If you’re already using paid search (PPC) advertising and are familiar with the basic principles – but want your ads to work harder and improve your return on investment (ROI) – this article is for you.
We’ll explain everything you need to know about pay-per-click optimization in order to boost your performance and achieve the best results possible in Clifton Park, New York.
Pay-Per-Click Optimization Services
This diagram shows how each of the optimization techniques described in this eBook work together to help you maximize the potential of your paid search activities.
Paid search allows you to track what’s working and what’s not in near real time (for example, in Google Analytics) and make adjustments as necessary to your campaign.
To make the most of this efficient feedback loop, you first need to:
- Define your objectives and success metrics
- Review your current performance and that of your competitors
- Consider the opportunities raised by seasonal and market trends, as well as your own promotions and events
It’s essential to keep your overarching commercial objectives in mind when optimizing paid search campaigns; these should form the basis of your campaign KPIs.
These are the metrics you use to measure the effectiveness of your campaign, based on what you need to achieve to meet your commercial objectives: they should guide your reporting and optimization activities. KPIs can be measured in terms of metrics such as conversion rate, CTR (click-through rate) or ROAS (return on ad spend).
They often differ from one campaign to another; for example, some campaigns may be based on generating brand awareness, while others are designed to generate sales.
Campaigns can influence users at different stages of the purchase funnel (eg, awareness, consideration, purchase); all of which work towards achieving your commercial objectives and assist in the conversion process.
Attribution analysis can be used to build an overall picture of how users are interacting with your keywords and campaigns which can help you to identify areas for optimization.
Pay-Per-Click Attribution Analysis
Not all keywords in paid search campaigns will generate conversions and revenue at your target CPA (cost-peracquisition) of ROI.
However, you should consider continuing to allocate budget towards them, as they may be assisting conversions that other keywords or traffic source are getting credit for.
The standard attribution model in Google Analytics is ‘last non direct click’ and for AdWords it is to attribute a conversion to the last AdWords click; this means that the full value of every conversion is attributed to the keyword that generated the click where the user landed on the site and converted in that session, or when the user then came back direct to the site (often through a bookmark) and converted.
This attribution model undermines the value of any keyword that assists a user by moving them down a purchase funnel without actually getting them to convert yet.
There are several other attribution models that you should consider when managing your paid search campaigns:
- Last click: the last click receives full value of the conversion.
- First click: the first click receives full value of the conversion.
- Linear: each keyword in the conversion path shares the credit with the value being divided equally. •
- Time decay: this model attributes credit most heavily to the clicks that occurred nearest to the conversion.
- Position based: most of the credit is attributed to the first and last clicks, distributing the remainder among the remaining clicks.
The Search Funnels reports in Google AdWords and the Attribution report in Google Analytics can be used to find and analyse attribution data.
You can select up to three attribution models at a time and compare the results generated through each model in a consolidated table.
Attribution analysis can help you to understand the true effectiveness of your particular keyword and also help formulate bidding and advertising strategy.
For instance, you can bid more aggressively on keywords that generate conversions through the first click attribution model as you are aware that they will lead to sales/ conversion action later in the conversion path.
Evaluating your competitors is a key marketing activity that every business will be familiar with.
For paid search this means analyzing, for example, the keywords they rank for, what they’re spending, how their ads are written, their calls-to-action and what’s on their landing pages.
This will allow you to identify your position in the marketplace, benchmark your paid search performance and learn from your competitors’ successful (and unsuccessful) tactics to improve your own campaigns.
Google AdWords’ Auction Insights report allows you to compare your impression share (more on impression share review later) and overlap rate (how often a competitor’s ad was shown at the same time as yours) with other advertisers who are appearing on the same search engine results pages as you.
By reviewing their activity over a range of time periods, you can gauge their changing approach and fine-tune your campaign in response.
Other Google tools that show search volume patterns over time are Google Trends and Keyword Planner.
Events and Promotions Taking Place Throughout Clifton Park
As with any marketing activity, paid search can be used to leverage relevant events and promotions.
Test different promotions to see what works best in each channel.
Promotions can be included in your ads or in ad extensions – and should always be on your landing page too.
Christmas, Valentine’s Day, sporting events and industry conferences are just a few things that affect user behavior.
This example ad and landing page show how John Lewis optimized its Valentine’s Day campaign, using ad extensions to promote its Valentine’s Day gift range.
Seasonality and Market Trends That Affect Clifton Park Businesses
Month-on-month and year-on-year comparisons aren’t always the most accurate barometers of success; paid search markets are dynamic and most are becoming increasingly competitive.
You can use Google Trends to help you discover seasonal and market trends. In the example below we can see the search trends for ‘vodka’ increase significantly each Saturday and search trends for ‘hangover’ peak on a Sunday.
Remember that search trends represent human behavior so are often, but not always, unsurprising.
This information can be used to help you with budget forecasting and allow you to produce more intelligent marketing campaigns.
Conversion Tracking In Clifton Park
If you’re spending money on paid search, you should always have tracking in place to help determine your ROI.
The more you spend, the more important it becomes to track what users do after clicking on your ads. Tracking allows you to:
- Identify your return on investment and where money is best spent.
- Discover what keywords, ad groups and campaigns are most profitable.
- Test multiple ads, keywords, landing pages and offers.
- Test new ads and conversion pages effectively and quickly.