Way back when, I worked as a Digital Marketing Manager for a large travel company based in Surrey. Whilst I quickly realised that for me there’s nothing quite like the fast-moving and challenging environment that comes with agency life, I also learnt a lot about juggling all of the day-to-day tasks within Digital Marketing.
Paid Search can prove to be a hugely lucrative and successful marketing channel, but you can find yourself spending hours and hours on testing and optimising an AdWords account to improve results. In order to save yourself some time and thus use these extra 40 hours per week more effectively, I’ve put together a list of 7 quick and painless fixes to improve your AdWords PPC performance.
When looking at your PPC metrics, one number you want to especially pay attention to is your Quality Score. The Quality Score (QS) is a score between 1 and 10 that AdWords allocates to each keyword in a PPC account which indicates your measured relevance to the keyword you’re looking to bid on. The Quality Score is the most important metric within an AdWords account as it determines everything from the CPC you’ll pay to your eligibility to display ads on that keyword.
The structure of your PPC account is of paramount importance, as it closely impacts the Quality Score. Too granular and you may be over working yourself unnecessarily. Too broad and you may be missing crucial search traffic. I recommend that you have no more than 15 keywords in each ad group of a newly restructured account. This is so that the ad copy within that ad group is as relevant to the keywords as possible.
2. Keyword Bids
One of the most common issues I see when auditing PPC accounts is advertisers using ad group level bids instead of keywords. Keywords are all different, so should be treated differently, with the keyword bid reflecting historical performance of that keyword.
3. Search Partners
The benefit of including advertising on Google Search Partners is quite regularly debated. My advice is to look into the historical performance by segmenting the data in AdWords by “Network (with search partners)”.
What you’ll most likely see is a handful of clicks that delivered at a pretty terrible CTR. If you’re new to AdWords then give it a go, see how it does after a month, and then optimise using the data.
4. Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are there, don’t cost extra, and enable advertisers to occupy more of the available real estate. They increase CTR which improves quality score and reduces CPC – a definite no-brainer. Learn more about how to stand out from the crowd with Ad extensions.
5. Ad Delivery Method
AdWords has two delivery methods, which can be found in the settings of all campaigns. The first is standard; this means that AdWords will pace itself in relation to your daily campaign budget. If you have limited budget, you should ensure you’re set to standard delivery.
The other option is “accelerated”, which gives AdWords the go-ahead to spend all of your budget as soon as possible. In my experience, this only increases CPCs and increases impressions on the less relevant keywords when on broad and phrase match.
Moral of the story is stick to standard delivery, avoid wasted spend and unnecessarily crappy results.
6. Tailored Mobile Ad Copy
Mobile screens are little and it’s a well known fact amongst web users that not all sites are mobile optimised. Running mobile preferred ad copy allows the advertiser to demonstrate the fact that they understand their audience and their search habits, and they’re prepared for it. Address your mobile users directly through putting in catchy phrases like “Only 2 minutes to sign up on your mobile!”. To optimise your account fully, run an A/B test with mobile preferred ad copy Vs your standard all device ad copy and measure performance. I find that mobile ad copy isn’t as prominent as it perhaps should be, so you may be able to jump in there before your competitors.
7. Ad Copy Testing
Regular ad copy testing is a must. Ads will perform differently in different locations, for different keywords, and at different times of the day or days of the week. Make sure you only change one parameter at a time to be able to track each effect separately to find the perfect mix for your ad. For example, start with your best performing existing ad, and test a new headline variation. Once you have the results, continue with the best headline and test a new description variation. Continue until you have a perfectly refined ad.
Hopefully that should get you going and lead to a performance improvement in your AdWords PPC account. See, paid search isn’t all excel data crunching and analysis. Oh wait…