There are two omnipresent pillars of the online marketing world: SEO, and PPC. Each brings something distinct to the table. SEO is all about incremental gains with long-term payoff, whereas PPC is about fast and consistent return on investment. A smart business owner will invest in both: not necessarily in equal measure, but enough to ensure they’re using the available tools.
Now, I mentioned return on investment there as a core strength of PPC, but ROI isn’t inevitable. It’s the result of good PPC campaigning.
Sticking to the pay-per-click model ensures that you don’t pay anything for impressions alone, but what if the clicks don’t make you any money? And what of the time and effort you put into devising the ads or configuring the settings?
SEO can be vague and hard to work on, but that isn’t the case with PPC. If you’re not getting the ROI you need from your paid ads, you should take action to address it. And in this post we’re going to look at how you can get your PPC ads working optimally this year. Let’s begin.
Accept the Need for Ongoing Iteration
One of the biggest reasons why marketers don’t get as much from PPC as they could is that they treat it as something to set up and leave running. They put time into it initially, but then assume that they’ve done everything necessary and so simply leave it to perform however it will.
If it produces results, great. If it doesn’t, well, clearly the ad market isn’t working out for anyone.
That perception is wildly inaccurate, obviously, because PPC isn’t merely something to be ticked off a new entrepreneur’s checklist: it’s something that demands ongoing work, something to be steadily improved on an indefinite basis.
Even if there were such a thing as a perfect PPC campaign, that perfection wouldn’t last long, because consumer tastes and habits change.
Consequently, the first thing you need to do is accept that you’ll need to work on your PPC campaigns on a regular basis. Once a month should be the minimum frequency, but every week would be a lot better: it will allow time for your changes to return some meaningful results, but will avoid letting mediocre campaigns drag on.
Optimise Your Keyword Targeting
If you go after the wrong keywords (maybe through relying too much on the Google Ads Keyword Planner), you’ll probably find that your campaigns don’t generate anywhere near as many clicks as you want them to. But that isn’t the worst result you can expect.
It’s far worse to have your ads appearing where they’re vaguely relevant but not useful, because that way they can get clicks (generated by basic curiosity if nothing else) from people who won’t be interested in whatever those clicks lead to.
Check that your ads aren’t being served for keywords that you can’t live up to. For example, if you’re not offering a free service, then you don’t want your ads showing up when someone searches for your targeted term plus the word “free” — so add them as negative keywords.
Additionally, you might find that expensive clicks produced by targeting popular keywords don’t yield conversions any more frequently than cheaper clicks stemming from long-tail keywords. If that’s the case, then why blow through your budget on costly clicks? You need to do as much as you can with the funds available to you.
Polish the After-Click User Experience
Let’s suppose that you’re happy with your ad copy, your keyword targeting, and your chosen strategy, and you watch as the clicks roll in at an economical rate.
There’s just one problem: you’re not making any sales.
The problem isn’t with your PPC campaign. It’s with what follows that campaign: where all the traffic is leading.
You can view PPC as a one-two punch: the ad lures in the prospective customer, and the landing page makes the main case. If your landing pages aren’t high-quality, or aren’t even achieving message matches (if an ad prominently mentions “leather coats” but there’s nothing about leather coats on the landing page, it’ll confuse the visitor), then they won’t get results.
Imagine that you’re someone unfamiliar with your brand who’s clicked on one of your ads and landed on your site. Are you impressed by what you see? Are you inclined to stick around? Would you feel comfortable placing an order?
If you’re not sold, then you need to put a lot of work into the site to make it worthy of receiving traffic from your polished ads.
If you take just one thing away from this post (you should take three, of course, but even so), make it this: if you want your PPC campaigns to consistently perform, you can never stop tweaking them. Times change, interests shift, and products go in and out of fashion. Only by working on your campaigns (and working on your website) can you keep up.