Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is extremely targeted. It allows you to re-target previous visitors. It’s cost effective. It’s trackable. It’s fast. It’s no wonder Pay-Per-Click advertising is among the top marketing method chosen by businesses in North America.
With that said, PPC needs to be executed strategically to get the best bang for your buck. We’ve assembled a “recipe” with 7 vital ingredients to build and enhance your Paid Search Campaign with Google.
This article won’t be discussing the more apparent tips like 1) Keep your keywords targeted, 2) Search for negative keywords and 3) Watch for keyword match types… But will explore beyond and provide a sequence of best practices to help form a strategic recipe to ensure you are optimizing your advertising dollars.
1: Test, Iterate, and Test Again
A/B testing is essential and highly useful when augmenting your PPC campaigns. Testing variations of ads simultaneously will let you see which ad performs best, what copy is resonating, and will help you adjust your ads and campaigns so you’re consistently getting the most conversions/leads for your ad spend. You should also be sure to distribute your ads evenly for testing purposes.
2: Set Up Conversion Tracking
Metrics are everything when setting up and evaluating your PPC campaign over time. Google Analytics is an excellent tool with comprehensive reporting graphs to help you analyse your campaigns, see what is working, and what could be improved. This way you will be able to visualize your results and pivot accordingly. Be sure to use these reports to your advantage whether you are informing yourself, or your stakeholders.
3: Use Ad Scheduling
Ad scheduling offers the ability to choose specific hours and days of the week within Google Ads that you want your ads to run.
When launching a campaign, the default setting is for ads to run at all hours of the day, every day of the week. As a general rule of thumb, you can begin by setting campaigns to run at all hours at 100% bid adjustment. Running a campaign at all hours is most useful at the start of a campaign as you don’t yet know which hours/days will provide the most conversions. However, after some time and with the right data analysis you will most likely find that you can save money for the times that count.
After your campaign has gathered enough information for analysis, you can try segmenting your data by time of day. This way you’ll be able to see each metric that interests you and how it performs at certain times of the day. As an example, you may see that during your peak traffic times, such as 11am-2pm, that your position is decreasing and your click through rates have reduced. You could increase the bid percentage during these hours to maintain your ideal position and keep consistent click through rates. Alternately, you might find that from 5pm-9pm your position is much higher. Towards the end of the day the market might not be so competitive, so you can afford to lower your bids during this time to save on your cost per click.
4: Review & Test New Features
It’s important to stay on-trend, and this is especially true in digital marketing. Google is constantly evolving, incorporating new features and using AI to optimize their services. In order to optimize your campaigns, you need to keep up to date. Don’t overlook these new features in Google Ads:
- Promotion extensions: Showcase products with a dollar or percentage discount. These can be added to the account down to ad group level. This is great option for advertisers who have been using sitelinks or ad copy for promos. The promotion extensions stand out more and take on a “coupon” look.
- Bid adjustments for phone calls: Increasing bid adjustments on ads with call extensions can drive those ads to be served more often. Check the number of ad impressions and call impressions to see if this is necessary.
- Outstream video campaigns: Mobile-only video ads served outside of Google and YouTube only on partners sites or apps.
5: Don’t ignore Mobile
Let’s start this section off simply by assessing the volume of traffic coming from mobile devices in PPC.
This particular example shows approximately 60 percent of conversions coming from mobile phones (lower blue bar). You can analyse this data at the campaign level to determine if the bid should be adjusted based on device. A good rule of thumb is to make changes in 10 percent increments to determine how the changes might impact the bottom line.
6. Audiences Integrated with Search
Until recently we’ve been restricted to using keyword targeting in search engines, but we now have the ability to use audience targeting and demographics to further refine keyword campaigns. An audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.
Try testing these in Google Ads to optimize your campaign:
- Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home-ownership, education, household income.
- In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
- Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors and YouTube
7: Prepare for Voice Search
Voice search is undoubtedly rising in popularity and drastically improves user experience. It’s forecast that by 2020, 50% of all queries will be conducted using voice. This is changing the search ecosystem, and how businesses should adapt from an SEO perspective.
Due to its prolific use, search engines such as Google are placing a higher emphasis on voice search optimization. Not to mention, big businesses are thinking of how to deliver their products and services using voice-enabled devices because they are more affordable and offer greater capabilities that ever before while more visitors are using voice search to interact with these brands. Some tips to keep in mind as you prepare your search campaigns for voice search optimization:
1) Be Natural: Marketers must use a more natural language and create content accordingly. This requires them to think about what their target audience might use in their voice queries as well as focus on long-tail keywords because searchers are likely to be specific when asking a question.
2) Be Clear: because Google reads out the website's name, having a brand name that’s pronounceable may become even more important for that awareness to pay off. New brands will need their company name to be written such that a voice assistant can pronounce it correctly.
3) Be Mobile Friendly: We’re going to reiterate this point because mobile is everything. Voice searches got their start on mobile, and more than half of people use voice search while driving. You site has to load quickly on mobile to compete in the voice search world.
If the PPC wheels keep spinning, but aren't getting you anywhere, take a step back and begin testing and iterating. These ingredients will assist you in optimizing your campaigns, however, the most important factor is that testing and pivoting is essential to staying competitive and relevant in today’s digital marketing world.