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Optimizing Your Pay-Per-click (PPC) Campaign

You may have been running PPC campaigns on Google with less success than you would have liked, despite putting the time in to plan and set up your campaign correctly. You may be getting a number of conversions, but are you getting enough to warrant the time and financial investment needed to continue running the campaign? Don’t make any rash decisions just yet, though.

We’re firm believers that every business (both B2B and B2C) can benefit and enjoy a return on investment in PPC advertising. It’s true that setting up and optimizing a campaign to maximize ROI can be time consuming and resource intensive depending on the size of your business or campaign. Spending time to refine campaign performance can be intimidating. So now you have three options:

      1. Turn off your campaign. We don’t recommend this, though. PPC advertising is a cost effective means of acquiring new customers when set-up correctly. Choosing this option would be like handing qualified leads and customers over to your competitors.
      2. Hire a Digital or SEM Agency. SilverTech has a Google certified team that is actively managing client PPC campaigns to increase sales, generate brand exposure, and most importantly, generate a positive ROI.
      3. Implement some of Google Adwords’ automated campaign optimization functions, which enable you to cut the time you invest in managing aspects of the campaign that will help you achieve that ROI.

The third option might be worth an initial look if you want to improve your PPC campaign’s ROI but are not quite ready to hand your campaign to an agency. Let’s take a look at some of these campaign optimization functions now.

We’re firm believers that every business (both B2B and B2C) can benefit and enjoy a return on investment in PPC advertising.

Experiments

Experiments are a great semi-automated way to test a variety of campaign elements that relate to over performance and ROI. The majority of the time spent with experiments is in the setup and subsequent analysis of results that are used to refine the campaign and improve performance.

Experiments are set up in the “Settings” section of the Adwords platform. Begin by adding a new experiment and selecting the appropriate parameters, including a control/experiment split, start and end date. Once this is done, you can then make the decision to either experiment with your keywords, ad copy, landing pages, or a combination of all. Effective experiments will have a control ad, keyword, or landing page, and an experimental ad, keyword, or landing page. This is what produces the data that you will use to refine and optimize your campaign.

Be sure to assign each keyword, ad, or landing page as a “Control only” or “Experiment only” so that the tests produce the clearest results.

Once your experiment has enough reliable performance data, you can then analyze it to see if certain keywords, ad copy, and/or landing pages work better than others at increasing click-through-rates, conversions, phone calls, and any other visitor action that you would consider to be helping you achieve your goals. This understanding can then be used to make data backed changes to your campaign and help drive higher success rates.

Weighting

Weighting is another campaign tool that can be used to help you achieve your PPC conversion goals. Say you want to run a campaign targeting the whole of the U.S., however, you want to acquire more visitors from the New York, Boston, and Chicago areas. This is where you would apply weighting. In this example, you would navigate to the “Locations” section in “Settings” and set up “bid adjustments,” which are used to increase the amount you're willing to spend on your campaign keywords for visitors searching in these specific states. For example, you may wish to increase keyword bids by 30% over your maximum cost-per-click for anyone searching for these keywords in the city of New York.

The same principle can be applied to times of the day and for the different devices (desktop, tablets, and mobile) that your ads appear on. You can automate increasing bids at certain times of the day if you have identified that certain times of the day result in more clicks and conversions. You can also set bid adjustments to ensure that your ads are displayed more on mobile devices than on desktop or tablet devices, which is a great strategy if you have developed an ad campaign that is optimized for mobile users.

Experiment and analyze data from your bid adjustments with your strategy and goals in mind, and this automated campaign function will assist you in improving performance and increasing ROI.

Search Engine Marketing: PPC Best Practices

Keyword Bid Strategy

Flexible bid strategies are a great way of automating campaign bidding across multiple or single campaigns and can be tailored to help you achieve a variety of different goals.

Flexible bid strategies can be put in place to help you in 6 areas:

Maximize Clicks

After setting a maximum bid limit, this setting automatically sets your bids to ensure you get as many clicks as possible within your target daily spend. This helps you maximize the number of visitors your landing page will receive.

Target Search Page Location

This automatic setting manages and adjusts your keyword bids to ensure that ads either appear on the top of the first page of the search results or, alternatively, anywhere on the first search results page, depending on your preferences.

Target Outranking Share

This setting automatically raises or lowers your keyword bids to assist you in outranking ads displayed by your competitors. If your daily budget is limited, then another option within this setting enables to you set a maximum bid limit to ensure that you are not attempting to outrank competitor ads to the detriment of rapidly exhausting your daily budget.

Target Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA)

This automatic, flexible bidding strategy enables bidders to set a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) target. Adwords will then automatically set bids in your campaign to help you achieve an average cost-per-acquisition (or conversion) that is equal to your target. Some conversions may cost you more and some less, however, overall Adwords will try to keep your CPA equal to the one you set in this strategy. For the budget conscious, you can also set a maximum and minimum bid limit.

Enhanced Cost-Per-Click (ECPC)

This bid strategy will automatically increase or decrease your manual bids by a predetermined percentage based on each click’s likelihood of resulting in a conversion. This is a great strategy for the budget conscious as it can help you get more value from your ad budget.

Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

This flexible bidding strategy automates bidding across your campaigns, ad groups, and keywords in order to help you achieve your targeted return on ad spend and maximize your conversion value.

Campaign Optimization - Automation or Agency?

As you can see, there is far more to your PPC campaign than simply writing a few ads and choosing a daily budget and keyword bid limits. This is only the beginning of your campaign success. PPC campaigns can be time consuming and, subsequently, costly if the necessary time for optimizing and managing your campaign isn’t invested from the very start. Luckily, there are a number of automated settings and functions that enable you to continue refining and optimizing your campaign, which can increase your success rate and lower the time spent on the day-to-day management. That’s not to say that they don’t require a degree of monthly management to ensure your goals are being met, though. If you’re still stuck and short of time, why not hire an agency? SilverTech helps local and national businesses achieve their business goals by integrating PPC with their wider digital strategies.

Peter Palmer, Senior Digital Strategist
Meet Peter Palmer, Senior Digital Strategist

With experience in both agency and client environments, Peter's expertise is in SEO, content, social media, client management, and PPC.

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