Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing have become two of the most cost-effective ways to advertise. But neither of these tactics can beat the targeted effectiveness of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising through Google AdWords and Bing Ads.

Many assume the first few links on the top of a Google search (with that unmistakable boldened “Ad“text) are enough to make wary searchers scroll down to the remaining results.

But they’d be wrong.

According to WordStream, 64.6% of high-intent users click on those ads when they’re shopping online. As opposed to the 34.5% of clicks that come from unpaid or organic results. Talk about money (and clicks) left on the table.

When it comes to navigating your PPC campaign, there’s a tidal wave of information out there. To make it all a little more digestible here’s five easy ways to manage your PPC campaign and avoid that stress headache:

Research

Get ahead of the game before it even starts: do your research. That means analyzing your customers, competitors, and yes, those delightful keywords.

Customers

Don’t have any relevant data on your customers or audience? No sweat–try creating a customer avatar or buyer persona. Top web marketer Neil Patel sees buyer personas as crucial to the campaign process as they “allow you to zero in on the ideal target in your marketing, your content, your communication, and virtually everything else.”

Competitors

Apart from customer research, competitor research is just as important. How are your competitors positioning themselves? Are they offering the same product? How does yours differ? What keywords are they using?

These are all questions that will help you hone your messaging and set you apart from the competition.

Keywords

Keywords rule the PPC game.

As the keyword planner tool, SpyFu puts it: “you need to optimize your ad copy with keywords to ensure that your ads are shown for the right search queries.”

Keywords focus your campaign. When you’re including these words in your ad copy and your landing page, think about what your customer or potential client would be searching for.

Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to conduct keyword analysis and look up the keywords your competitors have been using.

When selecting your keywords, don’t forget the long-tail keywords. These days consumers want to be taken to exactly what they’re looking for. For example, when an online shopper makes a search query, they’ll have an easier time finding what they need if they type in “baby onesies 3-6 months” instead of typing “onesies.”

Ad Layout

Keywords form the basis of your ads. Once they’re mapped out, you can start writing the copy for both your ads and landing page.

Make sure that your copy is something that’ll get to “the why” of your customer’s search. Use short, punchy copy that appeals to them and gets to the heart of their needs. You won’t have a lot of space, so ensure your ad is clear. Resist overburdening it with unnecessary verbiage.

Bid Optimization

Besides ad layout, setting your max bid price is one of the most important considerations for a successful PPC campaign.

Leverage your bid, so it’s high enough to be competitive but not so high that your whole budget is spent in a snap.

If you’re unsure of how much to spend or you plan to use a variety of keywords in your different ad groups, never fear! You can monitor the campaigns and adjust your bids.

Monitoring your bids is a good practice as some keywords may be more successful than others. If that’s the case, drop the unproductive ones and shift your investment into the successful keywords.

Conversion Tracking & A/B Testing

Just as you would monitor campaign keywords, your conversions are the be-all-end-all of your PPC campaign. Whether it’s a purchase, email list sign-up, or a click on the “Call Now” button.

Conversion tracking helps measure ad and keyword effectiveness, but overall it helps prove or disapprove the hypothesis you developed out of your research.

Another effective way to measure results is through A/B Testing. A/B Testing allows you to test two different versions of your ad or landing page to determine copy or content success. About a third of the traffic is sent to one ad, while the rest is sent to the ad your testing against it. You’ll quickly see what works and what flops, making A/B Testing one of the most cost-effective marketing tools.

Conclusion

PPC campaigns are a boon to advertisers and businesses. It’s a multi-layered process, but through simple planning, monitoring, and testing your next PPC campaign can get you the results you’re looking for.

Like SEO, PPC practices do change depending on the search engine, so be sure to stay up to date on the latest trends.

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