It’s a new year and with 2014 now done and dusted, it’s common for us to set a number of goals for the coming year ahead – eat less, exercise more, further our careers and so on. So why not do the same for your SEM accounts? With the year kicking off, there is no better time to jump into your paid search campaigns and set some clear goals and strategy for the year ahead. Below are 3 quick tips to get you started and refresh your campaigns for 2015!

P1. Be Proactive with Strategy – Plan Ahead

With all your 2014 results saved within your SEM and Analytics accounts, you have a vast amount of data at your fingertips. The question though is: what can you do with this data moving forward?

First, review what strategies worked and what did not work for your account by studying your change history and campaign set up. Is there a strategy that worked well and that can be replicated across your other campaigns to achieve similar results?

Next, identify any seasonality trends. Were there keywords that experienced increases and decreases in performance month on month? Be pre-emptive and ensure you are setting your budgets and bids accordingly to facilitate these fluctuations in demand for the coming year.

Finally, look at how the online market space changed throughout the year. Review your impression share data and auction insights. Was there a notable increase in competition across your campaigns? Act on these findings and ensure that you are bidding high enough to win your customers.

2. Cleaning House

It’s a new year, so why not start fresh?! Review your keyword performance and pause off or reduce focus on those terms that have not performed well in terms of conversions, CTR, clicks, impression and so on. Conduct a Search Query Report on your highest traffic or converting keywords and see if you can identify any new keywords to include within your campaigns or if any need to be excluded to tighten things up.

Don’t stop at keywords – review your ad copy. What messaging has worked? Is there an opportunity to trial new copy? What messaging are your competitors promoting and can you better this with your brands USPs and offerings?

Be sure to also audit your account settings. Do you need to implement day parting? Can you tighten up your geographic targeting or do certain geographic areas require bidding adjustments to reflect performance? How do your campaigns perform across mobile devices? Do you need to be increasing your device bids to boost results? Take time to review these aspects of your account and ensure everything is up-to-date and correct.

3. Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel – But Be Innovative!

Finally, don’t be scared to try new strategies and tactics across your account for the coming year. While you shouldn’t deviate from what is actually working across your campaigns, there is always opportunity to set aside spend each month and trial a new strategy.

This may be anything from expanding your campaigns to additional online mediums (e.g. Bing, Facebook, Display, Twitter, Remarketing), trying a new AdWords feature or registering your account for a new available BETA (see the AdWords blog for regular updates – http://adwords.blogspot.com.au/), implementing an AdWords script to help with ongoing optimisation and account maintenance, or even updating your website to reflect best practice conversion rate optimisation elements to further improve your lead generation or sale performance.

Don’t put off your SEM New Year’s Resolutions any longer – be sure to get on top of your account now to ensure that you have a great year results-wise!