It’s not something any marketer wants to happen, but we should all prepare for data loss. Data drives everything search marketers do and dictates your decisions on how best to formulate and redesign your strategies, and for good reason. Jim Yu, reporting for Search Engine Land, writes that there are more than 2.7 zetabytes of data in existence in the universe today, with nearly 600 new websites built every minute. It’s an exciting time to be a search marketer because we have access to all this data.

It’s also a scary time. What happens when that data goes away? We rely on statistics, trends, and research so much that we’re all but helpless wanderers without it. And while ideally you’ll never have to suffer the pains of lost data, the reality is some time in the future you will. Rather than duck and cover, it’s best if you enter the ring prepared.

What to Do If Your Data Disappears

To solve a data loss problem, you have to determine when and where it started. In other words, you have to retrace your steps by duplicating the issue. This will help you whittle down what appears to be an all-encompassing, overwhelming fire drill into an issue that’s potentially isolated to one single triggering factor, and hopefully easy to resolve.

In your quest to dissect the issue, you’re about to delve into your past reports. If someone has sent you an email panicked that all data has mysteriously disappeared, follow up by asking them for the how and when. Think of this as a tax audit of sorts. You’re leafing through piles of numbers to catch that red flag. Sounds intense, and it can be, unless you know how to streamline the process.

Where: If you’re suffering from a total lack of data or a significant decrease, you’ll want to start at the account level reporting. Try to identify which accounts are the offenders. From there, you’ll drill into the subsequent campaign>ad group>keyword to find the root of your data disappearance issue.

What: Be sure to nail down the correct timeline. This might take a few minutes, but you will be happy you took the time to find out exactly when the decline in data began. When looking at your metrics, be sure to factor in search engine data such as

Search Engine Metrics

• Clicks
• Cost
• Impression
• Average Position
• Quality Score

Website Conversion Metrics

• Instances/Visits
• Primary conversion metrics such as
• Orders
• Revenue
• Secondary conversion metrics such as
• Shopping Cart add

If trouble shooting in Adobe Media Optimizer, always include the Instances metric, which refers to the instance of the AMO code being loaded on a website. It should always match search engine clicks within 10 percent.

Why the 10 percent margin? That 10 percent factors in some expected causes such as someone not loading the page properly or bouncing out of a page before it fully loads.

Why: Run a change history report to help identify any changes that may have been made at the time of the loss of data or decline. Don’t overlook the importance of checking your account settings, including

• Targeting
• Status
• Budget
• CPCs/Position/Quality score

Additional Areas to Scour

Now that you’ve taken care of your fundamental housekeeping, there are still a few other places for you to poke around to not only solve your current problem, but prevent it from happening again. It’s possible that some of your ads have become disapproved, meaning you need to look at these ads closely as well as determine why they were disapproved and make changes to other ads, if applicable.

Have you added any new keywords recently? There are two potentials that might be at play here. Some of your negative keywords might actually be blocking traffic, or new additions to other ad groups might be stealing away traffic from your original ad group/keyword combination.

Another potential issue is with landing page errors. Make sure you have absolutely no typos on your LP, 404 errors, or redirects.

Lastly, you want to ensure your tracking parameters are running and operating correctly. I’ll show you how to track QA with Adobe Media Optimizer in future articles.

This can be a stressful time for any search marketer, but with the right knowledge and process put into place, you can remedy the issue in a timely manner and learn from it to prevent it from happening again.