Why You Shouldn’t Settle for Your PPC Plateau

One thing that has me tearing my hair out is the myth of the PPC plateau.

And if you’ve experienced it as a marketing director, entrepreneur or in some other role, you’ve very likely been tearing your hair out too.

You’ve started some PPC campaigns. You’ve enjoyed some success. And for a while the numbers keep going up. But then they level off. And you can’t say it is inexplicable because your agency has explained it. But really it is a myth.

The thing is of course, you need the numbers to keep going up. Whether it is your own ambition, external pressures, or both, you need more.

The good news is that with the right expertise and tools you can bust through your plateau, proving it to be a myth.

Indeed, we look after clients who have been with us since 2010, who are still seeing an annual profit increase of 15%-20% through the unrelenting techniques we use.

A fresh pair of eyes

While in my perfect world you’d be picking up the phone to performance marketing agency Atomic Leap, you don’t of course need to immediately change agency to get a fresh pair of eyes on the account. Whether it is someone in your in-house team or from your current agency, get someone else to look over the account if the account has plateaued. Cliches are created for a reason so there can be truth in the saying “one can’t see the wood from the trees”.

If someone has been working on your PPC for a long time and it is not progressing they might be so caught up in it that they are missing something obvious. There is no shame in getting some new perspective.

It’s one of the reasons we always work in teams on each account we manage.

Making changes to the website

If you haven’t run any conversion rate optimisation on the website, then this could be the first action to take to break through the plateau.

Running split tests can boost conversion rates and give you greater purchasing power through your advertising campaigns.

Shifting sands

Like many other areas of marketing, PPC is constantly changing. While this is frustrating to some, it presents fantastic opportunity for you and agencies which have the energy to keep abreast of the latest trends.

So if you have reached that plateau, ensuring you are following the latest best practices is a go-to approach to breaking through it. You could consider ideas like new markets, new platforms, new tools… Each one could be the right path to take your PPC to the next level, and over time you might explore all of them.

Let’s look at introducing a new platform in more detail, and how it’s possible to treble a return on investment. There was a time when YouTube wasn’t great for PPC because only site-wide targeting was available – not specific video targeting. But this changed and we can now, of course, use YouTube Video Targeting Tools in combination with other technology platforms.

I remember one campaign that caught my eye was that of a designer fragrance business which used this functionality to match celebrity videos on the YouTube platform to celebrity branded perfume PPC adverts, because there was a strong link between the viewers’ watching habits and purchasing preferences. The result? There was 100% relevance of the adverts to the users and the company enjoyed a 236% ROI. Not bad figures for overcoming a plateau reached on existing platforms.

A scientific approach

This one is very close to the heart for us at digital performance marketing agency Atomic Leap. It is not of course unique to us, but the meticulous approach we take does set us apart from the vast majority of PPC agencies. Continuous split testing, in-house algorithms developed by a PhD and a focus on ROI means it is in our mindset never to settle for the PPC plateau.

When there is constant refinement in the campaigns from audience, to keywords, to landing pages and beyond, there is always opportunity for the graph to continue upwards – and quite frankly, we don’t think clients should settle for anything less.

In one example we worked on, we took over a poorly performing account which was being run for The HGV Training Company. We rebuilt the account for maximum statistically valid testing, and introduced dynamic landing pages. In the first three months we increased the volume of leads 16-fold, whilst reducing the cost per lead by 90%. While the biggest gains were made early on, we have continued to improve performance with no plateau in sight! You can read the full case study here.

One final point

When you hear conversation about a plateau, you may be more relaxed about it if you have plateaued in a good place. You are making money after all. But this is a pitfall to at least be aware of, and actually we would say avoid.  First for the opportunity cost of not growing the account when it is possible to do so. And second because, eventually you may not be so comfortable on that plateau. By then there will be a lot of catching up to do.