answer is that initial PPC performance varies based on your goals — but we recommend committing to a minimum of 3 months to really ramp up your results, especially if it’s your website’s first PPC campaign.

Why 3 months?

While we run PPC as a long-term strategy for our partners, PPC can work in the short term when you have specific goals in mind. Many short-term strategies include running seasonal sales, offering new promotions, or wanting to increase traffic volume for an event.

Having at least three months to run your PPC campaigns allows Google to get to know you better. While we’d all love our brand new campaigns to hit the ground running and start racking in the conversions in the first week, there are so many factors that Google analyzes within your account that affects performance. Google’s algorithm is strict and complex, and it takes time for your people to be exposed to your campaigns and even more time for them to be successful.

For example, one of many essential components for PPC success is a high Quality Score. The higher the quality score, the less you have to pay per cost and conversion. But in order to receive a quality score of any ranking, exposure and impressions aren’t enough to deliver results. You need time to gather enough clicks to grow a click-through-rate, something that tells Google that your ads are relevant to the user’s search query, enough to make them click through your ad to learn more and possibly convert!

Your campaigns may be beautiful and compelling, but they need time to gather data before you can strategically optimize and improve your account. The longer a campaign runs, the more data it collects, and the more refined each optimization can be to deliver the best possible results that meet your goals. Patterns of seasonality in performance are common among many PPC account verticals, but you’d never discover your own account’s trends in performance if you solely optimized on what you saw in the first few weeks or months. While PPC may seem like a fast or short-term marketing tactic, there are layers upon layers within each campaign that can be optimized and refined. You want to give yourself enough time to be successful!

Not only does Google’s algorithm run tests within your account to optimize behind the scenes, but it takes time to test yourself, too. And of course, the most effective testing can only happen once your account has had time to run on its own. Running A/B tests are vital to optimizing PPC performance, but they take time and patience as you only want to test one new tactic at a time.

While short-term goals are great for small spikes in growth and interest, our goal at Intuitive Digital is to develop a long-term strategy for continuous success of not only your paid marketing performance, but your business and services as a whole.

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What happens in months 1-3?

While your brand new campaign is live and running over the first 3 months, we do a LOT of work within the Google Ads interface, with a heavy focus on the following:

  • Constant campaign budget management
  • Adjusting keyword bids to get a read on engagement, performance, and costs
  • Analyzing the search terms that trigger your ads and negating irrelevant queries
  • Identifying new areas to target and bid on within your account, like devices, locations, and demographics
  • Testing new ad copy and ad extensions
  • Exploring new keywords to expand your account with
  • Researching your competitors for ways to boost your own offerings and performance
  • Experimenting within your audiences to reach the most effective converters
  • Conducting new strategies based on goals and initial performance

And that’s not all. There’s so much out there within the PPC world to research and test that it’s impossible to discover your full potential without giving it a fair shot. There’s always more to discover and optimize to find what works best for you!

At Intuitive Digital, we focus on the numbers that are important to YOU, like conversions and actual ROI. It goes beyond 3+ months of PPC optimizations: analyzing conversion rate optimization on your website and landing pages to identify drop-offs in user flow or snags in your onsite purchase funnel. Sometimes, this also means we take a hard and honest look at your website, sales funnel, and business process together. Like any inbound marketing, lots of clicks and high traffic volumes are great, but they’re not the end game. If you’re not closing leads, then the system isn’t working.

So give your PPC campaigns at least 3 months before diving into their performance and results, but we encourage you to dedicate and invest in more time to see accurate and effective data that will really grow your business.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we do PPC please reach out! We love to talk about this stuff.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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