When it comes to internet marketing, PPC seems to be the Holy Grail.
Done right, it can catapult a business's fortune from dark to golden. According to Google, a business makes an average of $2 for every $1 it spends on AdWords. In addition, when someone performs a search with high commercial intent (meaning they're looking to buy), paid ads get 65 percent of all clicks. Clearly, there's good reason to invest in PPC.
The downside is that PPC campaigns are not the cheapest advertising effort. Done wrong, they can cost a business a small fortune. Research by WordStream found that the average small business spends $1,200 a month on PPC and wastes more than 25 percent of it.
In addition, there can be a steep learning curve with PPC. Even experts still disagree on what works and what doesn't. It doesn't help that a search giant like Google closely guards the intricate details of the ranking factors for an ad campaign.
Despite the confusion, there are still these tried and true ways to make the most of your PPC campaigns and maximize your ROI.
1. Improve ad quality.
The whole point of a search engine showing results to users is to give them meaningful information. PPC ad providers like Google and Bing are bent on delivering the best experience to searchers. That is why you need to place the searcher's needs first.
You can't write low-quality ads and expect to get high click-thru rates, even if you bid higher than your competitors. In fact, the reverse is true. You'll end up paying more to show your poorly optimized ads to users than what you would spend if your ads had a high quality score.
Understandably, the quality score is one of the most debated topics in PPC advertising. It's a combination of closely guarded ranking factors, including click-thru rate, ad text, landing page quality and previous ad history. However, certain general rules hold true:
Understand who your ideal prospect is. If you haven't already done so, create a buyer persona or several, depending on your business.
Thoroughly research keywords to uncover terms your ideal prospect is searching for. Then bid for those keywords.
Write stellar ad copy. Include the keyword in the title, and make a connection with the reader in the ad copy by using the word "you" and other power words.
Optimize your landing page. Do not link your ads to your homepage; rather, link them to the specific service or product that the prospect is searching for. Optimize your conversion funnels, and test to ensure that all forms and opt-ins function as they should.
Adhering to these basic rules increases the chances that your ads will perform well.
For even better performance, you can implement some more advanced techniques such as dynamic keyword insertion, which automatically matches your ad headlines with the user's search query. Employing dynamic keyword insertion ensures that you grab your searcher's attention, and this would most likely increase the ad's click-thru rate.
2. Track, tweak and monitor your campaigns.
Jacob Baadsgaard, CEO of Disruptive Advertising, audited over 2,000 AdWords accounts and found that not tracking PPC metrics and not paying attention to PPC campaigns are the top reasons why businesses fail to realize their AdWords potential.
Larry Kim, former CTO and founder of WordStream, made a similar discovery. He found that only 1 in 10 advertisers consistently worked on their accounts over a 90-day period.
What does your business lose if you do not monitor your PPC campaigns? For starters, you'll miss out on a lot of leads. The first few ads you create usually aren't the best. They will need several tweaks before you hit the sweet spot. Not monitoring and tweaking those ads regularly means you fail to capture important leads.
Second, and most importantly, you lose a lot of money if you do not monitor your PPC activity. In his audit, Baadsgaard discovered that, on average, all of the conversions in an AdWords account come from just 9 percent of the account's keywords. This means that the 91 percent of nonperforming keywords eat up 61 percent of your ad spend! So you need to be on top of your PPC activity, constantly optimizing and sifting out nonperforming keywords. This saves you a lot of cash.
3. Block click fraud.
Even if you do everything right, writing excellent ads and monitoring your PPC campaigns, you might still not maximize your ROI on PPC campaigns. Your campaigns could still have unexplained anomalies and over-the-top costs. Why? Because of a little thing called click fraud.
According to Econsultancy, click fraud happens when people who have no intention of doing business with you click on your ad just to drive up your costs. These could be your competitors, bots or click farms.
Of course, Google detects click fraud. But many advertisers feel it is not enough, which has led to several disputes. Google's click fraud characteristics are identical for all advertisers, and a refund is made hours after a fraud has taken place, which means your ad would not be shown for those hours. This is where third-party services like ClickCease come in handy.
ClickCease is click-fraud detection, prevention and protection software for users of Google AdWords and Bing Ads. The software uses industry-leading algorithms to detect and block click fraud that would otherwise go unnoticed. The service is currently used by over 274,000 campaigns in 181 countries and has received several positive reviews from customers. Using a service like ClickCease, you can significantly improve your ROI by stopping bots and competitors from depleting your campaign budget.
PPC advertising is one of the surest ways to boost your business growth through SEO if used correctly. To ensure that you make the most profit for your money, it is important to consistently run ads of high quality and monitor their performance on a regular basis. Going a step further by preventing click fraud, which is increasingly rampant, can help ensure you do not pay for clicks that bring you no income.