A Paid Search Smart Guide to Earning Returns in 2013

Spring breeds new techniques and opportunities for Internet marketers, particularly in the area of paid search (aka PPC).  Google and Bing have added additional functionality in both ad formats and targeting.  These new features should make managing and testing your campaigns a lot easier.  With the explosion of mobile traffic across smartphone/tablet/laptop/notebook devices these new features could not have come at a better time.

With cost per click consistently rising year over year, marketers must find unique ways to maximize and convert each click.  This means being in tune with your customers and their browsing and shopping habits, as well as being there when they are ready to pull the purchase trigger.  So how do you fine tune your campaigns to ensure that you are paying the least amount per click and maximizing that click to the best ROI possible?  In this guide I’ll give you a few tips to ensure you are earning a return on every dollar you spend in paid search.

Quality Score

Quality Score is Google’s estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords and landing pages are to a user seeing your ad.  Quality Scores have enormous influence over the cost and effectiveness of paid search campaigns.  Securing a high quality score garners you:

Lower Cost Per Click (CPC) – Google will lower your CPC if you have a good quality score.  This means you pay less for each click; which in turn lowers your cost per acquisition (CPA).  This provides you with a better ROI on your campaigns, and in laymen terms, makes you more money.

Extended Reach – Google will show your ads more often and in top positions without having to raise the bids.  You can get more exposure, more clicks and more conversions at a cheaper price.  Again – providing you with a better ROI.

KPIs for Mobile Campaigns

Mobile searchers, mainly those using smartphones, search differently than users on desktops and laptops.  When was the last time you searched on your iPhone?  Were you looking for a physical location, making a purchase or establishing social touch points with your friends?

A study done by Google called Global Insights on Smartphone Users & Mobile Marketers gives us insight into smartphone usage and helps uncover new opportunities for marketers in these markets.  The data shows:

  • Smartphone Users Are Avid Video Watchers
  • Smartphone Users Are Frequent Social Networkers
  • Smartphone Users Are Local Information Seekers
  • The Smartphone Is a Consumer’s Always-on Companion – Especially While Shopping
  • Mobile is an Emerging Point of Purchase

With this in mind, streamline your KPI’s to align with the goals of your business and users searching for your services or products.  As a business, you should consider whether or not the same success metrics used in your main campaign apply to mobile campaigns.

Separate Mobile Campaigns – Not Anymore

There is no need to separate mobile campaigns any longer.  This year Google rolled out their new feature called enhanced campaigns.  Enhanced campaigns let you easily manage complex targeting, bidding and ads for different platforms like mobile and computers, all within the same campaign.  Account management has also been consolidated for tablets and desktops. Additionally, with enhanced campaigns you can reduce the overall number of campaigns you need to create — you no longer need to create a separate campaign for each target device type or location.

Per Google:

“Enhanced campaigns can help simplify the way you manage your campaigns for targeting across multiple devices and locations. Some of its main features include:

  1. Powerful advertising tools for the multi-device world: Ability to manage your bids across devices, locations and time (e.g. bidding higher when showing your ad on mobile devices or to users who are within a half-mile of your store)

  2. Smarter ads optimized for varying user contexts: Ability to show the right creative, sitelink, app or extension based on the context of your prospective customers and the devices they’re using

  3. Advanced reports to measure new conversion types: Ability to track new conversion types, such as calls, digital downloads, and conversions across devices”

Determine Ad Targeting

Know when to use certain targeting.  Should you target by geographical areas, operating systems, mobile devices, etc.?  Utilizing existing data from your campaigns should give you a good idea on what, when and where to target your ads.  If a user searches for “tire shop Atlanta” what type of targeting and ad presentation should be displayed for them?  A local listing with your phone number?  A device targeted listing with a coupon?  Knowing your potential searcher/user search habits will help with these decisions.

Ad Extensions

Utilizing the enhanced campaign function gives you more control and deeper reporting on four types of ad extensions: call extensions, app extensions, sitelink extensions and offer extensions. These are called upgraded extensions.  Some nice features of upgraded extensions are the ability to schedule start and end dates for the extension to run; or set up running for specific days of the week and times of day.  Another great feature you can use for mobile users is the mobile-preferred sitelink extensions.  You can highlight your store locator or in-store deals to mobile users to help user convert at a higher rate.

Landing Pages

Landing pages are a factor in acquiring and maintaining a high quality score.  Your landing pages should be optimized for adgroups and keywords alike.  A good landing page experience can help you gain the trust of your customers and keep them coming back to your site.

Landing pages should answer the question that the user is asking.  If a user searches for “wooden chairs,” don’t land users on the main furniture page.  Instead land them on the wooden chair furniture page.  Landing users on the exact product page they searched for will increase conversions and increase your quality scores because the landing page will be relevant to the ads as well as the keyword the users searched.

Select Keywords That Sale

In my latest post Top Keyword Selection Formula for Organic Search I wrote about selecting top performing keywords that are at the bottom of the buying funnel.  With paid search campaigns you want to target all levels of the buying funnel.  Maybe a user is searching for “golf clubs.”  I would consider this user to be at the awareness level of the buying funnel. Landing this user on the main golf club product section would be optimal to push the user into the consideration stage.

If a user searches for “Callaway golf clubs,” I would consider this user to be at the consideration stage of the purchase funnel.  New-Marketing-Funnel1At this level the user is ripe for calls to action, sales and coupon offers.

Try different types of calls to action, keywords and landing pages to ensure you are always providing users the most relevant information for what they searched for.  A/B testing of ads and landing pages is recommended until you get a mix that works well for your business.

Providing synergy with your keywords, ads and landing pages will give you a better return on your paid search spend and help to increase your quality score, lower  CPC and increase  conversion rates.  This leads to what all businesses want at the end of the day, increase revenue and increased profits!

If you are struggling with managing paid search campaigns effectively, give us a call.  We are here to help!

 

 

  • Harjinder Paaji

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  • dean jackson

    When we advertise on Adwords, our landing page always has at the very least a very compelling headline, a bullet list of benefits, and a very clear call to action. That can be a button to another page or an email lead capture form or whatever, but I’ve never seen a landing page perform well with any amount of traffic without at least those three elements. So as we’re talking about paid traffic, remember that it’s also the advertising on the page itself too that needs to be optimized. You can hire a conversion rate optimization specialist like Simon if you feel like you need some help with that, his number is 302-401-4478.