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Attention Accountants: The New Tax Bill Could Kill Your PPC Account

Have you heard the news? There are some drastic tax code changes on the horizon.

The GOP plan for tax overhaul cleared the House on Thursday. Regardless of your political leanings, that’s big news for your AdWords account! If you’re a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), or an agency running accounts for accountants, you’re going to want to prepare for the impending increase in impressions and subsequent clicks. Otherwise, you risk wasting a ton of your budget on clicks that represent absolutely no value to your business.  

Here’s a quick rundown on what’s changing, and how you can alter your AdWords account to hedge against wasted spend, impending doom, etc.

What’s Changing?

Who knows!? And that’s the point.

As news, both real and fake, permeates the internet, Americans will enter panic mode and begin searching for answers to their tax-related questions. Here’s a screenshot I took this morning:

Tax Reform Bill

Look at those articles, those pivots to video, those clickbaity headlines.

Do you know what searchers looking for information as to whether they should weep or cheer aren’t looking for? A CPA.

How Will The Tax Reform Bill Impact Your AdWords Account?

Even though you probably aren’t bidding on “tax reform bill,” you’re not out of the woods.

In the coming days, folks across the country will make millions of tax-related search queries.

From 3 am to 11 am on Nov. 16th, search interest in “tax reform” rose 84%.

Tax Reform Bill Trends

Tax Reform Bill 2

Images via Google Trends

If you’re bidding on any broad, broad match modified, or phrase match keywords that contain the word “tax” (which seems likely since, you know, you’re an accountant) and you aren’t explicitly negating the words “reform” and “bill,” you’re in for a world of hurt.

And by hurt, I mean a massive uptick in impressions. Which will inevitably lead to a whole mess of unqualified clicks.

Guess what? You still have to pay for those clicks.

What Can You Do?

Add. Account. Level. Negative. Keywords.

AdWords allows advertisers to create lists of negative keywords that can be applied at the campaign level. Luxury advertisers use this technique to stop their ads from being served for queries that contain modifiers like “discount,” “sale,” or, god forbid, “free.”

Here, I’m going to show you how accountants can use negative keyword lists to hedge against tax reform-related queries cannibalizing their AdWords budgets.

Enter the new AdWords interface and click the helpful little wrench at the top of the screen. From there, click the “Negative keyword lists” option under the “Shared Library” menu.

Tax Reform Bill Lists

Here, simply click the giant blue circle bearing a tiny white plus sign.

 Tax Reform Bill Negative Keywords

List creation time!

Name your new list of negative keywords something like “Tax Reform Bill” (this will make it easy for you to find it among other lists of negative keywords or remember what you’ve included here so that you can remove it at a later date if need be). In the “Add negative keywords” box, add “reform” and “bill.”

^ You see how I formatted those? Make ‘em look just like that. Adding the words “reform” and “bill” as negative phrase match keywords will ensure that any query containing either word will not trigger one of your targeted keywords. Whatever you do, do not add the word “tax.” Please.

 Tax Reform Bill Negative Keywords

Save your list of keywords and leave this menu. Navigate over to the keywords tab (on the vertical bar to the left of your interface) and select the “Negative Keywords” header.

Tax Reform Bill Add

Use the radio buttons to select the “Use negative keyword list” option, add all of your campaigns in the “Add to” section, and, finally, use the search field (depicted at the bottom of that screenshot you see above) to find your “Tax Reform Bill” negative keyword list.

If you find the new AdWords UI confusing (or you’re already using WordStream Advisor), you can use our software’s one-click negative keyword functionality in the QueryStream report to add both “reform” and “bill” to all of your accounts’ AdWords and Bing campaigns in seconds.

if you're an accountant struggling with the tax reform bill try wordstream advisor

And you’re done. Congratulations: you just saved your AdWords budget!

Final Thoughts

Adding specific, account-level negative keywords is a quick fix for a problem that could completely derail your AdWords account.

Leave your account untouched, and you run the risk of paying to put your ads in front of frenzied searchers who either won’t click them (which will destroy your expected click-through rate and, as a result, diminish your Quality Scores) or, worse, will click but with zero intention of hiring you to help them out come April.

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New 20-Minute Work Week Alert: Device Bid Adjustments

Search ad performance can vary greatly across mobile, tablet and computer devices due to a variety of factors, including your business type. “Need right now” businesses like locksmiths may have a higher willingness to pay more for mobile clicks than a business with a longer customer journey like a law firm or enterprise software. These mobile-dependent businesses need bid optimization strategies that reflect which devices bring in the most leads and drive the most sales.

Of course, you can make these adjustments manually, but our customers look to us to make their lives easier. That’s why we built the 20-Minute Work Week, a system of customized alerts that nudge you to make the optimizations with the most potential for impact in your advertising campaigns each week.

Today, we’re happy to announce there’s a new alert in the 20-Minute Work Week: the device bid adjustment alert for Google AdWords, which suggests adjustments to your bids across different devices to ensure optimal performance.

Welcome the Device Bid Adjustment Alert to the 20-Minute Work Week

Now WordStream Advisor users can rely on the intelligence of the 20-Minute Work Week to provide guidance and make device bid adjustments an easy addition to their optimization workflow.

device bid adjustment alerts

How Does it Work?

On a weekly basis, the Device Bid Adjustment Alert will suggest either an increase or a decrease to a campaign’s base bid for each targeted device (Mobile, Tablet & Computers). The goal here is to drive more traffic (by designating more of your ad budget) to the better performing devices, while decreasing traffic and budget to the poorer performing devices.

We optimize toward CPA as the primary metric, and, for those advertisers that don’t capture conversions, we look to CTR.

device bid adjustments in wordstream

The 20-Minute Work Week will never recommend an action more drastic than a 15% increase or decrease to your current bid, but you can manually adjust your bids for mobile here.

Don’t Treat Mobile as an Afterthought

Needless to say, device bid adjustments are a great way to optimize campaign performance across devices. So why are so few businesses making use of them?

As WordStream’s head data scientist and PPC guru, Mark Irvine preaches, “the mobile PPC market is far more difficult for advertisers to be successful in than on desktop. If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you’re asking for trouble.”

For example, click-through rate falls off much more steeply on mobile devices depending on your ad rank – it’s a whopping 45% lower in position 1 than position 2. So it’s that much more important to get into position 1 for high-value searches like “emergency plumber.”

We have lots of device-specific best practices in our toolkit, but employing the advice of the Device Bid Adjustment Alert in the 20-Minute Work Week is one easy way to get started! If you’re a WordStream customer, you’ll find the alert in your 20-Minute dashboard starting this week. If you’re not a customer, you can try it out with a free trial of WordStream Advisor (or, sign up for a demo and we’ll show you everything works).

Happy adjusting!

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