Once you have a piece in place, you want to let it operate long enough to gather enough data to know how well it works (1). Those seeking Google Search Qualifications are taught to give it two weeks at a minimum, and that more time gives better data to identify AdWords trends. We look for six-month commitments when we help with social media marketing strategy because it can take that many months to start seeing what is working on a continual basis.

When you know how well a part of your internet marketing strategy works, and hopefully when it works best for you, then you will start to get an idea of steps you can take to make it work even better than it is, or rethink what you are doing, even if that means getting rid of it, altogether.

Depending on the method being used, adjustments could look like any of these:

  • AdWords campaigns may change which keywords they are focusing, the wording of their ads, or even the pages those ads lead to when one of their ads gets clicked.
  • Twitter campaigns may need to take change some of what they are sending out every time they “tweet” to see how well people respond to it
  • Facebook pages may look at when they are posting, or at how many people are interacting with their page. They may also need to reconsider their spending budget, as signs continually show that pages who are not paid advertisers and/or whose viewers don’t interact with them enough are showing up less and less in general.

Just like any advertising, no one method works all the time for everyone, and the mantra of “test, test, test” is just as valid now as it ever has been. Avoid some of the common pitfalls in making adjustments which we have seen companies get caught by:

  • Making changes too big to pinpoint what does and does not work – If you are doing an A/B test (which is running two versions of the same ad, but with one thing different to see which works better over time), the idea is to change one item (word, picture, etc..) to pin down what works best. By changing more than one thing at a time, one ad may work better than the other, but you don’t know why, and you can’t duplicate it without more testing.
  • Changing things up too quickly – Internet marketing can take time to see how it is working. It is easy to say “it’s been three weeks and the phone isn’t ringing,” and decide to make changes right away. However, giving it enough time to analyze what is really happening can mean the difference between saying “this isn’t working” and “we’re pretty close, so let’s make an adjustment and see what happens.”
  • Going too far and too fast – Budgeting into too many directions can dilute both the results of your internet marketing and what you learn from your results. While it is good to test over a range of variables, focusing on a narrower range gives you more opportunity to see controlled results and to know what really is working.

1 – Google Best Practices: Give AdWords account analysis the appropriate context