Tag Archives: PPC tips

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 1 , 2020

PPC marketing is a proven way to get fast results. But just like any other strategy, it needs regular tweaking, updating, and optimizing.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why Google Ads isn’t the only pay-per-click (PPC) player in town
  • Why manual bidding is worth your attention
  • Ways to optimize your PPC ads in 2020
  • What Core Web Vitals are and why they matter

We like to say that digital marketing is part art, part science. Sure, there are guidelines and processes and steps, but without a heavy dose of creativity, your program isn’t likely to shine. 

Well-versed paid search marketers know this. They also know that experimentation, analysis, and optimization are key components to creating a PPC strategy that isn’t just successful, but lasting too. 

Behaviors, competitors, and algorithms change fast. To stay on top of your game, you have to catch on before someone else does. Let these PPC optimization strategies guide your paid search efforts for the rest of the year — and beyond.

1. Switch to manual bidding

No matter how stellar your PPC ads are, they won’t achieve proper results without the right bidding strategy. The tactic you choose for your bids depends on your campaign goals.

If you want to achieve the largest number of clicks according to the set budget, you can use the traditional automatic cost-per-click (CPC) bidding system.

However, allowing Google to do the job for you comes with a couple of downsides. One of them is lack of an easy way to adjust your campaign if it’s not performing properly. Manual bidding can fix this problem. This hands-on, more customized bidding approach:

  • Increases ad visibility
  • Lowers your cost per action (CPA)
  • Allows you to prioritize keywords that convert better

Switching from automatic to manual bidding is an advanced strategy that requires paying close attention to tactics such as:

  • Focus on one campaign at a time since the process can be time-consuming
  • Lower your bids for keywords that receive solid impressions but don’t generate sales
  • Increase bids for keywords that convert to increase the position of ads containing them and generate more conversions
  • Choose the default bid, which is close to the average CPC in your automatic campaigns

When you leverage manual bidding, it’s a good idea to run the manual campaign for a couple of weeks to see if it achieves the goal of lowering CPC and generating sales. If the process seems like too much, partnering with a well-rounded PPC agency might be the right solution for you. 

hawksem: ppc optimization blog

Creating an ad group that consists of people who have already visited your landing pages can be the key to improving your conversion rate. (Image via Unsplash)

2. Take advantage of remarketing

Research shows that only about 2% of potential customers convert on their first visit. Does that mean you’re wasting your money on PPC ads? Of course not. You just have to boost their success by pairing them with remarketing (or retargeting) campaigns.

This process involves using ads to follow potential clients who have already clicked your ads once or visited your site. Placing your ad in front of them serves as a tasteful reminder of the action they may have wanted to take on your website.

Google Ads allows you to segment your remarketing lists to show ads to visitors based on their needs and the landing page the initial PPC ad brought them to. Creating an ad group that consists of people who have already visited your landing pages can be the key to improving your conversion rate.

3. Explore Microsoft Ads

Google Ads is an unmistakable leader in the PPC marketing realm. But that doesn’t mean others in the space aren’t worth exploring. For some companies, using Microsoft Advertising can be just the solution they’ve been waiting for. What’s more, you could potentially see more success with Microsoft Ads, depending on your industry, as there’s often less competition on these platforms. 

But simply importing a campaign over from Google Ads and forgetting about it means missing highly useful tools other ad platforms have to offer. For example, Microsoft advertising has:  

  • Action extensions: add CTA buttons near your ad that link to the landing page of your choice
  • Review extensions: feature reviews from third-party sites below your ad
  • LinkedIn targeting: view the reactions of the LinkedIn audience to your ads for further adjustments
  • Competition insight: see how your visibility compares to competition, which shows up for the same search queries

4. Pay attention to Amazon Ads

Another PPC optimization opportunity is Amazon Ads. While the audience covered by Google, Microsoft, and Facebook Ads is huge, those who see your ad on those platforms aren’t necessarily in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.

Amazon audiences, on the other hand, are geared toward spending money. People who visit this shopping giant are likely ready to buy, which increases your chances of conversion tremendously.

These are the types of sponsored Amazon ads at your disposal:

  • Products: keyword-targeted ads that allow you to promote a certain product
  • Brands: help promote the brand while including up to three products in the ad — the users are directed to the Stores page or custom landing page on Amazon
  • Display ads: send those who click to Amazon product detail pages, a custom landing page on Amazon, or an external website

Plus, you don’t need to sell your products on Amazon to take advantage of this advertising option. 

Pro tip: The average CPC on Amazon typically ranges between $0.02 and $3.

hawksem blog: ppc optimization

Core Web Vitals show how good of user experience you should aim to offer your visitors. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Take advantage of responsive search ads

After first appearing in 2019, Responsive Search Ads quickly gained tremendous popularity. That’s partly because these ads allow you to create four headlines and fifteen different descriptions for your ad. Google then tests various combinations of these elements and selects those that perform best depending on:

  • Keywords searched for
  • Devices used
  • Browsing behavior
  • And more

Responsive ads save time and money on A/B testing while allowing you to reach your target audience faster.

Want to learn more about optimizing your PPC campaign in 2020? Let’s talk.

6. Optimize your website

Your PPC campaign results can fall far below expectations if you don’t optimize your website to welcome your target audience once they arrive there. In 2021, Google has said they will consider Core Web Vitals when determining the ranking of your pages. These vitals include:

  • Loading performance: the page should load in under 2.5 seconds
  • Visual stability: the page’s elements shouldn’t move when the user is reading the text (it usually happens when a piece of media loads), forcing the visitor to search for their lost place
  • Interactivity: the time between the visitor taking action (like clicking a button or tab) and the website responding should be under 100 milliseconds

Core Web Vitals show how good of user experience you should aim to offer your visitors. Improving them won’t just improve search engine optimization efforts, but it’ll also help your PPC ad clickers actually convert.

The takeaway

PPC optimization is an ongoing process. And with multiple new options and updates happening every year, it’s nearly impossible to thrive without analyzing regularly so you can keep enhancing your strategies.

At the end of the day, the best PPC ads are clear, consistent, targeted to the right audience, and follow through on what they offer.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on May 11 , 2020

Don’t fall for these roadblocks on the path to PPC success.

Here, you’ll find:

  • The common PPC mistakes even seasoned marketers fall for
  • How to avoid these pitfalls in your own campaigns
  • What elements make up a successful PPC program
  • Why optimization, consistency, and proper targeting are key

Marketers have been trying to figure out the secret to effective pay-per-click (PPC) advertising since its inception. PPC ads are an essential part of any social media marketing strategy, but (as seasoned digital marketers know) creating great ads that get people to click can be tricky. 

It’s important to know some background of how PPC ads work and how you can use them effectively. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the top mistakes marketers make when creating their PPC ads — and what you can do to avoid them.

HawkSEM: PPC mistakes

Once you know your audience, you can choose better keywords and create stellar ad copy that gets your target audience to click. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Not having a concise goal and strategy

When you’re first starting out, don’t head into your PPC journey without a clear end goal in mind. This can leave you wandering in the dark, unsure about whether or not you’re making progress. Instead, start your campaign with a clear, specific goal in mind, and a timeframe in which to reach it. 

From there, create a map of how you plan to get to your goal. Define your audience as specifically as you can. After all, if you don’t know who your ads are for, how can you create effective ads in the first place? 

Once you know your audience, you can choose better keywords and create stellar ad copy that gets your target audience to click. 

2. Not geo-targeting

Even if you’re selling your product or service all over the country, geo-targeting can help your ads appeal to people on a more personal level. 

People are attracted to brands and ads that feel personalized and like they’re speaking to them. This goes for both local and national companies. Google will allow you to geo-target advertisements by state, so you can include the user’s home state in the header of your ad to grab their attention. 

Take it from the search engine itself: “Location targeting helps you focus your advertising on the areas where you’ll find the right customers, and restrict it in areas where you won’t,” explains Google. “This specific type of targeting could help increase your return on investment (ROI) as a result.”

3. Not using the right kinds of keywords

You already know how essential your keywords are in a campaign, but there are a few other things you need to be aware of to better make use of keywords. Keep in mind that the keywords that you’re using in your ad may not match exactly with a user’s search terms. 

Most searches are “longtail,” which means they are longer queries that may contain variations of your keywords. Focus more on these broader, long-tail keywords instead of on more specific keywords.

One of the PPC mistakes many companies fall for is failing to use negative keywords as a part of their strategy. Negative keywords are terms that you can use to tell Google which search terms you don’t want to show up in the results for. 

For example, if you were selling luxury bed sheets, and you’re using the keyword “bedsheets” in your campaign. You wouldn’t want to appear in a search query like “what to do with old bed sheets?” Using negative keywords can help improve the relevancy of your ads and make sure the right people are seeing them.

4. Not optimizing your landing pages

Where do people get sent when they click on your ad? If they’re not taken to a specific and optimized landing page, they may be unsure of what to do next. 

A landing page should have specific language about the next step a visitor to your site should take — aka the call to action (CTA). The CTA could ask them to sign up for your email list, schedule a consultation, fill out a form, or give you a call.

Make sure your landing page is written in clear, easy-to-understand language that matches the language in your ad, and that you have an explicit next step. Elements that make up a killer landing page include:

  • An eye-catching headline
  • An easy form
  • A mobile-friendly experience
  • A thoughtful design
HawkSEM: Common PPC mistakes

If people get different messages from your ads and landing pages, they may end up confused about who you are and what you offer. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Not having a consistent message

Throughout all the content you create (including ads and landing pages), your language, message, and branding should be consistent. If people get different messages from your ads and landing pages, they may end up confused about who you are and what you offer. 

Do your keywords match what you’re selling? Do they match the keywords on your landing page? If not, visitors may bounce from your page immediately, unsure of if your business is what they’re looking for. 

To remedy this, always repeat your ad copy on your landing page to keep visitors from getting lost or disoriented. You should also strive to have a similar design across all of your platforms and offerings, and keep the tone and voice consistent throughout as well.

6. Setting up a campaign and forgetting it

Another one of the most common PPC mistakes we see is thinking that you can simply set up a campaign and let run on its own. Rather, it requires consistent monitoring, analyzing, and updating to make sure your strategy is reaching its goal. 

Building a PPC campaign is a lot of work, so once it’s up and running, you may be tempted to leave it alone, sit back, and let it do its job for a while. But the truth is, you should be monitoring its performance daily. You’re paying for your ad daily, after all, so you should make sure your ad budget is being spent wisely.

Look at your KPIs and watch for a low click-through rate, a low number of conversions, keywords that aren’t converting, or other strange behavior or problematic issues. 

And as your campaign matures, you can start to think about scaling it. Once your campaign has collected enough data, you can work to expand your keyword lists, try new types of campaigns and bidding strategies, and set up additional campaigns.

7. Striving for #1

Everyone wants to come in first place with PPC advertising, but it may be difficult and unsustainable to strive for the top spot in the long term. 

While being in the number-one spot at the top of a search engine result page will pretty much guarantee you more clicks and an increase in web traffic, this isn’t always a great strategy for your budget. 

Ads further down the page can still have a great click-through and conversion rate and will end up costing you less in the long run. 

The takeaway

When it comes to creating PPC ads that work, you may need to use a little trial and error before you find a formula that gets you the results you want for your business. 

Avoiding the PPC mistakes above can help you on your journey towards creating a great PPC ad with a high click-through rate.  

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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