Advertising with pay per click services like Google AdWords is alluring in its simplicity.
If the consumer doesn’t click on your advertisement, then you don’t pay for it. Yet businesses of all sizes frequently fail to maximise their PPC spend due to a few basic mistakes and poor management. Many of these blunders, such as failing to properly manage their AdWords, could easily be avoided by applying some of these basic techniques.
Identify the Primary Aim of the Campaign
It is easy to want to pursue multiple objectives at the same time with your PPC campaign, but establishing precise aims early on in your campaign can save you pain and money down the road. Remember, not every PPC campaign is a direct sales push. First determine the primary goals of your campaign, and then develop an appropriate strategy to achieve your objective.
If, for example, the objective of your campaign is to increase brand awareness, then you would want to create a campaign built around Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM), allowing you to broaden the exposure of your adverts. Alternatively, if your goal is to create conversions then you may be better off using a Cost-Per-Action (CPA) strategy.
Avoid "Broad Match" Keywords
Implementing “broad match” keywords in your campaign means that your advertisements will be shown for any phrases/words that are relevant or similar to your specific keywords. As tempting as that is, unless exposure is your primary goal, it can end up costing you more than its worth.
With “broad match keywords, your site may well be inundated with traffic but the majority of it is likely to be completely irrelevant. In this instance, your site’s conversion rate will drop while your advertising costs increase. Instead, focus on specific keyword match types. Inbound traffic will likely drop, but your conversion rates will increase as inbound traffic transitions to a more relevant audience.
Using Negative Keywords
Of greater importance than your ads appearing for relevant keywords, is ensuring that they do not appear during irrelevant searches. This is the beauty of negative keywords; they prevent your ads from appearing during incongruous searches. Taking the time to create a comprehensive list of negative keywords will save you money and help ensure that each in-bound click is relevant.
Focus on Relevancy in the Landing Pages
Your landing page has to be perfect. It has to load quickly but, more importantly, it must be relevant to your ad. The client should see exactly what they were expecting to see. If your page is unrelated to your advertisement then you are not only going to lose a sale, but your site’s ad quality score is going to be lowered.
A low score means that you will receive less exposure and pay higher fees for each click than an advertiser that has a higher ad quality score. The importance of keeping your landing page relevant cannot be stressed enough.
Use Your AdWords Account Efficiently
AdWords can be your best friend if it is properly managed. Always keep your AdWords account well-structured and easy to manage. This entails verifying that each campaign targets only one product category, ad-extensions are being employed, keywords are relevant and the account is being managed knowledgably. This is a powerful tool in your box, so use it well.
It isn’t enough to simply create a PPC campaign and hope for the best. Even watching Google Analytics isn’t enough to determine your ads’ effectiveness. Conversion tracking involves adding a small snippet of HTML code into the webpage your customers see once they have made a purchase or an enquiry (whatever it is you want to track).
This then allows you to follow which ad your customers are clicking on and what actions they performed on your site. Conversion tracking is essential for knowing how well your campaign is working, or indeed if it’s working at all. It is one of most effective ways of determining which keywords, ad groups, and campaigns are the most productive use of your advertising budget.
Never stop Tweaking
Internet advertising changes on a daily basis and many products and services experience seasonal or long term trends with different keywords rising or falling in popularity over time.
As such your PPC campaign needs to be adaptive and flexible. Constantly monitor, test and examine your campaigns to determine which adverts, audiences, landing pages, and call-to-actions are getting the best responses. You should always be looking for improvements you can make to maximise every penny of your advertising budget.
About the Author
Thomas Coppen is the Technical Director of Bristol based online advertising specialists Keel Over Marketing, which he founded in 2012. As one of the first beneficiaries of financial backing from ex-Dragon James Caan's Start Up Loans Company, Thomas has gone onto secure a client base for his company that spans America, Australia and Asia, as well as Europe. You can connect with Keel Over on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.