Pay Per Click Ads: Must Know Tricks & Treats
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Pay Per Click Ads: Must Know Tricks & Treats

In honour of Halloween I thought it was appropriate to deliver some tricks and treats regarding pay per click advertising (I.e. Google AdWords). I loved Halloween as a kid but I remember getting skunked a few years when, despite walking miles, the candy haul was disappointing. Being upset I would take my allowance and spend it on chips and chocolate bars to appease that empty hole in my candy soul. Why am I telling you this? Well, sometimes the quickest way to get what you want is to pay for it. When I was 10 it was to get candy and now that I’m 35 it’s to get web traffic.

Pay per click ads can be especially effective when launching a new website, promoting a specific product/service, or holding a contest. If done properly they can get you to the top page of search results or in front of your target audience on social networks. If done poorly, they can end up giving you a stomach ache as if you just ate a poisoned halloween apple. Here’s some tricks and treats to ensure your results from pay per click ads are part of a successful internet marketing strategy:

Setting Goals & Measurements

  • Establish objectives of the campaign (I.e. Leads, sales, downloads, subscriptions, etc.).
  • Determine key performance indicators (I.e. Cost per lead, conversion rate, pages visited, etc).
  • Measure and improve (Allocate 10-15% of your monthly budget  towards testing and optimizing. Google Campaign Experiments is a free tool that can assist).
  • 80% of traffic will come from 20% of your ads so have multiple versions and test them. Have ad groups that are specific as possible (20 key words and 5 or 6 ads).

Determining Ad Creative

  • For search engine pay-per-click ads they appear based on the search queries being made, so perform keyword research to know which search phrases to target. Google AdWords has a powerful keyword tool built into it’s platform that can help you select. I won’t get into how to use it here but if you’re curious check out the post “How to select the best keywords“.
  • Do some research on what keywords are popular with competitors who might already be advertising. The websites www.keywordspy.com and www.spyfu.com can quickly tell you what other companies are advertising the same things you are and the keywords they’re using.
  • Use language that your target user is using and how they describe the problem or solution they are seeking. For instance, people are not searching for “previously owned cars” when looking for a used car; they’re searching for “used cars”.
  • Third party testimonials drive conversions in ad text and on landing pages. Try to incorporate reviews or statements such as “Voted Planet S Best of Saskatoon”.
  • Make sure there is continuity between the ad message, creative and destination. The ad should contain words that the destination page also has and perhaps even the url. This will help determine the quality score of your ad which Google uses to assess the integrity of your ad and whether it’s even worthy of being displayed. In addition, click through rate, time on page, and page speed of the destination are big determinants of quality score for ads. If your quality score is less than seven consider dropping the ad or improving it.

Ad Placement and Bid Strategy

  • Google has an ad display network that reaches far beyond typical search results, so consider using “managed placements”.  Search your keywords to determine which sites have mentions of it and  specify those sites to run your display ads (Assuming they’re part of Google’s display network).
  • Use geo-targeting for ads. You can get as specific as the city and even the postal code you want the ad to display in. It’s also wise to try use the city’s name in your ad text since this may help with quality score and relevance to the user.
  • Consider using “negative keywords” that will omit your ad from showing up for certain search queries to you minimize non-target clicks. For instance, before my company was called Deep Dish Digital it was known as Harley Rivet Consulting, so when creating ads I would be sure to list “Harley Davidson” as a negative keyword since I did not want a bunch of bikers clicking on my ads hoping they could get advice on their motorbikes.
  • Mobile targeted campaign is a must for local campaigns and geographical tags do well with mobile focused campaigns.
  • Depending on your market, target by time of day/week (I.e. Business to Business ads should have higher bids during the day).
  • Play around with your bid price so you maximize your budget. Being the second or third listed ad is still good placement and costs much less than being first.

I hope these tricks and treats filled your metaphorical candy bag with some good nuggets of knowledge. Deep Dish Digital manages pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients, so if you’re considering using them give us a call and we’d be glad to share more advice. Have a safe and fun Halloween!

 
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Comments (4)

  1. Galen Sonntag, November 4, 2011
    Nice work Harley. Pay per click is a wonderful tool for new websites as you state as well for sites that are not performing well for organic search results for a specific keyword or set of keywords. It's a great way to drive traffic, while you work on getting the organic traffic via SEO, Reply
    • Harley Rivet, November 4, 2011
      Thanks for the comment, Galen. I picked up many of these tips from my trip to the Online Marketing summit in Houston this past September. I think you might also notice a couple that were inspired by the couple projects we collaborated on. Reply
  2. Greg Makuch, November 5, 2011
    Harley Good message! Having helped many folks set up and run their PPC program I have seen a common theme with eager clients. Many try do reach all at one time.They approach the PPC like a drunk sailor spending everything right away. Often they do that by not following a Geo specific approach as you have suggested. The speed at which dollars can be used if ones approach is "all at once" is beyond belief. To echo your comment Geo Specific is important to make your budget effective. I have suggested more than once to eager clients to "make local work" then "use those profits to expand beyond your local reach". Reply
    • Harley Rivet, November 7, 2011
      Thanks for the comment, Greg. Having a Geolocation focus is in definitely something most clients need to focus on. Reply

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