A PPC Do: Know Your PPC Don’ts

10 Pay Per Click Steps to Reduce Costs and Increase PPC Conversions

If you’re in the communications industry even if you’re not a search marketing pro, chances are you’ve heard the acronym PPC thrown around more than a few times. PPC, or pay-per-click, is one of the most common models of internet advertising. PPC ads are those display or banner ads you see down the side of most websites like Google and Facebook.

Like most things in life, the PPC advertising model can garner immensely successful results just as easily as it can lead to unsatisfying ones. They can provide a huge return on investment or they can quickly sap the advertising dollars while providing few results.

Beyond cultivating the best of the best PPC practices, it is also important to avoid some common mistakes. As such, we’ve compiled a list of common mistakes every PPC manager should be aware of when managing a client’s account:

1. Budget Management

Deciding how much you’re willing to spend on certain keywords isn’t always easy. If the budget is too high, clients aren’t happy; too low, the keywords may not be competitive. The goal is to find that happy medium: to make full use of the budget and have the ads displaying as long as possible. Long-tail keywords can often help in lowering the cost as they’re less competitive.

2. Bing

Everyone knows advertising on Google, but have you considered Bing? Bing is worth paying more attention to. We can move the successful ad campaigns from Google to Bing and optimize them to perform better, since the way Bing’s audience response is always different from that of Google. Hence, those poorly-performed Google ads may be successful after optimizing on Bing.

3. Keyword Match Types

There are 3 different match types (or 4 if you count Broad Match Modifier separate from Broad Match), as well as negative keywords. Carefully choosing which match types are best to use is important for finding the right balance between maximum reach and maximum efficiency.

4. Campaign Settings

Make the most of all of the targeting options at the campaign level. Make sure you are geo-targeting correctly, targeting the right language, and breaking out search and display campaigns separately.

5. Ad Group Organization

Separating different products or services into different ad groups allows their associated keywords and ads to be more relevant to each other which increases the chance that the ads will get clicked on.

 6. Keyword Considerations and AdWords Quality Score

AdWords Quality Score not only gives an insight into the likelihood of the success of ad campaigns, but also determines the pricing and placement of ads. Poor keyword relevance between ads and landing page will translate into expensive ads. Remember, it’s an inverse relationship: the lower QS, the higher bid. Be willing to make the necessary changes such as including the key terms on the landing pages, adding negatives to the account, and writing ads that are tailored to the keywords in an ad group.

7. Landing Pages

Landing page should be very specific and tailored to the PPC ad that brought people to the page. If people have to look through the website to find what they are looking for, they may just leave. You should focus landing pages on the specific product or keyword the ad is referring to and be sure to create a specific call to action.

Remember target audience when creating your landing pages. Take into consideration their level of understanding of the keywords used. Make sure to have a call to action on the pages and place trust factors/testimonials on the pages themselves.

 8. Conversion Tracking

At a bare minimum, you should be utilizing AdWords tracking as well as Bing tracking (if you’re advertising on Bing). You should also make sure the tracking is accurate. Another free tracking option is Google Analytics. It takes a little more sophistication, but easily determines Cost per Acquisition and/or ROAS goals using this.

 9. Visually Unappealing Website

Many small businesses don’t have large budgets for marketing and promotion and they typically try to pinch pennies on their website. What they may not realize is they are costing themselves a lot more money over the long term with a website that is ugly, confusing, and dysfunctional.

Small business owners should consider stretching their budgets a bit to improve their website design and marketing. Maybe that means hiring a professional website designer or maybe it means spending more time with a higher quality (and more expensive) website builder.

10. Ad Copy

The ad copy will be seen in the first place when searchers type the keywords. So it is key point whether the potential customers will visit the website or not. Good ads are attractive and convincing with a call to action, however, poorly-written ads are the killer of the campaign. As a result, how well the ads are written can be the determining factor to the general PPC marketing strategies.

With 50% of people arriving at a retailers site from paid ads more likely to buy than those who came from an organic link, PPC ads can clearly make a difference in your sales goals. What do you think of our list?


Brainstorming Sessions to Improve PPC Ad Copy

Whether starting a new PPC campaign, tweaking existing ads, or creating ads for a new ad group, team brainstorming sessions are a fantastic way to generate multiple ads and ideas with minimal effort.  Day to day search engine optimization can be a lonely job, with a close relationship forming between you and various content management systems, Microsoft Excel, and client’s websites, so brainstorming is a great way to get you away from your computer and into the non-virtual world.

Generating ads for AdWords, adCenter, or LinkedIn is a time consuming and tedious process.  We search marketers get to be creative (yay!) but after our initial rounds of ad generation, our analytical brains can sometimes get writers block.  A brainstorming session is the cure.  Get everyone together: the interns, the PR specialists, the social media gurus, the graphic designers, and the partners; into your venue of choice.  Entice them with pizza if necessary!  Get up out of your office chair and into your conference room, break room, or lounge area!

Give a brief explanation of the company’s background and marketing goals for their ad campaign.  Be specific in explaining the kind of audience your ads are targeting, and especially if there are any users you don’t want to attract.  As search marketers, we always think in terms of keywords, which of course is very important, but we may get stuck categorizing our clients into three or four main key phrases.  By bringing the whole team in for help, you get to take a step back and look at the company and the ad campaign as a whole with a fresh set of eyes.  It is also a good team building exercise.

Ask your colleagues to shout out words or phrases, reminding them to keep in mind the company’s specific campaign goals.  Everyone thinks and searches differently, so you may be surprised with some of the ideas people come up with, but I guarantee you will generate some phrases you never would have thought of to describe your client.  It’s great to have people who aren’t so SEO-focused, because they will shout out any idea with no regard for its search volume.  Generate lots of ideas, then research the search volume of specific key phrases later.  In addition to taking notes, make sure to write all ideas on a white board, as it is very helpful to keep track of what everyone has already said, and will generate even more ideas.

Things to remember for a successful brainstorm session:

  1. Be specific with the goal of the brainstorm. Is it to generate full ads, just think of ad concepts, more keywords?
  2. Give a brief explanation of the company’s background.
  3. Clearly explain the client’s goals of the ad campaign.
  4. Write down everything where everyone can see it.
  5. Invite anyone and everyone.
  6. Entice people with a snack or lunch.
  7. Thank everyone!

Once everyone’s ideas have run out, take your colleagues’ suggestions and skip back to your desk, full of all sorts of new ad possibilities!

What strategies do you have for coming up with creative ad copy?