There will always be a time when performance of your search campaigns will start to decline. While the search networks have made strides in automation and machine learning, it is still up to a skilled human marketer to manage these machines and fix something when they aren't going performing correctly.
While every situation is unique, here are some re-occurring tips that I use in search to troubleshoot declining performance.
1. Are You Budget Constraint?
Unlike display advertising, acquisition channels are paid on the click and don't follow an invoicing system. It's hard to predict cost due to the influx of search volume so the majority of the time, search marketer's have to guess daily spend and put a cap in place to prevent burning the budget. The cap can also hinder performance if market/performance variables have changed and caps are hindering the campaign to deliver accordingly.
2. Was there a change in keyword mix?
I often would do a comparison analysis of before and after in the keyword level to understand where the change is coming from? Especially when it comes to branded terms, if machine learning has bid up from 2nd to 1st position, I often see a huge shot up in spend and declining performance. I often have to adjust for the machine bid overshooting.
3. Does the search queries make sense compared to your keyword?
Change in keyword bids also can adjust the way your keyword shows up for various search queries. The search query report often tells you why a keywords performance has changed as overbidding can make the keyword too broad.
4. Is the conversion pixel working?
If there's a drop in conversions, it could be that your conversion flow is broken. Check to make sure that your sites' flow is working
5. Did you change your campaign or audience settings?
This is a common mistake where the entire US can be mistakenly added to a specific location targeted campaign. Check to make sure your settings are all correct and how you wanted it to be.
These are just a few steps. Every situation is unique and takes a skilled marketer who knows what they are doing to figure performance changes.
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