Tuesday, 6 January 2015

11 Tips To Stretch Your Pay-Per-Click Budget

At least once in your professional life you tried using Google Adwords as part of your marketing activities. It might have gone well for a while, it might have failed right away. However, I’m quite sure you have this internal feeling you cannot ignore. Without noticing you became part of the Google Adwords religion.
I was one of those lucky ones to hear a voice showing me the way. OK, I’m slightly exaggerating. A nice account manager from Google called me and though I was skeptical about it, I got some really good advice.
I’m not going to preach you about this religion, but if you are already part of it, I’m going to help you in stretching your PPC budget and show you the way by sharing some very interesting tactics.

#1 Focus 

Using Adwords you can reach your target audience on Google Search (or the Search network as they call it) and on the Display Network (any site using Google Adsense). 
When you get started you won't necessarily know which might drive better results, however it is highly recommended to focus on one in order to avoid spreading your budget, which could lead to poor results. 
You should also focus on one territory at a time and try to conquer that territory first. To do so you can choose the country (or even state and cities) you would like to target. That would help you to increase the efficiency in optimization.

#2 Building campaigns correctly

Google scores your campaign pretty much based on first impression. That means that Google measures key parameters of your newly launched campaign to sentence you to life or to death. Meaning, if you will get low scoring for many parameters your chances to improve your campaign and further optimize it are low. You should create Campaigns wisely. 
For example, if you want to create a campaign that targets people who search your competitors brand – you can expect low click-through-rate (CTR) no matter what you will do (especially with Adwords strict restrictions), thus you should create a separate campaign for keywords related to your competitors. 
The same goes for terms that are close to your core business (like relevant marketplaces). For example, a competitors’ campaign CTR can go lower than 0.20% while your core campaign should be at least 1.30% and even higher, as it should be super relevant for your target audience. Obviously, combining them into one campaign would dramatically affect your campaign’s CTR. 
Also be sure to target people on certain devices. Adwords default mode is to mix desktop, tablets and mobile. I’d recommend you to start only with the most relevant device for you (e.g. which typically leads to higher conversion rate for your business).

#3 Getting great ideas for relevant keywords

After creating your own list of relevant keywords, go ahead and type them in the Keyword Planner tool in Adwords to get some fresh ideas of some additional relevant keywords in the space. You can also use your competitors site URL when using the tool to get ideas for keywords based on their site. You can also use Spyfu.com and Similar Web to see which keywords your competitors are targeting.

#4 Start broad but not too broad (Hint: use +)

In order to really crack it you should leave room for learning what your audience is actually looking for. Targeting Broad Keywords e.g. Personalization means that everyone that search for something including the word Personalization would potentially be exposed to this ad. But here’s the trick, if your keyword is Personalization that means that even people who will search for a close term could be potentially exposed to your ad. 
For example, our ad was triggered for someone searching for “personalized christmas ceramic websites” which is obviously not relevant to our business at all. So how do you solve this? simply ad + before any of your broad keywords in order to tell Google to have the campaign triggered ONLY if it matches the exact term and not any synonym or any conjugation of that word.  E.g. +personalization.

#5 How to easily choose negative keyword

When you were using the Keywords planner earlier in order get some good ideas, I can imagine that some of the ideas weren’t good or relevant at all. It means that Google finds those keywords relevant to your terms and potentially your ads will be triggered to a less relevant audience. 
Another way to define negative keywords is by checking for the actual search terms, then sort it by cost/impression and check those keywords you would like to remove. If it is a broad keyword the repeats itself make sure to add + before defining this keyword as a negative one. The rest of the terms (typically including more than one keyword) should be excluded as exact match by using square parentheses. e.g. [website personalization].

#6 Start with relatively high bids

As mentioned before, Google scores your campaigns based on “first impression”, thus you want to make sure to give a really great first impression. That means get high CTR for your ads, be very relevant for your target audience etc. In order to get high CTR not only your ads should be awesome but you should also try and have your ads displayed at one of the top placements (1-3). In order to increase the chances for that to happen you should increase the bids on your keywords.

#7 Bidding’s rule of thumb

It doesn’t matter if you separated your exact match, phrases or broad keywords to different campaigns or they are all part of one campaign you would like to make sure to differentiate the bid for each type. Broad keywords should receive the highest bids, and then you should reduce 20% for phrases and additional 20% for exacts.

#8 Bids are too high in your space? Try the display network

In some industries there’s high competition and bids could get really high. Instead of fighting your competitors who might be wealthier than you are, try to find good alternatives. For example, try using the Display network. You can either run textual ads or display banners you can easily create using Adwords’ automated tool or your favorite designer. Be sure to be very concrete and have a decent call-to-action button.
You can choose placements based on the popular blogs/magazines/forums relevant to your target audience, and also by targeting specific keywords or interests and also demographics and more.
In case you choose to target only desktop visitors, you will notice that you would still get traffic from mobile apps, and mobile devices.

#9 The special secret for completely avoiding targeting of mobile users

Finding out that although you excluded mobile traffic you still received lots of irrelevant traffic from mobile which also wasted lots of you budget can be very frustrating
The account manager at Google which I discussed that with, was aware of this phenomenon and suggested to exclude the following link in order to reduce that undesired mobile traffic: adsenseformobileapps.com
You should also go ahead and scan the list of placements, and search for keywords like “game” and “mobile” and exclude any domain that includes those keywords.

#10 Be consistent and avoid lousy tricks

Part of the quality score Google gives you is related to the ad relevancy which is measured by comparing keywords on your site, the keyword you are targeting, possibly your competitors keywords etc. You can use Quicksprout.com to analyze the top keywords on your site. In order to improve relevancy, make sure that the most relevant keywords will appear at your H1, H2 and also possibly in the HTLM title and description. You can also add links from your site to your blog containing the most relevant keywords.
Be sure that the Ads you create include the keywords from that ad group. You will be rewarded not only because Google will give you higher scores, but also because search terms that appear in the ad will be highlighted (become bold) and would drive more attention to your ad. Also psychologically people will be more likely to click on ads that are more related to the search terms. Please make sure to avoid (at least at the beginning) any tricks you believe would increase your ad’s visibility. E.g. Do not use any special symbols like Stars, Thumbs up etc. as google won’t tolerate that and will disapprove your ad from being displayed.

#11 Increase your landing page’s conversion rate

After all the hard work, you need to make sure that your website or landing page you are directing the traffic to is actually converting, and drives you positive ROI. In order to achieve that, you can start A/B testing your site’s layout, messaging etc.
As A/B testing requires a decent amount of traffic, patience and time (you can learn more about common A/B test pitfalls here), in order to move fast and increase your site’s efficiency you can start adding real-time targeting to your site and target all of your PPC campaigns traffic with a personalized message. For example, you can offer 10% discount for people that used the word “discount” as part of their search term, or simply provide them with a personalized content. E.g. target a visitor from NYC and mention that you offer “Free Shipping to New York area”. That would increase the chances to draw the attention of the visitor to that message, and also to provide him a better experience than the “Free shipping to continental U.S.” ordinary message.
A quick hack could be adding a “net” to your site and as a last resort try to capture emails from people that are going to leave your site without converting by offering any additional promotion or added value.
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