Looking back at 2017: a year full of clients, stabilization and preparations for expansion
Last year we placed great emphasis on strengthening our product with regards to functionality and usability, stabilizing the application in terms of hardware as well as from the perspective of the admin, and reinforcing key positions in our team.
We tried to balance between what our users see and what only we can see, but is nevertheless essential for the correct functioning of our application as whole. Along with our product grew our ambition to support our clients in a way that kept us entertained and developing, while delivering desired results.
One of our main goals last year was to build a foundation for growth and expansion. From a hardware point of view this meant adding several servers, improving notifications, and monitoring of unwanted activities relevant from the admin’s point of view. And we did not hesitate to invest in tools that help us with monitoring. We regularly met and discussed reports that showed how our machines are utilized by our clients and how we can optimize or accelerate their capacities. Thanks to these efforts, we were able to predict how busy our application would be during critical periods such as Christmas or Black Friday. We modeled situations where hundreds of new clients with numerous products or demand for frequent synchronizations started using our application. These exemplary scenarios helped us anticipate situations that we would generally like to avoid, but are likely to occur eventually.
Furthermore, we started rewriting our application module by module into new technology from which we expect further acceleration, higher performance, and a greater range of possibilities in what we can do.
UX AND USABILITY OF THE APP, WEB AND SUPPORT SOURCES
We’ve dealt with the hardware, user experience and user friendliness of our application. In our rather small team we welcomed a new UX designer who began working closely with our graphics/UI designer, another UX expert, as well as developers and coders on improving the application and our overall presentation.
Since he started you can see how some parts of PPC Bee change right in front of your eyes. These changes are possible thanks to interviews and testing, which we have involved clients and users in, both Czech and foreign. As a result, videos are gradually being added to the app, navigation is becoming more and more intuitive, new features are in line with the new design manual, and old ones are gradually overwritten to correspond with latest design trends. ;)
You might have also noticed an entirely new website design, which we have fine tuned to facilitate users and fans of PPC Bee to find whatever information they are interested in. Along with the website, we’ve also built a new blog that we’ve moved to the Medium platform.
An integral part of the UX process was meeting our clients to collect feedback during testing and interviews. Furthermore, interviews have become a fundamental tool for gathering information for our case studies. On our website you can already read about ZOOT’s success in advertising product categories. Currently we are working on a case study of how UI42 has helped one of their clients expand quickly across several European countries.
Our UX has been redesigned as well as described by our UX master Mirek in his blogpost.
FUNCTIONS The application was enriched with a number of new functionalities. These stem partially from our annual growth plan, but also correspond largely with the feedback we continuously receive from our clients. Influence of our clients in our planning and design activities is the responsibility of our PPC Bee product manager. Hence, our clients are involved in our team and in the way the application works and looks.
From the functional point of view, last year we resolved the following challenges:
Integration of Bing
PPC Bee Tools: Feed export to DSA and Google Merchant
Filtering across applications
Enhanced CPC rules always take precedence
Time limits on sitelinks
New combination of matches in keyword generator
Variables’ data report
Conversion ratio in monitoring
List of accounts with access to the organization
Adding a condition for the character limit in a word
Option to work with a condition in the empty field within a variable
Video tutorials in our application
Overview of news in the application
Launch of integration into Shopify
The PPC Bee team is not very bit and we are careful about selecting individual to join our corporate DNA. Although our strategy is to grow organically and without simply adding new people to our team, we do need to add new knowledge and skills in the form of a new colleague every now and then. In 2017 we hired a Business Development Manager, an Elixir Developer, a CEO Assistant, and a Coder. Our core team now consist of 10 and we use about 30 external collaborators to enrich the team.
The team operates with agile methodologies and our management leadership is agile as well. For us, agile is no longer a mere tool to achieve goals more effectively, but it is part of our corporate culture as it touches every aspect of our work and collaboration.
BUSINESS In 2017 we have doubled compared to the previous year. We target medium and large clients (e-shops and agencies) and thanks to PPC Bee they have done quite well. Have a look at our case study with ZOOT or client references, which are one of the main success indicators for us.
You might be intending to create campaigns that will promote your products as Christmas gifts. The number of Christmas gifts buyers, of course, drops down massively after Christmas Eve, thus generating such campaigns has no sense any more. To prevent the need to turn on your PC on Christmas Eve in order to end a campaign, we added the possibility to time limits for ads. This option applies to both, generating and non-generating of advertisements. Moreover, we tried to make it as easy as possible for you.
The more space the advertisement occupies, the bigger the chance that it will get noticed. This is something that the people at Google Ads are well aware of, so they came up with another text ads extension — a third headline and second description. Of course, this new feature didn’t escape our attention at PPC Bee, and we reflected the changes in the new version of our app.
Another product meeting, Wednesday afternoon, June 2019. I and Pavel, my UX co-pilot, were staring at each other, waiting to see who’d be the first to say that once again, we plan to load an A-bomb on a biplane. The plan to add Facebook campaigns, an image editor, and other functions made us excited. What worried us, though, was the app’s interface—it was already hard to navigate and users were finding it more and more difficult to look up the functions they needed.