“Googling” has become part of our everyday vocabulary as the world turns to the search engine an estimated 5.8 billion times a day to answer our queries.
It is, therefore, no surprise that so many brands use Google as an effective way to advertise in response to demand for their goods or services.
Setting up and managing a Google Ads account can be a daunting task. Below we have provided 5 of the ‘must haves’ that you should include in your PPC strategy to make the most of your investment in pay per click (PPC) advertising.
Full use of extensions
Ad extensions are additional components of information used to expand your ad to show users more detail about your service, product or brand. Examples are shown below:
Ad extensions give the searcher multiple opportunities to click on your ad and visit deeper pages of your website, call your business, find your store etc. All of this makes your ad stand out vs. your competitors in the results. It therefore stands to reason that making full use of ad extensions can increase your click-through rate.
When it comes to ad extensions, we advise that you use as many relevant extensions as you can. Google offers a whole host of extensions from location extensions to sitelinks to lead forms. You may have even spotted images appearing in Search Ads through your own Googling. Image extensions are still in Beta and are available to accounts that have been whitelisted.
Negative keywords allow you to form a list of keywords you do not want to trigger your ad. When you consider that there are an estimated 70,000 Google searchers every second it makes sense to closely manage your negative keywords to avoid racking up a large bill from clicks on your ads appearing for irrelevant searches.
Negative keyword management is an ongoing element of running a PPC account. Negative keywords that you should include will become clearer as the campaign develops; however, a good place to start is with words which commonly precede or follow searches but are not relevant to your offering, such as “free” if you are looking for users to pay for products and services, and “jobs” if your sector is not recruitment or job advertising.
It is also worth considering any double meaning your keywords may have. For example, a health and safety company may wish to advertise the sale of first aid kits. Though “first aid kit” may seem like a highly targeted keyword, there is also a popular band named First Aid Kit (who you can check out here). In this case it is a good idea to add associated words to your negative keyword list such as “music”, “band”, “gigs” and “lyrics” to mitigate irrelevant traffic. Data from Google Trends shows us that the most common query associated when “first aid kit” is the band.
Correct Bidding Strategy
Google Ads will determine the position of ads in search results via a real time auction for every search. The auction considers the advertisers that are eligible to appear against a search, the amount that they are willing to pay per click and the quality score of the keyword in an advertiser’s account – which is a whole other blog in itself.
Within Google Ads, advertisers can choose to manually adjust bids or use one of Google’s automated bidding strategies. Historically there has been some reluctance to hand over control to Google through using an automated bidding strategy. However, using an automated bidding strategy can save a great deal of time and remove the stress of constant manual bid management. It can also drive great results. Software company, Sage, made the move to smart bidding and saw their conversions increase by 53% and their cost per acquisition dropped by 26%.
Google has proven time and time again that automated bidding can be an effective way to manage your account. Proceed with caution and understand which bidding strategy is right for your business. Take the time to understand the pros and cons of each strategy and ensure all the necessary precautions are in the place before handing over control to Google. And remember, PPC is all about testing, make sure that you are regularly reviewing your average cost per click, impression share of ads and the quality of your traffic.
Attribution modelling assigns value to marketing channels for the role played in leading to a conversion (e.g. a form completion, sale etc.) Without diving too deep into the inner workings of different attribution models, a common oversight is to rely heavily on Google Analytics’ ‘last click’ attribution model. This means any tracked conversion is 100% attributed to the last channel the user clicked through from – and everything else is forgotten about.
For example if a user first searches for Adidas Trainers and clicks on a Google Ad for ASOS, shops around a little on various websites and then returns to ASOS by clicking on an organic search result and makes a purchase – organic search gets all the credit and PPC gets none.
We know that a buyer may interact with multiple touch points before completing a sale and therefore these touchpoints deserve credit for their contribution to a sale. Understanding attribution is a key component of any digital marketing strategy – have a read at this blog to understand a typical consumer buying journey.
Analysing your search funnel reports will help you better understand what keywords are contributing to conversions. It may seem correct to pause keywords, or even campaigns, with a large volume of clicks and low conversions; however, a deeper analysis may show that the campaign contributes to the buying cycle and is therefore profitable.
Consider using a position-based attribution model for conversion data to reflect the buying journey where 40% credit is assigned to each the first and last interaction and 20% is spread among the middle interactions.
Speaking of consumer buying cycles… remarketing is a great way to re-engage users who are familiar with your brand but have not yet completed a sale. Google Ads allows us to create an audience of users who have visited your site and then advertise specifically to this audience.
As we’ve just discussed in the attribution section of this blog, several visits to the site, searches and various online research can often take place before a user commits to a purchase.
Creating an audience to remarket to can be beneficial in multiple ways. This audience can be targeted through search advertising by bidding higher on searches from this audience to ensure higher prioritisation of your budget towards an already-qualified segment of users.
Remarketing audiences can also be targeted with ads on the display network. This will allow you to reach your audience through visual HTML or JPEG ads as they browse other websites online. Remarketing allows your brand to stay connected with your target audience, even after they leave your website.
For an even more qualified audience, exclude those who have completed a sale from your audience so as not to waste budget on those who have already completed their buying journey.
Though I have given some account specific recommendations, for any company, my biggest ‘must have’ is an agency with PPC experts who specialise in Google Ads. Although it is worthwhile to understand PPC and how it will work for your business, an effective account requires consistent management and time dedication to achieve optimum results. Any mistakes you make, you will pay (per click) for.
I understand not everyone shares my enthusiasm of the inner mechanics of Google and its many algorithms but the good news for my clients is they don’t have to! After all, my career is dedicated to it!
Speak to a PPC expert at the BIG partnership today to see how we can help you achieve your advertising goals online. Get in touch here.
Bobbie Whyte – Senior Digital Marketing Executive