Best Advertising Campaigns
If you want to build one of the best advertising campaigns you must follow this guide below in order to know exactly how one should be set up.
Three words of advice: test, test, test.
- PPC, or pay-per-click, ads are extremely common across the internet, especially on Google’s search results. In fact, PPC ads are Google’s bread and butter; they provide billions of dollars of revenue every year. They are also one of the most popular and effective ways to advertise online. That is why it should come as no surprise as to why we’ll be talking about their PPC program, Adwords, in detail for this section.
The first section is all about getting started. We’ll walk you through the basic steps of setting up and understanding an Adwords account. This is a very basic outline and is only recommended for the beginner, if you already have an account or can hack it on your own, feel free to skim ahead to the guts of managing and optimizing campaigns which is found in the second section.
Part 1: Getting Started
Rest assured that Google isn’t the only PPC provider out there, it just happens to the largest by a very wide margin. If fact, both Yahoo! and Bing have their own proprietary PPC networks which you can chose to enroll in and participate. However, we’ll stick to Google’s Adwords program for this chapter.
A simplified list of the basics of setting up an Adwords account is below. Rest assured that once you read this chapter, you’ll only have scratched the surface of the potential for intelligent and careful individuals who maintain Adwords accounts.
- Create a campaign with ad groups supporting your product you are trying to sell.
- Build a list of keywords which are words or phrases that an internet user uses to find something through a search engine.
- From the keywords, create ads that use those keywords to explain to potential customers the benefits and features.
Setting Up an Adwords Account
We know that not everyone is blessed with the magic skills of getting to the right spots on the internet, so we thought we include a quick guide on signing up for an Adwords account. Skip ahead if you already have one.
Step One – Sign Up
Go to http://adwords.google.com/and you will come to a page that looks like the following…
Obviously, click “Start Now” if you are not already an adwords customer…
Step Two – Set Up
You will arrive at a screen that you must either use your existing gMail (Google Mail) or use an outside source of email. Follow the directions until you reach a screen like the one shown below.
Fill in the information above to your location, time zone, and currency you will be using to pay Google. Once you click the button label continue, you’re almost done!
Now all you need to do is verify your account and click the activation link. You’re ready to start. Let’s get familiarized with the Adwords account.
When you first login to your Adwords account, you’ll arrive at a screen asking you to set up a campaign (screenshot below). Any sane person might already be overwhelmed with the many different options presented them, but we’re going to take it one step at a time.
Campaigns are actually quite simple. They are a group of ads and keywords that you set up that Google will then match together and place on their search results. Campaigns themselves have tons of options to filter through; things like bids, location, device targeting, language targeting, ad rotation, and automatic bidding are just a small sample of the customizability of campaigns.
If this sounds a little daunting, well, get over it! The best way to learn is to dig in, so let’s start a campaign by clicking the “Create your first campaign” button. Below, you’ll see something similar to the screenshot. Let’s start from the top and work our way down. Remember, you can change any of these settings later down the road…
This one is simple, just give it a name! Anything will do for now, but try to make it pretty obvious what it is for.
Locations and Languages
For now, let’s just stick to English speaking customers in the United States and Canada. No use in targeting others, although one popular technique is targeting all countries but only English speaking visitors.
Adwords has a powerful method of location targeting. With this you can target people in your home town or state or even tailor ads for different locations. If this sounds daunting, don’t worry, you can safely ignore it for now!
Network and Devices
For now, we ask that you turn off content network. Without special care, your ads can be accidently placed on irrelevant sites where a stray click can cost you extra money but has little chance of converting. Just in case you are curious, Adsense, Google’s content network service, is an easy to use service that allows website owners to place ads on their sites and get paid every time a user visits and clicks on an ad.
For now, don’t disable any devices. Again, this option can provide a powerful way to target devices that may fit your profile, but let’s keep it basic for now.
Bidding and Budget
Set your bidding to manual so we can set our bids on a per ad basis later. An alternative method is to allow Google to automatically bid for you up to a limit. However, since we want to create a full-fledged campaign with lots of keywords and optimize matching ads, we’ll need a little more control. Besides, Google has an incentive to maximize their revenue which is in direct contrast to your incentive of minimizing expenses.
Your budget depends on how much you are willing to spend in total advertising cost a day. If you are running a tight ship, you will most likely never hit this number, so feel free to set it a little higher. Setting it higher may actually allow your ad to show more often than a lower setting. However, don’t set it too high! Think of it as a safeguard against any mistake you might make.
And last but certainly not least: the time has come to write your first ad.
The Anatomy of a PPC Ad
If you’ve ever seen a PPC ad before, this will be no big surprise to you. PPC ads are usually very simple, with just a few lines of text. This makes writing effective ad copy more difficult as you can’t really on visual elements to inspire confidence like a banner ad.
Let’s go over the basics to start.
A PPC ad is made up of 4 lines and a destination URL:
- Headline – Must be enticing and you have a short 25 characters to catch the attention of potential customers.
- Body 1 – Describe the feature and/or benefit with using only 35 characters or less.
- Body 2 – Give more detail or features using 35 characters or less.
- Display URL – The URL that the person will see (cannot be a different site from the destination domain).
- Destination URL – Where the customer will be directed (usually your landing page).
If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll notice the first letter of each word is capitalized. By capitalizing the first letter of every word you are making your ad stick out from others. This is considered a best practice and usually results in a higher CTR.
However, a good marketer will always run a few tests to make sure… but we’ll cover that later! Just keep reading for now!
Remember, your job here is to catch the attention of the searcher and you only have 4 lines of text to do it. In the screenshot above, we used a classic example and asked a question: “Want To Make Extra Cash?” You have only a few characters to get your point across so the best thing you can do is make every word count.
Below are a few common things to keep in mind when writing an ad.
- Call to Action Phrases – This is the most important method to get people to click your ads and ideally, do something once they get to your site.
People love to be challenged. Great examples of call to action phrases are:
- Click Here
- Join NowSign Up
- Instant Access
- Get Access
- Removing Non-Buyers – Tell people it’s going to cost money for this product. Insinuate they may have to spend some money. This will eliminate the people who are just searching for information and may save you the cost of the click.
- Ask Obvious Questions – Want To Make Extra Cash? Heck yes! Don’t we all? You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t want to make extra cash would you?
- Do You Hate…?
- Do You Want…?
- Does It Work…?
- Is It A Scam…?
- How Much Is…?
- High Relevance = Low CPC – If you want to strive for lower cost per clicks, you need to put your ad group name inside your ad as long as it still makes sense.
- The Use of the Word Scam – Have you ever searched for a product online and found out it was a scam right before you bought it because of a quick search? If someone sees the word scam they are going to click your ad to see if it is a scam or not before making their final decision.
- Shocking – Let people know that you make X amount of dollars because you bought this great ebook and learned so much. Ex: Last Week I Made $5000, What is your first reaction to that? You probably want to click that ad and find out how wouldn’t you think? How do you start your keyword research?
Well, now you have an ad, but how does Google know who to show it to? The powerful thing digital advertising is that you can segment the market efficiently making some of the best advertising campaigns. Back in the day, if you had a product you wanted to sell, you had to buy television or print ads.
Usually, you went with big popular TV stations or big popular newspapers and magazines! There wasn’t a lot of targeting because if you paid for an ad, it ran in every single copy they aired or printed.
There may be 1 million people reading it, but let’s say only 20% were interested in your product in the first place. That other 80% was effectively wasted! Wouldn’t it be great if you could just target those 20%?
I hope you said yes to the last question because that is what we are going to do right now! Google will look at the list of keywords we provide it and match anyone searching for that keyword (or a derivative of that keyword) and place the ad you just made in the results. Hopefully the searcher will like your ad, click it and buy something.
To the left you’ll see the list of keywords we have selected, and to the right you’ll see some keywords Google has suggested for us. We’re free to add and remove all the keywords we like, but keep in mind we want the keywords and the ad text (as well as a couple other things) to be extremely relevant. That means they are related to each other very closely, but we’ll talk about that more later.
The best way to choose your keywords is to imagine what someone would be searching for in order to be in the mindset of purchasing your product. Put yourself in their shoes and keyword selection is easy! Google even provides you with a couple of ways to further control your keyword selections as they explain in their documentation:
- Broad – This is the default option. If your ad group contained the keyword ‘running shoes’, your ad would be eligible to appear when a user’s search query contained either or both words (‘running’ and ‘shoes’) in any order, and possibly along with other terms.
- Phrase – If you enter your keyword in quotation marks — as in “running shoes” — your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches on the phrase running shoes, with the words in that order. It can also appear for searches that contain other terms as long as it includes the exact phrase you’ve specified.
- Exact – If you surround your keywords in brackets — such as [running shoes] — your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches for the specific phrase ‘running shoes,’ in this order, and without any other terms in the query.
- Negative – If your keyword is ‘running shoes’ and you add the negative keyword ‘-used,’ your ad will not appear for any searches that contain the word ‘used.’ (Note) You should only use this keyword technique if there are certain words or phrases that you do not want to trigger your ad. In most cases you will not use this technique.
Tip: Stick to a very, very narrow range of keywords for each ad or ad group you create! This gives you more control over which ads are shown to whom and how much you are willing to pay. More on this later!
Now it’s time to get down to talking money. Before we go selection a bid price, it’s advisable to do a little keyword research and check out the average cost per click for your selected keywords.
We’ve found that being a little below the average, especially on high volume keywords, can still give you lots of clicks and give you a viable jumping off point. While you may not be in the first position, you’ll be somewhere on the page earning clicks at a lower cost.
It’s important to note that this isn’t going to be your effective CPC, in fact, it will be slightly or even much lower than your max CPC.
The reason is Google will bid on your behalf up to that point, which is similar to how eBay’s bidding mechanism. For example, if you bid $1 and all your competitors bid $0.75, you can expect to pay about $0.76 or $0.77 for a click because you have the highest bid.
It’s important to note that a higher bid doesn’t always mean a higher position, especially if you have problems with your quality score.
More Campaign Functions
Now you have a tiny bit of experience creating a campaign and your first ad (as well as some basic information about ad construction and bidding), it’s time to learn a little more about how to run a campaign. Before we start talking about the details, let’s get a bird’s eye view of a standard campaign:
- Ad Group #1
- Ad #1
- Ad #2
- Keyword #1
- Ad Group #2
- Ad #1
- Keyword #1
As you have surely noticed, we have two ad groups from the example above. The key to understanding ad groups is to think of them as sub-campaigns or mini-campaigns.
The idea behind separating out ads and keywords into many different keywords isn’t immediately obvious, but trust us when we say it’s wise to further segment your ads and keywords into ad groups instead of just lumping them all into one massive ad group… let’s explain!
Managing & amp; Analyzing
Just think of it this way: if we found 10 good keywords that were all somewhat related and designed 5 ads we think would be appropriate and just dumped them all into one massive ad group, Google would assign a random ad to a random keyword and let it ride even if it wasn’t really that relevant (for example, an ad mentioning golf shoes paired to a keyword mentioning tennis shoes).
This isn’t because they are stupid, it’s because you told them to do this!
Instead, create a separate ad group for golf shoes and place your golf shoes ads and keywords in that ad group. Now make another one for tennis shoes. At this point it Google will run the appropriate ads in the ad group against the appropriate keywords in the ad group because you told it to!
Now, we’ll talk in more detail about how this gives you much better control over your bidding and relevance score shortly, but think about how much more control this gives you over analyzing now.
Instead of a massive heap of random keywords and random ads giving you lots of random stats, you have precise statistics for each little market segment. Instead of saying “I’m not making very many conversions” you can say “my ad group for tennis shoes isn’t making any conversions”. At this point, all you have to do is deal with the tennis shoes ad group instead of the whole mess of things.
Tip: Many advertisers like to segment to the extreme with hundreds of ad groups with hyper relevance between keywords, ad copy and landing page. Sometimes this means one keywords, one ad, and one landing page per ad group.
Another key advantage to splitting and segmenting you ad groups is the ability to control your bid prices.
Just imagine the massive ad group scenario where several keywords have competitor bids of $3 and $0.50. That is a huge difference!
If you bid $1.50 for the whole campaign, you’ll never be in first position for the $3 keywords and will always be in first position for the $0.50 keywords! That means in some cases you’ll overpay, and in some cases you’ll underpay.
Instead, let’s split out those keywords into separate ad groups and bid accordingly.
This allows you to treat the $3 keywords differently from the $0.50 keywords; give you is a huge advantage. You can now target positions or bid for spots as you see fit. Not to mention, you won’t be throwing money away due to ignorance of the situation (because the single ad group method hides your data in massive lump!).
This one is important: before, Google saw you pairing tennis shoes with golf shoes and thought that you weren’t trying to be very relevant. In fact, in some extreme cases they may think you are intentionally trying to deceive their customers. There is no faster way to driving up prices than having a bad quality score (more on that later) or relevance.
Instead, by segmenting into many different ad groups and showing ads against keywords that are highly relevant, everyone wins. You get better CTR and more focused traffic, Google gets happier customers who found what they needed to find.
Part 2: Tracking and Optimizing
Now that you’ve got it all set up and know the basic operation of your Adwords account, it’s time to start using its statistics and features to make decisions. We’ll cover a majority of the wiser business practices, but rest assured that you can find a lot more to do. If you like, do a little searching online for blogs with their own tips and tricks for Adwords success. Remember, never stop learning or testing your campaigns.
You may have noticed that we have a deep seated love for tracking conversions, in fact, our belief is if you aren’t tracking conversions and analyzing the results, you’re wasting your time.
Just in case you haven’t ever done anything with tracking conversions, we’ll give you a quick primer on what they are and how to set them up but visit our analytics chapter for an in depth look at how they work.
Basically, we just want to find out how many of our visitors are actually buying our product. Alternatively, you can track how many people fill out a form or pretty much anything. It’s actually pretty simple, and you don’t even need a Google Analytics account (although you should have one!).
Just click the Reporting tab and click Conversions to get this page:
Simply click New Conversion and pick your poison.
Good luck with this!
Congrats, you’re all set up!
Now let’s talk about the real important stuff: making money.
Finding Your Margins
Margins are a business term for percentages. In this case, we want to find what type of margins we are earning on our product, more specifically, profit! In technical terms this means revenue minus costs divided by revenue. More simply, its profit divided by total income; where profit is total income minus total costs.
For example, let’s say we are selling a product for $20 and are paying $1 a click on average. In order to break even, we must sell a product to every 20th visitor.
That gives us a conversion rate of 5% (1/20) and margins of 0% ($20 revenue – ($1 a click * 20 clicks) / $20 revenue). Needless to say, profit margins of 0% are no good at all.
Let’s say we eliminated a few keywords that really sucked, fixed our landing page and got our conversion rate up to 10% (2/20). That means two people bought our product at $20 a piece but our click structure didn’t change. Let’s do the math now: margins of 50% ($40 revenue – ($1 a click * 20 clicks) / $40 revenue). Now that’s what I am talking about!
Now let’s say another person enter the market and bid up the click prices by $0.70 and now we have to pay $1.70 a click. Our margins are changing because our costs are changing (but luckily, our conversion rate is still 10% and our price is still $20, leaving our revenues unchanged).
Let’s do the math now: margins of 15% ($40 revenue – ($1.70 a click * 20 clicks) / $40 revenue). 15% isn’t as good as 50% but at least he’s still making money.
Remember, a real example will be much more complicated than this, but will still have the same basic structure. Just for fun, let’s look at the numbers from the account for Gob’s Bee’s which is a little more realistic:
- Sales: 44
- Price: $14.99
- Clicks: 3076
- Average CPC: $0.1729
Given this information, we can find exactly how much money was made and spent. So, revenue is $659.56 (44 sales * $14.99). Costs were $531.84 ($0.1729 a click * 3,076 clicks). That gives us a margin of 19.36% ($659.56 – $531.84 / $659.56 ).
That positive number means he’s making money!
How could he make better margins? Well, he could increase his revenue or decrease his costs. One example is increasing his conversion rate through landing page A/B testing: this would increase revenues as more people would buy his product at the same CPC. Or he could increase prices to increase revenue (although fewer people may buy his product). Or he could tighten his campaign and focus more money on better converting ads and keywords.
IMPORTANT! You must find your margins in order to be successful at PPC (or any ads for that matter).
Growing with Margins
Once you have satisfactory margins, you can focus on ramping up clicks by (1) increasing your budget or (2) paying more for clicks. The key difference is (1) increasing your budget (but keeping CPC the same) shouldn’t change your margins because as more people come into your site, the same percent, on average, will convert and give you sales.
Increasing your budget will not help if you aren’t already maxing your budget already. In that case, you need to explore new keywords or (2) increase your CPC.
REMINDER! We’re not trying to modify our margins by increasing our budget; we’re trying to increase total profit. This is an important distinction.
Paying more for clicks when you already have positive margins requires extreme care because you can reduce your margins. In order to be a good candidate for increasing CPC to strengthen sales you must:
- Have increased your budget to the point it is no longer constrained.
- Have an average ad group CPC that is lower than global CPC for your keywords (IE: your ads aren’t in position 1).
Increasing CPC can increase costs without necessarily increasing revenue (because your conversion rate stays the same) and will negatively affect your margins. Just look back at the example from earlier where a competitor forces clicks to increase to $1.70. His margins dropped to 15% from 50%. However, hopefully these extra clicks will drive enough extra sales to make the change worth it. Let’s learn how to do it.
What you need to do is target an acceptable margin and calculate what your new max CPC is. Let’s look at Gob’s Bee’s numbers from above; he had a margin of 19.36%. Let’s say he thinks 10% margins are just fine and wants to see what he can increase max CPC to. We run the numbers and see he can spend: $593.60 ( (-$659.56 * 10%/100 ) + $659.56). Note, the formula is ( (-revenue * margin/100) + revenue).
Let’s look at is # of clicks to find his new average CPC: $0.1929 ($593.60 / 3,076). This is up two cents from before when it was $0.1729. Hopefully, this CPC increase will push a lot more clicks through and will make up the difference plus some at the end. If it doesn’t, and you should be keeping track of all these stats, you can always revert. Sometimes when you find the sweet spot, it pays to stick to it.
This is another big one. In the world of PPC, a campaign without experimentation is stuck in the first phase and can be rather inefficient. There are a few things we can talk about for experimentation, but we’ll only talk about testing ad copies in detail in this chapter, landing page design and split testing is also advised but is cover in other chapters.
Ad Copy Testing
This is a simple technique that can yield powerful results, especially on high volume/low cost keywords. The idea is to take an ad group and create lots of unique and appealing ads within it, wait a while and see which one did best.
For example, in an ad group selling tennis shoes where you aren’t running a test like this, you might only have a few extremely targeted keywords but only one ad that serves them all. Instead, create a couple different versions of and ad for that ad group and vary the wording, the calls to action and whatever other little thing you can think of.
Don’t be afraid to try silly and odd things… because you never know what will work.
Now the key is to wait and see. You’ll need to wait until you have enough impressions and clicks to understand which is a better ad based on CTR. We’ll warn you to the dangers of focusing only on CTR in a moment, but for now, let’s do just that.
WARNING! This contains a little statistical content, don’t get too worried over the details but we have more on the subject matter in the Analytics and A/B section.
Let’s say your original ad had 8,423 impressions and 93 clicks giving us a CTR of 1.10%. Now, we create two more ads and run them instead. On the 1st test ad you get 5413 impressions and 32 clicks, giving you a paltry CTR of 0.59%. On the 2nd test ad you get 921 impressions and 13 clicks, giving to a nice CTR of 1.41%.
Now, from looking at the CTR alone we can guess that the 2nd test ad did much better than both the original and the 1st test add, but we need to verify our numbers. For that, we use the chi square test or the g-test (http://www.adwords-marketing-tool.com/toolbox/ChiSquared.aspx or http://elem.com/~btilly/effective-ab-testing/g-test-calculator.html)
Enter the original ad’s impressions and clicks and the 1st test ads impressions and clicks as well and calculate: we get 99.74% significance.
Do the same again but swap out the 2nd test ad’s numbers to reveal 49.87% significance. What does that tell us? Well, for one thing, only the first ad shows significance because it is higher than 95% (and since it has a worse CTR, it means it’s not as good as the original).
That means we’re done testing the first ad and can delete or disable it. In the case of the second ad, when compared to the original, it isn’t nearly significant yet.
That means it needs to run longer. If it continues to beat the original by CTR, gets a higher sample size, and gains significance you can simply disable the original ad because the 2nd ad is better!
Ah, but let’s stop and talk about relying on CTR as the only means to measure your ads.
Don’t forget, clicks don’t earn us money, they cost us money. Instead, maybe you should consider conversions, which do make us money. Instead of monitoring CTR (the more popular measurement), watch to see which has a better conversion rate and judge accordingly.
Tip: More on CTR vs. conversion rate (and others) under the section titled The Right Stuff.
Landing Page Testing
We won’t go into great detail here because we cover A/B testing in another, but suffice to say your ad copy directly affects your CTR and your landing page design directly affects your conversion rate. As long as you are constantly testing both, you should have a good chance to succeed.
Landing page testing requires a separate product suite like Google’s Website Optimizer. Just like we have competing versions of ads and watch for the winner among them, we can also create competing versions of our landing page.
This is powerful as it allows you to fulfill your mission to test everything.
Read more about this in the Analytics and A/B testing section of this site, as we’ll stick to Adwords for now.
Increasing Relevance and Quality Score
Straight from Google’s site, they say:
The AdWords system calculates a ‘Quality Score’ for each of your keywords. It looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user’s search query. A keyword’s Quality Score updates frequently and is closely related to its performance. In general, a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).”
There are several factors that will set your quality score, again, let’s get it right and read it straight from Google:
- The historical clickthrough rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on Google
- Your account history, which is measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
- The historical CTR of the display URLs in the ad group
- The quality of your landing page
- The relevance of the keyword to the ads in its ad group
- The relevance of the keyword and the matched ad to the search query
- Your account’s performance in the geographical region where the ad will be shown
- Other relevance factors
Basically, make sure you stay relevant. As long as you do that, you shouldn’t have a quality score problem.
The quality score makes it very difficult for people to place ads on keywords that make no sense. There are a lot of reasons why Google doesn’t want this to happen, but I am sure you can use your imagination to figure most of them out.
Ad Positions, CPC and Quality Score
Every search engine has an algorithm that sorts out which ad to show, when to show it, where on the result page it should be, and how much to charge the advertiser.
The result of that algorithm is called the quality score; this can be the difference between making money and losing money in PPC.
As you you’ll see in just a minute, your quality score is very important and cannot be stressed enough.
Most search engines will determine where to place your ad and how much to charge based on the following:
- Quality Score – A metric that uses several historical stats like CTR as a factor, as well as the below factors:
a. Ad Copy – Do you mention what the potential customer is looking for? Do you have common keywords in your ad?
b. Website/Landing page – If the potential customer does click on your ad, do you have relevant information and products to supply?c. Keyword list – Are the keywords that you have chosen relevant to your ad and website?
- Your Bid – What is your max CPC? How much will you pay to get a potential customer to your site? Be careful because you want to make sure your revenue exceeds your advertising fees in order to build one of the best advertising campaigns
- The Competition’s Bids – What about the other advertisers’ bids on the same keywords? Remember, PPC is like an auction, the highest bidders usually get the top positions where they can get the most desirable clicks.
There are primarily two direct effects of the quality score, one is on minimum CPC and one is on position:
- Minimum Bid Quality Score – This is the minimum amount that you must bid before your ad will be shown at all.
- Ad Rank Quality Score – This is something that is used to determine where your advert will appear in relation to all other adverts for that keyword.
Basically, a high quality score can make it cheaper to stay on the front page and make you rank higher where you can earn more clicks, meaning you get more clicks for less money.
A low quality score can make it extremely expensive to stay on the front page of results and will rank you lower anyways, meaning you get fewer, more expensive clicks.
This is a simple concept so we won’t spend much time covering it. In the past, have you had relatively good CTRs? If the answer is yes, Google will generally trust you more with your ads. This trust is reflected in the quality score.
So, remember when playing with your ads to keep it on topic and keep that CTR high.
Writing Attractive Ads
Ad copy is the textual content contained in your ads. This is what your potential customers will first see. This is a very vital aspect of PPC marketing. If your ads do not get clicked you might as well not even build a landing page.
This is like fishing with bait that only sticks to the hook for 3 to 4 seconds. If the fish doesn’t bite within that time frame it will never bite. You have to make every word count and you have a limited space to do so.
With limited space, using an ad technique that we have taught above and trying to force in your common keyword, how the heck are you going to mix all of that into an attractive ad?
The first thing you want to do when writing ad copy is to think like the consumer. Ask yourself, would I click on that? Do I find that appealing.
If you do then others might as well. When someone does a search in Google they are loaded with ads and links down both sides. Why would they want to click on your ad?
They want to click on your ad because yours looks more appealing than anything else. It’s relevant to what they are looking for because you have done your research.
Focus on relevance! Again and again we must force this valuable information upon you. You have to be relevant. You will get nowhere if you are not relevant.
If the exact keywords that the person typed into their search are not in your ads then they will probably not click on your ad because it is not relevant to their search. This is why we practice the common keyword technique.
Remember you can always make another ad group so if one ad group has only 7 keywords in it that is fine as long as they are grouped together.
Next you want to connect with your customer. They have to agree with what you are saying. If they do not agree they will not click, no click = no potential sale.
Ask them a question to try and connect with them, if their answer is no then they probably would not have converted anyway. If they are unsure then they will definitely click on your ad to make up their mind.
So will asking a question increase your click through ratio? Probably… but you better run a test to find out.
The last thing you do before you press play on your ad is to make sure you are different from your competitors.
Make sure you stick out. A quick and easy way to make sure you ad is going to be different is to do a search using your keywords and look on the right hand side.
There are plenty of ads awaiting to be clicked on, these are also great resources for internet marketers. If your ad is not similar of some sort then press play. Remember you want your ad to be unique from every other ad. This will make it more attractive and it will stick out.
The only thing you can effectively do to ensure great ad copy is the three T’s: test, test, test. Your ad performance will be different in every industry so test, test and test again to see what converts higher, what gets a better CTR, and, more importantly, which ad has better conversion rates.
Finding Affordable Keywords
An excellent Adwords user knows that your product niche choice doesn’t necessarily determine your success nearly as much as finding affordable keywords and matching them to buyers.
You can have the greatest product in the world but if you are trying to sell a set of drums to a guitarist you may never be profitable. On the other hand, you could have the worst product in the world and sell a million because you delivered a great pitch to the right audience.
We recommend getting very familiar with Google’s external keyword tool. Please note; you may have to log out to find the tool you want as Google has a nasty habit of redirecting you to their inferior internal keyword tool if you are logged in.
The key here is to focus on very narrow and specific keywords (especially long-tail keywords). Long tail keywords are keywords like “large warm dog kennel” and short tail keywords are keywords like “dog kennel”.
When browsing the external keyword tool, be sure to show average CPC. This technique can be applied by both highly skilled marketers, and marketers that are very new. Here’s an example: let’s type in something very broad such as dog. Below are the first 10 results:
- dog training
- dog health
- dog breeds
- dog grooming
- toy dog
- puppy dog
- dog breed
- pet dog
- dog accessories
Although the ones we checked are some great keywords they can still be too broad. So the best way to fix this is to pick one out, you can do them all but in this example we will pick out dog accessories.
We take dog accessories because we have a hunch that searchers are in a buying mood. We’ll take that keyword and type it back into the keyword research tool.
- fancy dog accessories
- tiny dog accessories
- couture dog accessories
- dog clothes and accessories
- large dog accessories
- toy dog accessories
- dogs accessories
- dog accessories
- designer dog accessories
- small dog accessories
By taking dog accessories and breaking it down we found more focused keywords than before and it looks like we might be getting closer to targeting our audience.
These keywords are great but still unfortunately need to be broken down one, maybe two more times. We may choose small dog accessories and break it down even further. This will get us to even more related keywords.
Basically, spend some time finding
Google’s Content Network
I am sure you remember our having you disable the content network right? Well, this form of PPC marketing is usually not recommended for inexperienced marketers.
As a quick reminder, the content network is a form of PPC marketing that allows you to advertise on independent sites all over the world. Normally Google does a pretty good job at staying relevant to the sites that use the content network but in our experience using it there are a lot of times where they get a little confused…
However, that’s why we’re here to help!
The first thing to do is to create a new and separate campaign and disable search and focus solely on content networks. The reason here is you are going to bid a much different CPC and have much different CTR and conversion rates on the content network and it is wise to keep them separate.
While Google claims to analyze these numbers separate for quality score, they don’t keep them separate for us in the dashboard, hence the separate campaign.
Muddying up the search statistics with content statistics will only hamper your ability to understand the state of your campaign.
SUPER IMPORTANT! If you want to use the content network, start a new campaign! You’ll see why shortly.
I generally recommend recreating the majority of your ads from the search networks and placing them in this separate campaign for content networks, but with one major difference: always use exact or phrase matching for keywords, never broad.
Let me explain why…
Let’s say our keyword in question is babies learning to read. Now, there are potentially millions of websites about babies and even millions more about reading.
It is much easier for Google to get these ads confused on relevance when they have a full page of text to misunderstand. Just think, with search networks, Google simply has to interpret a single keyword’s relevance to your ad and place it accordingly.
However, with content networks we’re forcing Google to try and understand a webpage, match a keyword and then match an ad.
And, on top of that, most people turn off content networks due to their absurdly low CTR and conversion rates.
That means you can often get good deals on CPC but it also means Google has limited content ad inventory. Do you think that they want to let a page load without a full complement of ads? I don’t think so!
In our experience, relevance is very wide indeed for content networks, so bid and analyze accordingly.
Tip: You might find content networks are perfect for your niche, especially if you are only out to do something like collect emails and can get really high conversion rates. Often times you can get very low CPC. However, don’t forget that content networks also have very low CTRs practice lots of different ad copies to gain a competitive edge…
The “Right” Stuff
As you now probably can tell, there are tons of statistics and numbers to sift through to figure out how well or bad you are doing at PPC.
Google will happily dish out any number you like, but they are a little dubious on just exactly what is truly important. In fact, I would suggest that Google purposefully deceives you into focusing on some of the wrong things in order to maximize their own revenue.
Granted, focusing on their preferred metrics may still make you a lot of money if you do it right, there are still much better things to focus on. For example, let’s talk about the difference between clickthrough rate, conversion rate, and cost per conversion…
CTR is great for making Google money and getting eyes on your landing page. However, having a high CTR doesn’t mean everyone will buy from you. Theoretically, you can have a CTR of 100% and still have nobody purchase your product.
All you’ve done is given Google a pile of cash.
So, CTR is only important in the sense it’s a necessary evil to get the users on your page. It’s time to grow up and focus on the more important metrics.
Let’s move onto our teenage years with conversion rates…
Getting Warmer with Conversion Rates
Ah, this is much closer to where you want to be. Because this tells us how many people who clicked our ad actually converted and did something we wanted them to.
This metric is much more important and if given the choice between a higher CTR or conversion rate, you shouldn’t even need a second to think about it. You should respond: conversion rate.
Still, this doesn’t give us exactly what we need. A high conversion rate doesn’t tell you how much you spent to get the customer on your site, for that, we’ll need to graduate to college…
Focus on Cost per Conversion
If you are focusing on cost per conversion, you’ll be alright. Because this tells us how much money it takes in ads to convert a customer.
All the other bullshit is thrown out the window. We don’t care how many clicks we got or impressions we got, all we care about is the cost to us for that conversion.
When you get down to the basic importance, what you need is a lower cost per conversion than how much you receive from a product you sell.
For example, someone with a cost per conversion of $4.23 can sell a digital product at $4.25 a pop and make a small profit of $0.02 apiece. But let’s say he is charging $19.99 per download. Now, he’s making a profit of $15.76 apiece! That gives him a lot of breathing room just in case competitors come in and drive up his CPC.
It gets even better, let’s look at an all-encompassing metric that only the true pros use.
Bonus: Profit per Impression
Now we’re playing with fire. This metric takes into account everything from CTR, conversion rate, sale price and of course costs associated with the sale.
This requires a little work on your part, but can result in a powerful understanding of which ad makes you the most money each time it shows.
Basically, the formula is: ((conversions * average sale price) – (total cost)) / total impressions. If you run that formula for each ad group, you’ll get the average profit per impression where the higher it is, the better.
It will take a little brainpower, but do everything in your power to increase that number. That means increase CTR, decrease costs, increase sale price, and increase conversion rates. You may be wondering, how do I do that?
Unfortunately there’s no button labeled Make More Profit. We recommend the three words of advice: Test, test, test. After you get done testing, get ready to test again. If every visitor isn’t a part of a test, you need to get to work.
Part 3: Tips and Tricks
Common Keyword Technique
The common keyword technique is a cousin and component of the Quality Score, but has a little different use, take a look at the sample campaign below:
- Campaign – Delicious Diabetic Recipes
- Ad Group Name – Diabetic Recipes (This is your common keyword)
Cook diabetic recipes
Type 2 diabetic recipes
Diabetic recipes that are healthy
Diabetic recipes online
Diabetic recipes ebook
A great way to implement the common keyword technique in an ad using the common keywords in our example would be like this:
Healthy Diabetic Recipes
Great selection of Recipes for
Diabetics Over 500 at a low price
Do you notice the bolding? The key here is that not only is Google finding your ad relevant because it sees the keywords in the ad copy, they are helping you become more noticeable by bolding the keywords as well!
The more you can get bolded, the better (as long as it still makes sense to read).
Just in case you don’t have access to our other chapters, I’d like to impress upon you the importance of sample size. It’s summed up in this question:
Which stat is more reliable?
d) They are all the same
If you didn’t answer the third option, then you should pay close attention to this little section because you can save yourself from making very costly and hasty decisions. In effect, gathering enough samples of something in order to be sure of your decisions is a lot more important than you think.
Working with stats that cost money to accumulate (like Adwords) is extremely difficult, especially if something you think is wasting your money is currently running.
Instead, try to use the tools you have at your disposal (like a chi-squared test or a g-test) to ensure that you are making well informed decisions. In fact, you might consider not requiring 95% significance, but instead shoot for 90% instead.
We are trying our best to go in as much detail as possible. But unfortunately we can only go into so much detail and some things you must learn by trial and error.
So do a little research to bone up on any statistics you need in order to build one of the best advertising campaigns. I highly recommend this slideshow: http://elem.com/~btilly/effective-ab-testing/ (be prepared to be blown away)