Do you ever feel like your advertising budget isn’t earning you the results you were expecting? You’re not alone. If you’re not being cautious of optimization tactics, or you’re not familiar with PPC best practices, it’s easy to blow your budget and overspend on unqualified clicks.
The investments you make into advertising impact your entire company, so it’s important that you’re getting the best ROI.
Use these eight tips to get the most out of your PPC ads:
1. Add Negative Keywords (The Right Way)
Negative keywords give you the opportunity to filter out traffic that doesn’t align with your target audience. This allows you to reduce the number of wasted clicks, and thus wasted spend.
The best way to determine the appropriate negative keywords for your campaign will involve an analysis of search queries that are costing you money, and how people are interacting with your site after clicking through. Run a search query report, and also experiment in Google by actually searching the terms yourself.
You may discover that a keyword you thought would be extremely relevant to your ad brings up completely different results, which can indicate that searchers have alternate motives.
Pro Tip: Adwords Search Query Reports allow you to automatically add negative keywords to your Ad Group or Campaign. However this only ads a negative “exact match” keyword, meaning your ad will be excluded from searches that are only that keyword exactly.
Original query is: HR Software Jobs but you don’t want your ad to show for “job” related queries. Adwords will create a negative keyword: [HR Software Jobs]. If the next day someone searches: Jobs Developing HR Software, your ad will still show up on Google.
The best way to accomplish this correctly is to simply add the negative keyword: jobs to any list you want that term excluded from.
2. Follow Ad Copy Best Practices
Your ad copy will largely depend on what you’re selling, and the overall goal of your campaign, but there are common best practices to follow that can help you achieve a better ROI.
First, start by scanning your competitor’s ads. This will help expose any gaps that you can capitalize on in your own ads, like:
- Undercut your competitor’s promotion. If your competitor highlights 10 percent off in their ad, include 15 percent off in yours;
- Focus on the user — more you than we;
- Speak to the searcher’s end goal, not the product’s attributes;
- Include the search terms in the ads;
- Use actionable language with verbs, (also known as a call-to-action), such as “Buy Now” or “Sign Up.”
3. Increase Your Geo-Targeting Radius
Local businesses often select specific cities or locations to run their ad in. In theory, this makes sense, but in practice, ads are served based on the searcher’s IP address.
You’ve probably witnessed this firsthand, if you’ve ever noticed that your IP address identified by Google isn’t entirely accurate. Sometimes it thinks you’re 30 miles or so from where you’re actually located.
So if an ideal customer searchers for a keyword you’re targeting but their IP address is slightly off, they won’t see your ad.
Increase your radius far beyond what you feel is appropriate to ensure you’re not missing anyone.
4. Avoid Over-Segmentation
Old school advertisers were taught to segment their PPC campaigns as narrowly as possible, and to create separate campaigns for each segment. This strategy can be effective in some situations, but not all.
Over-segmentation can lead to:
- Paying for keywords twice, or double bidding
- Fewer impressions, which leads to a lack of actionable insights since you’re not obtaining enough data
- Low quality scores. This happens when the search volume is low.
Research your best keywords to see if there are differences across devices, locations, and times of day. If there are major variances, you can adjust your bids within the same campaign, thanks to the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns.
5. Optimize your Landing Page
Many advertisers send searchers to their homepage and hope that they will have the information they need to turn into a customer.
But in reality, people need to be guided in that direction. If they don’t see a direct connection between your ad copy and the page they land on, they’ll feel misled and probably bounce.
Closely matching the two will improve conversions, and your ad relevance score. Create custom landing pages for each campaign so you can control the copy and even strip out distractions that appear on other pages. Keep your users focused.
6. Test, Test, Test!
What works for one company may produce the complete opposite results for another. The best way to determine the winning combination is to run split tests. Choose one element to test at a time so it’s easier to identify what’s working and what’s not.
Here are some things you can test in your PPC ads:
- Ad copy
- Time of day
- Bidding strategy
- And many more factors
Whatever you’re testing, try to keep your experiments relatively similar, and avoid switching too much. Keep track of your tests, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Try to revisit your campaigns to analyze each week.
7. Try Remarketing
Have you ever run Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) on Google? Most advertisers overlook this function, but it can be extremely effective.
It works the same way as retargeting ads work on any other platform. RLSAs show up within Google search engine results based on individuals who have browsed a particular website in the last 540 days.
Benefits can include:
- Staying top of mind among your audience
- Lower bids on broad match keywords
- Lower cost-per-conversion and cost-per-click
- Better CTR (click-through rate)
- Higher quality scores
- New keyword opportunities
This can be an effective tool if you’re achieving a strong CTR, but not seeing the corresponding conversions.
8. Stay on Top of Analytics
Advertisers often choose their keywords based on how many conversions are associated with each. But this isn’t the only metric you should be analyzing.
Log into your Google Analytics account each week to see how users are interacting with your site after clicking your ad. Pay attention to the number of page views, bounce rate, and total time on your site triggered by specific keywords.
PPC ads have the potential to bring in quality leads that are actively searching for your solution. If you’re not implementing these strategies already, head over to your account now.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.