There are several channels that you can use to drive traffic to your Website through PPC including Google Adwords, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Bing. Below, we will discuss the different PPC channels and how to use them for different products or services. We will then take a look at setting up a campaign in Google Adwords to show you what to look for when setting up your campaign to achieve the best possible results.

Choosing the Right PPC Channel

One of the things that we tell our clients is that they should not chase the latest fad when it comes to PPC. They should let the numbers tell them where to spend their marketing dollars and where they should cut back on spending.

As an internet marketing company, we are in a unique position because we see how different companies and products perform in different markets across various industries.  Over the years of running hundreds of marketing campaigns, we have learned a few vital things along the way. 

First, the same product can get very different results in different markets. For example, we used the exact same landing page, ad copy, and set up the campaigns using the same settings, but the results were very different. The cost per click was different and even the landing page conversion rate was different. The lesson learned here is that you have to test a channel for your business and market to truly understand what results it will produce for you.

Second, it’s important to look at both leading and lagging indicators of results to understand if the campaign is performing well. For example, in Facebook the cost per click is usually much cheaper than Google Adwords, but when you look at the cost per sale, you may realize that the cost per sale is cheaper in Google. Even within Facebook, if you split test Facebook versus Instagram, you may find that the cost per click on Instagram is higher than Facebook. The lesson learned here is that you don’t want to focus on a specific channel just because there is a lot of hype about the channel, such as Instagram. Let the numbers tell you how to adjust your spends each and every month.

Third, different PPC channels work best to target different audiences. For example, LinkedIn is an effective channel if you want to target a specific job title. While Google Adwords is excellent if you want to target people that are actively looking for what you have to offer. Certain businesses have a product that prospects don’t even know exists. In this situation, Facebook may be the best channel.

Establishing Goals

Before launching a PPC campaign, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of what the goals are of your campaign. Do you want to generate leads or online sales? What is your target cost per lead or sale? What is your target ROI? What region do you want to target?

Here’s an example of an online education company and how goal setting applies to their business. The online education company is located in the US and wants to target North America. Their primary goal is to generate leads for their business. By understanding that their average revenue per sale is $10,000.00 and that their average cost per sale is $2,500.00, we are able to determine their target cost per lead (CPL). With this information, we understand their goals and success criteria.

Keyword Research

Once you have outlined your goals, you are ready to conduct keyword research. The reason why you want to conduct keyword research right after establishing your goals is to determine the feasibility of launching your PPC campaign, as well as what you can expect to achieve from an ROI perspective.

There are various keyword research tools to use. One tool that we recommend using is Google’s Keyword Planner tool. When conducting your keyword research, you want to look for three things. The first is search volume. The second is relevance. The third is the average cost per click (CPC).

Start off by looking at the average CPC for relevant keywords to determine if it’s feasible to launch a CPC campaign in the first place. By understanding the average CPC, you can project your average CPL and CPS. Then, it’s simply a matter of determining if the projected CPL and CPS is less than or equal to your goal. If it is less than or equal to your goal, you are ready to start building your PPC campaign.

Building Your Keyword List

There are two main options to build your keyword list. Either you can start off with a small group of highly relevant keywords with decent search volume that you can go after, or you can build a larger list of keyword phrases. Both strategies have their advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage of using a shortlist of highly relevant keywords is that you don’t waste money. The disadvantage is that it will take time to drive traffic to your site and it takes longer to learn about other keywords that could be delivering traffic to your site and converting.

The advantage of using a longer list of keyword phrases is that you can drive more traffic to your site and learn what keywords are converting for you. The obvious disadvantage is that it costs more and you do waste some money in the short-term as you learn which keywords are not converting for you.

Using Head, Mid, and Long Tail Keywords

We often notice that when people are developing a list of keywords for a PPC campaign, they outline a list of keywords that come to mind, which is perfectly natural. These keywords primarily consist of head and mid-tail keywords. Head and mid tail keywords consist of one or two to three keywords respectively. Long-tail keywords are searched a small number of times but add up to a greater number of searches than the most popular head and mid-tail keywords. So, if you are looking to drive a high volume of traffic in a short period of time, you want to target a lot of words, not just the most popular ones.

The reason why this is important to understand is because depending on your offer and the type of traffic you want to generate, you want to use different types of keyword phrases. If you are looking for prospects that are performing initial research, you want to use one to two keywords as they will be performing a general search. For example, if a prospect wants to understand SEO, they would likely use a broad search term such as “SEO” to learn more and perform research about what SEO is.

If you are looking for prospects who are considering making a purchase, use keyword phrases that are between two to three keywords because their searches are going to be more specific. If you are looking for prospects that are ready to make a purchase decision, go after keyword phrases that contain three or more keywords. For example, “SEO services Toronto.” You also want to develop a list of negative keywords if you are using broad match or phrase match keyword phrases to ensure that you are not bidding on keyword phrases that are not relevant to what you do.

4 Key Variables that Impact Results

Before we get into the development of your Adwords campaign, let’s pause and take a look at the variables that have the greatest impact on the performance of your campaigns. When we look at the performance of a campaign, we look at the following four key areas as the key drivers of success or failure:

  1. Set up: campaigns and ad groups
  2. Ads: text and banners
  3. Landing pages: in the form of a website or squeeze page
  4. Ad rank: which is based on the first three variables

Grouping Keywords into Ad Groups

Creating a good list of keywords that have a high probability of converting to sale is a great starting point. The next step is to group your keywords into ad groups. Ideally, you want to use one keyword per ad group. Keeping your keyword phrases focused enables you to achieve a higher ad rank and better user experience, which should result in higher conversions. We’ll get into ad rank later.

When setting up your ad groups, if you are starting with exact match to ensure that your ads only appear for the exact keyword that you would like to appear for, simply put your keyword in enclosed square brackets. Using the previous SEO services example, if your keyword phrase was “SEO Services Toronto”, for exact match, you want to enclose your keyword in square brackets as follow: [SEO Services Toronto]. If you would like to be more aggressive with your campaign, you can include your keyword phrase in quotes, which is called a phrase match. Here’s what the keyword will look like with quotation marks: ” SEO Services Toronto”.

Creating Your Ads for Each Ad Group

Once your keywords are grouped into ad groups, you want to create your ad copy to be used for Google’s Search Network. You should create two to four ads per ad group and ensure that you set up your ad groups to serve your ads equally, so that you can determine which ads are performing best.

You want a close match between your keywords and the text in your ads. As a matter of fact, your headline should match directly to the search terms or keywords by including one if not all of your ad group’s keywords in the headline. There’s three different ways you can do this in your headline text. You can write your headline as a question, exact match to the search query, or as a benefit statement.

In your description, you should convey your value proposition – including a benefit and a call to action or price if you have a price advantage. In terms of your display URL, if possible, we recommend including your keyword phrase as it is bolded and stands out. To determine if your ads are performing well, try to achieve a click through rate of at least 1%. If you can exceed 3%, you are doing well.

Landing Page or Website Set Up

The final step in our PPC blueprint is your landing page or website set up. Once you have developed your text ads to be used on Google’s Search Network, you are ready to develop your landing pages or optimize your Website. Remember when we outlined the goals of your PPC campaign? When developing your landing page that you will be driving your traffic to, the design of your landing page should have one of three goals in mind: either it should generate a lead, get the prospect to make an online purchase, or maximize the amount of time that the prospect spends on your site.

If you have not determined this, take the time to do so. The reason why this is so important is because you want to ensure that your landing pages or Website is properly designed to maximize the result you are trying to achieve. For example, if your goal is to generate leads, you want to ensure that you have a Web form in place to capture the lead.

You also want to ensure that your landing pages match your ad groups keywords, the text matches your ad text, the page loads quickly, and that there is a clear call to action to maximize conversions. By matching your keywords to your advertisements and landing pages, you will maximize your quality score. This is achieved by increasing the CTR on your ads due to high relevancy while showing Google that your landing pages are highly relevant to your keywords and ad text. By including a strong call to action, such as a downloadable eBook, you are maximizing your conversion and ROI.

Creating a Microsite

To get the best landing page conversion possible, create a micro site and try not to use your main Website. The reason that you want to use a micro site over your main site is because the landing page will be more focused and there will be less distractions for the prospect, which will result in a higher opt-in rate. For your micro site to get approved by Google, you will have to include the following pages: home page, about us page, contact us page, terms and conditions page, and a privacy policy. Many businesses make the mistake of sending all of the PPC traffic to their Website. This is a significant mistake. As an experienced PPC company, our advice is that while it does cost a little to build a micro site, it converts at a much higher rate, which means that you will generate more leads and achieve a lower cost per lead.

Achieving a Good Ad Rank to Maximize Your ROI

Before we get into the set-up of your Adwords campaign, it’s important to understand how Google ranks advertisements and how you can maximize your ROI. Google does not simply reward the highest bidder with the top position on search results pages. Instead, Google rewards advertisers that create highly relevant campaigns and great experiences for users. This is achieved through what’s called Ad Rank. The bottom line is that the advertisement with the highest Ad Rank gets the highest position.

Ad Rank is determined by the following formula: Ad Rank = Quality Score x Max CPC bid.

Your max CPC bid is simply the maximum you’re willing to pay per click on your ad. Your quality score, ranging from 1-10, 10 being the highest, is based on Google’s calculation of how relevant your advertisement and landing page are to the keyword that you are bidding on. And the biggest influence on quality score is your ads click through rate (CTR). The CTR is the % of searchers who click your advertisements when it is displayed. The biggest influence on your CTR is the relevance of your ad to the keyword. This is one of the reasons that we stressed the importance of properly setting up your ad groups, ads, and landing pages.

They truly work as a single system to reduce your costs and maximize your conversion to sale. In Google Adwords, you can see how your quality score compares to your competitors to get a sense of how well your campaign is set up. Blueprint typically ranks first in terms of quality score when comparing our clients’ campaigns versus the competition. The reason why these campaigns rank so well is because the keywords, ad copy, ad groups, landing pages, and offers are all completely aligned to each other. If you take this approach with your campaign, you will also outperform your competitors.

Getting Started

Now you have a solid overview of the four key areas that impact the results of a PPC campaign. In order to get the most out of your campaign, make sure that you take the necessary time to complete in-depth keyword research and group your keywords into tightly matched ad groups. Then, build ads and landing pages that are closely matched to your ad groups, while maximizing your conversion. Then, review your ad rank to ensure that you are running the most efficient campaign possible.

To learn more about how Blueprint can use Pay-Per-Click advertising to maximize website traffic and volume for your business, contact us today at [email protected].