Keep It Simple, Stupid

By Mike Kowieski, Paid Search Specialist, Advertising Solutions

As search marketers, it’s easy to drown in an alphabet soup of acronyms: ROAS, CTR, CPC, and CVR are just a sampling of the most popular terms we deal with on a daily basis. I’d like to propose adding in one more to the mix, with the idea of cutting through the clutter: KISS – which stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid.

We deal with a staggering amount of data, and I confess to oftentimes finding myself digging further and further into the numbers when making optimizations. It can be death by data, a digital equivalent of being unable to see the forest from the trees. Its times like this when KISS comes in handy the most.

Before making any optimization, whether changing a handful of keyword bids or restructuring an entire account, remember to KISS. Always ask yourself, “What is the main goal?” Is it direct response? If so, any optimizations should be designed to boost efficiencies or increase volume. Is it brand awareness? Then pick the metric that is the most relevant to the goal – most likely clicks or impressions – and optimize towards that. Don’t get bogged down in the details. Keep it simple. Pick the one or two performance metrics that matter most to the goal, and focus all your optimizations on moving that needle.

KISS can also apply when relaying data and report information to others. Too often, I believe we err on the side of too much detail to update others on the performance of paid search campaigns. Do people honestly need to see ten or eleven charts that detail the weekly changes in each of the campaign’s conversion rates, when one or two might do? Don’t get me wrong, data is king, and many people appreciate this level of detail in some instances, but for time-crunched marketers that oversee multiple channels, we might serve them best by remembering KISS. Its great to mention that CPCs dropped 20% week-over-week, but what impact does that have on a business? Why is it good news that CTR is up for its fifth straight week? A good search marketer will keep it simple and always relate these concepts back to the main goal.

Keeping it simple can be a wonderful thing – you’ll focus on what’s most important when managing your campaigns and making optimizations and you’ll be able to clearly and concisely relate these changes on to the next person. Who couldn’t use a little more simplicity in their lives?


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