Budgeting

Optimising PPC and Utilising Best Practice

There seems to be a growing debate between marketers and business’ on how to make a PPC account on Google Ads, Bing, Facebook or LinkedIn successful. Often it will be a mixture of both investment and best practice, however, in the confusion important aspects often get forgotten about or ignored.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most important myths, that you need to forget about. And some actionable best practices that are going to help your PPC accounts succeed. In general, the majority of PPC advertisers work in the same ways so the methods proposed will often work across platforms, however, it’s important to be aware that some may not be applicable to you or your business.

“Bigger Budgets will always Increase my ROI”

Money

Often you will see big business increasing their budget exponentially, expecting their campaigns to scale and increase with the more budget they add to the account.

In reality, most of the time your increased investment isn’t going to make an account perform better. Yes, it will help you increase your potential reach and potentially gain more conversions. However, another factor you need to consider is how your budget is going to affect your rankings. If you are limited by budget, and the keywords you are bidding on have a high cost; increasing your budget may be your only solution; unless you look to rank for other less competitive keywords. However, before you even think about increasing your budget and throwing more money at a campaign, you need to understand whether or not it’s scalable.

Making a campaign scalable takes into account a number of factors:

  1. Does the campaign have a large enough target market
  2. Is the Cost/Conversion going to give your business a good ROI
  3. Are you already seeing positive results in key metrics i.e. CTR, Conversions, Impression share, Quality Score
  4. Would the increase in budget be better used elsewhere i.e. targeting new customers or retaining existing ones with a remarketing campaign?

So, to clarify, if you’re a business who’s increasing your budget for certain campaigns, don’t expect more return for more budget!

Increasing budget is only a viable option if your campaigns are already performing well and you want them to continue that trend going forward. Increasing the budget on a failing campaign will not save it, in fact, it might make it perform worse; as you will be simply haemorrhaging money.

If it’s not your budget, then what’s not working?

There are countless reasons why your campaigns might not be performing as expected. There are also countless ways in which you can optimise your campaigns to get the best possible results. However, the process you can go through to optimise them is fairly simple.

Firstly, you need to locate the reason you campaign isn’t performing the way you want. If you’re getting good impressions and click-throughs on your ads but poor conversion rates, this might be due to your landing page not being relevant to the ad or not matching the persons search intent.

Another possibility could be you’re not showing as often as you like and not getting clicks on your ads. This might be due to your targeting preferences. For example, your positive keywords might be too specific and not have a big enough search volume. Or your targeting is looking at the wrong people altogether. In addition, if you’re not showing at all, it’s important to check if your ads have been approved. This may seem like a straightforward thing to say, but it can often be the case that when ads get disapproved no one notices.

These are just a few reasons for your ads not performing as you would hope. But there are many more, and these will differ between campaigns. It’s important to remember what might work for one campaign might not work for another.

After you have figured out why your campaign isn’t performing you need to look into fixing that problem in a logical way that will ensure you not only don’t affect other running campaigns and or affect other areas in your campaign which might be working correctly.

How can I optimise/fix campaigns

Below are 10 tips on how you can optimise your campaigns for better results:

1. Optimise your product feed, this will help with any shopping campaigns and allow Google to better target your ideal audience, below are some feed properties to check you have implemented correctly:

  1. Product Margin
  2. Stock
  3. Competitor
  4. Date Added

2. Negative Keywords and Keyword Lists, these can create a huge change in your campaigns and also help optimise for your users search intent. These negative keywords will stop you wasting clicks on users who aren’t interested in your product or service; focusing your budget on the people who really count.

3. Campaign Priorities, this will help Google show the appropriate campaign for the best user. You will also be able to remove shopping keywords with an inappropriate intent. Prioritising campaigns can also help when you want to show a product in one or more campaign. i.e. You have a summer sale campaign with flip flops in, and then one campaign that’s normally running under shoes. You want the summer campaign to show up first, but once that’s completed or runs out of budget you can still show with your normal shoes campaign.

4. Catch all campaigns, these work through using broad targeting options (without specialist targeting options) that will then try to catch any users that might fall through the cracks of more specialised campaigns. These campaigns should have a low CPC (Cost Per Click).

5. Review Ads and Ad Structure, ensure your ads are not disapproved and you don’t have any trade-marks which haven’t been accepted in your copy. Further to this, you should always implement the best practice of having at least 3 ads in an ad group allowing for Google to optimise for the best performing. You should also be grouping relevant ads together to increase the relevance of your ads to keywords in your campaigns.

6. Test different keyword match types, depending on how targeted you want to be in your searches you may want to look into developing your keyword match types. But avoid broad match altogether as this is just giving Google money for nothing.

7. Update your landing pages, ensure your landing pages have a clear call to action and will try and make the user complete an action, depending on their location in the customer journey (making your landing page as relevant to the ad as possible). This could anything from a form completion to a purchase of a product.

8. Review Customer Journey, look at where people are buying in your funnel and where you want to target for the best possible results. Optimise for different times in your funnel or (flywheel) will ensure the intent is best optimised.

9. Utilise Google Ad Scripts, these can become increasingly complex, however, they can often help to automate simple and tedious processes on your account. You can learn more about Google Ad Scripts here. Some scripts you can use are as follows:

  1. If competitor bidding is 10% more or less don’t show
  2. Use labels and bid more on certain ads i.e. bid more on 4/5 star review products for more conversions
  3. Prioritise high margin products (but only if they sell well)

10. You can run your product feed through customer review platforms such as Trustpilot or Feefo to show ratings on your products. This has been shown to increase click-through rates and can be used in many platforms from Google Ads to Facebook.

Customer reviews to ads

As brilliant as these optimisation ideas sound they often take a lot of time to set up and to maintain. However, Google has recently released Google Smart Shopping Campaigns.

Smart Shopping Campaigns will do almost all the tactics mentioned above for you through its intelligent AI and machine learning. However, it cannot be understated how much the human element to advertising is needed over machine learning. We are yet to see these ‘smart’ campaigns perform as well as a well maintained and optimised campaign from an experienced PPC expert. But if you either don’t have the time or budget, these kinds of campaigns can be brilliant. Just don’t expect results for nothing.

Key Takeaways

When optimising your account ensure you review the whole campaign as there could be a number of reasons it isn’t performing as expected. Further to this, don’t just look at the ads themselves often it can be the case wherever the ad takes the user can have a huge effect on how likely a user is to convert. Sometimes looking at a broader view can be extremely helpful, often for this kind of review you should use a platform like Google Analytics to see this information accurately.

If you would like help developing your PPC strategy and optimising your account, the Innovation Visual team would be happy to help! Contact us today to talk to an expert.

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