PPC is a great way of getting your site viable leads. A State of Paid Search Report – Q4 2013 says search spend in the fourth quarter of 2013 was 37.4% more than the previous year. Another study says 72% of marketers plan to increase their PPC spend in 2014. These figures illustrate the fact that PPC continues its northwards trajectory as it’s done for so many years now.
For businesses, PPC opens up a sustainable revenue stream and for many it acts as a profitable complement to their SEO activity which might not be able to deliver the ROI they expect every single time. However, in order to optimize their use of PPC, businesses need to get it right. Apart from ensuring they create Ads that people will actually click on, there are a few important PPC elements businesses need to go back to, if they want to make the most of PPC. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1. Quality Score – Go from Good to Great
The higher your quality score, the lower your CPC. You need to pay less for the ad click, if Google believes the ads meet the expectations of your target customers. The characteristics of a high quality score include high Click-through-Rate (CTR), continuous ad text optimization, optimum account activity, focus on using long tail keywords, and following the best PPC practices.
So, how is quality score calculated? Frankly, some part of this calculation is based on hypothesis. When a search triggers your ad, Google begins to start considering various factors in its calculation matrix. These include:
- The expected CTR of your keyword
- The past CTR of your display URL
- Overall CTR of all the Ads and Keywords in your account
- Landing page quality
- Keywords relevance vis-à-vis your ad
- Keywords relevance vis-à-vis customer search
- Geo-targeting success ratio
- Onsite ad performance
- Ad performance across targeted devices (mobile, tablets, desktop, laptops)
Image source: The Search Agents
You need to revisit the importance of quality score because there are some people who think a quality score is a flawed metric. Depending on who you ask, you will get varied answers to why quality score matters. However, the fact is that making this an important part of your PPC strategy allows you to refine your PPC campaign and give importance to areas that deliver results. In PPC, there is always the danger that your campaign will focus on the non-essentials, focusing on quality score stops you from doing so.
2. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)
Google came out with a new ad targeting method in June of last year, which allows marketers to tailor their search campaigns based on user behavior on your website. You can now tweak your search ads, bids and keywords based on the user’s intent and context. To make use of this feature, there are two requirements that need to be met:
- The visitor should have visited your site before.
- You must bid for the most relevant keyword.
This will allow you to create text ads based on what you know has already taken place on your site. Such retargeting has a better chance of conversions. With RLSA, you can adjust your bid to target high value customers, and optimize the use of broad keywords, which otherwise might not have converted better. Running these keywords through RLSA to target repeat visitors can help improve their conversion. This way you control your ad spend and yet take steps to earn high ROI.
It’s important to note that RLSA will not work if your campaign has not been updated to enhanced campaign.
Image source: Search Engine Watch
As is the case with any new AdWords feature, you can only optimize its potential if you use it well; same is the case with RLSA, where you need to develop a remarketing strategy with the best tactics to achieve results.
3. AdWords Scripts – Ignored because they are “Too Technical”
- get this knowledge
- work with people who have this knowledge (why increase budget?)
AdWords Scripts is essentially your very own powerful automation software that will help you program and schedule repetitive PPC tasks that are eating into your time. So, whether it’s tracking your quality score, getting keyword performance reviews, checking for 404 errors, or changing your bids across multiple ad groups or keywords, all of them can be automated for better time management. This article on 4 Ways to Take Your AdWords Scripts to the Next Level is a great read if you want to optimize the use of AdWords Scripts.
4. Landing Pages
If you want your PPC campaign to deliver results, you need take a close, hard look at your landing pages. And optimize them for PPC at a microscopic level. Here’s how you’re going to do that:
- Everything on the pages, including the headline and copy must be aligned with the ad copy and user intent. When users click on an ad, and come to a page on your site, they expect to view a page that makes good on the promises made in the ad. Maintaining landing page relevance will help you hit pay dirt.
- Focus on the message, and make sure the importance of the offer you are making gets across to the visitor. Use the right images and wherever possible, choose ones with emotive appeal. Most conversion/buying decisions are emotional in nature, so bringing a bit of emotion to your landing page will work big time.
- Calls to action must use a language that your target audience will clearly understand. Different personas need different degrees of persuasion, which must be reflected in the tone of your buttons.
- Making your point quickly helps. Design a landing page for an impatient audience, a considerable portion of which is already feeling “it shouldn’t have clicked” on your ad. A quick-to-load page that makes an impression in very little time is right up the PPC profit alley.
- Do not distract readers, they clicked on your ad to purchase a product or service, so don’t have a page that sidetracks them from the main goal. Don’t throw newsletter signups, popups or unnecessary imagery at them.
Also read How to Make a Landing Page that C.O.N.V.E.R.T.S, arguably the most definitive guide to making optimized landing pages for your PPC campaign written by the guys as KISSmetrics.
So here they are – the four PPC elements that businesses need to revisit to give their PPC campaigns a boost. Understand your goals to make use of the appropriate Google AdWords features that will deliver the most value for your efforts.
*This is a guest article by Zamir Javer*