The 10 Worst Times to Launch PPC Campaigns

Cold sweat. Body clenched, hovering over the computer. Uncertainty coming from the unknown.

“If I just click this button, Google will show my ads to everyone who searches for Ham and Bubble gum sandwiches.”

No turning back now, you knew that this time was coming for weeks. All of the build-up has come down to this moment. It’s time to launch your new AdWords campaigns.

Or is it?

Launching a campaign just because it is done or you established an arbitrary deadline is not a path to fast success. It’s the road to unnecessary stress.

Stressing out over launching campaigns went away for me once I established ground rules for launching PPC Campaigns. Today, I want to share these rules in the form of a top 10 list.

When should I launch my PPC Campaigns?

Exclusive Bonus: You can download a step-by-step checklist of the items you should consider for a campaign launch. Download the PPC Campaign Launch Checklist PDF.

You should launch your PPC campaigns when you are sure that they will be well received. While we can never be sure this will happen, we can learn from the 10 worst times to launch your PPC campaigns.

10) Don’t launch ppc campaigns before you triple check your settings

One time I spent $3,000 in about 30 minutes when launching an AdWords campaign. $3,000 was 20% of the monthly budget for the client, so this was gigantic mistake.

What went wrong? I created a new campaign in AdWords editor, and didn’t check the country settings. Instead of advertising in the United States, my ads were shown worldwide. I would have had better results by literally throwing money in the toilet. At least that would have reached a US audience!

Money in the Toilet

Image via lifehack.org

Triple check your campaign settings! Pay special attention to geography, language and maximum budget settings.

9) Don’t launch without a soft launch plan

Would you want to fly in an airplane where the pilot is practicing landing for the first time? Heck no: Come back once you’ve spent a few thousand hours training.

Why should our PPC campaigns be any different?

Throttle down on your budgets when you first launch. You might just save your life budget.

Start your campaign at 10% to 50% of your budget and let them run for a day. Remove irrelevant keywords eating your budget (there are always irrelevant keywords). Give the other keywords a chance to thrive and then boost your budget.

8) Don’t launch because your boss read an article

There is no urgency like the fire your boss gets after they read an article about the power of online marketing. WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING TODAY! WE HAVE A LIST OF BEST PRACTICES.

First of all, stop yelling at me. Second of all, best practices are overrated.

Jumping into something without a strategy is a recipe for failure. Your boss is paid to be strategic, not lead you in the wrong direction.

If you see things heading in the wrong direction, ask them about the strategy behind these decisions. They will either double down on their instincts (not always a bad thing) or rethink their urgency. Either way, you will be put in a better position for success.

7) Don’t launch before you have conversion tracking in place

“Let’s spend a bunch of money and have no idea what we got for it!”

PPC isn’t advertising, and you aren’t John Wannamaker. Wasting half of your money in digital marketing is not something to be celebrated.

Don Draper has been replaced by JavaScript, and ad-man instincts can’t compete with data.

6) Don’t launch after you just finished your peak selling season

Don't launch After Peak Season

It seems like a good idea to start a new form after you wrap up your peak selling season, but all you are doing is foreshadowing your own doom.

First of all, you just finished your best season. There is nowhere to go from here but down. Launching campaigns during a lull means all of your key numbers will be lower than you might expect. You will have fewer inquiries. Fewer leads. Fewer sales.

Guess who gets the blame when that happens? The person running customer acquisition campaigns!

Just like you wouldn’t start farming in the middle of winter, you don’t want to jump into PPC out of season.

5) Don’t launch in the middle of peak season

Don't launch middle of peak season

Even worse than starting after your peak season is starting in the middle. Your first month of PPC advertising is always the worst. By far.

Are you ready to double your exposure by launching in the middle of peak season? Then shoot for an earlier launch date, so you can be optimized when the peak season begins.

4) Don’t launch your campaigns on a Friday 

We work hard all week and want something to show for our efforts at the end. The only thing getting in the way of happy hour on a Friday afternoon is launching our campaigns.

Launching your campaigns just as you walk out the door for the weekend? Avoid at all costs. Why? For two reasons:

  1. If you really care about results, you will have to check your campaign stats throughout the entire weekend to make sure everything works. You should not be carrying that stress with you during your designated relaxation time.
  2. If you don’t check your campaigns at all, you may come in on Monday with a hot mess on your hands. That’s much worse than stressing over the weekend. You’re in for a long week ahead trying to unravel that mess.

3) Don’t launch your campaigns in the middle of the month

While it may seem innocent enough to start your campaigns in the middle or near the end of the month, this is something you should avoid if possible.

You will not notice it today, but launching in the middle month means that all of your monthly reporting comparisons will be off. The first month will have half of the clicks, impressions, budget and conversions.

When you provide monthly reports in the future, everyone will ask why numbers were so low at that point. Every single month the same questions will come up, and you’ll have to provide the same answer: because we started with a short month.

Veteran PPC managers know to eliminate potential questions before they are asked. Setting a date early in the month removes one question from the equation.

2) Don’t launch PPC campaigns before you go on vacation

The AdWords interface doesn’t load nearly as fast as you would like it to load when you are sitting on the beach. Trust me, I know from experience. This blog post has been sitting in draft form for 3 days because my hotel room doesn’t have Internet (no joke).

Launching campaigns before you go on vacation is like taking your exposure from launching on a weekend and injecting it with steroids. You should approach the game of AdWords free of performance enhancing drugs.

It’s not really a vacation if you are buried in your computer the whole time, so schedule your launch date for a time that you are in the office.

1) Don’t launch with a new agency immediately after failing with another agency

You should not rush into PPC advertising if your company or prospective client has already failed advertising with another agency.

This is an easy one. If their PPC results sucked before, can we reasonable think that rushing into advertising with a new provider will make things better?

Take some time off, work on your strategy and develop a better website experience. Call me when you are in a better mental state.

There will always be agencies to take your money. But you will always view it as them taking your money until you get your stuff right.

Download the PPC Campaign Launch Checklist

This blog post will be a wakeup call for some, and a reminder for others. If you would like to have these points in checklist form that you can download and fill out for each PPC campaign launch, please click on the image below. You will be asked to enter your name and email address to download a PDF that outlines 7 questions you should ask yourself before launching a PPC campaign.

After filling out this checklist, you will establish a clear date to launch your campaigns and you can rest assured that you have taken the right steps to ensure success.

About the Author

Jeff Sauer is an independent Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Teacher based out of a suitcase somewhere in the world. Formerly of Minneapolis, MN and San Francisco, CA.