Help! My Search Campaign ROI is Down and It Can’t Get Up!

Help! My Search Campaign ROI is Down and It Can’t Get Up!

Picture this scenario: you’ve begun managing a PPC account for an ecommerce client. The Shopping campaigns are killing it, but the Search campaigns are holding you back – leaving the account’s overall ROI okay at best.

The client asks you why you aren’t pausing Search and only running Shopping. But you refuse to pause your Search campaigns because you know how to optimize them.

There are three key elements to be reviewed in this case:

  • the landing page
  • device-specific performance
  • budget allocation

Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

Landing Page

When reviewing the landing pages for your ads you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is the traffic being sent to the most relevant page possible?
  • Are they finding what they need on this page?
  • Are they finding it fast enough?

The answer can be partially reflected in the quality scores of your keywords, assuming you’re seeing low scores due to below average landing page experiences. But it won’t tell the entire tale.

When evaluating a potential landing page, try putting yourself in the shoes of a potential purchaser. What factors would deter you from making a purchase?

Compile a list of these factors and determine which ones can be remedied immediately by communicating them to the client/client’s developers. Whether it’s the creation of a more specific product page or creating more relevant landing page content, these issues need to be communicated with the client so that they understand the factors that can improve a landing page and, in turn, improve ROI.

Device Performance

Device-specific performance can also play a large role in the overall ROI of your campaigns. Each device can perform vastly different from the others, as noted in the below example.

Search vs. shopping ROI

While mobile traffic enjoyed a much higher click-through rate than tablets and computers, it saw fewer conversions, a higher CPA, less revenue, and the lowest ROI.

In this case, you will want to consider setting a hefty negative bid adjustment for mobile devices. But, this can also loop back to the landing page topic if the client’s landing pages are not optimized for mobile devices. If this is the issue then, once again, client communication is key.

Budget Allocation

The third and final element is budget allocation.

If you start to see one Search campaign outperform the others, then you may want to consider re-allocating budget from your underperforming campaigns to that one. This can ensure your money is going to the right places, especially if you’re keeping up with this on the daily.

It may even be helpful to set rules for yourself for budget allocation. Consider an if/then statement in this scenario.

For example:

If value/cost = 3, then increase budget by $10/day

If value/cost < 1, then decrease budget by $5/day

This can, of course, vary depending on client goals, but can be helpful for overall budget optimization and ROI improvements.

The whole process can even be automated by setting a “Change daily budget when…” rule, should you choose to do so.


The above factors are all important items to consider when gauging the performance of your Search campaigns from an ROI perspective.

There are several other factors out there that affect campaign performance, but keeping these three in mind can put you on the path to getting those Search campaigns into shape!