PPC (pay-per-click) or simply paid digital campaigns can be considered the internet equivalent of a billboard, except that the billboard is highly targeted. Like any piece of marketing the campaign needs to be cleverly designed to maximize the ROI.
Digital technology allows paid ad space to be extremely highly targeted but also makes it much more competitive. For this reason digital marketers want to know how to ensure that their paid-click campaign is going to deliver the results they need.
Paid search ads have and will continue to dominate both search engine results pages (SERPS) and social media platforms. With a large number of consumers doing their product research and shopping online the most competitive businesses need to rely on more than search engine optimization (SEO) to generate conversions.
With that said, let’s explore some of the best ways to get a head start in your PPC campaign.
Establish conversion tracking
One of the primary advantages of digital ad campaigns is the ability to track their performance through analytical data. This is not only good for evaluating a campaign’s success but informing how it can be improved to get a better ROI.
Conversion tracking allows you to apply a specific code to your webpages that tracks the behavior of users who reach the site via a paid ad. This allows you to see how many people navigated from a paid ad to becoming a conversion.
Whether your aim is to get people to check out an item in a virtual shopping cart or to sign up for a newsletter, the conversion tracker shows the direct correlation between an ad and the end result you are seeking.
While there are plenty of other elements on your webpage that are contributing to the buying decision, conversion tracking on PPC ads lets you see what the most effective ads are. With this data you can tweak or discontinue ads that aren’t generating conversions.
These insights are invaluable in planning and implementing future campaigns.
Use keyword research
Keyword research is the foundational element behind the best paid ad campaigns. Deciding on the best keywords on which to place bids is one of the most important factors in generating conversions.
Researching keywords is a two-part process, one is technical and the other is more subjective. Plenty of keyword research tools can give insight into the competiveness of keywords and which are worth bidding on.
But how do you know which keywords to research? You know by referring to the research you’ve done on your target audience. Knowing what your product is isn’t enough; you need to know how audiences search for that product.
What language do they use? What qualifiers do they implement to find the product they want? These are things you need to know before keyword data becomes useful to you.
Even when you’re ready to interpret keyword data you need to be clever about which keyword you bid on. The most widely applicable keywords will normally be the most competitive, meaning that lots of other websites are bidding in order to rank for it.
With this in mind, it’s advised to steer clear of highly competitive keywords and get clever with targeting keywords with a low competition score. This means getting creative with your advertising copy and landing pages in order to rank for highly specific, often long-tail keyword phrases.
To better understand keywords for PPC, let’s look at the common types.
- Brand terms: Trademarked terms that refer to your unique brand name
- Competition terms: Trademarked terms that belong to your competitors’ brand name
- Generic terms: These are terms relating to the product or products
- Related terms: Terms that don’t necessarily describe your product but are related to the subject matter
The table below should provide a good example of how these terms are applied.
|Brand term||Competitor term||Generic term||Related term|
|iPhone cases||Android phone cases||Smartphone cases||mobile device protection|
Running your paid ad campaign against highly competitive keywords used by your competitor is a great way to eat up your marketing budget. Unless you have decided to spend a lot of money on a campaign designed to ‘conquer’ those keywords then it’s normally not worth pursuing bids by other brands.
Research the habitual behavior of the target audience
We know that digital marketing means we can track and analyze performance metrics. It also means we can inform the ways our paid ads are served to the audience based on a number of factors.
- Target demographics such as gender, age and location where applicable, generate different landing pages that tailor to those demographics.
- See when your audience is online. Are they students who use the internet routinely? Are they older, working class people who only use the internet in the evening or early mornings?
- Consider the audience’s buying behavior. Do they buy things online? Are they a previous customer who is re-visiting your site?
This data helps you to further develop your paid ad campaigns so they waste as little time and money as possible targeting an audience that won’t convert.
Ensure that ads are optimized for mobile devices
Optimizing for the increase in people using mobile phones to access the internet means more than just making sure your webpages scale properly. Put the extra effort into making sure that your paid ad campaigns are going to perform well on mobile devices.
Again, research the behavior of your audience, but in relation to the use of mobile phones. When advertising copy is displayed differently on different devices then its effectiveness may be altered.
Differentiate your ad copy
Once the audience is established, begin to segment them into different ad groups. These groups can be served different variations of the same ad.
These variations should be designed to give the ad a better chance of being clicked on by that segment of the audience.
For example, if you’re business offers a discount for students you can target a set of ads that are only served to people within the student age range and are geographically close to a college.
Test different versions of landing pages
Just like testing different versions of the ads themselves, testing landing pages needs to be informed by audience research. Spend some time thinking about what audiences are looking for when the land on the page and deliver it to them.
For example, if your business sells cars and your market research shows that women aged 18-24 prefer small cars then a landing page for that audience should give prominence to that variation of the product.
Consider your visual appeal
A great paid search ad will have high quality copy but also a relevant, high quality image. The internet incorporates multimedia content at an increased rate and users are responding to more types of visual content.
Like with traditional advertising methods, make sure that the image communicates your brand, it’s USP and the benefit to the customer as much as possible.
Try DSA (Dynamic Search Ads)
DSA’s allow you to give Google a set of ads you want it to use and it will automatically serve them to audiences who type a search query that’s related to your business. This method has advantages and disadvantages.
- Keyword coverage: DSA’s have the ability to serve ads to search traffic that you might not have keyword bids for. This minimizes the chances of losing customers to highly relevant keywords that you haven’t targeted.
- More ad space: DSA’s have less strict character limitations. The headlines are generated by Google based on a combination of the user’s search query and your own landing pages.
Unlike regular text ads, they are not limited to 25 characters or less.
- Gives you more time: The management of keyword lists can be challenging. A DSA lessens the need to meticulously manage all of these keywords and lets you focus on other elements of the campaign.
- Automatically updated ads: The google indexing algorithm means it is able to update the ads automatically when your web page content is altered.
This is a great feature for those with websites and products that are being routinely updated.
- Less control: As with any form of automation, you sacrifice the ability to practice highly specific control over your campaign with DSA’s. While Google’s algorithms are competent at serving the ads in a highly targeted way it is still being done by a machine.
Depending on the nature of your product and the campaign you want to run this sacrifice of control might not be justifiable.
Use PPC as part of multi-channel approach
Paid ads can produce results on their own but it’s a wasted opportunity not to combine them with other marketing strategies. It should be considered as a piece of the digital marketing puzzle you are putting together.
The use of paid ads should not just be focused on fulfilling their own goals but as part of broader initiatives for your marketing goals. Paid ads can be more effective when used in conjunction with tactics like email marketing, social media and search engine optimization.
The use of a multi-channel approach means that you can aggregate analytic data from different sources and use it to inform further incarnations of each. For example, some SEO data could help inform the need for a new PPC campaign.
Hopefully you are able to take these tips and use them in order to create a highly effective paid ad campaign that will generate the ROI you are looking for. When used in concert with other digital marketing methods PPC can be one of the best things you do to achieve your business goals.