Category Archives for "PPC Advertising"

Dec 07

Top 10 Google AdWords Features That Can Improve Your PPC Campaigns [Infographic]

By Laura Kimball | Ad Strategy , PPC Advertising

This year marked substantial changes in the PPC industry, Google alone has been busy cranking out changes like no body’s business. Do you know if you are using the latest Google AdWords features to your best advantage? We are here to keep you in the loop!

It seems as if you blinked or took a quick vacation this year, you may have missed some important changes in the Google AdWords system. The days of the set it and forget it approach to managing your campaigns has been over for quite some time. To make your life easier we have created a list of the latest feature available to keep you up to date.

We hope you find this information useful. Please feel free to share it as you like!

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Dec 02

5 Tips for Writing Effective PPC Ad Copy

By Laura Kimball | Ad Strategy , Internet Marketing , PPC Advertising , Search Engine Marketing

Coming up with fresh ideas on how to create ads that convert can become a never ending task so here are my 5 top tips to help keep you inspired. Before we begin let’s breakdown the elements that make up the perfect PPC Ad Copy. It all starts with the attention getting headline. The offer itself and the almighty call-to-action is also important. Writing enticing ad copy that also follows your keyword relevance is always a challenge. You must ensure that all your copy aligns with what your customer is expecting and is directly related to your keyword, your offer and your landing page.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Know your competition! Do your research to understand what you’re up against.
  2. Keep it simple. We have a tendency to over complicate the message when a simple straight forward approach often times works best.
  3. Create an emotional response which establishes a connection and inspires action.
  4. Have a clear compelling offer and call-to-action that explains exactly what you deliver.
  5. Make your words count. Limit your abbreviations and technical jargon while keeping your ad relevant.

The right combination can make a big difference in your click-through-rates. Headlines are especially important as this is the attention grabber. If you don’t get them hooked instantly your odds of persuading a click go downhill fast. Get their attention quick and reel them in with a great description that quickly identifies your offer.

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You need to answer the following questions. What sets you apart from the competition? Why should they buy your product instead of someone else’s? What do you have that no one else does? Describe your offer – Free Trial, Get a Demo, Free Shipping and invite them to complete the action. Make it easy for the user to get what they need and you see a great improvement in your ad performance.

You should continually test at least 2 ads for any given ad group, keeping the best performing ads while rotating new ads into the testing mix. Ads that have a higher CTR will improve your quality scores and will reduce your CPC saving you money.

Leave us a comment and let us know what works best for you.

Nov 13

How to Use Google AdWords Ad Extensions to Improve Your Ad Rank

By Laura Kimball | Ad Management , Ad Strategy , Google AdWords Performance , Internet Marketing , Paid Search Campaign Performance , PPC Advertising , Search Engine Marketing

Why should you use Ad Extensions? You have probably heard several weeks ago that Google added Ad Extensions and Formats as part of their ad rank which now makes it essential for you to implement extensions as part of your campaigns. Winning an ad placement went from Quality Score + Bid = WIN to Quality Score + Bid + Impact of Extensions = WIN.

Google AdWords Ad Ranking

So where do you start? You need to create a variety of extensions in your campaigns and Google will pick which ones to use depending on what they believe will have the most impact. Keep in mind not all positions will include an extension, typically only above search results which tend to have a higher CPC to begin with.

First here is a breakdown of Ad Extensions:

Locations: You can link a Google Places address or create an address manually.

Call: Add a phone number for your campaign or ad group. You can also select all devices, Desktop and tablets, or Mobile devices only. If you want to use call reporting you must use a Google Forwarding Number(Google Voice).

This feature is currently only available in U.S., U.K., France, and Germany.

Sitelinks: You can create up to 20 custom links by defining the link text and destination.

Example:  Home, Stores, On Sale, Support, Products, About Us

Social: Add a Google + page.

Dynamic Search: This extension uses your website content to target your ads.

Apps: Target either Google Play or Apple App Store to promote your application.

Review: Promote third party review links.

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What does Google like to see? You can create any combination of the above extensions and simply add them to a campaign or ad group. Google will decide which extension to display based on what they feel is relevant and will produce the highest click-through-rate.

Oct 29

Your Complete Google AdWords Audit

By Laura Kimball | Ad Management , Ad Strategy , Google AdWords Performance , Internet Marketing , PPC Advertising , Search Engine Marketing

Complete your Google AdWords Audit to see where you can improve your campaign performance. Anyone looking to promote a website understands that Google AdWords can be an excellent way to drive traffic and increase your sales if done the right way. It can also be a very expensive way to fail if you don’t manage your campaigns.

Google AdWords ChecklistManaging a PPC campaign can be rather exciting and very rewarding when it all goes well. It can also become very costly if it is not done properly.

Here is a great way to start by finding out if your campaigns are set up for success. Simply follow the checklist below.

General Campaign Strategy

  • Do you organize your campaigns with logical/descriptive names that are easy to follow?
  • Are you making the most of targeting settings? You should leverage devices, location and time of day.
  • Do you have remarketing specific campaigns?
  • Do you include ad extensions? This is now part of Google’s new algorithm for its ad rank calculation.
  • Do you have campaigns specifically for branded terms? If you are not bidding on your own brand odds are your competitors will.
  • Do you use negative keywords to eliminate unnecessary clicks?
  • Do you have your campaigns separated by Search and Display? These are two very different types of campaigns and should never be combined. Besides being able to control your bids effectively you must also consider the difference in your visitor. A click coming from search is already looking for what you have to offer. A visitor coming from a display network may have never heard of you before seeing your ad and therefore requires a different type of landing page/offer entirely.
  • Do your display ads include a variety of banner sizes?

Must Haves for Ad Groups

  • Do you organize your ad groups with logical/descriptive names that are easy to follow?
  • Are you taking advantage of ad group settings?
  • Do you limit your keywords to 20 or less to promote themes with ad copy?
  • Do you use negative keywords to eliminate unnecessary overlap between ad groups?

Ad Essentials

  • Do all your ads align with your keywords for relevance? Does the ad clearly promote the keyword?
  • Have you checked all of your destination URL’s for landing page relevance? Does the landing page follow the theme?
  • Do you include proper analytic tracking for your destination URL’s ?
  • Do you include at least two ads in each group for A/B testing?
  • If you are using a display ad have you included ads for all available sizes?
  • Do you monitor for ad position and CTR’s?

Keywords Mechanics

  • Do you use keyword research tools to discover competition, # of searches and costs before you implement them?
  • Are you leveraging the right match types to achieve the desired results?
  • Do you monitor your Quality Score for each keyword? QS includes Landing Page Relevance, Click Through Rates, Ad to Keyword Relevance and several other miscellaneous factors.
  • Is your landing page to keyword relevance where it should be?
  • Do you use query reports or negative keywords tools to discover possible negative keywords that should be added?

Landing Pages Fundamentals

  • Do your landing pages follow industry best practices?
  • Do you have multiple landing pages for A/B testing?
  • Does your offer and call to action do the job?
  • Does your landing page pass the blink test? If you can’t clearly identify the intent by the time you blink you should consider improving your landing page.
  • Do you have separate landing pages for each type of offer?
  • Do you have separate landing pages for each type of device?

Analyze and Understand Your Metrics

  • Do you have a regular schedule to analyze your reports?
  • Does your average cost per click align with your company goals?
  • Do you understand your conversions?
  • Do you measure clicks vs. conversions?
  • Do you look for changes in key areas such as cost per click, position, click-through-rates?
  • Do you analyze your landing page activity to look for improvements?

We understand that managing PPC campaigns can be a complicated and challenging endeavor. If you start with a good foundation you greatly increase the odds that your ads will perform well. Having a well organized campaign will also reduce the amount of time required to maintain your campaigns which will make everyone happy!

You may also download the PDF version, here.

Sep 24

Special Offer from ClickMeasure Pro

By Laura Kimball | Paid Search Campaign Performance , PPC Advertising , Search Engine Marketing

Winter is here and there has never been a better time to save money on your Google AdWords! Whether you are ramping up for the holidays, promoting seasonal items or just want to get a handle on your campaigns we are here to help. Not all ads are created equal. The same ad can cost you more if you don’t have favorable quality scores. There are always opportunities to weed out the aspects of your campaigns that are eating into your budget with ads that are not performing or eliminating keywords coming from queries that don’t pertain to your audience.

Let us save you time by automatically generating your hit list! Get started now and see how quickly you can start saving money.

We have a risk-free 30 day, no hassle money back guarantee. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied just let us know and we’ll be happy to refund your payment. To save you even more money we are offering a 20% discount off your first 3 months, just use promo code WINTER when you sign up.

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Aug 26

5 Things You Should Never Do While Managing a PPC Campaign

By Laura Kimball | Paid Search Campaign Performance , PPC Advertising

When NOT to follow the herd!

There are just those times when following the herd will not be in your best interest. Say a stampede that is heading for a cliff for example. Some state there is safety in numbers, but for those times when the masses are marching in a direction that doesn’t work for you, I say pick up your own drum and head the other way. A very wise woman (yes, that would be my mother), used to say “think for yourself. If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it to just because they did?”

follow_the_herdThere are always lists of the best practices that tell you everything you should do to organize and maintain your Campaigns but rarely mentioned are those things that you should never do. Here’s my top 5 worst things you can do to kill a campaigns performance and cost you in the long run.

  1. Never get emotional about a bid. Do the math before you ever start a campaign you should have a number in mind that clearly is the target upper limit of when it makes sense to ever purchase a click. Understanding what you can afford will keep you in check with your budget. If you sell widgets for an average cost of X and your profit is Y. You should never spend more than Y to attract a customer.
  2. Never buy a keyword just because a competitor has done so. There are several tools available such as SpyFu for example, that allow you to check out what the competition has been up to with their AdWords. This can shed some insight on what they have learned over time. Paying attention to keywords that convert as well as average CPC provides great insight. You should keep in mind that competition only increases the cost-per-click you will pay. In fact you should look for keywords that your competitors are not using. Your competitors may also be focusing in on their features and not yours. Evaluate whether that keyword makes sense to you and monitor whether that keyword converts or provides any value.
  3. Never dive in before testing the waters. Never invest more than a small amount in any new provider or campaign element without testing on a small scale. I cannot stress this one strongly enough!
  4. Never blindly use the default match type broad without a purpose. You can get more information about keyword research ideas here.  Not all keywords follow the same patterns on bids for match type, do your homework and test for results. You should also monitor your results and adjust the match type to meet your needs.
  5. Never combine search and display into one campaign. These types of campaigns serve two very different purposes and should have their own separate campaigns with their own set of success metrics. Separating your network types gives you more control over the campaign settings and will allow you to pause each area as needed.

Managing a PPC  campaign can be rather exiting and very rewarding when it all goes well. It can also become very costly if it is not done properly. Hopefully these tips provide some helpful insight to keep your campaigns moving in the right direction.

Photo courtesy of Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Aug 03

What Does Your Google AdWords Quality Score Really Mean?

By Laura Kimball | Paid Search Campaign Performance , PPC Advertising , Search Engine Marketing

You may ask yourself why should I be so concerned about my quality score? You may be thinking you just create a campaign and see if it works. That may be fine for some folks but for the majority of us who are concerned with where our marketing budgets are going we need more information to get it right. In short your quality score determines how much you pay for a click! A quality score is determined based upon several factors and can have a substantial impact on how much you pay per click as well as whether your ad is eligible to be served. Your account history has an overall impact so it is essential that you maintain high standards.

Understanding what goes into the score is the first step in improving your overall rating and saving yourself a lot of wasted money.

 

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Click Through Rates (CTR)Not only is your keyword click through rate important but your overall account history is also taken into consideration as well as your past URL’s CTR’s.

Ad Copy to Keyword RelevanceIn other words relevance is rated on a full cycle on how relevant your keyword is to your ads as well as the relevancy to what the customer searched for.

Landing Page Relevance and ExperienceThis means how well you have designed your landing page for navigation and how relevant the content being displayed is to the keyword and ad.

Numerous Other FactorsThere are several miscellaneous factors that also come into play mainly focused on how you compare against others in categories such as geographic, network, and targeted devices.

Linking  Elements For Success

quality_score_relationshipKeywords – monitor your keyword performance reports to see what themes achieve the highest ROI’s. Continually test keyword match types and add new keywords to reveal opportunities to reach your audience.

Ads – continually test at least 2 ads for any given ad group, keeping the best performing ads while rotating new ads into the testing mix. Ads that have a higher CTR will improve your quality scores and will reduce your CPC saving you money.

Landing Pages – Conversion Rates and Quality Scores should be tested. Simple A/B testing of landing pages for such items as form placement left vs. right can make a significant difference in how a page performs. Colors, images, and headlines should also have a place in your testing patterns.

qualityscore2Improving your quality scores should include a plan to monitor your changes over time. Every change you introduce should have a positive impact.

This can vary substantially depending on the change but it should always lead to an increase in your ‘QS’ which will in turn improve your performance and reduce the amount of money spent per click.

For more information you can get the complete free guide to “Perking Up Your Quality Scores”.

 

 

May 20

Creating Landing Pages that Improve Conversion Rates and Rock Your PPC Campaigns

By Laura Kimball | PPC Advertising , Search Engine Marketing

You are probably already aware that Google AdWords determines what a particular cost-per-click will be based in part on the quality score of your landing pages. Let’s face it not all landing pages are created equal. When it comes to PPC advertising in particular when you are paying for every click it becomes essential that your landing pages rock conversion rates every time. A high priority should be set on creating landing pages that are designed to improve your conversion rates which will optimize your advertising budget.

Here are a few essentials to keep in mind when creating and testing your landing pages.

Relevance is always the highest priority.

This means that the landing page must align with the ad copy for starters and especially when it comes to landing page headlines. Your ad should be specific to what you have to offer and your landing page is an extension of that message. Think about what it is you want that visitor to accomplish once they have arrived.

Your headline should be absolutely clear without requiring any interpretation.

You should always remove as many obstacles as possible for the user. Remember you just paid to get them there, the easier you make the process the more inclined a user will be to complete it.

Prove your value as soon as possible and don’t forget to state the obvious!

  • Identify their pain points as quickly as possible.
  • Provide the answer in how you solve their problem?
  • Demonstrate what you have that no one else does?
  • Explain why your product better than the competition?

 

Make the page short and easy to navigate

Nothing loses a customer quicker than landing on a page that is overwhelming and difficult to navigate.  You have very little time to attract their attention, pitch your offer, and close the deal with a completed call to action such as a contact us form which collects their information in exchange for a great article that has unique and beneficial content they could not find anywhere else. Reduce the clutter wherever possible. Never allow the page to get off topic with multiple links that may distract a user from achieving the conversion goal.

Landing pages should never have any unnecessary clutter occupying such limited space. Think of one task and one mission only. Show your visitor exactly what they need to see in as little space as possible. No long elaborate speeches on how wonderful your product is and how it can do everything they ever dreamed of. The longer the text on the page the less likely a user is to stay and look, let alone complete a form for more information. This is where images and videos can really help convey your message without requiring a tremendous amount of text.

Forms should always be above the fold

There should never be any scrolling required to complete this task. You want to consider the safe zone which will accommodate most modern browsers. The form should fall in line with the natural order and be visually appealing as you scan the page. It should only require the minimum amount of information necessary to accomplish the task. The longer and more complicated the form, the less likely a user will be to complete it.

Never asked for information that is not relevant to what you are offering. The trade off must be equitable for both parties. If you are offering a fabulous article it is appropriate to request very basic information such as name and email. It is not acceptable to ask for too much personal information such as credit card numbers. While this may seem obvious it is very easy to forget to tailor your landing page forms to match the specific forms purpose and not just a boiler plate template that is used on every page.

Perfecting the Call To Action

There are many different approaches in how to accomplish the task of getting your visitor to complete the intended action but for the most part your call to action must stand out and grab your user’s attention. Once they have gathered the necessary information, made up their mind that they would like to proceed. Your call to action should be the next logical step to getting what they want.

The call to action should clearly identify what it is they should do next in a way that motivates them to do so. There are many different trigger words that work better than others and many of them are dependent upon what action you are trying to get them to perform. Focus on trust factors and benefits. Is it Free, Safe, Quick or Easy? Is it a download whether that’s a pdf or software? Will they have instant access? Think of the most important factor in what it is they will get with that action and go from there.

Establish Trust and Loyalty

A user has that has landed on your page has many options. If they arrived at your destination from search keep in mind they selected you from a list of options. If they do not get the information they desired in a way that makes them absolutely comfortable the odds are they will leave your page immediately and keep looking elsewhere.

Consider the following

  • Testimonials are a great way to share what others have said about you.
  • Trust Certificates and Guarantee Seals go a long way in eliminating fears about security or reputation.
  • Press mentions are also very impactful in establishing a sense of comfort.

 

Test, Test and then Test again

Odds are there are some unique aspects of your audience, at least there should be. The only way to truly identify what content, call-to-action or form requirements work best for that audience is to actually try several versions in an A/B test to see how each approach will perform. You should always test one thing at a time with a continuous rotation of different tests.

Here are some of the basics that should always be covered.

  • Headlines should be tested in conjunction with the ads.
  • Location of the form whether on the left or the right.
  • The length of the form and the organization of the fields.

In addition to testing it is also helpful to get user feedback implementing surveys or polls. There are several free or inexpensive solutions such as SurveyMonkey that are easy to use and can provide insight on user preferences.

These are a few simple guidelines that should help you design landing pages that effectively improve conversions and increase your user experience.

Mar 07

How to Tackle the Challenge of High Bounce Rates

By Laura Kimball | PPC Advertising

In PPC advertising everyone dreads spending money on a click that does nothing. A bounce is when someone clicks on a link and then does nothing else. That means they do not visit another page on your website or complete the form that was the intended call to action. So what do you do about it? Here are some sure fire ways to combat high bounce rates.

First let us define exactly what is considered high. Everyone’s needs and results are different depending on your target audience and what exactly you are trying to achieve. On average the standard issue landing page designed to get a customer to fill out a generic signup form may expect to have a bounce rate in the range of 65 – 75 percent. Yes, that means the majority of your budget will go to lost leads but that is just part of the overall composition of advertising. Your goals must be realistic, let’s face it you will most likely never achieve a 100% conversion rate from paid advertising but there are certainly was to improve upon your existing returns.

Now we can dive into the solution.

  • Did you get the right traffic? Was your visitor really looking for what you have to offer…
  • Did you provide an easy way for them to do what you asked? (Sign up for a free trial, fill out the contact us form, download the latest and greatest report)

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There are 4 main points of failure that can lead to high bounce rates.

It all starts with the search query, the actual words that someone type in when they decided they needed information on that specific topic at that particular time. Depending on the match type of the keywords you are targeting and the platform you are using to advertise on the results may vary greatly from what you originally intended.

Targeting the right keywords that will deliver visitors that are really looking for what you have to offer often times takes a great deal of experimenting. Not all keywords are created equal and not all keywords are worth the effort. Consider exactly what may be going through your potential customers head when they are typing in that query which will lead them to you. For instance it may make perfect sense for our business to target “internet marketing” however, in the long run it is too broad to be considered cost effective. We are really offering solutions to people who are specifically looking to solve the problem of improving their paid search performance. Although we enjoy getting to know people and like discussing internet marketing in general, when it comes to paying for advertising it makes more sense for us to focus our budget on the specifics of those people looking to benefit from what our tool is designed to do, such as improve paid search performance for customers that are already buying ads and that already know they would like to save money on that precise task. If you rank your keyword in the selection process in terms of return per click it may help you narrow your focus.

After organizing your keywords the next step is creating the ideal Ad that will entice the visitor with relevant information about what you have to offer. You should describe exactly what it is the user will get if they click. This will reduce the number of clicks that result in a bounce. Remember the goal is not to pay for as many clicks as possible but to only pay for those that have the highest chances of converting when they arrive at their destination.

Now that you paid for the click, got the right visitor from the perfect ad it’s time to close the deal with the just the thing landing page. High bounce rates can result from a poor landing page experience.

Common causes of landing pages failures are:

  • The user is not looking for what is being offered.
  • The landing page design does not provide an easy way to complete the task.
  • There are too many distractions on the page and the user gets lost.
  • Slow load times where the performance of the landing page looses the deal.

As long as you have covered getting the right traffic the landing page is the other main cause of a bounce. Creating high converting landing pages can be quite time consuming and may require several designs to test what will work for your specific product and audience. Something as simple as changing the color of a call to action can result in a significant uplift in conversions.

Aside from the basic design standard approaches such as simple navigation, form above the fold, and relevance, here are some areas to target for testing.  Try moving the form with a call to action from left to right or vice versus, making sure it is above the fold and designed to stand out from your information section.  Play with colors, you would be surprised at how much impact a color can have on the users actions.

Design is essential but so is great content. Does your headline catch the visitor’s attention? Which one would you choose? Get Socks on Sale Now or We’ll Knock Your Socks Off with Our Huge Sock Sale! Ensure that your information section is easy to read and includes images that showcase your offer. Always make it easy to understand and easy to act upon. Ask yourself does this page provide all the answers necessary to compel the visitor to complete the task.

Jan 22

Did Your New Year’s Resolution List Include Saving Money on Your Advertising Costs?

By Laura Kimball | Ad Strategy , PPC Advertising

Typical New Year’s Resolutions include the same old topics such as save money, get organized, lose weight, you get the picture. However, most people fail to uphold those promises so hopefully made on the first. Approximately one third will go by the wayside by the end of January and most will be forgotten by the end of the year. All the best intentions lost somewhere during those 365 days until you revisit the list on the next holiday, real life has a way of getting in the way of meeting our goals. We can help keep you on track with at least a few of those possible resolutions.

Saving money on your advertising cost while still receiving quality clicks can be a challenge for even the most savvy of marketer. Simply buying cheaper clicks from alternative sources may not always result in the best conversions. Specifically when it comes to paid search advertising saving money can be as simple as improving your quality score, expanding your keyword list, or optimizing your keyword list with proper match types and creating negative keywords to exclude search queries that limit your conversions. It’s simple when you focus on the task of optimization, you then get the same quality clicks while paying less which greatly improves your advertising ROI.

You can find out more on how to improve your quality score in a recent post –Improving Your Quality Score – I Know It’s Complicated!