Optimize Your PPC Campaigns With These Tips

With the right approach, pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns are one of the most effective channels for digital marketing. In fact, the largest PPC platform right now, Google Ads, is so popular with marketers that it rakes in more than $100 billion each year. What’s more, returns are so strong that 78% of marketers increased their Google Ads budgets in 2019.

Despite the strong returns on Google Ads, few brands take full advantage of its tools and capabilities. Rather than eye-popping ROIs, their campaigns generate middling returns. This is usually a case of poor optimization. If you skimp on important investments (like keyword research and split-testing) or skip over powerful features (like ad extensions and RLSAs), your campaigns will suffer.

But if you optimize your PPC campaigns using the 7 tips below, you’ll see much stronger returns from Google Ads.

7 Tips for Better PPC Campaigns

1. Keyword Research

Keywords are the foundation of any successful Google Ads campaign. If you target the right keywords, Google will serve your ads to the right users at the right times. That means higher click-through and conversion rates, stronger Quality Scores, and lower Costs per Click.

Unfortunately, many brands fail to invest the kind of time and effort required for effective keyword research. This typically results in a list of broad, generic keywords, which tend to be more expensive, more competitive, and less conversion-friendly.

2. Negative Keywords

One of the best ways to target a broader range of keywords is to use Google Ads’ broad match or phrase match feature. However, these features can result in mismatches. For example, if one of your keywords is “men’s jeans,” broad match could serve your ad to someone searching for “men’s khakis.” That’s not very helpful if you only sell jeans.

To avoid theses mismatches, you can use negative keywords. Google will not serve your ad to searchers whose queries contain these keywords. So if you’re only selling jeans, you can add “khakis” as a negative keyword. This way, your ad will never appear in searches for “khakis.”

3. Location Targeting

If you operate a hair salon in Pittsburgh, you don’t want to serve ads to users searching for “hair salon” from a device in Houston, Salt Lake City, or Portland. In fact, you probably don’t want to serve ads to anyone who’s more than a few miles from your business.

With location targeting, you can narrowly target searchers within a certain radius or a defined geographic area. This way, your local business can serve ads exclusively to local consumers. You can even create different campaigns for different geographic settings.

4. Remarketing Audiences

If you’re not already using remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), you’re missing out on one of Google Ads most effective features. RLSAs allow you to target visitors who’ve previously visited your site. These users are already more likely to click on your ads and convert. Plus, you’ll be able to tailor a set of ads to this group.

Once you’ve started using RLSAs, you can also take advantage of Google Ads’ similar audiences feature. This feature automatically finds users with similar characteristics and search behaviors to the users on your RLSA lists. This gives you an entirely new group of users to target with similarly strong conversion rates.

5. Ad Extensions

Google Ads aren’t nearly as visible as other ad formats, relying largely on compelling headlines and copy. To make your ads more visible and more compelling, we recommend using ad extensions. Ad extensions allow you to include additional information, which can make your ads more compelling to users. At the same time, they increase the visibility of your ads, giving you a new way to grab users’ attention.

Some of the most popular and effective ad extensions include:

  • Call Extensions. Allow mobile users to call your business by pressing a button.
  • Callout Extensions. Add short blurbs to your ad, like “free delivery.”
  • Location Extensions. Include business information for your local business.
  • Message Extensions. Allow mobile users to send text messages to your business.
  • Sitelink Extensions. Add links to specific pages on your website.

6. Split-Testing

Split-testing has been a cornerstone of paid search campaigns from the outset. Yet many brands only perform limited A/B testing on their ads. After testing an initial set of ads at the start of a campaign, they fall into a groove. Rather than continually testing and refining ads, they allow them to stagnate.

Today, this kind of approach simply isn’t feasible. Consumer behaviors are evolving at a breakneck pace, and other advertisers are evolving just as quickly. If you’re not continually testing and refining your ads, they’ll fossilize before your eyes.

7. Conversion Tracking

Advertisers are charged for PPC ads on a click by click basis. What’s more, Google determines the cost of each click based on a Quality Score, which is determined by each ad’s click-through rate (CTR). This has made CTR the leading metric for measuring PPC ads and campaigns.

But if you’re measuring PPC campaigns by CTR alone, you’re missing the big picture. The real measure of a campaign’s success is in its conversions.

In Google Ads, you can solve this problem by adding conversion tracking to your campaigns. Conversion tracking uses HTML codes to track which users convert after clicking on PPC ads. It can be integrated with Google Analytics to track conversions through your website, and it allows you to measure important data like cost per conversion, conversion rate, and value per conversion.

Make sure you’re asking your digital marketing partner about these PPC tactics to ensure you’re getting most out of your campaigns. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get real results from your Pay Per Click marketing.

Getting Them To Click

Google Ads remains one of the most popular and cost-effective channels for digital marketers, boasting strong and easily measured ROI. Yet for some brands, paid search delivers middling results. Despite spending a good chunk of time and money on pay-per-click, these brands struggle to translate their investment into clicks.

A low click-through rate is the bane of any Google Ads campaign. But in many cases, it’s an easily remedied problem. With a strong understanding of why users click on paid search ads (and why they don’t), you can adjust your PPC strategy to capture clicks at a higher rate.

Why Users Click (or Don’t Click) on PPC Ads

On Google Ads, the average click-through is roughly 2%. However, this number can fluctuate in different circumstances.

For example, the average click-through rate for Google Ads on Google Search is roughly 3.15%. Yet on the Google Display Network, ads enjoy an average click-through rate of around 0.45%.

Click-through rates also vary from one sector to another. In one recent analysis, the industries with the highest click-through rates included Dating & Personals, Travel & Hospitality, and Automotive Sales. The industries with the lowest rates included Technology, B2B Vendors, and Employment Services.

But what about when you control for these factors? Why is it that some ads outperform others, even when they’re advertising the same product and targeting the same keywords?

According to a recent survey of users who clicked on paid ads, here are five of the top reasons why some ads enjoy higher click-through rates:

  1. The ad is a close or exact match for the user’s search intent.
  2. The user considers the ad the best answer to their search query.
  3. The ad is ranked above other ads and search results.
  4. The ad’s content is uniquely compelling to the user.
  5. The user recognizes and trusts the brand or product being advertised.

Based on this information, here are some quick tips and best practices to help you boost clicks on paid search ads.

How to Boost Your Click-Through Rate

Tailor Your Ads to Search Intent

The more closely your ad matches a user’s search intent, the more likely it is that the user will click on your ad. Unfortunately, many paid search ads do a poor job of answering users’ queries.

One of the best ways to get a sense of search intent for a given keyword is to look at Google’s top organic search results. These are the pages that Google believes are the best match for the users’ search query, so they’re an excellent guidepost for what kinds of ad content users will find relevant.

Effective Keyword Targeting

Low click-through rates often result from ineffective keyword targeting. Sometimes, brands over-rely on Google Ads’ “exact match” function, which can exclude valuable longtail keywords. Other times, brands use the “broad match” or “phrase match” functions, which tend to generate a mix of strong and weak keywords.

So, how can you capture longtail traffic while avoiding weak keywords? The best way to do this at the outset is to use “broad match” or “phrase match” combined with the “negative keywords” function. This will allow you to filter out keywords that contain words or phrases you don’t want to target. Over time, this will allow you to identify the keywords where you perform best.

Bid for Higher Ad Positions

If you consistently miss out on top ad positions, your click-through rate will inevitably take a hit. Ads in the #1 position on Google attract roughly six times as many clicks as ads in position #5 or lower.

So if you’re consistently ranking outside of the top two or three positions, your click-through rate will suffer. Consider experimenting with a new bid strategy to see if you can’t capture stronger ROI with larger bids.

Create Compelling Ads

Crafting compelling paid search ads is part art, part science, and well-worth the investment.

First, make sure that you’re leveraging the capabilities that Google Ads provides, like Expanded Test Ads and ad extensions. These features can increase the prominence and visibility of your ads while also adding new information to encourage clicks.

Second, take the time to craft content that resonates with users. Try to answer the user’s search query as clearly and directly as possible, use headlines to grab users’ attention, and include emotional triggers in your ad descriptions.

Target High-Value Users

Click-through rates soar when paid search ads are served to customers already familiar with a brand or product. If you’re not retargeting past visitors and existing customers, doing so could boost the performance of your paid search campaigns.

Retargeting will also give you the chance to leverage the “Similar Audience” feature on Google Ads. This feature allows you to target users with similar interests, search histories, and browsing behaviors as your retargeted audience. Similar audiences are a cost-effective way to drive clicks on paid search, since their click-through rates are comparable to the original audience.

Learn more about Qiigo’s Pay Per Click services here or speak to one of our digital experts by filling out the form.

Understanding Your PPC Campaigns

 

Before jumping into a digital marketing campaign, it’s important to understand how the program works and what you can expect in terms of results. Pay per Click (PPC) is an excellent way of gaining new customers to fill your pipeline, but you’ll need to understand the basics in order to achieve the results you’re looking for.

 

Here are some questions you may want to consider asking yourself or your digital marketing agency to get the best return on your investment from a PPC campaign.

 

Understanding Google

Google and AdWords are complex. Algorithms change regularly meaning you need to maintain an active interest in how Google is currently determining rankings and the rules around PPC ads. PPC is not a “set it and forget it” type of marketing. You need to stay on top of industry changes.

Here are a few areas you’ll want to make sure you keep an eye on and that your digital marketing agency understands.

  • Keyword research. Finding the keywords that will generate the most bang for your buck is an ongoing battle. Google offers a Keyword Planner Tool. There are many other industry tools available.
  • Quality Score. Affected by keywords, ad text, and the landing page, the quality score can affect results.
  • Google Auction. This is the process of determining which ads are displayed.
  • Click Through Rate. The ratio of number of clicks to the number of impressions. Often referred to as CTR.
  • Display Network. Google Display Network places your ad on websites as opposed to in the search results. It is different from the Search Network. Separating ad campaigns between the two networks is often advisable.

 

Understanding Retargeting

Retargeting is the effort put behind showing your ad to those who already visited your website. It’s a valuable way to remind potential customers that your product or service is available. Retargeting is a popular option that opens up another sequence of questions that should be considered. For example, you’ll need to consider if your website is equipped to handle the tracking that retargeting requires.

There are a variety of options in the retargeting universe. You’ll need to consider each type and if it’s beneficial to your brand. These include:

  • Search retargeting
  • Site retargeting
  • Social media retargeting
  • Email retargeting

As with any marketing campaign, you’ll want to be sure you are narrowing your efforts to a target audience.

Getting a handle on PPC and Retargeting can be a big job. Google offers lots of online resource for information, but having a qualified and experienced digital marketing team behind you is often best for a successful campaign.

 

 

 

Getting Your SEO and PPC to Work Together

When it comes to developing a digital marketing strategy, search engine results pages (SERPS) are incredibly important. Make it to the top of the first search results page on Google, and your business is virtually guaranteed to have an increase in traffic heading to your website.

 

Search ranking can be improved with two very different approaches, search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search engine marketing (SEM). SEO is the unpaid, organic approach to higher rankings. It relies on high-quality content that is optimized to show as a top result for searches on specific keywords. SEM, also referred to as pay-per-click (PPC), is the paid approach to search ranking. Brands bid on certain keywords and pay to have their links appear at the top of search pages for those keywords.

 

While SEO and SEM can both help improve your rank on search pages, many marketers choose to put all their efforts in only one, or use these tactics in competition with one another. With both tactics approaching search so differently, it’s easy to see why divisions begin, but there are huge benefits to combining both strategies.
 

SEO and SEM: They’re Better Together

Simply stated, using SEO and PPC in tandem can lead to better engagement, conversions, and retention. Here’s why:

 

Be Everywhere At Once

Some believe that SEO and SEM are competing for the same SERP real estate, but that’s simply not the case. SEM can only reside in the sponsored or paid part of the SERP, the sides and top of the page. SEO optimized content will appear only in the organic search results.

 

When your marketing strategy incorporates both SEM and SEO, your brand will dominate the SERP and have an advantage over the competition. Another bonus? The more users see your brand listed, whether it’s paid or organic, the more they will trust your brand. This combined approach will help your brand gain trust with increased visibility and lead to higher conversion rates.

 

Clicks and Content: They BOTH Matter

SEM and SEO are both important, but in different ways. SEM brings more traffic, faster and serves a few purposes. It can bring your site traffic while you’re building your organic SEO and waiting for it to gain traction. Since it works much quicker than SEO, it’s perfect for testing out new ideas and campaigns in hours instead of weeks.

 

But SEM will not lead to audience growth and conversion without engaging content. That’s where SEO comes in. Informative, accessible copy improves retention and leads to higher conversion rates. It build trust and credibility with your customers, and encourages follow-through with your brand, whether it’s an immediate purchase or connecting on social media or via email. SEO content can also be repurposed and shared on social channels for extended reach.

 

For a digital marketing strategy that covers all your SERP bases, SEM and SEO working together are a winning combination.    

 

 

PPC Basics Part 1: Understanding Paid Search to Grow Sales

Pay Per Click BasicsPaid search is a powerful digital marketing tool, and can place your business ad at the very top of search engine results at just the right moment. But learning how to effectively use paid search (or PPC) can be overwhelming. Here’s a quick but comprehensive run down on the basics of paid search and how it can work for your business.

How Paid Search Works

Paid search refers to ads placed at the top of the results screen on search engines, like Google and Bing. Businesses bid for top placement on these results pages for keyword terms and phrases that are related to their products or services. An example of this would be a cleaning company paying to have their ad shown when a customer searches for “cleaning services”.

 

The benefits of paid search are easy to see; a customer is in need of a service you provide, and your ad appears at the top of their search. PPC ads generate leads, that when followed up on and closed, can generate more business for your company.

What’s the Difference Between PPC and SEO?

When you use paid searches, you get instant results in the form of ads that can generate web traffic and leads. When you stop paying for paid searches, your ads and web traffic abruptly stop.

 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of your website in search results that are seen below PPC ads at the top of the page. SEO doesn’t provide instant results as paid searches do and should be seen as a long term investment in your website’s visibility. Ongoing SEO efforts will generate results that grow over time and provide free, organic web traffic.

 

Businesses looking to maximize their online presence use an ongoing strategy of combining SEO and PPC for maximum results.

Paid Search Acronyms (And What They Mean)

There are a slew of acronyms being used in the world of paid search. Here are some terms you may come across, and what they mean:

    • SEM: SEM stands for “search engine marketing” and can refer to any boost to your website’s visibility that you pay for, but it’s most often used in reference to PPC advertising.
    • PPC: PPC stands for “pay per click” and is the most common pricing structure in search engine marketing. Also referred to as paid search, it means that advertisers pay by the number of clicks an ad receives.
    • CPC: CPC stands for “cost per click” and determines the price an advertiser pays when someone clicks on their ad.
    • Max CPC: This is the maximum cost an advertiser is willing to pay per click. The CPC may come in lower than the Max CPC, but never higher.
    • CTR: CTR stands for “click through rate” and refers to the percentage of customers that clicked on your ad and how effective your ad is; a low CTR would indicate that many users are seeing your ad, but few are clicking on it.
    • CPM: CPM stands for “cost per mille” or cost per thousand impressions. It’s a different pricing model in which the advertiser pays based on how many times the ad is shown, not how many times it’s clicked.
    • CTA: CTA stands for “call to action, and it tells customers what to do next, such as “call now for an appointment” or “book today”.

 

 

This information touches on the basics of PPC, but how do you actually get set target keywords, get ads placed, and manage your campaign? We’ll cover that in our next post.

 

 

How to Write PPC Ads That Actually Convert in 2017

PPC Ads that convertIn terms of dollar for dollar performance, PPC advertising is one of the best most powerful tools in the internet marketer’s arsenal. But if you don’t know how to write PPC ads that convert, all the time and effort you put into your PPC campaigns will be for nothing.

The goods news? The principles behind high-performing PPC ads are simple to learn and easy to apply. And while recent changes to Google AdWords have made writing PPC ads a bit more complicated, learning how to harness the potential of these changes can send your click-through and conversion rates into the stratosphere.

Looking to take your PPC advertising campaigns to the next level this year? With this guide on how to write PPC ads, you’ll be drawing new clicks and new customers in no time.

Focus on PPC Ad Headlines First

When crafting PPC ads, the most crucial element will always be your headlines. That’s especially true now that Google has expanded AdWords headlines from a single headline of 25 characters to two headlines of 30 characters each.

Those two headlines will draw more eyeballs and generate more clicks than any other part of your ad, so it’s important that you invest the time it takes to make your headlines everything they should be. That means:

  • Including your targeted keywords
  • Offering a clear value statement
  • Including a call to action

Create Conversion-Friendly URLs for Your Ads

On any AdWords ad, your URL will appear directly beneath your headlines. This often makes it the second thing users see when they look at your ad. So take the time to create a destination URL that aligns with your campaign’s overall message, echoing one or more of the key points from your headlines.

Craft Copy That Compliments Your Headlines

The description portion of at PPC ad will always play second fiddle to the headline — but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the content in this part of your ad. When writing PPC ad descriptions, think of the description as complimentary text for your headline. Use this space to detail secondary points of value that your business offers.

Leverage PPC Ad Extensions to Draw Clicks

AdWords extensions are a great way to stuff extra information into your PPC ads. More importantly, they take up valuable real estate on search result pages. With the right combination of extensions, your ads can take up two or three times the space of your competitors’ ads, helping you draw more clicks.

Some of the best extensions available include:

  • Sitelinks extensions, which offer alternative links to other pages on your site.
  • Location extensions, which allow you to include your address and hours within ads.
  • Call extensions, which make it possible for users to place a phone call directly through your ad.
  • Review extensions, which incorporate online reviews from reputable third-party sites.
  • Callout extensions, which allow you to add short, additional blurbs beneath your description.

Go Granular with Device & Audience Targeting

It’s no secret that segmenting and microtargeting are winning strategies in PPC advertising. So be sure to structure your campaigns in a way where you’re targeting your target markets as precisely as possible. Whether you’re targeting geographic locations, age ranges, audience interests, or specific devices, having a clear sense of who your strongest targets are will be invaluable in getting your ads in front of the right eyeballs.

Ready to take your PPC advertising efforts to the next level? As a Google Premier Partner, Qiigo can help you research the right keywords, draft your campaigns, and write killer content for your PPC ads. Call us today at (888) 673-1212 to find out how you can get started.

Qiigo Announces Ad Budget Alerts

At Qiigo, we are always looking for ways to better serve our clients. We are pleased to announce a change to how we notify our clients when their Local Marketing Program budget is reaching its limit. If your account balance for Search Engine Advertising is running low, we will now be notifying you via Qiigo Ad Budget Alerts. Qiigo Ad Budget Alerts are proactive, automated email alerts that help you quickly and easily manage your online advertising budget.

With Qiigo Ad Budget Alerts, you can take prompt action to ensure your ads keep working for you, generating valuable leads for your business. And our system makes it easy for you to monitor, manage and adjust your ad budget when you need to.

qiigo ad budget alerts

Here’s how it works:

  • We will send you an email alert when your budget has 20% left for the month.
  • We send a second email alert at the 10% mark.
  • The email alert will include your total monthly budget, as well as the budget percentage remaining for the month.
  • Each email alert has a link, so you can immediately click to adjust your budget and keep the ads running if you need to.
  • Options for next steps include:
    • Adding budget just for the remainder of the current month
    • Adding a permanent increase in your monthly budget

How will Qiigo Ad Budget Alerts help you?

  • Our system will send you automated, proactive email reminders, because we know you’re busy running your business.
  • The Qiigo Ad Budget Alerts will help you understand how much budget you have left, compared to your overall budget each month. They help you make the best decision about whether to add budget just for this month, up your budget permanently, or just wait until next month to continue running ads.
  • If you need our help, each Qiigo Ad Budget Alert includes your Qiigo Account Manager’s contact information, so you can call or email us immediately to discuss your options.
  • By making sure your online a budget doesn’t accidentally run dry, we help keep leads coming to you, to grow your business.

Should you have questions or concerns, we always encourage you to reach out to your Account Manager. His or her contact information will be included in each email alert. We believe the new Qiigo Ad Budget Alert system will provide you with an easier way to manage your ad budget, so leads keep coming and you can focus on growing your business.

Other Important Features about Qiigo Ad Budget Alerts

  • If you ever want to shut off the alerts, we make that easy with a simple “1-click Unsubscribe” process.
  • If you decide to ignore the alerts, that’s ok. We’ll send another one at the next alert set-point, and when your account runs out for the month.
  • When your account runs out, your ads will pause, and no further leads will be generated until the ads restart next month. However, if you have a monthly budget allocated, they will restart automatically with no further action required from you.
  • Qiigo does not get paid more, if you run more ads. Unlike most digital marketing agencies, we do not charge a percentage of your ad spend. We simply want to help you succeed, by helping you generate the best, most profitable leads to grow your business.

Google Removes Right Column PPC Ads

Never shy to make changes, Google has made a major shift in the way that pay per click ads appear in search results. Starting in late February, PPC ads have been removed from the right column on all desktop search result pages. At the same time, Google has rolled out an increased number of banner-style ads on some pages, with many SERPs now seeing as many as four above-the-fold banner ads.

The change has many marketers wondering why this change has been made now, its effects on PPC, and what it means for digital marketing going forward.

Why Right Column Ads Died

right side ppc

While some digital marketing experts were surprised by the change, there’s nothing too shocking about Google removing right column PPC ads. Google and digital marketers have known for years that right column ads perform significantly worse than above-the-fold banner ads.

One recent study showed that top-of-page banner ads receive 85% of all clicks. Another study concluded that customers are fourteen times more likely to click on a top-of-page ads compared to sidebar ads on Google search results. According to Google’s Matt Lawson in a recent post explaining the change, users just don’t click on sidebar ads.

The rise of mobile search – which doesn’t allow for sidebar ads in search results – also led to the decision. Google has noticed that more and more users are starting searches on one device and then completing them on another. By removing right column ads, Google has created a more unified cross-platform search experience.

Google’s Expansion of Top-of-Page Ads

To offset the removal of sidebar ads, Google has expanded the number of banner ads that appear above organic search results. Previously the upper limit for the number of above-the-fold banner ads on each SERP was three. Google has increased that limit to four ads per page.

Google claims that this change will only affect “a very small percentage of highly commercially relevant queries.” But some marketers are already reporting that as many as one third of all search results are returning four-ad pages.

While, this might seem like an uneven trade off – five sidebar ads for one banner ad – the difference in click-through rates between sidebar and banner ads is expected to offset this.

Looking to give your business’s PPC and SEO efforts a boost? Call Qiigo at (404) 496-6841 today to find out how our experts can supercharge your digital marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing Facts Check Up

digitalmarketing

As we near the mid-way point of 2015, it’s important to take stock of how the year has been progressing and what’s on the docket for the remainder of the year. As expected, digital marketing is continuing to have a significant impact on how we market our businesses. As more businesses add or expand the percentage of marketing spend directed towards digital, it’s a good idea to look at some key digital marketing facts.

    78% of Americans have high-speed internet at home.

    It turns out that high-speed internet usage varies greatly between age, race and geographic areas. According to the US Census Bureau, 88.5% of San Jose area residents use the internet compared to only 69% of Fresno area residents.

    More than 90% of Americans own a cell phone.

    When you see this statistic it is clear why digital marketing continues to grow. More Americans have a cell phone than high-speed internet at home.

    More than 8 million US homes have dropped cable or satellite TV.

    Those 8.6 million households without cable or satellite TV equate to 7.3% of households. The number of US households who cut the cable cord continues to grow. The widespread acceptance of streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) has contributed to the growth of those households without cable or satellite TV.

    Multi-channel usage exceeds 50%.

    More than half of all American adults report doing something else while watching TV. Top omni-channel distractions include email, talking or texting via mobile devices, surfing the web, and watching videos on mobile devices.

    TV advertising costs continue to rise.

    Even with the distracted nature of watching TV continuing to rise, TV ad rates are going up. Cable TV rates jumped 7.1% while network TV rates remained roughly flat.

    Nearly 25% of ad spend allotted to digital.

    In 2015, it is estimated that $183 billion will be spent on advertising with roughly $50 billion going to digital media expenditures.

How does your marketing plan layout for the remainder of 2015? Do you have a solid digital marketing strategy in place or are you looking to revamp the distribution of your marketing dollars.

Call Qiigo today at (404)496-6841 to discuss online marketing strategies that include Local Listings Management, Pay per Click, Search Engine Optimization, and more.