Many small business owners spend too much of their working capital on PPC. They have the right idea – spend money on paid advertising in the beginning to get some traffic coming in.
While throwing together a paid search campaign, funding it, and watching high quality traffic land on your website that converts sounds great, it is far from reality. A successful pay per click campaign requires extensive knowledge and testing, and even the smallest changes can make a huge impact on the overall performance of a PPC effort. However, in the absence of a sales funnel and a long term SEO strategy, they begin to rely on PPC to drive most of their sales. This is not a sustainable digital marketing method on its own.
The mistake a lot of businesses make is that they end up confusing “more traffic” with “more sales.” But all they end up doing is getting more cold prospects and no sales. And in PPC advertising where you pay for each click, this can get expensive if you aren’t making conversions from your clicks. More traffic is a great thing, but without a marketing funnel, you won’t get optimal results.
Follow my tips to help make sure your AdWords campaign produces a solid return.
Pay-per-click advertising allows you to see where every penny is going, and it allows you to see exactly how much you are spending and how much revenue is coming in (by utilizing conversion tracking), down to what keywords and ads are producing the best results.
It is important to track everything from the beginning. The biggest mistake business owners make is jumping in blind and not diving into their data to find ways to improve the performance of the campaign. In order to be successful with PPC you need to analyze and adjust constantly.
Little changes over time make huge overall improvements and when you begin to work towards lower CPCs by improving your click through rates and quality scores from the beginning it provides you with a solid base to scale your PPC efforts.
Combine PPC With Organic Search Marketing
In order to make your online advertising more effective it is a good idea to combine pay per click advertising with organic search marketing. When PPC and SEO is combined it can result in a business dominating the top of Google search results, both in the organic results as well as the paid ads.
When a consumer sees that a brand has a presence in both areas they are more likely to click through, as they see that brand as influential and the industry leader. This also allows you to cover all areas, as some consumers prefer to trust organic results more (knowing that the position wasn’t purchased) and some tend to click on the paid search results more. Cover as much of the Google search results real estate as possible.
Focus on high performing key words
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.
Get rid of low performing keywords
While there are keywords that are exceptionally good and top performers, 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 analysing the performance of your keywords, pause the keywords that are not performing well – 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 analyse 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 analyse 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.
Make use of negative keywords
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 money 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. Therefore, 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 thereby improving your overall quality score.
Optimise your landing page
Direct your potential customer to a landing page that is relevant to your advert, rather than taking them to your website homepage. Make it as easy as possible for someone to take the next step – whether that is a sale, a subscription or a sales enquiry.
Google’s quality score is a numeric value between 1 and 10 that is assigned to each keyword in the campaign. The quality score rewards advertisers that run high quality ad campaigns and direct their traffic to relevant landing pages.
A basic breakdown of the quality score can be explained as:
Numeric value between 1 and 10 that indicates the relevancy of your keywords, ad copy, and the destination landing page. The higher the score, the more relevant the keyword (according to Google)
You need to put a lot of emphasis on improving your quality score for several reasons. A high quality score will result in your ads being shown more frequently and having a lower CPC. The following tops can help you improve your quality score:
It all starts with your ad copy and you need to make sure that it describes the product or service you are advertising. It is a good practice to use your keyword in the ad copy and headline. Creating several ads and customizing each to work with your target keywords can really help to improve the quality score.
Next you need to look at your landing page and make sure that the content is related to your ad copy and the product or service being advertised. Write content that will engage the user and keep them on your page and also gel well with your ad copy to produce a high quality score.
Run a Google PageSpeed test to make sure that your landing page load time is acceptable and there isn’t anything slowing your load time. A slow loading page provides the user with a bad experience and will result in them leaving your landing page quickly.
Dive into your Google Analytics and take a look at the bounce rate. If your site has a high bounce rate then the visitor isn’t sticking around, so you will want to enhance the user experience in order to keep them on your landing page longer. The longer they stay on your page, the better chance you have of converting that visitor.
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. 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.
Make the most of site links and ad extensions
Using site links allow you to include several additional calls to action in your ad copy. This really gives you a good way to test different calls to action in order to attract the user and get that click through.
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.
As you scale your PPC campaign every little improvement you make has a greater impact on your overall spend. Take a look at the example ads below to see two really good examples of site links being used to attract clicks. Imagine the ads without those site links and you can really see how those additional calls to action provide the user with so many additional choices to entice them. Simply adding site links can help improve your click through rate dramatically.
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.
You’ll need to experiment with different keywords, approaches and budgets to discover which generates the best results for your business. Remember, however, that traffic to your site is not a goal in itself – you need to make sure that visitors are actually buying, or subscribing, or making enquiries. So you might want to remove keywords that cost a lot but don’t generate sales. You can track where users arrived from, how they interact with your site and whether or not they convert into customers with free tracking tools such as Google Analytics.