By Oliver Walker

Optimising a PPC campaign is as simple as ABC (Audience, Bids, Content)! Oh, and Keywords! Never underestimate the importance of keywords in a search-based medium. So optimising a PPC campaign is actually as simply as ABCK. Isn't it? Well, just like the Jackson 5 that made our first line famous, there are actually five members to the PPC optimisation brigade. The first four are the most oft-quoted strategies and we'll skim over the fundamentals here but the fifth is just as fundamental: Landing Page Optimisation.

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PPC Optimisation Strategy - A

As with all advertising channels, if you can group people into Audiences and then target them specifically, you're chances of running a successful campaign have already increased significantly. There's a bunch of things to test, based on a multitude of dimensions. Some interesting starters for six:

  • Use Google Analytics' attribution reports to work out how many days after a user's visit they're more likely to return to purchase/complete your conversion - and bid more for them. We've seen great success with this for one high-street retailer, who saw a 23% reduction in cost for converted clicks and a 17% increase in CTR.
  • Use GA to determine where your best visitors come from, in terms of place of work and tailor ad copy to speak directly to these users, à la our Watchfinder case study
  • Run different ad copy based on users demographics. An older audience base will likely be attracted to different aspects of your business to a younger group, for example.

Different ads based on different user groups

PPC Optimisation Strategy - B

Making sure you're bidding the right amount for the right person at the right time is the absolute key to a good PPC campaign. Ensuring you're ads are showing in the right position whilst not paying too much per click means you'll be in the best possible position to roll in positive ROI at month end. A bid management tool is your friend here, whilst other useful reports include:

  • AdWords Auction Insights to understand who your 'online' competitors are; how much of the time they're showing ads above you and what proportion of the time your ads are showing at all. This intel should feed nicely into your bid management strategy
  • As should the Bid Adjustments report in Google Analytics. It lets you understand the behaviour and conversion stats of users who've clicked through on ads with various bid adjustments to them.

PPC Optimisation Strategy - C

At the most basic level running some simple A/B/C tests with different ad headlines and content is key in helping you work out what sort and format of messaging speaks best to your key audience. There's also the (not so) small matter of ad extensions - have you got all the relevant ones set up for you? Similarly:

  • Have you tried capitalisation on all first letters vs. not? It's always best to test!
  • Have you got at least one ad in each ad group with two separate sentences in the content? Not only is this a good variable to test, but you also get the opportunity to show an extended ad headline!
  • Are you monitoring which of your ad extensions are improving your CTR?

PPC Optimisation Strategy - K

The final of our four often stated optimisation amigos is Keywords. At the bottom line, if you (or someone else) isn't mining your Search Query Reports in AdWords, you're missing out. This is a Google gold-mine of possibilities:

  • new opportunities for advertising
  • potential to make your messaging more targeted via more specific ad groups
  • the all-important VETO it gives you in terms of adding negative keywords.

In terms of optimisation, the strands above are fairly limited but hugely powerful - a couple of good spots in your SQR and you could extend the reach of your campaigns exponentially, whilst blocking certain terms or changing match type can save thousands of pounds a month.

Forgotten PPC Optimisation Strategy

Like poor Sigmund Esco "Jackie" Jackson, Landing Page Optimisation often gets forgotten. But it's a part of the PPC optimisation process that offers the potential for huge improvement from your marketing.

There are many different ways to get started with LPO and, equally, there are plenty of ways to generate ideas for tests - from good old-fashioned arguing with your boss to using your own web analytics and customer feedback data (preferable!). We favour Optimizely, a hugely powerful A/B testing tool that allows you to run tests at scale and very quickly.

We're testing whether changing the messaging on our left-hand navigation affects clicks on our Display offering services (go on, open up another browser and see if you can spot what I mean) as just one test at the moment. We can help to generate test ideas for you using your data, or to implement tests that you have in mind yourself, but to get those juices flowing how about:

  • Basic tests around reducing the number of form fields, switching or removing elements, changing text, editing the style/colour/size of elements.
  • Simple personalisation based on whether a user has been to the site before or not; is on a certain device or based in a certain city or visiting at a certain time of day.
  • Changing your landing page to suit the headline of the ad that a user clicked on. Can you get any more relevant!? It's something we're running at the moment and successful for Optimizely themselves!
  • Change your landing page based on the weather. How would you change your landing page if the weather was glorious rather than the usual drizzle?
  • Change your landing page based on the persona group that the user belongs to. So if you knew that you were showing your landing page to a Hedge Fund Manager from a big corporate compared with a personal investor, would you change the language or images?

Optimizely Symmetrical Messaging

Can you feel it?

Hopefully that gives you some ideas for - and raised the profile of - Landing Page Optimisation. Whether it's a lack of knowledge, time or how to get started, we can support you in your landing page, and wider website, optimisation using the tool that is right for you. If you're interested in hearing more about our services, getting a demo of the tools or just bouncing some A/B testing ideas off us, just give us a call - we'll Show You The Way To Go.

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