How to Tell Your Client About a Downturn in PPC Performance

There are many undeniable truths in our world: What goes up must come down; the earth is round; and PPC campaigns eventually take a downturn.

Whether you are a PPC agency reporting to a client or a PPC specialist at a company reporting to a manager, it’s always difficult to break the news that your PPC efforts aren’t doing well anymore. There are many consequences that go along with decreased performance; your client or manager might lose faith in your abilities, you receive an ultimatum to “fix it or else,” or you get fired.

We naturally react to these situations by going on the defensive. But, if you go into these situations with an action plan, you’ll find you can save face with your client or manager. As an internet marketing company, here are the three steps we recommend:  

Step 1: Identify the Problem

Before you break the news that your PPC program is underperforming, you need to pinpoint the cause of the downturn in performance. The worst thing you can do is go into a meeting and say “I don’t know what caused this.” You will instantly lose credibility and your client’s confidence.

To identify the problem, you need to work your way back through the data. As you review the campaigns, ask yourself “when did the performance start to lag?” and “which metrics started to lag and cause the downturn?”

You should not limit yourself to thinking about “which KPIs went down” because that can cause you to miss a key insight. For example, you could find that the CPC for a certain keyword in your strategy suddenly spiked because of increased searches for that keyword. That tells you that the traffic shifted. That insight could lead you to realize your budget on automatic bidding was set too low which caused a reduction in your ads being shown.

Once you are able to pinpoint exactly how the problem with your PPC campaign occurred, you can move on to fixing it.  

Step 2: Explain Your Findings & Offer a Solution

Next, you need to explain your findings to your client or manager. You need to be forthcoming and lay out how the problem occurred and why it occurred. You should not try to minimize the problem as it will only cause you to lose credibility.

When you explain the problem, you’ll want to use layman’s terms, especially if you’re working with a client who doesn’t understand PPC well. You should explain verbally, in written form, and, when appropriate, with visuals to fully educate your client.

Now, you can’t come to the table and only say what the problem is. You also need to offer a few solutions to the problem. Because you’re the subject matter expert, you should lay out a few solutions and give your recommendation as an expert. If you’ve explained the problem and your options well, your client or manager will feel more confident in being part of the decision process for what to do next. 

Rinse and Repeat

Inevitably, your PPC campaigns will take a downturn again. While it’s never enjoyable to admit that it happens, you will feel better knowing you have this methodology to identify the problem, explain the problem, and offer solutions. You and your future clients will feel more confident moving forward. To find out more about how to execute an efficient, results-driven PPC campaign, download our free PPC eBook here.