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The perils of SEM routine

Published: October 22, 2012

Author: Hillary Read

Most of us like (need?) our routines, whether it’s checking email with our first cup of coffee in hand, checking a certain sequence of metrics when we first log in every day, etc. Most good SEMs have learned, over the years, a ritual of checks and adjustments that keep their accounts in tune and their heads in the game.
But in a fast-changing industry, too much routine can inhibit things. I asked a few of our most senior folks what they risk by getting swept too far up in their individual rhythms, and here’s what they said:
Day to day is about finding changes in auction conditions or user behavior. Looking for big mistakes or big swings somewhere. You’d miss large initiatives you’re not currently trying. For example, if you’re too caught up in optimizing what you have, you might forget you don’t have a Bing Ads account (well, not that significant, but similar).Mike Nelson, Sr. Manager of Client Services
Getting out of the weeds from time to time is huge and something that is not stressed enough. Look up from your monitor and look outside. The outside world influences the way people behave online, but we get so bogged down that it can be difficult to look up and out.
There are not many things we can glance over, but if you’re in a pinch, anything automation-based (bids, tagging/tracking, launch & end dates), can usually come first. But there’s not a ton we can skip, especially with clients who are active in their accounts. If they catch something first, you’ll never hear the end of it. Liam Mbuthia, Sr. Account Manager
If you work too much in the daily picture, you can miss longer-term trends. I think it’s easy to miss a down or uptrend if you get caught up in just looking at day-to-day performance – if something is picking up by .5-1% a day, it’s not a big deal, but then by the end of the month if it remained consistent, you’d be looking at a 15-30% lift (the same can be said for a downtrend). That’s why it’s so important to look at various time frames whenever you are doing daily checks.  – Bob Sturges, Sr. Account Manager
Repeatable, day-to-day routines can be extremely dangerous because you can quickly lose sight of why you’re doing the task in the first place. Always ask the question, is what I’m doing getting my client closer towards their goal? If not, you need to stop, evaluate the task, and develop a better strategy. There’s a million things we can do; make sure everything you do is in line with your client’s goals.Diego Rovira, Sr. Account Manager
Day to day we’re often looking at overall numbers (CVR, CTRs, CPAs, etc.) for the account and big campaigns. A lot of times, although overall numbers may be consistent/stable, you still need to dive in and look at more segmented/detailed numbers.
For example, overall CVRs are holding strong so you may not look into detail on those metrics since they’re stable. But  changes in more segmented areas may be occurring and we would end up glossing over it since overall #s are stable. Example: tablet CVRs trending down while computer devices are slightly up – we would miss this during routine CVR checks since the overall CVRs are about the same. – Sana Ansari, Sr. Account Manager
And, in the most nuts-and-bolts sense…
I’ve missed a few phone calls in my time when I’m “in the zone” with my work.Todd Mintz, Sr. Account Manager

Any stories of your own to share?
Hillary Read, Marketing Manager

25 E Washington Street
Suite 420

Chicago, IL 60602

(650) 539-4124

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