Since PPC advertising is such a potent model of digital marketing it’s important that you take every measure to ensure that your PPC campaigns are optimized and working to full capacity.
Let us start with a quick but fundamental question; what is PPC advertising?
Pay-Per-Click advertising is a form of online marketing where the advertiser pays for every click that a visitor makes when they click on an advertisement.
Pay-Per-Click ads come in different shapes and sizes, but one of the most popular forms of PPC is the paid search advertisement. These types of ads present themselves when a user searches for goods or services through an online search engine. So, let’s say someone searches for “coffee shops nearby” or “car mechanics near me”, in the list of results known as SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) they will usually see pay-per-click ads.
Search engines charge advertisers for every time a user clicks on the advertiser’s paid ad. Banner ads and remarketing are a few other methods of PPC advertising.
How do PPC ads work?
For paid ads to appear with the organic search results on SERPs, they first need to go through an automated filter commonly known as Ad Auction, this filtering is a process that search engines adopt as a way of gathering the most relevant and accurate ads that are presented on their search result pages.
How important are keywords in Pay-Per-Click Ads?
As you may have already guessed, Ad Auction involves a bidding system, in which advertisers bid on the keywords they want their paid ads to be triggered by. To ensure Return On Investment (ROI) from every PPC ad that is clicked on you should only bid on the most relevant keywords that correlate with your campaign and business.
- A successful PPC advertising campaign needs to have targets
Enhancing and optimizing your PPC campaigns cannot be done without a clear set of targets for where you want your campaign to reach.
If you want to increase sales, leads, conversions and downloads then you will need to constantly update and develop your PPC campaign in order to meet your target requirements.
- Pay attention to effective keywords
A successful PPC campaign requires regular assessments of how the keywords are performing. Considering that keywords are the foundations of Pay-Per-Click campaigns, by reviewing which keywords are and are not working you can optimize your ROI and the relevance of your ads, which in turn increases your SEO.
- Eliminate less-effective keywords
Just as you will have keywords that have the best performance, you will also have keywords with poor performance results. It is these low-performing keywords which drag your Pay-Per-Click campaign down.
So, with keyword analysis, you can eliminate the ones that are not gathering leads, conversions and clicks.
Low-performing keywords can be broken down into different categories:
- Impression-less keywords
Keywords that do not generate impressions, means that consumers are not using them in their search terms, which consequently waste and use up your ad budget.
Ok, so if you find a keyword that isn’t performing what should you do?
Firstly, you should give it a chance of perhaps a week or so in order to compare the results and make sure that it will not gain momentum in delivering impressions. Then once you have concluded that it is a dormant keyword you can remove it from your PPC campaign.
- Keywords generating impressions without clicks
Impressions are generated when a user’s search inquiry includes one or more of your chosen keywords, which triggers your Pay-Per-Click ad to come up in the search results. Nevertheless, clicks happen when a user deems your ad relevant enough to what he or she is searching for, and therefore clicks on your ad and is sent to your website.
So, if you find that a keyword has many impressions, but the number of clicks is low or non-existent it could mean that your choice of keyword for the purpose of your PPC campaign is irrelevant.
The way to fix this is by choosing the most relevant keywords that suit your PPC ad campaign. For every search query that a user makes your choice of keywords should always be relevant to what it is you are trying to sell, promote or offer to your target audience; which takes us back to Ben Givon’s first and most important piece of advice which involves setting out the aims of your PPC campaign before you begin trying to optimize it. Once you know exactly where you want your PPC campaign to go it becomes easier to guide and pinpoint the destination of the campaign.
- Last but not least, keywords that generate clicks without conversions
Keywords that generate clicks but have a lack of conversions could indicate that your webpage or landing page is lacking in crucial elements such as load speed, page layout, content, images etc.
You may be wondering what elements could be hindering conversions. Ben Givon suggests that you start by evaluating the Search Query Reports in Google AdWords to try and pinpoint the exact reason for the lack of conversions. Alternatively, you could conduct split testing or reconsider the key elements of your website or landing page in terms of the most important aspects of a website which encourage and increase the rate of conversions. Lastly, you could assess the performance of the CTA (Call-to-Action) and content. To avoid wasting your ad spend keeping a close eye on the performance of your keywords is of paramount importance if you want your PPC ad campaign to succeed.
Negative keywords are important because they filter out the irrelevant search queries which in turn stops your ad budget from skyrocketing. Negative keywords act as a safety net ensuring that your PPC ads appear on search engine results pages to your target audience and remain relevant.
Let us have a look at an example that further illustrates this point. An advertiser who sells Apple iPhones wants to set up a PPC ad campaign to help increase impressions, clicks and conversions. However, if the advertiser in question does not specify negative keywords, then it is likely that the ad spend will increase significantly due to irrelevant search queries.
As the negative keywords make for a more tailored and targeted ad campaign, the clicks become more likely to turn into conversions. Therefore, when the click-through-rate and conversion rate increase the CPC (cost-per-click) decreases and SEO quality score improves.
Make sure your PPC ads are engaging
The content of your PPC ad is the first thing that your potential customers will encounter before they decide whether to go through with the CTA or not.
So, making ad copy that is both original and engaging is the key to drawing in more leads and possible customers. You could, for example, focus on coming up with a captivating and appealing header, as the majority of online users only spend a couple of seconds scouring the results pages to find the most relevant ad that suits their needs.
Ben Givon also makes a point that for PPC ads to be successful you need to ensure that relevance and specificity are always a main priority and must be present. Make whatever the purpose of your PPC ad is abundantly clear for your visitors. Avoid irrelevant keywords and make sure you incorporate a compelling CTA. In terms of the call-to-action, stay away from using generic and cliché terms such as ‘click here’.
PPC ad campaigns and the importance of split testing
Split testing is a key method of PPC ad campaign optimization as it increases relevance, which in turn increases SEO and the Google quality score.
To perform split testing to determine which elements are working well, you need to choose which aspects of your campaign need evaluation. Which elements of my PPC ad campaigns need testing?
You could consider split testing following:
- Header and sub-header
- Content and ad copy
- Color scheme
- Images and
The PPC landscape is in a constant state of change as technology, trends and techniques evolve so should your PPC ad campaign. By performing regular split testing, you can work towards making a campaign that delivers on so many levels; high ROI, good SEO and quality score, low Cost-Per-Clicks.
Something important to bear in mind when split testing is that you should only test one marketing element at a time so that you avoid tangled and obscure conclusions from testing many elements at once.