If you are part of a team that manages digital advertising, you probably spend a fair amount of time looking for new PPC strategies to test out. The key to getting successful results from your PPC campaigns is developing a strategy that utilizes the many powerful tools provided by Google AdWords. While boosting your clicks and conversions may initially seem like a daunting task, don’t fear! There are many tangible ways to help drive traffic and increase sales. Google is constantly adding new tools and refining older ones to help boost your arsenal. To help you best navigate the field, here are six of the best PPC strategies worth testing.
Take Advantage of Negative Keywords
As your AdWords account grows, it can become slowly less efficient if not monitored properly. If you are using a variety of match types, you may be casting quite a wide net with which to catch a user’s search query. This can sometimes cause issues when not monitored closely. Think of your PPC accounts as bonsai trees that need to be meticulously trimmed and groomed, and less like a fire that you continue to throw fuel into. To find out where your PPC accounts need to be trimmed, consult the Search Terms Report.
Search Terms Report
Nestled in the “Keywords” area of Google AdWords, you’ll find a section labeled “Search Terms Report”. This area of AdWords houses all of the search queries that triggered your ads during the time period you’re looking at. It also houses KPIs like conversions, impressions, clicks, and more for each query. Make sure to consult your Search Terms Report frequently to check for irrelevant searches that may be wasting your money. Failure to monitor the Search Terms Report could allow your PPC campaigns to grow out of control.
Similarly, Google Analytics also has a Search Terms section, nestled under Acquisition > AdWords. This is useful because it allows you to view individual queries through the lense of on-site behavior. For example, if users that land on your site are searching for “super tight slacks”, but people that search for “fitted slacks” seem to behave drastically different when interacting with your site, you can easily determine which term you should pay more attention to. Using session duration as a proxy when evaluating the validity of a keyword or search term is a good first step.
Use Conquesting Search Ads
The reality of search is that it is extremely competitive. SInce the search space is becoming more crowded every day, it is important to alter your strategy accordingly. Further, it is crucial to identify your competitors with higher search volume by using a tool like Similar Web as a starting point. After that, you need to determine how best to conquest traffic from them. It’s important to note that conquesting search can be expensive, and you won’t be able to judge the results without testing it. However, after defining your target competitors and building out well structured campaigns, you will be able to determine a baseline performance.
Testing and Scaling
Some of your conquesting efforts may work and some may not. It is important to evaluate the performance and adapt appropriately. One important step is to use RLSA audiences to bid up on conquesting keywords. The key to properly utilizing RLSA audiences is to target people who have been to your website, thus, are lower funnel, but are also looking at your competition. These are searches that you absolutely want to show up for, so be sure to increase your bids and take that top spot! When you have this down, scale up the conquesting keywords that convert and monitor them closely for the best results.
Apply an Ad Schedule in PPC
If you’re running out of angles to look at your campaigns from but can’t quite figure out how to push their performance a bit further, you may need to take a look at your ad scheduling. Within your campaign settings, you can set specific days and times when your ads will run. This will vary widely by the type of business you’re in. For example, if your business is only open Monday – Friday from 9AM to 5PM, but you must be in the office to answer phone calls and talk to potential leads, it does not make sense to run your ads for 24 hours every day. However, there are some other considerations you may need to take before making changes to your ad schedule.
How To Setup Ad Schedules
To view your ad schedule, navigate to the “Ad Schedule” tab in your Google AdWords dashboard. Here, you’ll see a table that shows your campaign performance by day. If you want to get more granular with the data for a specific day, navigate to the “Day and Hour” tab. Doing this will allow you to see if there any problem areas or potential areas of opportunity. For example, are you getting a lot of clicks, but no sales, for users coming to your site Saturday after 7pm? Try excluding that traffic to see if your campaigns become more efficient, or if these users are coming back to purchase at a later date or time. Testing and tweaking like this is crucial to increasing the performance of your PPC campaigns.
Use Both Bing Ads and AdWords
Oh Bing Ads, nobody appreciates you. Too many PPC advertisers have AdWords campaigns, but completely ignore Bing Ads. Sure, AdWords has more search traffic and thus more users, but often, Bing Ads have lower CPCs and higher CTRs than Google. In general, Google users tend to stay away from Bing, with one estimate stating that Bing has access to around 59 Million users that are not using Google at all.
So, why should you start campaigns on both AdWords and Bing? Beyond simply increasing your reach, you open up a new, lower-cost, search traffic channel that has the same level of intent as your AdWords traffic. Also, it’s really easy to setup. Microsoft knows that most businesses live within AdWords, so they’ve made it possible to simply import your AdWords campaigns into Bing with the click of a button.
Dive into Audiences in PPC
We briefly touched on RLSA audiences earlier, but to reiterate, these are “Remarketing Lists for Search Ads”, or lists of users who have been to your website and can be targeted in search when their queries match your keywords.
RLSAs allow you to apply a bid modifier to users in a specific audience. For example, if you’re a coffee shop and cannot afford to bid on searches like “starbucks” or “coffee”, but can bid on those terms when you know they’ve already been to your website, you should be utilizing this PPC strategy. To use RLSA, you need to have enabled remarketing in Google Analytics, create an audience to retarget against based on their behavior on your website, and have these audiences linked to AdWords.
Using Audiences For Prospecting
How can you use audiences to impact the efficiency of your prospecting campaigns in search? By using “Similar” audiences, Google will identify users who closely resemble your existing website users and target them in search. These lists evolve over time to keep up with any changes to your business. Similar Audiences are an incredibly useful PPC tool that you should be taking advantage of.
Add Remarketing To AdWords
Not only can you use remarketing in search, but adding a display retargeting component can also be incredibly beneficial to your account. By enabling display ads that follow your site visitors across the internet, Google is enabling you to stay in view and bring people back to take action.
There are two main things to consider based on the type of business you’re in. Ecommerce companies should target any user, but can also narrow down their scope to product page visitors and cart abandoners. Then, these users can be driven to the next step in the process. On the other hand, B2B marketers can use retargeting to turn site visitors into leads and send users to gated pages with a lead magnet..
How To Set Up Remarketing Audiences
Wondering how you can make these audiences? Thankfully, Google offers a comprehensive guide to audience creation. The main thing to keep in mind is that audiences can simply be built based on the URL that users visited.
To create an audience, go to the Admin section of Google Analytics, click on Audience Definitions > Audiences > Create New and select “Conditions” from the table of options. In the search bar, type in “Page”, then enter the page you’re looking for.
For example, if you want to make an audience of blog visitors and the url is www.mysite.com/blog, simply type blog into the URL field. Making audiences of content visitors, product page visitors, users who added to the cart, etc. can help you build out a diverse marketing funnel that brings people back and grows your business.
Although these strategies can sometimes feel complex and overwhelming, rest assured that you now have all of the tools to make sure your campaigns are running as efficiently as possible. Also, be sure to continue following Big Drop to keep up with the latest SEM trends.
Now, what are you waiting for? Audit your account, fix any problem areas, and increase your performance!