Many advertisers significantly increase the budgets for their PPC campaigns in the hope of increasing ad clicks and conversions. While that's convenient, it's not necessarily the wisest move. The efficacy of your Google Ad campaign — search, display, or otherwise — depends on a variety of factors including ad format, copy, creatives, and targeting. As such, this article offers some valuable suggestions from industry experts on how to get the most out of your PPC advertising budget.
The average global click-through rate for Google search ads is only around 6-7% of the impressions.
Up your keyword strategy game
Although there are many free tools for developing keyword lists, selecting high-performing keywords requires more than having the raw data. Google Analytics, Search Console, Google Search Central — formerly Google Webmaster — and strategic keyword segmentation are valuable tools to help you find the right keywords that'll most likely attract the right people to your ads.
The creator of SEO Chatter, Stephen Hockman, said that the basic principle behind keyword research is to find out what people are interested in and customize one's content accordingly. "And depending on the stage of the buyer’s journey that a person is on," Hockman added, "certain keywords are more appropriate to target."
This notion of keyword appropriateness drives both organic and paid SEO efforts. Even if you'd be hiring independent talents or agencies to handle developing your keyword strategy, it is useful to know more than just the basics. This will also help you to choose keywords that will yield higher returns.
Review your targeting options
Take the time to understand the intricacies of targeting before committing to anything else. For SaaS businesses, particularly, experimenting with the options of targeting status in Google Ads will work wonders for their PPC ads.
"The relevancy of your campaign targeting and ad copy will not only help improve the quality of its performance but will also help you reduce wasted spend on irrelevant traffic," said Adzooma's PPC Manager Sophie Logan.
Try other ad formats
Oftentimes, an increase in your budget yields no increase in conversions because your ads are better suited to other formats. "It can be tough for any advertiser to determine whether to use search ads vs display ads in their online campaigns," noted Stephanie Mialki, a Digital Marketing Specialist with GaggleAMP. “It’s an imperative decision to make because using the wrong ad format could waste a significant percentage of paid advertising budget.”
Advertisers can, of course, simultaneously run both display and search ads. But maximum reach isn’t necessarily a good thing, "because the key to advertising is getting your product or service in front of the right audience — not just the biggest."
Search ads should be used to supplement organic growth, capture high-quality leads, promote urgent services — plumbers, locksmiths, electricians, etc. — or simply cater to a local audience. Mialki also recommends that the ads are most convenient for businesses with a smaller budget or who have a shorter sales cycle.
Display ads, however, are meant for creating brand awareness, promoting visual products or services — think home decor — or reaching highly niched markets. Testing your campaigns with other ad formats could be an excellent way to figure out which works best for your business targets, saving you a fortune in ad spend.
Don't overlook mobile users
Half the time people spend online is on their mobile devices. In the last five years alone, global mobile traffic has increased by about 5%.
"While mobile web traffic recently started to outperform traditional desktop traffic, mobile conversions still lag behind desktop conversions," lamented Carena Marchi, Events & Brand Experience Coordinator at AMC Networks. "This is primarily due to digital marketers not creating and optimizing their landing page content to fit seamlessly with mobile browsers."
Make sure your landing page loads quickly and has condensed navigation. Also, keep an eye on the layouts of any form you might have. "When making a campaign optimized for mobile phones," advises RushOrderTrees CEO Michael Nemeroff, "you should also consider using short-tail keywords as it is more suitable for mobile users who use shorter keywords [in their search queries]." Neglecting mobile users will only hurt your PPC budgeting.
Use observation settings to uncover helpful data about your PPC campaign
Observation settings is a feature on Google Ads that allows you to monitor how ads are performing for your selected placements, topics, or audiences while your campaign is running.
Google emphasized that the setting only shows you "how additional criteria perform when they fall within the scope of your existing targeting." This feature works particularly well with shopping ads and can be found under Targeting >> Narrow targeting >> Add observations.
"As a general rule of thumb, I typically do not recommend Observation on any Display or YouTube campaign," cautioned Brooke Osmundson, the Leader of Digital Marketing at Smith Micro Software. "This is because those campaigns are more awareness-focused, and targeting a proper audience is key." Instead, she proposes using the setting to experiment with new audiences rather than jumping all in without any data.
Nonetheless, you can use the data obtained to guide further campaign actions, such as making bid adjustments based on certain criteria. The insights would help you determine where the noise in your ads resides and allow you to direct your funds where it matters.
Allow enough time for all changes to take effect
"Changes in the Display Network can take 12–24 hours to apply and may not show right away. Keep this in mind while creating a new campaign or making changes to an existing campaign," says the relevant Google Ads help page.
Ignite Visibility's John Lincoln suggested that advertisers wait two to three weeks before analyzing the performance of a new display campaign. Injecting more money in the first week because you don't see any change in the ad is not a good idea. This is because the Google Ads algorithm might still be working to improve the ad's performance. Along the same line, avoid over-experimenting in too little a window.
Learn more: PPC Vs. SEO: An Analysis of Two Powerful Acquisition Models
Implement ad fraud prevention tools
Ad fraud has been a persistent threat to online advertising for many years. Monetary losses have been enormous, and the estimated annual cost of digital ad fraud worldwide is expected to reach $100 billion! Fake traffic or other forms of ad fraud, whether in display or search, will inhibit your campaign's conversion potential.
Maddie Raedts, the Founder & Chief Creative Officer for Influencer Marketing Agency, on ad fraud: “Make sure to keep an eye out for suspicious activities that feel unnatural. If you are unsure, compare your patterns with the activity being monitored to decide whether it requires more investigation. The best way to fight ad fraud is by preventing the possibility for it to happen — for example, by using ad verification tools.”
There are various digital marketing tools available that can help you with budgeting, tracking ad performance, implementing anti-fraud solutions, and a lot more marketing processes. Running a successful PPC campaign requires you to keep an eye on the conversion funnel, and to take advantage of every opportunity to enrich the intent behind your ads.
Learn to make the most of your resources, and give yourself a chance to discover your marketing edge. Hopefully, this article provided you with the experts' insight that would help you accomplish that, leading you to create profitable PPC ads.