A big THANK YOU to those of you who tuned into our latest PPC webinar! If you missed it, don’t worry. Now’s your chance to find out how to make your PPC campaigns shine.
You need many elements for a successful PPC campaign. However, we have identified 7 you absolutely cannot do without. From precise audience targeting methods to campaign testing strategies, these 7 elements will help turn your PPC campaigns into lead-generating, ROI machines.
We at SEO Inc. implement these 7 elements in our award-winning PPC management campaigns. We shared them in our PPC webinar, and now we’ll share them with you again.
Here are the 7 MUST-have elements of a successful PPC campaign:
1. Remarketing Lists
“Anyone who knows anything about marketing knows you have to have a target market.”
And what better target than people who have already visited your website? Remarketing lets you show ads to people who have already expressed interest in buying your product. Whether they actually bought anything the first time or not, remarketing gives you another chance to turn visitors into loyal customers.
You can implement remarketing in your AdWords account. Keywords, the backbone for any AdWords campaign, will be your main targeting element for remarketing. But you’ll also need to flex your HTML chops a bit by adding a snippet of code called an AdWords remarketing pixel to each page of your site. This makes it so that whenever someone visits your website, it puts a cookie onto their device (desktop, smartphone, etc.) so that when they browse, they can see ads from your site.
“If someone has visited your site, they’re interested.”
Be sure the remarketing code is on every page. Remarketing is useful for capturing not only PPC leads but organic too. Basically, if someone has visited your site, they’re interested.
You can also refine your traffic even more with URL rules. These split your remarketing lists to show ads specific to visitors’ interests. For example, you have a website that sells all kinds of books, and you want to show ads to people who like science fiction books. You can set a rule for your lists to show sci-fi specific ads for anyone who has visited the URL for your sci-fi section.
List exclusions can accomplish this as well. By excluding traffic, you only show targeted, relevant ads for customers. For example, say you’re an insurance company that sells life insurance. Life insurance is the kind of thing people aren’t interested in buying all the time. Remarketing lists and customer match lists exclude the traffic of customers who have already bought it from you, so you don’t show a bunch of ads to people who aren’t going to convert again any time soon. Customer match lists are a recent innovation from Google that let you show ads to a list of email addresses who have chosen to opt into your marketing. These can be made up of people who haven’t been to your site recently.
Showing remarketing ads like you would to the general public is arguably the biggest remarketing mistake agencies make. They aren’t the same target market; attracting new users and ones who have visited your site are very different.
How do I use remarketing for a successful PPC campaign? It’s all about those bid adjustments. Consider setting your bids 25-40 percent higher for remarketing ads. You know they’re qualified leads because these are people who have actually visited your site before. URL rules and list exclusions can help your remarketing lists get even stronger, so don’t forget to make use of those.
If used right, remarketing can help lower your cost per lead.
2. Ad Extensions
Want to make your ads stand out? Ad extensions are the answer. These are additional elements of your ads that show relevant, targeted information. They appear along with your ad copy to create eye-catching ads.
All too often we see companies with big spend not leveraging ad extensions to help their campaigns. This is inexcusable, as ad extensions improve click through rates and are completely free.
- Structured Snippets
Ad extensions make your ads stand out from your competitors’ ads and get you more clicks. In addition to taking up more space on the search results page—more “real estate,” as it were—they also draw customers’ eyes without them really realizing it.
For example, the terms for “local car wash” can generate a ton of ads, but the one with a phone number and Google maps will probably convert better. Even more so for a mobile ad with a click-to-call button. They offer more information and look more complete, so users will be more likely to click these than ads that don’t use extensions.
Although ad extensions generally have a higher cost per click (which Google says is “due to competition for prominence”), they generally have higher ad rank, which leads to higher average positions and lower cost per click. In fact, extensions can boost you to the next one or two positions.
You can create ad extensions in new or existing campaigns by going to AdWords and selecting the extensions you want to include. Some may show up automatically, like review stars, which can be generated if they’re relevant to the search query.
3. Mobile Marketing
“Mobile isn’t the future; mobile is NOW.”
As of last year, there are now more mobile searches than desktop searches. But wait, there’s more:
- 68% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up
- 87% always have their phones at their side
- People check their phones 150 times a day on average
- People spend 177 minutes on their phones a day
What this should show you is that the mobile market is huge. With how often people are on their phones, you have many opportunities to appeal to mobile users. However, you don’t have much time to do so—mobile sessions are short, typically averaging 1 minute and 10 seconds. People can consume a lot of pages in that time, and if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you can bet they’ll go see what your competitors have to offer.
Your website needs mobile optimization. It needs fast load speed for mobile devices, mobile-friendly navigation, site search, click-to-call targets, simple information entry, and other essential features.
You could set up the best PPC campaign in the world—with ad extensions, remarketing lists, and everything—but with a poor mobile website, it won’t mean anything.
Don’t prepare for the mobile future. It’s already here. So you have to play catch-up.
4. Landing Page Optimization
A landing page is designed to do two main things: reduce bounce rate and improve conversion rate. As the gateway to your website, it’s important for your landing page to look good. If a user clicks an ad and gets sent to a landing page that doesn’t look good, she will leave. But if it does look good, she will be more likely to stay on your site and convert. It’s as simple as that.
Which makes us all the more surprised that we still see sites with so many ineffective landing pages.
The main issue is that looks aren’t everything. Your landing page needs to perform well. You could test button colors, text format, text sizes—these are all things that can move conversions early, but they won’t give you a truly effective landing page. What you need is true landing page optimization.
The first thing you need with landing page optimization is fast page speed. It’s what SEO Inc. does to drive CRO and increase leads for our clients. For reference, the average bounce rate for an eCommerce site is roughly 60 to 85 percent. This means out of 1000 visitors, 850 people are leaving right away.
To increase your page speed, you need to reduce your TTFB—“time to first byte”—which is the latency time from your browser to the server and back. You should also get your website on a CDN like Akamai, Amazon Web Services, or Cloudflare. This can cut down the time it takes for your landing page to reach the visitor.
Optimizing your landing page is like having a brick and mortar retail store. If you have a messy storefront, people are probably going to think twice about going in. Same goes for your landing page; you have to make visitors feel invited. And if your door doesn’t open when they come knocking, no one’s going to see what you have to offer.
5. A/B Split Testing
If you expect to flip the switch on your PPC campaign and expect instant success, you’re doing it wrong. PPC isn’t something to be fired and forgotten—not when you can run tests to see what’s working and what’s not.
A/B split testing shows your audience two different versions of an ad and tests their effectiveness. It’s a great way to fine-tune a campaign while it’s running. You need to test every element of your PPC campaign on a regular basis. We recommend following these steps:
- Measure – Collect data
- Analyze – Look at the data you get back
- Test – Try, try, try again
- Optimize – Go with what’s working
A/B split testing requires extra work, but it has some great benefits:
- Lower avg. cost per click
- Increased conversions
- Lower actual conversions costs
- Improved audience targeting
Almost everything can be split tested: ads, keywords, landing pages.
Even with all these benefits, A/B testing isn’t foolproof. The biggest mistake we see with split testing is testing is stopped before it should be. Maybe they reach a point where they’re satisfied with the results they’re seeing, or they’re simply tired of tracking a really long campaign. But PPC at large isn’t something to “quit while you’re ahead;” you want statistically significant data that will justify all the work you’ve been doing.
Our advice? Collect data and click through until the very end of the campaign. If you stop too early, you won’t see how visitors interact with your ads toward the end of a campaign, which will rob you of seeing the big picture.
Here’s a tip to help you manage your workload: split test only one piece of the campaign at a time. That way, you can find out what’s working without feeling overwhelmed.
6. Conversion Tracking
As we said, statistically significant data lies at the heart of every successful PPC campaign. Knowing whether visitors are converting in the right ways is critical, whether that’s downloading a PDF or filling out a contact form. AdWords records all the data you need to analyze the performance of your campaigns:
- Click through rates
- Position cost
- Cost per click
Just like A/B split testing, tracking conversions makes use of all the data you find and turns lets you fine-tune your campaign. However, if you aren’t tracking conversions, there’s no way you could know whether Adwords is really paying off or not. You don’t have any idea what your ROI is.
One of the most important things you can do for tracking conversions is to focus on micro conversions. Macro conversions (making a purchase, etc.) will still ultimately be the end goal, however, micro conversions help you see how customers get there.
For example: say a user is looking for a new pair of dress shoes. She clicks on your ad, and it takes her to your website with the exact shoes she wants. Even better, your site has them on sale until end of the week. The user doesn’t want to forget it, so she makes a reminder on social media to order them when she gets on her home computer.
So what’s the moral of this story? If you aren’t tracking all those steps, you’re not seeing how they can lead to macro conversions. You can’t see how the user went from ad to landing page to social media. You can’t see how valuable it is to see where along the customer journey she was.
For PPC success, knowing how close the user is to making a purchase is something you must understand. So set up conversion tracking!
7. SEO Inclusion
You should know by now that SEO and PPC don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, when you add SEO strategies into your PPC campaigns, that’s when they really take off.
We’ve mentioned before how PPC can be a huge help even if you’re already ranking organically. And in our recent talks with Google, it’s becoming more clear that PPC and SEO “are best when used together.”
It all has to do with how people search for what they need or want. Google has revealed that half of all people search between brand and generic terms during their customer journey toward buying something online. However, if you think you don’t need to worry about generic terms because people are already searching for your brand, that’s wrong. 71% of people who begin a search do so using generic terms, not branded ones. These generic terms could be related to your competitors, so you need to bid on them or risk losing their business.
Additionally, Google has found that 89% of paid clicks “are incremental to organic clicks.” What this means is if you stopped bidding on your keywords, 89% of that traffic goes away. Maybe you think your organic traffic is doing so well that it can pick up the slack from the paid ads—but this is dangerous thinking.
People click PPC ads differently than organic ads, and you can’t expect the ads to perform the same. However, when you use both to their strengths, you get an incredibly well-rounded and far-reaching PPC campaign.
So our first piece of advice: bid on both generic and branded terms.
Our second recommendation: Use AdWords and Bing Ads. We’ve been mainly talking about Google AdWords for this webinar and recap, but adding Bing Ads to your PPC efforts can make a huge difference. It’s like throwing out a bigger net to catch a wider pool of customers, wherever on the web they’re surfing.
Finally, all the previous things we’ve talked about—split testing, landing page optimization, conversion tracking—you want to be doing them for SEO as well as PPC. Having both your organic and your paid search results covered is only a good thing.
We at SEO Inc. have extensive experience in combining paid and organic efforts. We’ve found again and again that the campaigns that use SEO and PPC together in the ways we’ve described above as the ones that get the best results.
Want more from SEO Inc.?
We hope you enjoyed our extensive recap on our PPC webinar! You can view the entire thing, including Q&A questions from the audience, here.
If you’re looking for more detailed answers, we invite you to send your questions our way! Whether you’re wondering what to do about your mobile site or simply figuring out what kinds of conversions you need to track, we’d love to lend our expertise.
We look forward to helping you create the best PPC campaigns you’ve ever had!