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Design, Marketing 25 Jan 2019

Six Ways to Optimize Your PPC Performance

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PPC optimizations are critical to improve your paid search advertising campaigns' performance. First, what exactly is PPC optimization?

PPC optimizations are critical to improve your Paid Search Advertising campaigns’ performance.

Before we get into our top tips, what exactly is PPC optimization?

After paid search campaigns are launched, running, and collecting data, optimizations begin. Pay-per-click (PPC) optimization is the process of reviewing, analyzing, and editing campaign elements to improve performance based on business goals.
Now for the second big question: where should you start?

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1: Keywords

Keywords drive ads in the search results and help match searchers with the most relevant ads. Experts know that frequently, the search queries don’t match exactly with the keywords in the account. This is where the keyword match type comes in. While exact match is the most relevant to serving ads, it is also the most restrictive and can leave some opportunities behind. On the other end of the spectrum, broad match is the most flexible in keyword matching but can lead to irrelevant searches triggering ads.

Here are a few metrics that serve as indicators of performance for keywords:

  • CTR: The click-through rate (CTR) for search for more general keywords describing the product or service should be over 1% at a minimum. The CTR for brand terms is usually much higher at 3% or more. If the CTRs are less than that, it means the ad does not seem relevant to the user, who doesn’t click. Check search terms and ad relevancy.
  • Conversions: Compare historical conversion data to the new keywords to see how they compare and whether the keywords are not relevant enough, or match-typed too broadly.
  • Interactions, time on site, website metrics: If the traffic is not interacting with the website as you would expect, this may also be an indicator the keywords need optimizations.

2: Search Terms And Negative Keywords

Digging more into the keyword topic, oftentimes irrelevant searches or navigation searches will trigger your ads and cause poor performance.

I divide my negative keyword efforts into two categories.

  • Proactive Negative Keywords/Lists
  • Reactive Negative Keywords

3: Budgets

I get asked about PPC budget strategy nearly every day, and for good reason! Managing a budget is an art; finding the perfect overall investment and campaign allocation for PPC ads takes skill.

While most advertisers set a monthly budget not to exceed, technically, the budgets are set at the campaign level for a daily budget.
Google will serve the ads to get the best results, so the actual spend may be under or over the daily budget, but will not exceed the daily budget x 30.4 days in a month.
Therefore, while keeping an eye on the spend is important, checks are in place to ensure the automation is working for you.
With that said, Google doesn’t optimize between campaigns, so it is up to you to optimize this on a regular basis. Better-performing campaigns should receive a higher percentage of the budget.

4. Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) are the standard ad type in Google Ads. Some advertisers may still have previous versions running, so those should immediately be transitioned to the most current version.

RSAs contain up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions that automatically mix and match and test via Google Ads AI. As data is collected, Google’s learnings result in ad strength feedback ratings: poor, average, good, or excellent.
In addition to the overall ad rating, individual asset performance ratings are provided: learning, low, good, or best.
Once an asset has 500 impressions and the ad has over 2,000 impressions, it’s time to replace low-performing assets.

5. Location Targeting

It’s a good practice to optimize location targeting by business goals and performance results.

Some advertisers will use the handy set-up in the PPC platforms, which may auto-select large target areas such as an entire country, when geo-targeting is available in a number of more granular settings: state, cities, zip codes, radius around an address, and more.
Consider the following strategies to optimize the locations where your ads are served:

  • Bid adjustments – Set bids by location so that your bids increase for searchers in the area you want to reach more.
  • Layering a city over the state and adjusting the bid higher in that city to favor it over the rest of the state.
  • Excluding locations you don’t serve or where you are not likely to find quality leads or customers.

6. Conversion Actions

With the recent launch of GA4, be sure to audit your conversion actions. Some things to look for:

  • Migrate goals in Universal Analytics to GA4 right away.
  • Confirm the conversion tracking is working.
  • Confirm that the primary conversion is your business’s key performance indicator (KPI).
  • Can you add new conversion actions to get richer information on PPC results?


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