Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is becoming an increasingly popular way to drive traffic to your website and boost sales.
The main idea behind PPC is to pay for every click to your website which is generated by the advert – and this can be as little or as much as you want. A successful PPC campaign can generate a substantial ROI, providing that the clicks are achieving conversions.
The service is offered by many providers in different ways, including Facebook, Twitter, Bing, Yahoo and the most popular of all – Google AdWords. Their platform runs across Google’s search engine, and a whole host of other Google properties and websites where the adverts may be shown.
With Google AdWords, you’re in control of your own advertising campaign, and there’s a number of ways to ensure that it’s successful for your business. Here’s our 15 top tips for 2017…
1. Choose your keywords wisely
A benefit of using internet PPC advertising is that you can target your ads to people interested in the products you offer. The best way to do this is by ensuring that you’re using suitable keywords, to generate the most targeted traffic possible.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a useful tool to find new keywords relating to your products, along with search volume data and trends to give you an idea of the number of impressions and clicks you’re likely to make. Start off by looking at broad match keywords until you’ve collected enough data to be sure which ones are working well, and then you can narrow them down to exact match keywords for closer targeting and more relevant clicks.
2. Make use of negative keywords
The last thing you want to do is be paying for dead-end clicks from people looking for entirely different products from what you’re offering. This is where negative keywords come in handy, so you can filter out all of the irrelevant content.
For example, if you’re a car salesman dealing in used cars, you can exclude the word “new” from any searches, so that you won’t appear for those looking for only new cars. There’s no reason not to make use of the negative keywords feature, as it can only enhance your campaign and make best use of your budget.
3. Create targeted ad copy
You only have a limited amount of text that accompanies your ad, so it’s important to ensure that it’s relevant, informative and to the point. Don’t try too hard trying to squeeze as many keywords in as possible, as it’s not important. You need to write persuasive text to encourage the customer to click through to your website – listing key services that you think the customer might be interested in is always a good start.
4. Differentiate your ad from competitors’
Take a look at what your competitors are offering, and beat them. Are you ahead of the game when it comes to offering lower prices or free shipping? If you’re running any special deals or promotions that will make you stand out from the rest, promote it.
You can even use call-to-actions such as “free download” to draw customers in and “learn more” to encourage them to click-through.
5. Lead to a suitable landing page
One of the major mistakes people make when setting up a PPC campaign, is by simply directing the ads to their homepage without any thought. A homepage is not a landing page unless it’s been tailored to meet the needs of a perfect landing page which allows the customer to see all of the information they need, and take the appropriate action.
There’s nothing quite as frustrating for a customer than clicking through to an ad for a product and ending up on the website’s homepage. This only makes it harder work for the customer, who has to decide whether or not they’ll then put the effort into searching for the product. Each product should have their own page, with plenty of information picking up from where the ad left off, and a clear call-to-action button such as “buy now” or “subscribe here” so that everything is kept simple.
6. Match keywords on your landing page
It goes without saying that your landing page must be relevant to your advert, for obvious reasons. To make the landing page even better, it’s worth having some of your keywords on the page too. This will happen naturally if the landing page is as relevant as it should be, but by including searched keywords, this will increase your Google Quality Score, reducing the cost of your ads. However, just don’t try to stuff each and every keyword in there! A few good ones will do.
7. Aim for a high Quality Score
Google provides a Quality Score for all PPC Campaigns, determined by the following main factors: click-through rate, ad relevance, landing page experience, keyword relevance and historical AdWords account performance. It’s not known how much each of the factors contributes to the overall quality score, but click-through rate is the most important.
Your overall score will help determine the ranking of your ads on the Google search page, so it’s important to make a good effort to aim high. Quality Score has a direct impact on the success of a PPC campaign, so a good quality score can contribute to a higher ROI via conversions.
A higher Quality Score generally results in a lower cost per conversion (the amount you pay when someone takes the action you want them to, whether that be requesting a free demo or making a purchase), as it shows that your ad is relevant and meeting customers’ needs, so Google will charge you less for clicks.
You can achieve a high Quality Score by following the rules set up by Google AdWords, and focusing on these key areas to refine your ads:
- Optimize landing pages that directly connect with your ad groups, to give the best customer experience and a greater chance of conversions.
- Refine ad text by testing out different ads targeted to individual ad groups, and seeing which gets a higher CTR.
- Conduct keyword research to find new, relevant keywords to add to your campaigns. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool to use for discovering new keywords and viewing their estimated search volume.
- Organise keywords into tight-knitted groups based on their relevance, so that they can be closely tied to individual ad campaigns with the most relevant ads possible, to increase their effectiveness.
- Add negative keywords for irrelevant search terms to avoid wasting your budget. This is an ongoing process that should be continuously monitored and researched.
— Neil Patel (@neilpatel) May 22, 2017
8. Use ad extensions
While using ad extensions doesn’t directly impact your Quality Score, they can affect your ad rank. Ad extensions are a way of including extra information for potential customers, and making your ad more prominent on the search results page.
Not all ads are eligible to show extensions though, and it’s usually the ads in the higher positions that get priority over using them. This is why typically, ads with extensions carry a higher CPC due to competition over using them. However, it’s worth adding a few extensions to your ads with the chance that they might show.
9. Create precise ad groups
Optimizing your campaigns as thoroughly as possible is crucial to determining their success. The key to optimization is organisation, which is why it’s a good idea to keep all of your related keywords in one ad group. By creating similarly themed campaigns and ad groups, you can easily monitor your costs and the effectiveness of all closely related keywords. Otherwise, it can be easy to bury more expensive keywords in less-costly keywords with broad campaigns, making it difficult to assess its effectiveness.
This practice is particularly useful when it comes to assigning negative keywords to an entire ad group, so that you can be sure to strip out any irrelevant searches from the results and avoid being charged for clicks that get no results and could’ve easily been avoided.
10. Use location targeting
In order to reduce costs, it’s a good idea to target your ads to a specific location for broad match terms. For example, if you want to target people searching for a PPC agency in Manchester, they will only need to search “PPC agency” if they’re in the area and the ad will show in their results. However, the ad wouldn’t appear for a user in London who searches for the same term – reducing the likelihood of irrelevant clicks. A separate national campaign can then also be set up with no location limitations, but requires the user to search a geographical term such as “PPC agency Manchester” for the ad to appear.
11. Schedule your ads to run at specific times
You can decrease your budget by scheduling your ads to only run at set times. Perhaps there’s certain times that you’re available for clients to contact you, or you’ve noticed via your “hour and day of the week” performance on the Ad Schedule subtab that your ad performs better within a certain time frame or on specific campaigns. If you have “all features” enabled on your campaign, you can specify certain hours or days of the week when you want your ads to show. You can even raise or lower bid amounts based on the time of day, using bid adjustments.
This might not be relevant for all campaigns, and if you want your ads to show 24/7 there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it can be a good way of utilising your budget to the best of its ability with a more tailored ad schedule.
12. Conduct a split test
In order to aim for the best Quality Score possible, it’s important to focus on getting a high CTR. To achieve this, you’ll need to see what ads work best for your campaign, and without testing this properly you’ll never know. Performing an A/B test means trialling different versions of an ad with different copy, and seeing which performs best.
There are 4 elements that can be changed in an ad: the headline, first line, second line and display URL. One way to conduct an A/B test is to create two different ads and test them against each other. When doing this, it’s important to have two very different ads, and completely change all 4 elements to give a more obvious result as to which ad worked best. Google will rotate which ad is viewed, allocating approximately half of the scheduled time to each ad, and by the end will show which one had a better click-through-rate and a lower cost-per-click.
Another method of A/B testing is to run several different ads against each other. To do this, you’ll only make minor edits to each ad – for example, changing only the headline on one, and the display line on another. You should repeat these small changes until you have a set of ads with slightly different variables, and can then see which element brought the most successful results.
Don’t leave your A/B tests running for longer than necessary, and be sure to conclude them when you’ve collected enough data to determine which was the most successful advert.
13. Utilise Device Adjustments
Google now gives the opportunity to adjust bids for different devices, which comes as a great relief to some advertisers. For example, if you’re focused more on a mobile-device experience (maybe if your product is an app) you can increase your bids on mobile devices, so that more of your budget will cover this area as opposed to desktop clicks. It’s a great way to effectively allocate your budget and hopefully result in a higher number of relevant clicks and conversions.
14. Regularly check your budgets
View the data for your campaigns on a regular basis, and assess how well your budgets are working. If you find that you’re always hitting your budget, you’ll find that your ads won’t be showing for all eligible searches, and you could be missing out on important clicks due to exhausting your budget.
Increasing your budget is one way of working around this, ensuring that your ads are always being shown where possible, and receiving a higher number of clicks for the same CPC. Alternatively, if you don’t want to increase your budget, you can consider dropping your max bids, which will mean the ad might not rank as high, but will be active throughout the whole day and generate more clicks.
15. Monitor the campaign frequently
It can be easy to think that once you’ve set up a fully optimized ad campaign you can let it run its course, and it will start to bring in conversions and make a profit – but this is incorrect. To get the most out of a PPC campaign, it’s important to monitor it regularly to ensure its success. Competition changes all the time, and you might need to regularly adjust your bids to continue ranking high, refresh your ad copy frequently and keep on top of filtering out negative keywords.
If you don’t have the time to focus on monitoring your PPC campaign, find someone who does. Outsourcing the work to a PPC agency will cost you, but it gives you peace of mind knowing that the campaign is being managed and frees up your time to focus on other things. If you need help with your PPC campaigns, see what we can do for you here.