A blog post over at Search Engine Roundtable struck a chord with me today, as this topic has come up when talking to various clients over the past few months.

The question was recently posed if the days of "set it and forget it" are gone. The "set it and forget it" method of pay per click management is when you would set up a campaign, monitor it for a few weeks, then let the campaign run itself.

The search landscape is always changing, and there are a number of reasons that companies should not "set it and forget it." Here's why companies should manage their PPC campaigns on a continual basis.

  • Competitors enter your space. As pay-per-click search engine marketing becomes an even more popular advertising channel, competitors enter. While some may not know how to run an effective campaign, some will, and as more savvy competitors enter your company's advertising space, your company will be shuffled down the list if your company's campaign is not properly managed.
  • Increased competition drives up bids. As more advertisers enter your market, bid prices are likely to increase. If companies don't manage their bid prices over time, they may lose their position. Being the first paid listing isn't always the best approach, but if your company's ad isn't on the page at all, you won't get results.
  • Search trends change/seasonality in retail. As time passes, so does the way people search for things. In the entertainment industry, electronics and others, what's hot now isn't what's hot a few months from now. What people search for changes, and companies need to adjust phrases they bid on to capture the most traffic possible. Additionally, being visible during peak selling times during the year is especially important for retailers, and while upping ad spends at peak seasons may make sense, it may not make sense to be as aggressive during slower seasons.
  • The way search engines (especially Google) determine where your ads show up changes over time. As the search engines change their PPC algorithms, companies need to adjust their campaigns accordingly. For example, Google Adwords recently added quality score and now allows advertisers to see their quality scores for individual keywords, allowing advertisers to adjust their campaigns and get better results.
  • Testing ad copy keeps companies ahead of competitors. If advertisers don't test their ad copy, their click rates will never significantly improve. It's standard fare to run multiple ads at once, measuring the results and removing ads that don't perform. It's not uncommon for me to test 25-50 different versions of ad copy per client per year.

For my money -- and my clients' -- continual PPC management is the way to go. Continual monitoring and improvement of campaigns will keep your company ahead of your competition while generating the most traffic possible to your company's web site.