How to optimise your PPC campaigns for success 

Paid search can help your business appear at the top of the search engine results but how do you get the most from your PPC campaigns to make sure they're successful.

Paid Search, also known as pay per click (PPC) can help you to make sure that your brand appears at the top of the search results for the keywords that are relevant to your business and customers. Unlike SEO (search engine optimisation), paid search ads can be turned on and you will instantly start to see results. As soon as you win an ad for a specific keyword, you will see a spike in site traffic. 

However, if you want to appear above your competitors and convert as many customers as possible, you will need to optimise your PPC ads. 

Read on to find out more about how to optimise your PPC campaigns for success. 

What is PPC optimisation?

PPC optimisation is the process of continuously analysing and improving your PPC campaigns at campaign and ad group level to improve the success of your strategy. This includes elements such as updating landing pages, changing the ad copy or modifying keyword bids. 

PPC optimisation is simply improving different elements of your ads so that they win real estate in the search engines and generate more clicks.  

Why should you optimise your PPC ads? 

One of the best things about PPC is the immediate results you can achieve when compared to the weeks and months that SEO can take to work. However, PPC carries a much bigger cost which means there is a higher risk of wasting budget too. 

Optimising your PPC campaigns means you can keep your strategy as focused as possible, target the right audience and make sure you get the most from your budget. 

7 steps to optimise your PPC campaigns for success 

Here are our top steps for getting the most from your PPC campaigns and ensuring that you get the best return on investment. 

1. Define your goals 

Every effective marketing strategy requires a goal. Without a specific and measurable goal, it will be impossible to optimise your campaigns. These goals will then form the foundation of your optimisation process. 

2. Keyword research 

Optimisation starts before you launch your PPC campaigns. You will need to research the best keywords for your business. These are the keywords that will be most beneficial for your business, will bring the most clicks to your ads and include the terms that your customers are actually using to search for your products or services. 

Start by finding the generic, general keywords that are related to your products and services. The competition for these keywords is likely to be high so it can be difficult to gain traction. Once you have a list of general keywords, have a look at long tail keywords you can target as these will have less competition. The best search terms have high search volumes and low competition. 

Doing this exercise will help you to find keywords that will provide you with value. 

Create a list of negative keywords

In addition to finding the keywords you do want to target, it’s also important to find the keywords you don’t want your ads to show for. Negative keywords allow you to exclude specific keywords from your campaign that might seem as though they fit your product offerings, but they don’t. 

Pause keywords with poor performance 

Make sure your ads have been running for long enough to acquire enough data and then analyse the keywords that are not performing as well as they should be. 

There are a few reasons why a keyword may not perform as well as it should: 

  • You’re not bidding high enough on the keyword - keywords might not perform very well because you’re not bidding enough. Have a look at the CPC (cost per click) for page one and the top of page bid estimate to check that your bids are competitive. 
  • Keyword has low search volume - if the keywords you’re using don’t drive much traffic, it might be too long tail or is a phrase that’s not used by your customers when they’re searching. You should pause these keywords to avoid spending too much of your budget on the wrong keywords. You should always look to pause the keywords that are getting a huge number of impressions but not many clicks as this can have an impact on your click through rate and ad quality score. 
  • Match type is too broad or restrictive - if the search volume for your keywords is high but the click through rate or conversions are low on a broad keyword, pause them and add keywords with a more restrictive match type. If a keyword is an exact or phrase match keyword but isn’t getting much traffic, try adding it as a modified broad or broad match to open it out to a larger volume of searches. 

Before you pause any low performing keywords, have a look into your account to see if you can work out what the problem is to make sure you’re not going to miss out on opportunities to meet your target audience. 

3. Use targeting to reach the right audience 

One of the elements that makes PPC such a cost effective channel is that you can decide on who will see your ad, based on demographic targeting. Google has developed the Google Ads platform to make targeting options even more granular so there are now more targeting options than ever. 

Here are just a few of the demographics you can use to target your ideal customers: 

  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Income level 
  • Geographic location 
  • Relationship status
  • Education level 

Choosing who you want to target with your ads is an important decision and can determine the success of your ads. 

4. Test ad copy 

Your ad copy can have an impact on whether or not someone will click on your ad so testing and analysing your ad copy is a vital part of the optimisation process. 

Set up A/B testing to see which ad copy works best. This will allow you to test and analyse two ads with different copy to determine the one that works best for your audience. You can also test other elements of your ad. 

When you set up an A/B test, Google will serve the ads at random to different users. After the testing period, you should have an idea of which ad received more clicks and the ad copy you should use for future ads. 

5. Create conversion focused landing pages 

Landing pages are where users go once they’ve clicked on your ad and this can be a deciding factor in whether or not a visitor makes a purchase on your website. 

Visitors can navigate away from your landing page if they want to have a look around or they’re waiting for their next pay day, but your landing page as a whole should convince them that they want to buy from you. 

Here’s a rundown of the elements you should include on your landing page:

A picture of the product you’re advertising 

If visitors get to your landing page and it isn’t related to the ad they clicked, they’re not going to stay. A visitor that clicks an ad is interested in the specific product you’ve advertised so your page should include information about that particular product, including images. 

Product price 

For anyone who is researching products and is looking for the best price, the cost of your product can be a huge deciding factor for them. Make sure the price is displayed on your landing page so that visitors can make an educated decision. 

Product information 

Your landing page is likely to be the final step in the customer journey and is the last chance you have to convince someone to buy your product. Make sure you include a detailed description that has product dimensions, the materials used, care instructions, colours available and sizes available. 

This information will provide visitors with the information they need to decide whether or not they want to purchase from you. Not including this information might make them go to one of your competitors who does have that information available. 

Call to action 

The call to action (CTA) is one of the most important parts of your landing page. Whether it’s a button that says ‘add to cart’, ‘buy now’, ‘learn more’ or ‘call now’. The step you need customers to take next will depend on the product or service you’re selling. 

6. Remarketing 

Recent research revealed that 92% of consumers visit a brand website to do something other than make a purchase. So, this doesn’t mean that your money is being wasted on PPC ads, you will need to boost their success by pairing them with remarketing campaigns. 

Remarketing campaigns allow you to follow people who have already visited your website and place an ad in front of them to remind them of your brand and the action you want them to take next. 

Google Ads allows you to segment remarketing lists to show ads to visitors based on their needs and the initial landing page they landed on. Creating an ad group including people who have already visited your site or landing pages can be the key to improving conversion rates. 

7. Improve website performance 

A 2 second delay in load time results in abandonment rates of 87%. If your website does not load quickly enough when someone lands there from an ad, they are more likely to leave and go somewhere else. If Google can see that people are leaving your site without taking any action, it is likely to affect the Quality Score of your ads. 

If you’d like to know more about how PPC or digital marketing can help your business, sign up to our newsletter for monthly hints and tips. 

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Blog written by

Mark Skinner