Now that we’re well into the new year, it’s time to make sure we’re on a good path towards achieving our digital marketing goals—especially our pay-per-click (PPC) goals. To help, Brad Geddes, the founder of Certified Knowledge and an expert PPC marketer, has put together an AdWords tutorial recapping 2017 and looking ahead to 2018. In it, he delivers a step-by-step guide to improve the performance of your PPC campaigns.
To run PPC campaigns that drive traffic and increase sales, you need to occasionally review, analyze and overhaul your best practices to fit constantly changing audiences. With this tutorial, Brad will help you do a timely assessment for the fresh insight so you can spot opportunities and optimize results in the future. During the tutorial, Brad explains how to:
- Review and analyze your ads, landing pages, and offers.
- Plan ahead for 2018.
- Lay down markers and resolutions for the new year.
You can watch the hour-long webinar recording here or read the highlights below (although we recommend you do both to get the most out of the information—and your PPC campaigns).
In the last quarter of 2017, Google witnessed an unusual trend across industries as compared to the other quarters in several years. Some of the trends observed were:
- An increase in Cost Per Click (CPC) between 12 percent to 25 percent
- A higher Click Through Rate (CTR), anywhere between 5 percent to 15 percent
- Growth in conversion rates of up to 30 percent
- An increase in the Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) due to the increase in CTR
- That the number of clicks and impressions were either flat or down
- A higher number of quality visits from the same or fewer clicks
In a Simplilearn webinar, Brad Geddes, founder of Certified Knowledge and an expert PPC marketer, attributed these results to some of the new AdWords features implemented in 2017, many of which you’ll want to be familiar with for 2018. Here are a few useful features that can help you enhance your PPC campaign’s reach and performance:
- Adwords Expanded the Matches to Exact and Phrases: Google has dynamically changed how exact and phrase match to words. The match type has changed from being a syntactic match type to a semantic match type, which means that you need not worry about your ads if they do not match the exact words; they can now be matched to phrases too.
- New Ad Extensions Included: Google launches ad extensions every few months. These can be included depending upon the nature of your industry. For example, if your industry is price-oriented, you can use extensions related to price. Ad extensions showcase what your business has to offer in detail and can be useful in persuading your audience to move closer to conversion.
- If / Default Ads for Mobile Audiences: Before this change, you did not have the option to create preferred ads using Expanded Text Ads (ETA). You could not separate the message for mobile and desktop users. However, now you can adjust an ad in one format and customize it using the If function and Default values.
- Life Event Targeting: With users sharing their life events on social media, this feature enables companies to target customers around those life events. For example, a travel company can now create ads about honeymoon packages and target those who are getting married.
- Additional Fields in Customer Match Help in Matching Purposes: This is particularly helpful for B2B companies that upload their CRM to customer match. Earlier, the 'customer match' AdWords served ads to customers purely based on their email ID. Now, you can add more information or criteria such as name, phone number, and ZIP code to get a closer customer match.
- Similar Audiences and In-market Audience: A favorite option for remarketing, the similar audience option helps the marketing team target users searching for the same kinds of things as recent site visitors by showing them ads related to the product or service. In-market, on the other hand, helps you connect with consumers who are actively researching and comparing products by displaying your ad.
Other new features include Retargeting for Gmail ads (display ads on top of the inbox ads), expanded text DSAs, in-store measurement, and data-driven attribution that have helped in improving the conversion rates.
In many cases, people are unwilling to experiment with new features if the existing features work well. It’s a case of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, that could mean missing out on PPC revenue, so it’s worth being proactive and willing to try out the new features.
Select the Features That Align to Your Campaign Goals
Although you should be willing to try the new features, you don’t have to try out every new feature, at least not at once. Focus on those that align with what you’re already doing, and keep your sights on your campaign goals. For example, if you are already using Dynamic Search Ads (DSA), try the expanded DSA to provide more information about your brand.
Image source: AdWords
In a nutshell, understand your campaign goals first and use the new features that allow you to achieve the goal.
Factors to Consider While Developing a Successful PPC Campaign
In this webinar, Brad gives advice for improving your PPC performance in the new year, including:
- Review and Update Your Marketing Plan: Brad says that only 8 percent of companies have a marketing plan in place. He recommends that companies should either create a marketing plan of what they are doing or, if they already have one, they should review and update it to provide an overview of the past activities and to understand the road ahead.
- Check If Your Goals Have Changed: Brad says that most of the goals decided on in the beginning of the year or the fiscal year change at the C-level or the VP level as the year goes along. These goals are often not pushed down to the directorial or managerial levels where the execution occurs. Even agencies are often unaware of changes to goals. Everyone involved should know the goals. Make sure they do. This will also help when deciding which new features to try because you can focus on those that will help accomplish the goals.
- Monitor New Products and Services in Your Business: If you offer products that are in a service-based market, you must verify if the timelines per product have changed and plan your campaigns accordingly. Sometimes companies may have to recalibrate their marketing strategies based on the data gathered.
What Do You Want to Accomplish in 2018?
Once you have identified the goals and selected the features that will help you achieve those goals, be clear about what you want to accomplish in 2018. Brad recommends that companies create a project plan instead of a task list to determine the date when a project will begin and end, and the tasks that are to be done to achieve a milestone. He suggests that companies track every single conversion as a practice, especially with the new integration of Salesforce and Google 360. Marketers should also start using remarketing using audience targeting methods as well as determine how to connect better with users. For example, if you are a company that provides glasses to various types of users, you can create different sets of ads in the AdWords section and target them to a particular demography, for more targeted marketing. Brad also recommends responsive ads as one of the best ways to do audience targeting.
In addition to reading the suggestions above and watching Brad’s webinar, also consider increasing your PPC knowledge with certification training, so you can master the art of paid campaigns and how to generate paid traffic using a variety of PPC channels. Because that might just be the very best way to improve your PPC campaign performance in 2018!