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Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns can bring your business the success it needs to grow in this ever-evolving digital world, but it can also bring you a headache if you find that if you are actually losing money on your PPC investment. In order to ensure you won’t lose money on your next PPC campaign or turn around performance on your current one, you should go back to the drawing board and ensure that you have the three PPC basics down: Ad Copy, PPC Bids, and Landing Page. For any PPC campaign, having a basic understanding of these three basic elements down will allow for your campaign to stop losing money and start gaining conversions.

1.Your Ad Copy

Ad Copy is the message that attracts users to read and click your advertisement. Using terms that clearly describe your offering and drive a strong selling point are often the terms that see more clicks and conversions. The marketing message (e.g. “10% off”) must be consistent throughout the entire ad click-to-landing page process so as not to confuse users because they may be deterred by an inconsistent message. A consistent message throughout the click-to-landing page process will boost conversion rates.

In addition, the relevance between the specific keyword you bid for with the wording in the ads (and landing page) is extremely important. What this boils down to is to try your best to feature the whole keyword in the ad, if at all possible. This will only be possible if you have only the most tightly related keywords in the same ad group (keywords which share the same ad set). Commonly, this is 10 or fewer keywords and for the highest-spending keywords, just one keyword per ad group.

Not only will improving CTR through better ads increase your sales volumes but you will also pay less for each click (through Google’s Quality Score algorithm) and so make more profit on each conversion you get.

2. Your PPC Bid and Ad Position

An ad’s position on a Google search result page is based on the PPC campaign’s Ad Rank. The Ad Rank is a combination of the bid, the quality of the ad and landing page, and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats (AdWordsHelp). In order to get a prominent search ad placement, the Ad Rank needs to meet a minimum threshold of qualifications, mentioned below.

Ads at the top of a page generally have the following qualities:
High relevance: The ad text and landing page are relevant to a user viewing your ad campaign.
Steady performance over time: The ad consistently generates clicks over the length of the campaign.
Competitive CPC bids: The ad’s bid is competitive with other advertisers.

However, some advertisers believe that one should never bid for the very top spot on a search result page. There are limited ad spaces on each search, with a maximum of 7 text ads on Google. Research shows that conversion rates do not radically change by position but CTR certainly does along with CPCs. Therefore, when bidding on keywords that do not incorporate your own brand, it is best to cater bids to a mixture of visibility and efficiency (i.e. if you are paying $0.80 for a click but the conversion rate means you lose money unless you spend $0.60 per click, you must either increase the conversion rate to make $0.80 clicks profitable or reduce your bids to ensure you do, in fact, pay no more than $0.60 per click).

If you are new to PPC and you have a limited budget that you consistently hit, increasing your bids will reduce your traffic. Therefore, if you are ranked above 3rd place (1 or 2) and you are hitting the budget, reducing bids (and, therefore, CPCs) should have the effect of increasing traffic simply because if clicks cost less, you get more clicks for the same budget. Simultaneously, of course, paying less for those clicks will make sales more profitable too.

3. Your Landing Pages

The landing pages on your website are the most important content a user views in their conversion process. These should be the main aspects you should consider when setting up pages for PPC purposes:

  • The message on the landing page has to exactly match the message on the ad as to not confuse or deter the user from furthering their purchasing process on your website.
  • Ensure the call to action on the page (buy, sign up, download, request a trial) is crystal clear and extremely prominent so a user knows exactly what the next step should be. Again, any user confusion in this matter can crush conversion rates.
  • Make the page engaging, pleasant and easy to understand and look at.
  • Provide enough information for the user to make a decision as to whether to buy.
  • Minimise distractions that could take a user away from the buying process, keep the page low on such “noise.”
  • Make the page load quickly and be compatible across browsers; a slow-loading page kills conversions.
  • Provide at least one engagement option short of buying for a user to choose. This can be signing up for a newsletter or reading reviews. These actions can be measured and having an email address, for instance, can be invaluable. These actions can be used for other remarketing projects down the line to make more use of the visitors you get through PPC.

Test and Tweak

Once your ad campaign has touched on the 3 basics mentioned above, it is important to constantly test and tweak page content, bids, keyword lists and ad copy. However, in order to understand the success of a change, features of an ad campaign should only be changed one at a time.

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11 March 2016