10 tips to improve your PPC campaigns

Posted by in Pay Per Click (PPC) on May 20th, 2009 0 Comments

If you are running a Pay-per-click campaign or are considering running one, we’ve put together a few tips to help you fine tune your campaigns.

snakes and ladders3 10 tips to improve your PPC campaigns

You probably already know that Pay-Per-Click (PPC) involves: 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1.     <!–[endif]–>Selecting sets of keywords
2.     <!–[endif]–>Writing an ad that appears when someone searches for that keyword in one of the major search engines
3.     <!–[endif]–>Selecting the amount you are willing to pay for someone to click on your ad and arrive at your website.

The benefits of PPC are that it can generate leads instantly (unlike SEO, which takes longer to have an impact), drive sales and create brand awareness, so we’ve put together 10 tips to help you improve your PPC campaigns.

What do your visitors expect?
Given your traffic source and keywords, what are they looking for?  Think about what would they most expect to find when they land on your website?

What are they thinking about when clicking?
For example, the same keyword search could be used by many different people all with different goals in mind.  By brain storming the real world behind the words you’ve selected, you can look at the landing page to determine if it caters for the various possibilities and increase your onsite conversion rates.

How well do landing pages match up to ads?
Would visitors find the keywords in the right place on your landing pages?   Do they know they are in the right place within 5 seconds? Look out for high bounce rates and length of time on site to determine if the ad matches the landing page well.  As a general rule of thumb, if you are achieving a 20-30% bounce rate things are looking rosy.  50% and you’ve got a problem, anything over 70% and you have a fire burning up your pound notes.

What do users already know?
Those that are using your brand name know more about you that someone using a more generic search term.  You can use your keyword knowledge to get a sense of where your visitors are in the different stages of the buying cycle.  Are they just starting out or do they already know exactly what they want, or somewhere in the middle?

You could also consider grouping your keywords together based on the buying cycle.  Richard Stokes, author of Mastering Search Advertising: How the Top 3% of Search Advertisers Dominate Google AdWords states one of his top tactics is to split keywords in ‘buy’, ‘inform’ or ‘browse’ categories to target users with ad copy based on their intent.  It helps to reach users in the most contextually relevant way for them.  You can also consider your business objectives at that time and if you are in high season, concentrate your budget on those terms in the ‘buy’ or ‘browse’ categories.   Or if you later find you are not attracting enough new users you can always switch to the ‘inform’ terms to boost your pipeline.

If your conversion rates are slipping
The best way to combat this is not to simple increase your bid, but ensure your ad copy and landing page are well optimized to increase your conversion rate and your quality score. This will help to decrease your cost-per-click and put your ad in a better position.  It’s important to manually manage your bids for your most important terms, in order to not reduce your visibility for the keywords that drive the most relevant traffic. Take a look at your search query performance report in Adwords and review your web analytics too. This is also useful for adapting your keywords and content on site to improve your SEO. Use this info to extract or make negative any terms that are not working for you.   Don’t forget to cross reference the terms that convert best on both organic and paid campaigns. Optimise PPC for those terms where you are not ranking well organically and vice versa.

Only show your ad when it counts
Consider when your target audience is primarily searching for your products.  If it’s between 7am and 7pm on week days, only show your ads during these times and cut the waste. Using ‘Edit campaign settings’ to adjust your Ad scheduling, which allows you to turn off your ads on and off at specific times.  You can also consider increasing your budget during peak times and lowering it during others.

Your PPC keyword data can be invaluable to your SEO campaign.
Your PPC data, which includes your click-through-rate and conversion rate, can be extremely helpful in selecting the terms which are important to your business.  In practice, some keywords may not convert as well as expected. Using PPC first means you can focus on optimizing your site for proven high quality keywords, rather than base your keyword selection on assumptions that may be wrong. This can be important, as it may take over 6 months to get the organic rankings you desire to generate the right level of traffic.

PPC helps you create better page titles
Once you’ve worked out which PPC headlines generate the highest number of clicks, you can integrate this into your page titles to maximize your CTR for the organic listings.  This can be really effective when used on web pages that are already generating high volumes of non paid traffic.

Are you effectively attributing sales to PPC?
Lead quality is the icing on every campaign, but people don’t always think to tie clicks back to actual sales.  For example, you may have a number of ad groups that look like this:

Ad Group A

<!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Cost per month: 5k
Leads per month: 40
Cost per lead: £125

Ad Group B

<!–[if !supportLists]–><!–[endif]–>Cost per month: 5k
Leads per month: 300
Cost per lead: £16.66

You can’t tell based only on the above information which ad group is performing better.  If you are just considering the cost per lead, you may consider deleting Ad group A in favour of B.  However if you complete the picture and review actual sales data it may look like this:

Ad Group A
Conversions (purchases) = 20
Revenue from conversions = £50,000

Ad Group B
Conversions (purchases) = 10
Revenue from conversions = £25,000

With the additional information, you can see that Ad group A has a higher CPL, but generates higher revenue. It may be that the second group is actually worse for the intended target audience. There are a number of CRM systems that offer the option to link lead and sales information to Google Adwords.

Another Adwords tool to help you manage your cost per click (CPC)
If you are managing large campaigns, Google Adwords Editor is a great free tool that allows you upload bulk campaigns and keywords, make bulk changes, copy or move items between ad groups easily etc.

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