Pay-per-click advertising gives you one of the most powerful methods to deliver targeted traffic to your website or landing page. It’s also a very fast way to get traffic. At the same time, PPC is an extremely complicated process with a steep learning curve.
The difference between success and failure can depend on a wide variety of issues, such as the words you bid on, your budget, the quality of your landing page, your quality score according to Google and so much more. That’s why it’s necessary to constantly track your results and refine your approach. By auditing and optimizing your pay-per-click account, you can overcome mistakes and make your campaigns more profitable. The following are some of the most crucial areas to focus on when auditing your account.
For the purposes of this article, it is assumed that you are using Google Adwords. While many of the same principles apply to any pay-per-click platform, one advantage of using AdWords is that you have access to all of the tools and resources, mostly free, that Google offers. One of these is Google Analytics, which should be connected to your AdWords account.
Analytics has many features, but at the very least you should be using it to measure basic metrics such as bounce rate and taking note of how your landing page is performing. You can, for example, track the amount of time visitors spend on your landing page. If people are only spending a few seconds on your pages, this indicates a problem -either with your landing page or the relevance of the keywords you’re bidding on.
After linking your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts, you will then want to set it up so that data is imported from AdWords to Analytics. To do this, you will have to enable Data Sharing in your Analytics account and turn on auto-tagging in Adwords. Then, under Tools and Conversions you will be able to click on a button to import Analytics data.
Ad extensions are not only useful for making your ads more effective, they are used by Google when determining Quality Score. Ad extensions are helpful for both consumers and advertisers, as they provide extra information about businesses, such as phone number, physical address, customer reviews and social extensions. From Google’s point of view, ad extensions add to the credibility of the ad and business by providing thorough information that customers will want to know.
In order to enable social extensions, you will need a Google+ page set up for your business. You will also need to have a certain number of followers, approximately 100 or more, to be able to use social extensions. Review extensions must refer to objective and legitimate third-party reviews of your business. You must have current reviews that are less than a year old.
To get the most out of ad extensions, you may have to make some efforts that aren’t directly related to your pay-per-click account, such as being active on Google+ and actively pursuing reviews.
If you don’t study the search term reports for your pay-per-click account, you should start doing so. Using AdWords, you click on Campaign, Keywords, Details and select All. Bing and other PPC platforms also issue search term reports or something equivalent. There are a number of useful ways to use the data you retrieve in these reports.
The main benefit of search term reports is that they show you which keywords are not relevant enough. Such keywords are a drain on your budget and also lower your quality score. You can also get ideas for higher performing search terms to include in your ad groups. By clicking on Dimensions, you can find out which search terms are triggering your ads. You can use Keyword Matching Options to modify which searches cause your ads to appear.
The amount that you bid for keywords is a fundamental issue when it comes to the profitability of your pay-per-click campaigns. You must, of course, choose the most relevant keywords, in order to maximize your results. However, if you are over-bidding on keywords, this can cause your campaigns to go into the red.
One way to effectively audit and optimize your bidding is to make use of CPA (cost-per-acquisition) bidding, a feature you can use in AdWords as part of their Conversion Optimizer. This feature helps you improve your conversions so that you aren’t simply accumulating a high number of clicks for your ads that may not translate into profits.
To use CPA bidding, you will first have to turn on Conversion Optimizer in your AdWords dashboard. The simplest way to use this feature is to choose Target CPA, which lets you set the average price you’re willing to pay for conversions. AdWords will give you a recommended bid, which provides you with a good starting point. As with other AdWords features, you will have to experiment with CPA bidding and give careful consideration to how much you’re willing to pay for conversions.
If you have lots of ad campaigns, it can be easy to get sloppy. Spelling errors, poorly worded ads and minor mistakes can dramatically harm the profitability of your ads. If, for example, people see spelling or grammatical mistakes, they will immediately get a negative impression of your offer. That’s why it’s so important to proofread and edit your ads on a regular basis.
Aside from obvious mistakes, it’s also essential to split test ads to ensure you are using the most effective copy possible. Sometimes changing the headline or using even a single different word can make a big difference in your results. It’s especially important to test and tweak ads that are under-performing.
When auditing your pay-per-click account, you should make sure you’re not wasting money by getting clicks from unwanted locations or from locations where your ads are performing poorly. You will first want to measure the geographic performance of your ads, which you can do by reading location reports in AdWords. Location reports reveal the way your ads perform in different regions, allowing you to modify your targeting.
You can use the data from location reports in a number of ways. You may, in some cases, want to simply stop advertising in locations where ads are performing very poorly. Or you may need to modify your ads to improve performance. In some cases, different style ads will perform better in certain regions or countries.
Your Quality Score is a metric used by search engines to determine the overall quality of your ads. Improving this number will lower the cost of your ads, helping to make your campaigns more profitable. Knowing exactly how Google determines Quality Score is just as difficult as knowing how they rank web pages. In both cases, we have a good general idea, but the exact formula is a closely guarded secret.
Quality Score has to do with the quality of your landing pages, click through rates, keyword relevance and your overall historical account performance. Of course, these are really the same factors you need to make your campaigns profitable. One of the biggest factors that can help you raise your Quality Score is by placing your keywords in the best ad groups. Your goal should be to group keywords that are highly focused and relevant to the campaign. This will help your click through rates as well as your Quality Score.
It’s a good idea to audit your pay-per-click account regularly. This is a type of advertising where even small changes can have a major impact. A few changes regarding keywords, bidding strategy, landing pages or the quality of your copy can make a campaign more profitable. By consistently auditing and optimizing your account, you can identify areas that need improvement.
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