The key to getting the most successful results from your PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns is developing a strategy that utilizes the many powerful tools at your disposal with Google Adwords. While boosting your clicks and conversions may at first seem like some sort of magical alchemy, there are actually tons of tangible ways to help drive traffic and increase sales. Best of all, Google is constantly adding new tools and refining older ones that you can add to your arsenal.
Choosing which PPC strategies to deploy will largely depend on the type of business you have and the goals you’d like to achieve. By now, almost all of Google’s above-the-fold search engine result page (SERP) space is PPC advertising, which includes Google Shopping ads and PPC Adwords ads, as well as organic search results. Given this increasingly competitive and limited landscape, it’s important that you use the tools available to get a leg up on the competition. To help you navigate the field, here are 8 of the best PPC strategies your competition is not doing (and that you should be).
Target Outranking Share
One of the newest Adwords bidding features isn’t designed to hit an average ranking position, but instead to outrank a specific competitor on Google search. With Target Outranking Share, you can take aim at a specific competitor who is always ranking #1 for a subset of keywords and attempt to specifically compete against them.
Part of Google’s new flexible bid strategy, Target Outranking Share enables you to modify your bids based on:
- Competitors who rank in auction insights
- How often you want to outrank the competition
Target Outranking Share can be set up in the shared library under bid strategies. Keep in mind that it can take up to 7 days for this strategy to get running, and is only updated once per day, so have patience.
Location Bid Adjustments
For businesses that are looking to drive physical visits to a store or other specific location, or are using local campaigns, Location Bid Adjustments are an excellent bidding strategy. With this strategy, you can work towards maximum visibility for customers in a particular location by increasing your bids for ads shown to users in those areas.
You’ll have the ability to then increase or decrease bids of all your targeted location by a specific percentage. Before modifying your bids, take the time to analyze your data using dimension reports to see how your campaign performs in different geographic areas.
If you’re aiming for a steady cost per conversions (also known as Cost Per Acquisition) average, despite the potential challenge in calculating those costs, then Conversion Optimizer may be of help. This strategy works by setting a target Cost per Conversion at campaign level, and then AdWords uses your historical conversion data to optimize your bidding strategy to reach your targeted average.
To use this feature, you’ll need at least 15 conversion in the last 30 days, though you should really only use it if you have more historic conversions in order for AdWords to more accurately adjust your bids to meet the target. If you’re selling a product or service that is particularly seasonal, keep a close eye on your Cost per Conversion target to make sure that AdWords doesn’t reduce your bids too much if you have a period where conversions aren’t happening as much as they were during peak season.
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads
If your goal is drive repeat purchases using search ads, Remarketing Lists for Search Ads is the strategy for you. This approach allows you to increase bids or test results for an audience that has shown interest in your website or made purchases before.
You can set a bid adjustment based on a user’s previous behavior on your site, so if they’ve bought one item, you could increase your bids in your other campaign to promote related accessories or products that they are most likely to be interested when they search on Google. This can also work even if they haven’t made a purchase, but simply browsed for your products.
While traditional keywords trigger your ads to display for relevant searches, negative keywords prevent your ads from being triggered where you don’t want them. This approach can help you target the most interested customers, save you money, and increase your ROI.
There are some general negative keywords that should be added to almost any campaign, such as “free”, “jobs” “training”, as people searching for these terms are not likely to be looking to buy your product. Keywords like “review” and “opinions” can also be useful, as they will reduce the number of window shoppers who aren’t necessarily looking to buy now. But you’ll also want to research negative keywords specific to your business or audience. For example, if you are an optometrist, you’ll want to use words like “wine”, as you aren’t looking for customers in search of “wine glasses.
Call Extensions and Tracking
This is a particularly useful strategy for local businesses (or any business that takes calls, really) to target people who are likely to call them directly from a search query. With Call Extensions you can easily add a click-to-call button to your mobile ads and phone numbers to your desktop ads. Additionally, you can track customers who make calls from your website using Website Call Conversions.
Dynamic Keyword Insertion Ads
Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a useful feature with AdWords that enables you to create one single ad that will update based on the users search query and the targeted keywords in your ad group. There are many benefits to DKI ads, but there are also some drawbacks if its not well implemented or maintained.
On the positive side, you can have personalized ads appear for every search query, and improve account performance by increasing CTR and quality scores. On the other hand, if not set up correctly DKI ads can hurt your account if you don’t take into account plurals, misspellings or any other grammatical errors that can occur. Like any strategy, DKI ads require time, testing and good organization to be most effective.
Bonus: Store Visits
Still in the early phase of rollout, Store Visits is being added to the Adwords Estimated Conversion tool in order to track in-store visits directly from your AdWords account. According to a recent Google study, 32% of offline customers said that location-based search ads led them to visit a store or make a purchase. For businesses with physical stores, this tool could really help to show how your PPC ads are affecting your overall bottom line and marketing initiatives. To be eligible for the feature you must meet the following criteria:
- Have several store locations in the U.S.
- Your PPC program must have a “large number” of ad clicks and store visits (according to Google)
- Have location extensions set up in your Google My Business Account
To learn more about the Store Visits tool and its ongoing rollout, check out PPC Hero’s coverage, and stay tuned here.
Google is constantly refining and adding new tools to AdWords, so remaining active with your PPC strategies is critical if you want to beat out your competition. There’s never a set-it-and-forget-it approach that you can take–as much as one might wish–so it’s important that you test, analyze, re-test, and repeat to find out what is working for you and what is not. Also, keep in mind that while some strategies might work wonders for a particular business or industry, they may not be as effective with yours. Experiment with different approaches, but don’t be too quick to abandon ones that don’t show immediate results. Some investments require time to show their return.
What PPC strategies have you found to be most effective with AdWords? Let us know in the comment section.
- “Advanced PPC Strategies To Dominate Competitors on AdWords” (Visibility Conversions)
- “AdWords Strategies For Your Business” (Koozai)
- “Become The Expert: New Advanced Guide To Google AdWords” (PPC Hero)
- “11 Must Do Activities For A Successful Google AdWords PPC Campaign” (Digital C4)