PPC advertising is arguably the most effective form of online marketing.
As the name suggests, it works on a pay-per-click basis – in other words, when ads are clicked on by a user, the advertiser pays a fee to Google.
Pretty simple, right? Not only can PPC advertising bring targeted and qualified traffic to your website, its method is consistent and scaleable. Achieving success using PPC advertising is simply a matter of optimizing your PPC campaigns efficiently and avoiding common PPC mistakes.
So, in this article, I am going to teach you all the tips and tricks involved in optimizing your PPC campaigns.
1. Define your goal
Everyone needs a goal, so does PPC advertising.
Without a definite and measurable goal, you cannot optimize your PPC Campaigns.
Your campaign goals are the foundation of your optimization process.
That is why you need to ensure that you have a roadmap to follow before starting with PPC advertising.
It is important to remember that you should have measurable PPC campaign goals because only then will you be able to know if you have attained your goals or not.
Do you want to drive more traffic to your site or do you want to maximize leads, sales, downloads and subscriptions?
The optimization process of your PPC campaigns depends on the goals you are trying to achieve
After defining your goals, you will be able to compare your campaigns and see if you have reached the desired level or not.
2. Focus on high-performing keywords
To optimize your PPC campaigns, you need to check the performance of your keywords. Since they are the building blocks of all PPC campaigns, it is very important to keep a check on them.
After reviewing your keyword’s performance report, you can actually see which keywords are the best performers and are actually paying you back.
Your top-performing keywords are the ones that bring more business for you, hence you should focus on these keywords.
One thing to remember here is that just because some keywords are performing the best does not mean that you should let them run on as they are.
Keep introducing changes at the bidding strategy of these keywords. By doing so, you can trace out the optimal bid for each of the keywords.
The quality score is the performance indicator of your keywords so keep checking the quality score across all keywords to check which keywords are consistently top performers.
3. Filter out low-performing keywords
While on one hand there are keywords that are exceptionally good and top performers, on the other there will always be keywords that do not perform that well and hurt the performance of the entire campaign.
These keywords do nothing when it comes to getting traffic or conversions and additionally waste your advertising spend.
After analyzing the performance of your keywords, pause the keywords that are not performing well, i.e., not generating impressions, clicks or conversions.
There are different types of non-performing keywords.
First, there are keywords that have no impressions.
These keywords play a primary role in wasting your ad spend. If a keyword isn’t capable of generating impressions, it means that users are not searching for it.
The first option to fix these keywords is to wait and check the performance of the keywords in a week, and if their performance shows no improvement, you can go ahead and delete them.
Secondly, there are keywords that have impressions but no clicks.
An impression occurs when the user’s search query has at least one of your keywords, causing your PPC ads to appear. However, clicks occur when the user finds the ad relevant to his or her needs and clicks on it to get redirected to your landing page.
If the keywords have a lot of impressions but few or no clicks, that means that your keywords are lacking relevance.
The solution to this problem is to ensure that your keywords are carefully targeted so that when a user searches for you, you are showing them an ad that clearly correlates with their search query.
Lastly, there are keywords that have clicks but no conversions.
If you are getting a substantial amount of clicks but no conversions, this means that either your PPC campaigns are improperly managed or your website is lacking the necessary elements to generate more conversions.
The initial step to check why your clicks are not turning into conversions is to analyze your PPC campaigns. To identify the main issues which are preventing conversions, you can review a number of factors within the campaign.
- You can check the Search Query Reports in AdWords to find the root cause
- You can check your website to look for more reasons for the non-conversions
- You can analyze and check the design, Call-to-Action and landing page
Always ensure that your ads are directed towards a landing page and not your homepage.
There may be other reasons that your keywords are not performing beyond these. Perhaps the bid of the keyword is not high enough – or the search volume of the keyword is too low. It could be that the keyword lacks relevance or the match type isn’t appropriate.
Either way, to avoid losing money, you need to track the performance of your keywords.
4. Create a negative keyword list
Negative keywords are important keywords that save your ad budget by preventing your ads getting triggered by irrelevant search queries. They help you to make sure that your ads appear only in front of those who are actually looking for your offer.
Negative keywords give you a chance to filter out any unwanted traffic and save some dollars that otherwise would have been wasted by the irrelevant clicks.
For example, if you sell New Laptops, you might create ads using New Laptops as your keywords. But your ads may get displayed to users searching for Old Laptops, Repair Laptops and Second-Hand Laptops.
Since you only sell New Laptops, not Old, Repair or Second-Hand Laptop, getting triggered to these ads is not helpful and will bring in no returns.
Thus, to save your ad budget you can add Old, Second-Hand and Repair as negative keywords.
After adding these negative keywords, your ad will only get displayed for a search query that is directly correlated with your targeted keywords. Apart from saving your ad spend, negative keywords can also improve your PPC campaigns by increasing your click-through-rate (CTR), conversions and quality score.
Because the negative keywords make the ads more targeted and focused, the clicks that are generated are more conversion-oriented, and when your CTR and conversions rise, your cost-per-click reduces thus improving your overall quality score.
5. Optimize your keyword bids
After selecting your top-performing keywords, creating your negative keyword list and culling your non-performing keywords, the next step is to adjust your keyword bids so that you stay in the competition.
Bid optimization depends on your marketing strategy and varies from one campaign to another.
Let’s now discuss the bidding options that improve the performance of PPC Campaigns.
(I) Manual Bidding is the best option for optimizing bids.
As the name suggests, you can make bid adjustments manually.
These type of adjustments give you maximum control when it comes to bidding and you can also make swift changes as and when required.
You can get very granular with your bids through manual bidding. Manual bidding also ensures that the bid adjustments are in effect without any delay. As online marketing is dynamic and changes frequently, you can always react to changes in your bidding strategy.
(II) Target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) Bidding
Target CPA Bidding strategy sets bids at the target CPA so that you get as many conversions as possible.
It automatically optimizes the bids and offers bidding abilities that tailor bids for each auction. You can use Target CPA Bidding in a single campaign or across multiple campaigns, ad groups or keywords.
By using the historical information of your campaigns, Target CPA Bidding automatically finds an optimal CPC bid for your ad when the ads are triggered. You may risk the possibility that some of your conversions will cost you more than the targeted CPA while the others will cost less.
In this case, AdWords will try to keep your Cost per Conversion to the targeted CPA that you have set.
For example, if you choose a Target CPA of $20, AdWords will automatically set your CPC bids to try to get you as many conversions at $20 on average.
(III) Target ROAS Bidding
This lets you base your bids on your targeted Return On Ad Spend. Targeted ROAS Bidding helps you get more conversion value.
Just like Target CPA Bidding, you can use Target ROAS Bidding in a single campaign or across multiple campaigns, ad groups or keywords.
By using your reported conversion values that you get through conversion tracking, AdWords predicts your future conversions and related values, then it sets a maximum CPC bid to maximize your conversion value.
With Target ROAS Bidding, AdWords tries to keep your conversion value equal to your Target ROAS.
For example, if you set your target ROAS to 400%, AdWords will automatically adjust your bids so that you can maximize conversion value while reaching your target ROAS.
6. Create compelling PPC ads
The ad copy is the first point-of-contact between you and your potential customers. As the saying goes, the first impression is the most important impression, so make sure that your ads are compelling and engaging.
Create distinctive ad copy to attract more and more potential customers. This involves creating attention-grabbing headlines. Most people browsing online only scan the screen and focus on the headline so make sure it describes your product/service in an enticing way.
You should also make your ads specific and relevant – do not beat around the bush, just be concise and get to the point. Moreover, avoid using irrelevant words and include those words only that adds value to your product/service. Highlight the unique selling proposition and include a strong call-to-action (CTA).
A good CTA measures the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns and also increases the CTR.
While creating a CTA, avoid the use of generic phrases like ‘click here’ and instead use phrases that convince the users to click the link and complete the desired course of action.
7. Put in ad extensions
Ad Extensions are the ad formats that show additional information about your product. When you show extra information about your products, you help your customers get to know you and your products in an optimal way.
Ad Extensions also improve your visibility, increase the CTR and improve the overall ROI.
To ensure that your PPC campaigns benefit from the Ad Extensions, you need to choose the right Ad Extension:
- Sitelinks Extensions are the additional links in the ads that direct visitors to reach their desired location on your website. These extensions provide links to additional landing pages to give more specific options.
- Call Extensions allow visitors to call you with the help of just one click. This makes it easy for your potential visitors to call you.
- Location Extensions improve your ads by displaying your physical address, contact number, and a map to show directions to reach out to you. They make it easy for local customers to reach out to you quickly.
- App Extensions come in the form of links just below your ads, and direct the visitors to the App Store or provide a download link of the app.
- Review Extensions come from online reviews, which online customers are proven to trust and turn to.
8. Make ad-specific landing pages
Your ad copy and landing page are complementary to each other.
The ad copy will work at its optimum level only if it is aligned to its relevant landing page.
It’s therefore important to write the ads while keeping in mind what is being offered on the landing page.
Some advertisers make this mistake of either directing visitors to the homepage or creating a generic landing page for all ads in the campaigns.
Align your ads to your landing page as both of them correlate to each other.
Make sure you highlight the benefits, features and the USP in your landing page that you mentioned in your ad copy to ensure consistency.
9. Conduct A/B testing of PPC elements
A/B Testing is a process which is omnipresent on every level of PPC campaigns, whether in the keywords, ad copy or the landing page.
A/B Testing is a critical part of PPC campaigns because it makes your ads more relevant.
To test your PPC Ads, you need to decide which of the following elements of the ad to test:
- The headline
- Ad Extensions
On the other hand, to test your landing pages, you can choose any of the following elements to test:
- Benefits and features
Since the PPC space is forever changing and evolving, you should regularly use A/B testing to test your bids, keywords and ad groups to identify which keywords are performing best, and which bit of ad copy is increasing your conversions.
A key thing to remember while conducting A/B testing is that you should test only one element at a time to get proper results because if you test multi-elements simultaneously, the end results will be convoluted and indeterminate.
A/B testing should be considered as a performance booster process to optimize your PPC campaigns.
Never forget to track and monitor your PPC data and results.
PPC requires constant monitoring to give it the best possible outcome, and the beauty of this marketing approach is that you can see every part of where your expenditure is going if you take the time to look.
The data that is recorded by conversion tracking gives you an insight of the performing and non-performing metrics so that you can optimize them for better performance. Conversion tracking is not a one-time activity – make it a constant so as to improve your conversion rates.
To stand out from your competitors, you really do need to have that urge of doing better every single day.
Hopefully, by taking these optimization tips into account, you can effectively improve the performance of your PPC campaigns and enjoy better results.
Guest Author: Dinesh Thakur is the co-founder of Ads Triangle, which is a Google Partner and Bing Ads Accredited agency. He has 7+ years of experience in pay-per-click marketing. Dinesh has helped hundreds of businesses to grow their revenue through PPC. He has expert skills in Google Adwords and is passionate about all things digital.