Tips To Improve PPC Performance

For experienced PPC marketers, creating a new account in AdWords, Bing, or Yahoo is an art form. Keywords are meticulously chosen, ad copy is cleverly written, and settings are carefully adjusted – all to create a conversion-driving masterpiece that will put smiles on our clients faces. Even with fantastic results, continual tweaks are needed to maintain success. Digital advertising is an ever-evolving puzzle, especially in the world of PPC, and the competition is constantly working to outrank and outperform our accounts. These 10 tips will help give your account a refresh:

PPC Tip #1 – Evaluate Keyword Lists

Ultimately, using the right keywords is the most crucial element to any PPC campaign. Are the keywords in your account leading to conversions? If the answer is “yes,” you should ensure these keywords are in the optimal ad position and are properly funded. If the answer is “no,” you should decide whether or not these keywords can be paused off or adjusted. If you’re trying to generate awareness or drive traffic, focus spend towards keywords that are efficiently earning impressions and/or clicks. Likewise, pause off highly-competitive phrases that are dragging down performance and exhausting your budget. Choosing the correct match type is also important. If you use mostly phrase match and exact match keywords, consider using broad match keywords with modifiers to increase your reach while maintaining control of search queries.

PPC Tip #2 – Focus On Quality Score

Quality Score is a vital element to paid search success. Using keywords relevant to the content of your website or landing page is crucial to improving performance. As you already know, Quality Score is looking at the quality of your keywords, ad copy, and landing page, as well as historical performance of your account. A good quality score can lower costs and improve rankings. Make sure to include keywords in your ad copy and within the contents of your landing page. Following these simple steps can greatly improve CTR and Quality Score. These steps also give search engines a better reason to show your ads precisely when people are looking for your product or service.

PPC Tip #3 – Weed Out Negatives

Utilizing search query data will help ensure that you are targeting the right keywords to achieve your goals. This is especially important for broad match keywords, which often trigger unrelated queries and pull down CTR. Add these unrelated searches as negative keywords to ensure you aren’t wasting money on non-converting traffic. Search query data will also provide insight into successful keywords that aren’t currently in your account. Adding these keywords will give you control over bids and allow you to better optimize the campaigns.

PPC Tip #4 – Optimize Bids

Bids have become a part of your day-to-day optimization strategy, I’m sure, but it might be time to rethink your strategy. For campaigns with limited budget or a strong Cost Per Conversion goal, consider focusing budget towards top-performing keywords. For these keywords, adjust bids to keep them top-of-page. For keywords that aren’t performing well, but are still important to include, use features like Google’s “first page bid estimate” to lower bids to the bottom of the first page and reduce your wasted spend. Automated bid rules are also helpful when managing large accounts and controlling costs.

PPC Tip #5 – Refresh Ad Copy

Next to keywords, ad copy is the most important part of attracting potential customers to your site. Even with a refined keyword list, lack of compelling ad copy will hinder the success of your campaign. Ad copy 101 tips like including a strong call to action or announcing a sale will only take you so far. For optimal performance, ongoing A/B testing and updating ad copy are needed to constantly improve your account and give you more insight into what works and what doesn’t. If you aren’t already using mobile preferred ad copy, you should consider doing so. Creating ads with the mobile device in mind could work wonders in improving CTR and increasing traffic from mobile.

PPC Tip #6 – Choose The Right Ad Extensions

If you aren’t already using ad extensions, I highly recommend you jump on the bandwagon. In addition to improving CTR, ad extensions give searchers additional information and other ways to interact with your brand. If you already use ad extensions, these should be optimized and tested just like you would ad copy or keywords. Sitelinks, for example, are great for sending users to the exact page they are looking for. This creates a great user experience, while also taking up additional space on the search engine results page. Simple sitelink A/B tests, such as changing “Browse Widgets” to “Shop Widgets” can lead to improved results and provide valuable insights. This same logic can be used for other extensions like Callout extensions and Structured Snippets in Google.

PPC Tip #7 – Adjust The Ad Schedule

Once you have refined your keywords list, updated your ad copy, and improved quality score, you still have an important question to ask – are you advertising at the right time? Some experts will argue that you should remain active at all times, ready to display your ad regardless of when people are searching. Your data, however, might tell a different story. By looking at results based on time of day, you can make an educated decision on when your audience is most likely to convert. If you notice a dip in conversions during particular times of the day, you have the option to either decrease bids during that time, or decide to not show ads at all.

PPC Tip #8 – Optimize Mobile Bids

It should be no surprise that search behavior varies by device. Looking at how mobile is performing compared to desktop is vital to the success of your campaign. If you notice high click volume coming from mobile, with low conversions, perhaps you should employ mobile bid decreases to limit wasted spend. Conversely, if mobile is outperforming desktop, bid increases can help focus more spend towards mobile devices and improve results.

PPC Tip #9 – Utilize Remarketing Lists

Remarketing is a fantastic feature to attract users back to your site and increase brand awareness. However, this isn’t the only way to utilize remarketing. In Google, for example, remarketing lists can be used to enhance PPC performance and also weed out irrelevant traffic. One option is to increase search bids for past purchasers. The logic here is to drive users back to your site when they are once again shopping around for the products you offer. Likewise, if your product is something that is likely only purchased once, such as an engagement ring, you can exclude past purchasers when they search for keywords like “engagement ring photography” or “celebrity engagement rings.” Another popular strategy is to target people who have added items to a shopping cart, but did not convert. You can use search bid increases to drive them back to your site, or target these users through display. In any scenario, using remarketing lists to your advantage can help save money and increase conversions.

PPC Tip #10 – Expand Into Other Areas

As you know, there are countless activities that can affect paid search performance, including: seasonality of the marketplace, level of competition, changes to search engine algorithms, and countless other uncontrollable factors. One thing that is in your control, however, is advertising outside of paid search. Reaching potential customers at various stages in the search funnel is just as important as reaching the “hand raisers” searching in Google or Bing. Advertising in radio, TV, or other digital areas like YouTube or display will generate brand awareness and assist in conversions later on. A user is more likely to click a paid search ad if they are familiar with the brand. Introducing your products or services through other advertising efforts can help create that awareness necessary to drive website traffic.