PPC or Pay Per Click is a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. People need to abide by the Pay Per Click campaign rules in order have their online business flourish.
Even though Paid Search advertising has existed since February of 1998, the core fundamentals are still frequently overlooked. Here’s a list of 7 Pay Per Click campaign best practices that should always be followed:
Define goals and set strategy
Before constructing any PPC accounts, answer these two questions:
Also Read: Future of Paid Search Is Audience Not Keywords
What is your target market? Are you marketing to male homeowners between the ages of 25-40? Or to everyone in the US who has a credit card? Different audiences require different messaging.
What is your business trying to do? Maximize action volume in a lead-generation account? Maximize profit or ROI in a revenue-based account? Increase brand awareness? These are different conversion goals that require different strategies.
Use conversion tracking to quantify results
The ability to easily quantify results is what makes your Pay Per Click campaign so powerful. Yet if you aren’t tracking revenue or user actions (account signups, whitepaper downloads, sales…whatever user acquisition action that’s vital to your business) you can’t garner the insight needed to optimize ROI.
Tip #1: If you’re only running a Google AdWords account, Google Conversion Tracking is an excellent free tool that’s quick and easy to set up. A Google Analytics account can be linked with your AdWords account very easily, which allows further conversion insight for your paid ads PLUS insight into non-paid traffic.
Tip #2: If you’re running on multiple engines or integrating with other marketing initiatives, there are a wide variety of tracking and web analytics platforms available. Overdrive Interactive’s Search Marketing Map lists a number of these platforms, as well as many other useful PPC resources.
Choose your keywords wisely, not widely
This is arguably the most basic and important aspect of PPC management and is one of the most important things you need to follow in a Pay Per Click campaign. Many PPC advertisers bid on every keyword under the sun. While doing so can work, depending on the size of your budget and your conversion goals, it is generally more effective to select keywords that are more targeted and descriptive – that is, “hotels reno nevada” vs. “hotels”.
Generally, multi-word or highly descriptive keywords do not generate as much traffic, but are usually more targeted and therefore typically generate better cost-per-action, and/or better profit/ROI.
Use relevant landing pages that give users clear direction
Don’t just send traffic to your homepage. Why? Two reasons: first, homepages have too many navigation paths and can direct users away from the desired action. Second, homepages rarely contain the best content for a Pay Per Click campaign. Send users to the specific page where they’re most likely to take whatever action you want them to take. You have less than two seconds to show your prospects what they want. If you don’t, someone else will.
Adhering to this principle is very easy: if you want users to watch a particular video, send them to the page where that video lives and use a strong call-to-action to tell them to watch it.
Mind your key performance indicators (KPIS)
Once your account is launched it’s very easy to lose sight of your original conversion goals. This makes it more crucial to follow a Pay Per Click campaign. In particular, many people get sidetracked by raising Cost Per Click bids in order to increase their Average Ad Positions. Always remember – higher ad position doesn’t necessarily equate to higher performance.
It’s usually not a good idea to jack up your CPC bid from $0.50 to $5+ to get the #1 position, especially because engines’ algorithms don’t guarantee you’ll get high positions just because you’re bidding high. Your conversion goals should always be your optimization priority.
A well-managed Pay Per Click campaign is nothing more than a series of never-ending experiments. Run ads that are identical, except for one difference; the two description lines are the same, but the ads have different headlines or different display URLs. When a large enough data sample size accumulates, pause the underperformer and write a new ad with a new test variable.
The same is true for landing pages; run an A/B test with two pages that are identical, save for one variable, perhaps the content is the same on both pages, but one page has a different body text color. If you need help with deciding which variables to test, Google has a great free tool called the Google Site Optimizer than can assist in building your experiments.
Use negative matching
Negative matching should be used rigorously in your Pay Per Click campaign. User queries that are irrelevant to your business can not only run up clicks that have no chance of converting, but can also depress CTRs, which hampers Quality Scores, which increases CPCs.
Let’s say you’re a big luxury hotel chain that’s bidding on the broad matched keyword “hotels.” Your target market probably isn’t searching for “cheap hotels,” but because you’re bidding on “hotels” as a broad matched keyword, “cheap hotels” is running up your costs with no conversions.
Furthermore, “hotels” is a very general keyword that generates a very large number of impressions from users outside your target market, which drags down CTR. Negative matching the keyword “cheap” prevents your ad from serving whenever “cheap” is included in any user’s query. This not only resolves the cost issue, but also helps boost CTR, which helps keep Quality Score high and CPC down.