The Dos and Don’ts of Rockstar Pay Per Click Management

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July 10, 2012
Nathan Yerian Nathan Yerian

pay per click managementIn the United States, PPC has evolved into a $19 billion dollar industry. Today, the competition for acquiring clicks, conversions, and customers is fiercer than ever. Proper pay per click management will maximize your paid campaigns. Even if you’re only spending a few cents per click, your investment needs to yield a return so that you don’t end up wasting your valuable marketing dollars.

Effective PPC management means more than just bidding on a couple of inexpensive keywords. You need to think about important factors including the time of day that you’re advertising, what you’re writing in your marketing copy, how you are capping your budget, how you are structuring your ad groups, and what paid channels are the strongest fits with your brand.

Don’t let your campaigns fall short in delivering the best results possible. Follow these PPC management dos and don’ts to help you reach and exceed your advertising goals:

Do: Have Clearly Defined, Data-Driven PPC Advertising Goals

Pay per click campaigns are arguably the most data-driven marketing efforts out there. Because you’re dealing with information that you can integrate with your analytics provider, you can easily set up systems for tracking user behavior, A/B copy testing, and goal-setting.

Before you move forward with managing any PPC campaign, make sure that you know what your goals are so that you can best identify which data points are the most valuable to measure on each campaign.

For instance, if you’re ads are sending people to a lead generation page, you’ll want to be able to identify your most successful ads and the criteria that made them produce results. What time of day are you most successful? What is your average cost per click compared to your profit? What is your bounce rate for that page? What is your conversion rate for that page? PPC is a game of measurement. In order to give your campaigns the ability to improve over time, you have to set goals and measure against them.

Don’t: Overlook Your Ad Group Structures

Given that you’ll be dealing with substantial data, you need to make sure that your accounts are set up to reflect your business needs. Initially, you may be starting out with only a dozen target keywords, but over time, you need to make sure that your campaigns are scalable.

Organize your ad groups by product or service offering. An easy way to decide what ad groups to create is to look at the navigation structure of your website. How are your products and services organized there? If you have a well organized navigation structure, you can probably use that same structure for your ad groups. This will allow you to scale if you add any products or services in the future.

Also, make sure that you only use each target keyword once throughout your ad groups. You don't want to double your efforts on any one keyword. All keywords in an ad group should be hyper-focused on the product or service offering of that group.

Do: Connect with Your Audience In Your Ad Copy

When managing PPC campaigns, you only have a few lines to communicate your marketing message. Make sure that you’re efficient with what you’re communicating, connecting with people on both an emotional and rational level.

Use keywords that emphasize values that are important to your audience. Tell prospective visitors that you’ll save them money, help their business grow, or provide a concrete solution to a real problem that they’re facing.  Above everything, emphasize your professionalism and credibility. Have a clear call-to-action that persuades your audience to click your ad.

Don’t: Get Sloppy

One of the aims of PPC advertising is to inspire a direct response from prospective customers. In other words, they’ll form judgments about your brand in only a few minutes. Once a prospect clicks on your ad, they will be delivered to your landing page, and first-impressions mean everything. Is your landing page relevant to the ad they clicked? Does it look professional? Does it clearly state the value of your offering? Is there a obvious next step? Think about these questions before you select where to send your paid visitors.

Beyond customer acquisition, high-quality landing pages will help to ensure that you’re paying the most competitive rates possible. Google, for instance, factors landing page quality into the PPC rates charged to advertisers. Especially as you begin to scale and grow your campaigns, the cost savings of high-quality landing pages will add up by saving you money on bids and earning you more profit through higher conversions.

Again, make sure that your marketing message on your landing page is as relevant as possible to your advertisement. Avoid using jargon that people may not easily understand. Stick to principles of proper grammar, while avoiding abbreviations and using strong action verbs.

Do: Explore Opportunities Beyond Google

Paid channel advertising comes in many forms. Although Google is the main player, don't discount the value of advertising on the Bing (Microsoft), or Yahoo networks. Remember, there is a good chance your customers are there as well.

You may also want to try social networks like Facebook, or LinkedIn. Focus on networks that attract your target audience. If you’re a B2B marketer, for instance, you may find substantial value on LinkedIn. If you’re a consumer marketer, you may build great customer relationships through Facebook’s PPC platform.

Don’t: Be Afraid to Run Controlled Experiments

Get as creative as you can, and don’t be afraid to take small risks. Remember that you can always cap your budgets to conduct tests, and if you like what you see, you can scale your campaigns later.

With PPC campaigns, you’ll always have solid analytics to guide your next moves. With a thorough, data-driven plan, you’ll be in a great place to control your yield.