Do you have an agency running your pay per click campaigns, but aren’t quite sure that they’re actually doing anything? Are you interested in knowing how to optimize a PPC campaign yourself? Whatever your situation may be, it’s important that you are educated on the topic to prevent wasting your marketing dollars.
In this article we are going to help to educate you on what is actually involved in PPC optimization so that you can make the best business decisions with your marketing budget.
What is PPC Optimization?
Assuming that you are already know what PPC (pay per click) is, we are going to stick to defining PPC optimization only.
PPC optimization is the practice of…
Managing, testing, refining and ultimately, improving campaigns that exist within a pay per click marketing campaign.
Optimization can, and should, take place in all of the following levels and components of a paid ad campaign:
- Ad Groups
- Key Phrases
- Landing Pages
Without ongoing optimization of these components it is very easy to spend, and in many cases waste, a lot of money running pay per click ads. Ad platforms, like Google AdWords and Bing Ads, make it very easy to get a PPC campaign setup and running. However, they also make it very easy to run up your ad spend unless you really know what you’re doing.
The last thing we want to do is scare you away from using paid search advertising as we are huge proponents of it. So, before you activate your own campaigns or pay someone else to, we want to equip you with the essentials of PPC optimization.
Pay Per Click Campaign Optimization
As we’ve stated, we want to encourage you to use, or continue using, PPC as part of your online marketing strategy. Your business and marketing objectives should dictate whether or not pay per click advertising is right for you. That said, we have come across very few businesses that have not benefited from a PPC campaign that was correctly setup and properly managed.
For you to get the most out of your PPC campaigns, we would like to share our list of PPC optimization steps and tips. Try implementing these yourself. Or, if you are working with an agency, then make sure they are doing so for you.
PPC Optimization Steps and Tips
To simplify the following steps and tips as much as possible we have ordered them by the account structure hierarchy (from least granular to most granular) of Google AdWords and Bing Ads.
Campaigns are optimized through the settings options made available to advertisers. These options include, but are not limited to:
- Network selection (search, display, search & display)
- Device selection (desktops, laptops, mobile devices and tablets)
- Location targeting (country, city, region, zip code and custom)
- Bidding selection (focused on clicks or focused on conversions)
- Budget setting (total per day)
- Ad rotation selection (evenly over time or as quickly as possible)
- Ad extension selection (site links and contact info)
Ad Groups themselves don’t have many optimization opportunities. However the ones that do exist include, but are not limited to:
- Group naming
- Group bid selection (maximum CPC or CPM)
- Automation rule usage (change max bids, pause ad groups and enable ad groups)
Ads provide both text and image options. Depending on the type of campaign you’re running, text and image ad optimization includes, but is not limited to:
- Headline selection
- Description copy
- Display URL selection
- Destination URL selection
- Image type (mobile leaderboard, banner, leaderboard, square, small square, large rectangle, inline rectangle, skyscraper, wide skyscraper)
Key Phrases make up the most essential pieces of an ad campaign. Again, depending on the type of campaign you’re running, key phrase optimization includes, but is not limited to:
- Match type (broad, phrase, exact)
- Maximum CPC (cost per click)
- Maximum CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
- Average Position
Landing Pages, although not directly part of a PPC campaign, play an integral role in average cost per click and conversion rate. To generate increased relevancy and optimal conversion rates, landing page optimization includes, but is not limited to:
- Design selection (layout, colors, fonts and certifications or logos)
- Copy usage (strong headlines, relevant text, helpful lists and trust building testimonials)
- Usability adjustments (easy to use forms and functionality)
- Call to action selection (CTA button(s) colors, sizing, text and placement)
Optimization is a Process, Not a Project
To really maximize your ad spend, and squeeze the best possible results out of it, you need to continuously optimize your campaigns. PPC optimization, as with search engine optimization, is not something you do once and then sit back and wait for results. When done right, the optimization process should look something like this:
Create > Test > Track > Adjust > Repeat
These steps, integrated with the optimization steps outlined above, take a considerable amount of time and effort each month. If you don’t have the time, patience or experience to properly perform these optimization steps, then we highly recommend that you turn to an agency for help.
Should you find that you would like to turn management of your campaigns over to an experienced team, then we’re here to help. The same offer stands if you just need someone to advise you on how to what the next best decision is for you and your business.
Are you ready to have a PPC expert setup, manage and/or optimize your campaigns?