Where Did My Traffic Go?!: Troubleshooting Campaign Volume Drops

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We’ve all been there: Our campaign is getting views when all of a sudden, traffic plummets and we switch into full-on panic mode, complete with elevated heart rates and sweaty pits.

But a drop (or even complete stop) in traffic isn’t always the end of the world, and the quicker you can figure out what caused it, the quicker you’ll be back on track.

Let’s put on our detective hats and run through a list of possible reasons for your digital ad campaign’s loss of traffic:

1. Are your report filters correct?

Sometimes on a foggy Monday morning, you won’t realize that you’re looking at the wrong date range or have report settings applied that are segmenting your data. Double check all the filters on your report before you panic to make sure you’re looking at the data you think you’re looking at.

2. Are your campaign settings on point?

Have you accidentally paused or archived your campaign? Did your campaign reach its end date? Has it reached its budget cap? Do you need to fund your account? Is your campaign scheduled to run during the time frame you’re analyzing, or are your dayparting settings restricting views during that time? (TIP: Don’t forget about time zone variations!) Dig deep into your ad groups and creatives to pinpont any that might have restrictive settings.

3. Are you looking at a statistically significant amount of data?

Before you sound the alarm and round up the emergency troops, make sure you’re looking at a statistically significant data set. A drop in traffic during an hour, day, or even week or month, isn’t always a red flag. It takes time to collect enough data to measure trends, especially if your campaign doesn’t average a whole lot of views per day.

Look at 30-day and 12-month rolling averages for the campaign in question to get a better idea of whether the downward trend is legitimate.

4. Are you comparing your data to a similar set?

Okay, so you’re measuring a significant amount of data and something’s still fishy. Now’s a good time to compare your data to a similar set to see if it’s trending normally. Look at your data from this time last week, month, and year. Did you see a similar drop in views? If so, pinpoint what you were promoting during that time, keeping your target demographic in mind. If, for example, you’re running an ad for winter coats year-round in New York City, you might realize that campaign’s traffic drops every spring because fewer people are seeking your product and finding your ad.

5. Did you recently make a change to your campaign?

Testing and optimization, when done correctly, should cause your volume (and impressions, conversions, etc) to fluctuate. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t know which campaign changes to make and which to revert. Look through your log of campaign changes (If you aren’t keeping one now, it’s a good time to start!). Any new caps or targets you’ve set could be constricting your volume.

6. Have you edited your keywords?

Your keywords can make or break a campaign, and adding or removing new ones can cause your traffic to fluctuate. If you’ve removed high-volume keywords recently, you can probably safely attribute that to your campaign’s decreased volume. Editing keyword match type or replacing short-tail keywords with more specific long-tail keywords can lower your campaign’s volume, as well.
It doesn’t hurt to run a few keyword reports for different time frames, narrowing down any that have dropped significantly in volume. These keywords may have recently become more competitive, in which case, you’ll need to bid higher. Which brings us to our next point…

Traffic Platform Tip: For maximum volume, add our recommended keywords to your campaign.

7. Are you being outbid by the competition?

Competition typically doesn’t get too crazy overnight, but if you’ve noticed a downward trend over time, your ads might be overshadowed by new competition.
Make sure you’re bidding the recommended bid, and monitor your ad’s placement (if the metric is offered).

Traffic Platform Tip: Use “Bid Score” to see how your bids stack up to competitors.

8. What’s up with your Targets?

Your campaign performance could boil down to one target that’s doing crappy. Even if a particular keyword or domain performed well in the past, that might not be the case forever. Seasonal changes, or even a page you’re targeting that no longer exists, could lower volume to your campaign. Run keyword and target reports for comparable time frames, then look at how each has trended over time to pinpoint any bad eggs.

9. Did your ad server go down?

It never hurts to check with your ad server to make sure their platform wasn’t down. Technology isn’t fail-proof, and it’s possible that volume dropped across the board. If that’s the case, make note in your records of the drop so you’ll know what happened when you look back at your trends.

Traffic drops happen to the best of us, and every ad platform has its own nuances. The tips above are general enough to apply to any platform, including 50onRed’s. If you’re already an advertiser with us, you can rest assured that someone is on hand to provide one-on-one campaign optimization advice and troubleshooting support at your convenience. If you’re not already advertising with us, what are you waiting for? Sign up with 50onRed today!