Paid advertising or Pay Per Click (PPC) is an online marketing technique used to advertise your business, product or service in the search engine results pages. Pay Per Click requires advertisers to create and publish ads for placement in the SERPs and on websites that run advertising. This is how PPC advertisements will appear in the SERP:
Search advertising is one of the most popular methods of PPC. It allows an advertiser to make bids for the placement of an ad for specific search terms.
Although you will pay a small fee each time the ad is clicked, provided that PPC is functioning properly, the fee is insignificant because the visit is much more valuable. If, for example you pay £4 for the click but this results in an order for £500, then you have made quite a good profit.
That being said, a lot of time, effort and resources must be invested in PPC for it to work properly and to deliver the results that you need. From research and selecting the right search terms through to organizing keywords into ad groups and campaigns through to setting up PPC landing pages that are suitably optimised for conversions, there is a lot of work involved.
The search engine will however, reward advertisers who create and publish extremely targeted pay per click campaigns by charging them les for ad clicks. If your landing pages and ads are useful for users, Google will charge you less per click, resulting in higher profits.
PPC Platforms – different pay per click platforms – not only google!
As we have outlined above, Pay Per Click is a dedicated marketing technique which is used to drive specifically targeted traffic to landing pages. Although PPC can be expensive when compared with other forms of digital marketing, the benefits are substantial.
If you think that PPC may be a good choice for your business, the first thing you need to do is select the platform. Here are just some of the most popular platforms that can be used for Pay Per Click.
Everyone uses Google when they want to find something. Businesses will enter an online auction to bid for keywords that relate to the products and services that they sell. Within a matter of seconds, Google will enter thousands of keywords into an auction to identify which are the most relevant to the search query. The ads that are most relevant to the users search query will be displayed at the top of the SERP.
If you are looking to drive traffic to your website quickly, perhaps while you are waiting for organic SEO strategies to take effect, AdWords can be really helpful because the results are almost instant.
Adwords can also be really quick and easy to set up. Although there is much more than simply a campaign, ad group, ad and keywords, these are the key components of a paid search strategy.
Facebook has a PPC model similar to Google which is based around an audience or keyword that you select and you pay a certain amount each time your ad is clicked. The cost per click is determined by how many people your ad can reach and the competitiveness of your audience.
Facebook allows you to use their dedicated Facebook ads manager to manage your campaigns. The ads that you can create can be a standard image or they can be as complex as a video or carousel ad which will display multiple links on the same ad. Once they have been created, the ads can be used in a number of different places on Facebook such as the desktop or mobile newsfeed, the sidebar or audience network. These ads may also show on the audience’s instagram feed.
Facebook has a lower click through rate than Google and this is usually because Facebook users aren’t always looking to buy a product. Also, when you have a small target audience you will need to refresh your ads every week to provide them with updated content.
This is another popular platform which functions in a very similar way to Google. Bing does have a smaller share of the market but lots of different ways to target your ads. Bing can be a great choice because the costs are much lower in comparison with Google and it can be a great starting point if you are new to this type of marketing.
The customer service is also great too with a representative always available if you need them. Some advertisers will test their ads on Bing first before moving them over to Google.
Very similar to Bing there are some restrictions with Yahoo. Although it has a lot of traffic, the advertisements are often tailored to the content that is displayed on the Yahoo page at the time which is a tactic used by Yahoo to generate more revenue. The way the ads are structured on Yahoo means that your ad may not be seen as often as you would like.
This is a dedicated social media platform for professionals but it provides some excellent PPC opportunities. Target settings can be really beneficial such as demographics, job title and industry so you can make your ads really focused and you can specifically target key decision makers.
That being said you need to make sure that your ads are well constructed, being relevant to the interests of people who use LinkedIn, being business focused rather than based on consumers.
PPC Planning & Management
Successful PPC requires effective planning and management. There are some specific steps that you should follow to set up your campaign:
#1 Define your goals
Before you start, note down the goals of your PPC campaign. Increase leads, build awareness, boost sales or something else? Defining a clear objective will give your campaign more focus.
#2 The Platform
As outlined in the previous section, there are lots of PPC platforms to choose from. Choose your platform carefully and plan your ad campaign in line with the platform.
Once your campaign goal and platform have been chosen, the next step is to plan who you are going to target. There are many ways that you can target your audience on PPC but the two main ones are geographic location or device type. Geo-targeting will present your ads to people within a certain radius of the location you select such as a city, country or location group. Device targeting on the other hand can reach customers on mobile devices.
#4 Make Sure it Works!!
Good marketing is based on data. Don’t begin your campaign unless you have some way to measure the results. Decide how much you are going to spend, what you are going to spend it on and keep to these decisions. Don’t think that your campaigns are a success because people are clicking on your ads. Clicks aren’t the goal; sales are. Clicks should generate leads.
#5 Select a Niche
It’s all good and well to find keywords that match your offering but it is important to consider your competitors. Targeting head keywords or those which are extremely competitive would prove difficult, and very expensive to tackle. Larger companies will have far more resources to throw at PPC.
#6 Automated Tools
Become more efficient by using automated tools to coordinate your PPC campaign. Tools such as automated bidding, account alerts when there is a problem and scripts which can automate routine tasks.
To reach your goals you need to know everything about your PPC campaign. If you don’t learn about your performance data you cannot make changes or optimise your strategies. Many PPC platforms provide insights into user behaviour and using this is essential to maintaining the focus of your paid search programs.
There are so many terms and abreviations to learn in PPC, for now don’t worry too much about them and you will learn them as you go along. I find the best way to learn these is by experientially working through setting up a campaign, they will all soon mean something to you.
How to pick a good PPC Agency
PPC is an essential part of a digital strategy and making the decision to outsource this task to an agency isn’t a decision to take lightly. While there are many agencies who are familiar with PPC, how can you choose one that will go above and beyond and deliver the best return on investment for your business.
Some agencies are great, consisting of talented individuals who know what works and what doesn’t, while there are other agencies who will promise a lot and deliver a little. So how do you choose an agency who will deliver results? Here are just a few questions that you should be asking the agency:
- Who will own the account?
- What will the agency be expected to do?
- What reports are provided?
- What contract lengths are required?
- How much time will be dedicated to your account?
- Will you have a dedicated account manager?
- Does the agency have a proven track record in the industry
The importance of choosing the right agency who will understand your requirements is extremely important. Don’t choose an agency who are the cheapest, or one that is closest to you; choose one that has industry knowledge, expertise and a proven track record in delivering results.
Other points: Don’t choose someone just because they have a google badge on their email signature, it really doesn’t always mean that they are good.
Most importantly, communication! Without communication you are never going to be getting anywhere, are you waiting for days hours for call replies or email responses, do they talk you through things, are they polite and personable?
Account vs campaign vs adgroup
Building your PPC account isn’t as scary as it may sound. The way you structure your adwords account allows you to control how you want your ads to trigger and when and where they should appear. Not structuring your account properly is like using something that hasn’t been built properly.
There are six main components to an effective account structure:
Campaign – Unless you have a vast account, you will probably have a few campaigns based around some broad themes. Each campaign will include a set of ad groups which include keywords that link to your ads and drive traffic to your landing page.
Ad Group – Under each campaign you will create ad groups which will be very specific. There isn’t an ideal number of ad groups but don’t be tempted to run lots of campaigns because the quality could suffer.
Keywords – These fall into each ad group and they are very important for controlling the way in which your ad is triggered. When someone types in a search query, this is then matched with a keyword which will trigger your ad. It is important to carry out in depth keyword research, develop a good understanding of match types and refine your keyword strategy as time progresses.
Negative Keywords – A critical element and one that is often overlooked. Build your negative keywords list to identify new negatives. For example, if you sell apples, you don’t want to show up for apple macbook pro. It will give you a poor CTR.
Ad Text – This is the text that will appear when your ad is triggered. Each ad group should contain between 2 and 3 ads which direct to the same landing page. Text should be fluid throughout the your campaign from search, to ad, to landing page.
Landing Page – This is the destination where each ad will direct the searcher to. Landing page creation is a strategic process. Your landing pages must be relevant and optimised for them to prove successful.
Data costs money
When it comes to deploying your PPC strategy, it is important that you do the necessary research to make sure they are a success. Not only will you need to undertake keyword research, you will need to make sure your campaigns are set up correctly, let them run and then gather data. There is no possible way to know what the results will be before starting.
As you spend money on ads, get clicks and people land on your pages, you will then be able to fine tune your processes. This is where you move from costing money for data, to making money for your business.
Why is Adwords Account Structure Important?
Building a successful structure for Adwords is important because the way you structure your account can determine the success or failure of your campaign. Many people realise this the hard way by failing first, then getting someone who knows what they are doing, and having to start again, don’t be one of them.
How to setup an adwords pay-per-click account
There are many steps in setting up a winning Adwords Campaign:
- Developing your campaign which involves setting the foundations
- Setting bid strategies
- Geographic or targeting options
- Standard campaigns or search network
- Negative keyword lists
- Choosing segments for your overall business goals
- Setting daily budgets
- Creating the ad groups
- Selecting keywords
- Crafting the copy for your ads
- Developing ad extensions
Set goals for your account
Each campaign that you set up in Adwords should have a goal. The most common PPC goals are:
- Sell individual products (Ecommerce)
- Create leads (Lead Gen)
- Increase sales and revenue
- Boost visitors to your website
- Develop market share
- Generate new and repeat business
- Build awareness and increase recognition
- Promote events or increase subscribers
Set a budget
If you are new to PPC you might find that budgeting for your campaigns is complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Setting your initial budget can prove a challenge. Your main goal for a new PPC account is to identify the effectiveness of PPC as a marketing channel for your business.
The best place to start is to find out how much you will pay for each click. Adwords have a free traffic estimator to help you with this step. Although it’s not 100% accurate, it does give you an idea of the costs associated with clicks associated with your business.
You can also analyse historical performance, looking specifically at what you have spent to determine what worked and what wasn’t so successful. For example, how much did you spend in total vs how many leads you generated or how many sales you made. There are always multiple levels of conversion to measure.
Areas with a low impression are those where you can work on either through a greater budget, higher bids or a combination of the two.
Next, understand what classes as a lead before you start calculating Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).
Improve your cost per acquisition which will help you become more focused with your campaigns and allows you to decide the best ads to use for your budget. If you want a lower cost per acquisition, you will need to increase your conversion rate and reduce your cost per click.
Your AdWords quality score will also affect your conversions and cost per click. The best ways to improve your quality score include:
- Developing relevant ads for your audience
- Identifying the right keywords
- Ensuring that your ad groups are structured and organised
- Refining your landing pages making sure they are relevant to each ad
- Improve your Click Through Rates by enhancing the copy of your ads
- Work on your Adwords Account to improve your reputation
PPC Keyword research
At the centre of every good PPC campaign is effective keyword research. Selecting the right keywords will result in more clicks and conversions. Good keyword research will help your ads show up at the right time in the right place.
The best place to start is your website landing pages that will be linked to your ads. Scan each page and collect a set of relevant keywords. If you have a good website with relevant copy, there should be enough material to put together a comprehensive keyword list that relate directly to your products or services.
Keywords can be organised into the following categories:
Brand – Keywords containing a brand name
Generic – Terms relating to the products or services, typically those used in ecommerce
Related terms – Terms that don’t necessarily relate to what you sell, but terms that users who may purchase your products and services may be using to search for
Competitor terms – Brand names of competitors who are offering the same things as your business.
Once you have a good list to work with, head over to a keyword research tool to decide which keywords to keep and which to discard.
In Adwords 1st you can look specifically for high volume, low competition keywords; those that will drive traffic to your site without costing you lots of money. Often these are like a mirage, unless you have a new trending niche, Or you’re a service provider in a small area or an industry that doesn’t predominantly use digital – most markets are somewhat saturated.
Some keyword tools can also suggest further keyword ideas that you may have missed. UberSuggest and Soovle are just a couple of free tools that can help you expand your list or provide you with variations.
At this stage you should have a comprehensive keyword list. It is now time to start working through and sorting the list into small, targeted keyword groups. If you are selling a simple list of services or products, a great tip is to use the structure of your website.
The more focused your keyword groups are, the easier it will be to fine tune your lists, create tailored ads, going to specific relevant pages and measure how well each keyword is performing.
PPC Negative Keyword List
As you create your keyword list, you shouldn’t overlook negative keywords. These are search terms that you don’t want your ads to display for, and they are an important part in any PPC campaign. Negative keywords can help you control costs and keep your ads as targeted as possible.
The main reason why you should include negative keywords is to stop your ads and your business from being displayed alongside search queries which are irrelevant.
As an example, a seller of luxury goods would be targeting upper class, affluent customers and would not want to appear for search terms such as free or cheap. These keywords can be added to the negatives list to prevent ads being shown against these keywords. You can also use negative keywords to rule out products that are related to your business but ones that you don’t sell.
What is the most effective account structure
The best account structure will look something like this:
There are many ways that you can create a good campaign structure. Effective campaigns should be segmented by solid ideas so you can focus on fine tuning your ad groups and keywords.
Here are just a few ways that you can segment your campaigns:
- Based on the products or services that you sell
- The location you are based
- Performance and bidding
- Generic vs. brand names
- Based on keyword match types
Your ad groups should be relevant to the campaigns that you have chosen. As an example, starting a campaign about lady’s handbags and then creating associated groups with products such as shoes or scarves isn’t going to be in your best interests.
Your groups should be based on topics such as clutch bags, shoulder bags, shopping bags which will perform better. As a general rule you should aim for between 3 and 5 ad groups for each campaign so they are easy to manage. There are often exceptions to this though with big accounts.
How to setup google ppc campaigns
Always refer to google guidelines if you’re unsure found here
Launching an Adwords campaign can be a rewarding yet challenging process. The first step in the process is to select the campaign name and type. Secondly, select a geographic location where you would like your ads to display. You can choose a large or a small geographical area. For example you can choose an entire country such as the UK or a city such as Leeds or London.
Next, you need to define your bid strategy and daily budget. Setting a manual bid strategy will give you more control and allow you to learn Adwords more effectively. You can always change it to an automatic option later. Your daily budget is the maximum amount that Google can charge each day. Most days you will reach this maximum amount.
Create your first ad group and write your first ad. There are more people who click on ads when the headline includes keywords they are searching for. The headline is limited to 30 characters and there are 2 headlines, so for some search terms you will need to get creative using shorter synonyms or abbreviations.
The description of the ad will allow you to use up to 80 characters. In the majority of industries you will be more successful if you describe the benefit on the second line followed by a feature.
Incorporate your keywords into the keyword field. When you are starting out with your campaign it isn’t recommended that you apply thousands of keywords. Start small and build your campaign as you become more confident with AdWords.
How to optimise an adwords campaign
Optimising your PPC campaign is one of the most difficult parts of PPC management. There are several steps that you need to complete in order to carry out your optimisation.
The first strategy, defining your target may seem obvious or rather basic, but it is important. In order to optimise your campaign you need to define this against a specific target and what you are trying to achieve. Only after have you defined a target will you be able to compare your campaign to see if they are being reached.
Mobile App Traffic – Identify where your display network traffic is being placed. A lot of your budget may be wasted on people playing games on their phones. You can disable mobile app traffic completely.
High Performing Keywords – If you already have a campaign set up that is converting particularly well, you can focus more of your budget on those. If certain keywords are not resulting in any conversions, don’t be afraid to pause them, otherwise you won’t see improvements in your campaign.
Negative Keyword Reports – Look at the search terms report on your keywords. Good practice suggest that you should always look at these reports to find out what search terms are triggering your ads, particularly if you are focusing on a lot of broad match search terms.
Negative keywords should be reviewed and added on a weekly basis ideally at first. The more negative keywords that you add, the less money you will be wasting on words that are never going to convert.
There are lots of ways that you can optimise your adwords campaign. In doing so you will maximise clicks and minimise costs.
Location targeting is really useful if you want to focus your ads in a specific geographic location. For each ad campaign that you have, you can select the locations where your ad will be shown.
Location targeting will display your ad only to people within this area or within a certain radius of the place you choose. With this type of targeting you can choose something very general like a country, or you can be more specific focusing on regions, cities or even a specific radius.
AdWords may suggest related locations which you can choose as your target. Location targeting will help you focus your advertising in areas where you will reach the right customers and help you to maximise your profits.
Tip: This can only be set at campaign level, so be mindful when setting up. If you target multiple geographic locations with the different products, or services, you will want to factor this into your campaign setup.
You can also use bid multipliers for example: If you know that your service brings in better business in location A you can say increase bids by 10% in that location.
When you publish your ad, you need to make sure that the people who are viewing it can understand your message. Your ads can appear to all kinds of customers who use products and third party websites in the languages that your campaign focuses on. This helps ensure that your ads will only be displayed in the right language.
Language targeting will allow you to choose the language of the websites that you would like your ads to appear on. Your ads will be shown to customers who use the various Google products such as Gmail or Google Search or when they visit sites in the Google Display Network, but in the same language.
Unless you want to target your ads to people who only speak a specific language, you may find it beneficial to target all languages. Targeting multiple languages will help you reach people who are bilingual and who may search in more than one language. If you do want to show the same ad, but in multiple languages it is recommended that you create individual campaigns targeting each language.
With AdWords you can set a daily budget for each of your campaigns based on the amount you can spend each day and your advertising goals. When you are starting out with AdWords, you want to keep a close check on your costs because you don’t know what is going to work.
It is possible that your initial campaign will be profitable, you may recover what you invested or you may lose. With initial testing it is important to be careful with your budget and find out what ad messages are engaging with your target market. You will also learn what keywords are converting.
Your test budget can be calculated by multiplying the total amount of keywords that you want to explore by the cost per click based on 100 clicks. As a general rule, you should be aiming for between 100 and 200 clicks on keywords to determine whether it is a good fit and delivers the conversions that you need.
Bid Strategy – Automatic vs Manual
When it comes to deciding your bidding strategy for PPC you have two options; manual or automatic.
The decision you make will depend on what control you have over individual campaigns and keywords as well as how your budget is allocated.
Manual bidding allows you to define your bid and amend it at any time. This is the default setting on Google. You will determine a maximum cost per click and the campaign will run to the rules that you specify. A manual strategy will allow you to make changes to both the keywords and ad group level.
Automated bidding on the other hand will significantly reduce your control. You can set and change the maximum cost per click but only at a campaign level. Google will manage your keyword bids and ad group bids. In automated bidding, Google will set bids with the intent of maximizing clicks which can result in costs mounting up quickly.
Device based bidding
Device bidding will allow you to show your ad more or less often for searches that occur on certain devices such as tablets or mobile devices. Device based bidding can be used for campaigns, ad groups or if you have set device bidding for a campaign and an ad group. You can increase bids for mobile also if you get more conversions on mobile by increasing at a % level.
For example, if you sell more of product A through your mobile site than desktop, then you can increase your bid by 20% on the mobile device auction in order to increase traffic.
How to set your campaign daily budget
Many PPC marketing strategies will limit the daily budget. If there isn’t enough budget available, Google will simply reduce the number of times that your ad is shown during the course of the day.
Tip: Make sure you have enough budget to gather data in order to make educated decisions on if your campaign works.
How to make use of extensions
PPC ad extensions will expand your advertisement with extra information, providing customers with more information to choose your business. This can increase click through rates too. Typical extension formats include location information, call buttons, additional text or links to your product or service pages.
Add in a telephone number for sales, customer support or technical teams
If your business is located in a specific area, you can use this feature to encourage people to visit your premises by showing location information, photos of your business and directions.
If you have a link to reviews or a third party website such as TrustPilot, you can include this information here.
Callout extensions allow you set a few USP’s in your ad, that will get people to click through to your business, so make sure they are things that people may want along with your service or product for example: Free Shipping – Instant Callback – 24/7 Customer Service etc.
Add links to specific pages on your website. When someone clicks on the link, they can immediately locate what they want to buy or information they need to know.
Why is Adgroup Structure important?
An ad group will include one or more advertisements which target a shared set of keywords. You determine a bid to be used when the group’s keywords trigger an ad to appear. This is known as cost per click (CPC). Many advertisers will develop their ad groups based on the categories on their website.
How to setup PPC ad groups within a campaign
Within an AdWords campaign, the ad group will allow you to organise and specifically target your ads. You will be able to place bids and deploy keywords for each ad group. Before you start with your ad group you need to have set up a campaign as outlined earlier in this guide.
How many keywords per adgroup?
The perfect number of keywords that you should allocate to each ad group is a topic that is debated on a regularly basis. To increase control over your keywords, enhance click through rates and boost quality score, it depends on a number of factors which will determine how many keywords to use. For some groups no more than 15 while for others no more than 20 keywords should be used.
Keyword Match Types – Broad Match vs Phrase vs Exact
Another consideration to make when it comes to keywords is a term known as keyword match types. These are ways of defining how the keywords in your campaign link to the keywords that users are searching for.
There are four match types to choose from:
- Broad Match – Your ad may match to any related search term including synonyms
- Modified broad match – Little more restricted where your ad will only match when a search term includes the specific keywords that you determine. The words can be displayed in any order.
- Phrase match – The keyword must include the terms you are bidding on and in order but they can include words and phrases before and after
- Exact match – The exact keyword that you have chosen or include a variation of function words such as the, for, to, from, in or a for example
How to use Broad and Phrase match to find new keywords
When you use broad match keywords, the advertisements that you create will function using different variations of your keywords, even if these do not appear on your initial list. This will help you generate more traffic to your website and reduce the time you need to spend building keyword lists.
Broad match is the default match type that all keywords default to. You don’t have to spend time thinking of countless keyword variations and if your ad doesn’t receive any clicks for a particular keyword variation, the system will pick this up and stop showing the ad. This stops you from incurring charges for clicks for keywords that aren’t working.
Phrase match on the other hand allows you to focus your keywords around close variations of a particular phrase. With phrase match keywords you can show ads to customers who are searching both for an exact search term but also variations of this term or with keywords before or after.
Phrase match is much more targeted and gives you greater control over how closely a keyword must match a search term. Close variants will also include misspellings, acronyms, abbreviations and accents.
Tip: Setup your keywords on broad and phrase match to start and when you identify converting keywords, move then into an exact match adgroup and increase the bids on them. At the same time of doing this, add them to a negative list in the phrase/broad match adgroup.
Writing effective ad copy
Writing copy for your ads is part science, part skill. It doesn’t matter how well structured your campaigns are, if your copy isn’t good enough your ads are not going to deliver the results that you need.
When you craft the copy for your ads, understand the person who will be reading the ad and what they want to achieve, then phrase your ads in such a way that will compel them to take action.
The majority of prospective customers will have an idea of how much they are willing to spend long before they click on an ad so including statistics in your ads will help them decide on your company or a competitors. Make sure that your statistics are accurate though, don’t just make them up because it lo oks good.
Striking an emotional connection with your target audience can bring real results so where possible try and establish an emotional connection with your readers.
Create keyword rich, unique display URLs, something much more interesting and relevant to the copy of your advertisements
Address objections. The choice between you and a competitor is just a click away. Identify common objections and resolve these in the copy if you can.
Focus on benefits. Always discuss benefits in your ad copy over features.
It may take a while before you start seeing results, but you can test which ads work better by carrying out A/B testing to see which delivers the best results. In order to do this, simply setup multiple ads in the same adgroup and look at the click through rate statistics once they have both had an amount of impressions.
It is also worth considering how many of the clicks lead to conversions for example, if a certain ad lead to a lot more clicks with 0 conversions, than the ad with a much lesser click through rate, but that one had 100% conversion rate – which one is better?
Setting up initial Keyword bids to make sure your ads show
When you first setup your list of keywords, you will need to make sure you’re bidding high enough for your keywords to show. If you set your bids too low, then your ads simply wont show up and you will get no data. Do your research and keep an eye on this. Accounts need more management at first and less as you refine and go along, depending on their size of course.
How to Create Effective Landing pages
One thing that cannot be emphasised enough is, making sure people land on the right page. It is a completely pointless money burning exercise to go through all the above processes and send people to your average website page that has no real focus. Below we will cover the points you need to consider in this process.
Where do I send adwords traffic to?
It’s great to set up your first Adwords advertising campaign, but you do need somewhere to send the traffic. The page that you send people to is known as a landing page. A good landing page should include a number of elements:
- A strong headline that captures interest
- An effective tagline (Make it catchy so people remember you)
- A series of benefits (Unique Selling Points)
- Trust indicators (Things you are members of, citations etc)
- A clear call to action (what you want them to do)
- A lead capture form (KISS! - Keep It Simple Stupid!)
- Great copy (Clear concise content – no fluff)
Each campaign or adgroup that you set up can be linked to a different landing page. It really depends on the budgets, your targets and how granular you want to get. Also landing pages will have an effect on your quality score so bare this in mind.
Mobile Friendly Landing Pages
The experience that customers receive when they reach your landing page should be seamless, regardless of the device they are using. Visitors shouldn’t have to resize pages or zoom in to read the content of your landing page or to locate a call to action button to get in touch.
If you want to create a great experience for every one of your website visitors, you need to optimise your landing pages for mobile devices. But what exactly does this mean? Here’s what you need to focus on for your mobile users:
Pages designed with the mobile user in mind – Very often people who use mobile and desktop devices will have different goals. Many mobile users do not hold the same kind of views as those who are viewing on desktop and vice versa.
Those viewing content on mobile devices are more likely to be researching, while those browsing on desktop devices are more likely to be ready to purchase. This means that mobile landing pages need to produce leads.
Swap CTA for a Click to Call – As prospects are gathering information, they need to make a purchasing decision. When setting up your mobile landing page, make sure it is easy for the visitor to contact you, either by email or phone.
Reduce Typing – Even if your goal is not to increase calls, you can capture leads with an enquiry form. But if you do, make sure these forms are a simple as possible.
Reduce your Copy – Clarity is so important when it comes to creating a landing page. On a mobile device people have a lower attention span than what they would on a desktop so you have to be clear, concise and get to the point quickly. Reduce the text as much as you can. You can include the use of accordions for design purposes and then if people really want to read more, they can.
What is a good landing page?
A landing page has one purpose; to convert or generate leads. A great landing page will bring success, sales and profitability while a poor landing page will lose visitors, customers and sales.
Here are just a few elements of a perfectly created landing page:
Headline – A strong headline must draw people in. With a weak headline, customers won’t stay for long. The headline should encourage them to keep reading to find out more about your offering.
Design – A good landing page should have a clear and simple design. Don’t distract with untidy or elaborate visuals. Leave plenty of white space, use easy to read fonts and add interesting videos and well structured content. Try not to avoid links because this will take the web visitor away from your landing page and reduce conversion rates.
Customer Viewpoint – When you are exploring the content and design, remember to think like your customer. Deliver personalised content that solves a problem. Demonstrate how you can help them
Unique Selling Points (USP) – What makes you stand out from your competition, what extras or special treatment do you give to your clients or customers? Why should they choose you over the rest over the rest of the competition?
Call to Action – Perhaps the most important of all is the call to action. A great call to action can significantly boost your conversion rates. A call to action is something that you want your visitors to do; call, click, subscribe, email etc. Focus on one call to action for each landing page.
Proof – Give customers a reason to choose you. If you have increased sales for customers, you have been mentioned in the local media or you have received an award, mention it. It gives you more credibility.
CTA – Call to action
You have spent time and resources on developing the perfect landing page but your page is just not delivering the conversions that you hoped for. The problem could be your call to action.
When you craft a landing page it is always important to ask yourself what is this page for? To turn visitors into leads, they have to click on the Call To Action on your landing page or take an action. If you want to increase conversions with a strong call to action, use these top tips:
When a visitor lands on your page, the call to action should be the first thing that they see.
Landing pages should be built to drive conversions. The more visually appealing your call to actions are, the more successful you will be at attracting customers. Use contrasting colours to draw attention. Use white space to draw attention to your call to action. Don’t lose it surrounded by complex graphics, fonts and colours.
Some of the best call to action content will invoke a quick reaction. Use short, sharp words or use phrases such as:
- Start your free trial
- Sign Up
- Download Now
As with the rest of your landing page, the call to action should reinforce benefits by showing customers how their lives can be improved by the conversion. You can also include more than 1 occurrence of the same CTA – but don’t include different ones.
Make sure that your call to action features prominently on the page but not so it distracts from the benefits on your page.
USP – Unique Selling Points
A Unique Selling Point (USP) is something that you use to show how you stand out from the competition. Think carefully when formulating your USP to decide what differentiates you from the competition.
Your USP is not found in a single element on a landing page, it consists of a number of elements including the headline, subheadings, benefits, social proof and closing statements
To develop your USP you will need to firstly understand your audience and secondly undertake in depth competitor research so you can differentiate your product or service offering.
Once established, you will need to move on to the next step which involves evaluating competitor USPs. What are they doing well? What do they need to improve? Use this information to your advantage and tailor your message to show how you are different.
That being said simply stating you are the best is not going to work. You need to find a niche market to excel in. Find your niche and show your audience how you are different and why customers should use you instead.
When conveying your USP(s) make sure that you write the copy in a tone and voice suited to your audience. Your page should be relevant to conversations that are already being held and how it can solve common consumer problems. Explore discussion boards, forums or social media to find this out.
Headline – The first place that you can convey the benefits of your product and the problem. Headlines should be clear, concise and compelling. Your headline has one goal which is to encourage visitors to continue to engage with your page and increase their desire for what you offer, before motivating them to click the CTA.
Choose headlines such as the following:
Receive (a rarely used adjective) Power of (the purpose of your product or service) without (problem/objection)
As an example: Develop, Distribute and Test landing pages without complicated software
Another headline could feature
Two adjectives to begin with followed by who you are and a SEO keyword followed by a desirable promise. For example:
The fast and simple way to secure new business with viral marketing
Subheadings should be used to further explain the solution which has been outlined in your headline. By the time people reach the sub-head, their attention span is starting to fade. The sub-head needs to convey a benefit.
By this stage you have captured the interest of your audience. Now it is time to demonstrate how you can solve their problem.
The best ways to achieve this is through a list. The best way to do this is to ask what your customers need. Then, follow this with a list of between 3 and 5 points on the largest problems that you are solving for your audience.
A reinforcing statement should then appear mid way down the page. This will be a second headline to continue the USP contained within the main headline including a high value benefit. Include something such as:
A statement of uniqueness – this should be supported with a statement to demonstrate your credibility
Expand on your expertise – Explain how you can solve a problem
Urgency – Close with an urgency to encourage a call to action
The closing statement is your last chance to further reinforce your USP, usually found at the end of the landing page.
Although social proof isn’t an aspect of a USP, it can be used as a significant supporting factor. Social proof can increase the emotional connection with your audience strengthening their logical decision to take action. There are four main ways that you can add social proof:
- Incorporating testimonials and/or customer reviews
- Awards or press coverage
- Seals of approval, accreditations or trust marks
What actions do I want my visitors to take?
When you develop a landing page it should have a clear aim. Multiple calls to action will only serve to confuse your visitors and will result in the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.
There are several actions that you might want your visitors to take from your landing page:
- Complete a form
- Fill out a survey
- Subscribe to a mailing list
- Download a voucher
- Access a free trial
- Register for a demo
- Download a free ebook
The idea is to request visitor information in exchange for something low cost or free of charge. Your landing page should lead your visitor down a single route for a single action.
If your offer is unclear or is difficult to understand customers will bounce from your page.
One of the best ways for your web visitors to take action is to provide a valuable lead magnet. You need to provide something valuable to persuade visitors to part with their personal information.
Email is one of the best ways to convert in digital marketing. Building a huge email list should be the goal of any marketer because it is one of the most effective and personalised ways that you can reach customers. The email list that you build is a curated list of customers because they are already familiar (and interested) with what you sell and are more likely to convert.
How to measure the effectiveness of a landing page
With all of the elements in place and your landing page is generating a decent amount of traffic, how can you tell whether your hard work is paying off?
The best way is through carefully selected metrics.
Traffic and conversions can be measured in a number of ways, but one of the most effective is to use Google Analytics to track every visitor to your landing page and see whether or not they converted.
The effectiveness of your strategy will be reflected through two main metrics. Bounce rate and conversions.
Once you have an idea of visits, bounce rate and conversions, you can develop a strategy to track them.
Tip: Use a tracked phone number for calls, and a thank you page url analytics goal to see how many submitted their details, this way you can get a good idea of your conversion rate.
Use of Heatmaps
A heatmap is essentially a visual picture which shows how visitors interact with your landing page using a colour coded system. The most well known heatmap in digital marketing demonstrates that people read in an F shape.
Heatmaps are generated by tracking mouse movement, clicks, hovers and scrolls to create a picture of how people are using the web page.
You can install mouse tracking software and monitoring systems so they are up and running relatively quickly. Click heat maps show where a visitor has clicked on your web page which are particularly good for identifying popular links.
The best solution for this is crazyegg. You can make click maps and also heatmaps to see what your visitors are actually doing, if there is a drop out point and how to improve your page.
Use of screen recordings
Another technique that you can use to monitor how your page is being used is through visitor recording and session replay tools. These tools are controversial however and give rise to privacy issues, but they can provide digital marketers and UX specialists with detailed information of how websites are used.
A visitor recording and session replay tool will record visitors as they scroll, type, click or navigate around the site. Analysis of these recordings can then help website owners identify weak areas or help improve optimisation.
Hotjar is one of the most well known recording and session replay tools which is available on the market. Users can watch recordings of actual website visitors as they use and navigate around the site looking specifically at taps, clicks and movement of the mouse. Once the session is recorded, users of Hotjar can then add tags to the recording, make notes, share the recording or filter them depending on specific data such as pages visited, exit pages etc.
Use of analytics
Analytics is a really important tool for any marketer. Make sure that your landing page is set up with Google Analytics. Once the initial setup has been established you need to make sure that your page is actually receiving traffic before exploring other performance metrics. With Google Analytics the data is clear and concisely presented so you understand how many page visits your landing page is receiving and where these visitors are coming from. There are three main metrics that you will need to focus on in Analytics:
Conversion Rate – The most important metric and essentially it means how action is taken such as completing a form, subscribing to a newsletter or requesting some information. The goal of your landing page is to ultimately drive conversions so you need to look carefully at your conversion rate.
To monitor your conversion rate, it is important to firstly establish a goal for it to be measured in Google Analytics. The measurement of visitors who took this action will be displayed as a percentage. That being said, this information can prove inaccurate if you are only monitoring conversions online. What happens if someone decides to call your business rather than completing a form. This is where call tracking comes in useful.
Bounce Rate – How often people visit your page and then either click the back button or don’t stick around for very long. A high bounce rate could be attributed to a number of factors including, poor communication where visitors cannot find what they are looking for, difficulty in using the page, poor design
Dwell Time – It is really important that you look at the amount of time that a user spends on your landing page. If you discover that visitors are only spending a couple of minutes on your page it could signal that they are not finding what they are looking for.
Measurement of Conversions
Measurement is essential for online success. If you are not measuring the performance of your landing page, you do not know whether it is succeeding or failing. Conversions should always be measured and this can be tracked through to adwords.
You can then compare the amount of conversions vs the spend you have made and see the value of each conversion. This will help you make more educated marketing decisions on your overall campaign.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is really important and is a data centred process which aims to boost the number of visitors (as a percentage) who make a certain action on your website.
There are two ways to grow your business online; the first is to generate more website traffic to boost sales or improve the conversion rate and convert traffic into customers.
Deploying a range of strategies on your website and using data to improve conversions is considerably cheaper and more effective that will continue to generate sales. Optimising your conversion rate also means that you will reduce the costs associated with acquiring new users which will significantly affect your bottom line and improve your ROI.
So many people are eager to drive more traffic without looking at their conversion rate. It is worth considering this as an option in your marketing plan as it can help with SEO as well as PPC.
How much data do I need before making changes?
Data collection is an integral part of ongoing AdWords account management. But how much data do you need to collect, over how long and what data do you need to see before you decide to make changes?
Typically, you want to leave your ad for at a period of time or a number of impressions. Otherwise you won’t have enough data to sufficiently evaluate your campaign.
There are two important metrics that you need to look at during this time; the first is your click through rate and the second is your conversion rate.
If your click through rate is consistently low, you may need to make some changes to your ad, either strengthening the headline or refining your copy.
Secondly check conversion rates. How is your landing page fulfilling its purpose?
Once you have identified a potential issue, only change one element in your campaign. Doing multiple changes will make it even more difficult to identify what is working and what isn’t.
What is a good Click Through Rate (CTR)
This is one of the most commonly asked questions by marketers and clients. Although many agree that the higher the click through rate the better, there is considerable discussion around what constitutes a good versus an acceptable click through rate.
As you continue to collect and evaluate data from your campaign(s) you should be aiming for the highest click through rate that you can possibly achieve. A good click through rate would be 2% or above depending on your industry.
That being said, having a higher click through rate doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a successful campaign. It may be an indication that your account is wasting resources by advertising to people who are less likely to convert. For example if you advertised free shipping , but when people land on your page they find they have to spend £200 to get it, they may well be put off.
It is always good to run 2 ads and make sure they get a similar amount of impressions and see how well they do with the CTR, this way you can extract snippets of both ads and make one good one, keep testing!
What is a good Conversion Rate (CR)
Conversions are key aspects to your PPC strategy. If you are not actually turning visitors into buyers, then you are not achieving the purpose of your marketing. Conversion rate optimisation will allow you to maximise every aspect of your PPC spend by finding the ideal formula that converts visitors into people who take action.
If you are already achieving 5% or 10% conversion rates, is this as high as you can possibly take it? What conversion rate should you be aiming for? The conversion rate is going to be different in every industry, service provider or ecommerce or depending on your goals etc.
Don’t be fixed on hitting a set target number, it’s a waste of energy. So long as you are seeing conversions you know that your campaign is working and can be improved.
How to do a Search Term Audit
A search term or keyword audit is the process of evaluating the effectiveness of your AdWords keyword strategy. An audit can reveal poorly performing keywords so you can make tweaks and improvements to your account.
When looking at an AdWords campaign it is sometimes very easy to get lost in match types, keywords, search queries and negative matching but it is important to establish a clear focus for what you are evaluating. When you look at the keywords for your campaign, do so for each campaign and stay focused on the subject. Use the goals that you defined and evaluate specific intent and keyword performance.
Search term audits should cover:
- Whether the search query report shows keywords that are not relevant
- If terms have no conversions but high impressions and/or clicks
- If the keywords are generating particularly low quality scores
Within your AdWords account there are a number of tools that you can use to carry out this audit:
Search Terms Report – Use this tool to discover how your ads have performed in the search networks. The search terms report is a series of keywords that people have used when your ad was shown and clicked. Depending on keyword matching options, the search terms may be different from your list of keywords.
The ‘Match Type’ section will show you how closely search terms that triggered your ads are related to the actual keywords on your account. With this you can see which match types are working well and then you can refine your keywords list and match types to cover all of your keywords.
Use this data to make changes to your keywords which will have a positive impact on your performance by:
Including high performing search terms to your ad group as keywords and look at adjusting your bids too.
If a search term isn’t relevant to the products or services that you sell, it should be added as a negative keyword. This will stop your ad from being displayed to people who are looking for something that you don’t sell. Also make sure that you choose the correct match type for your existing keywords.
How to make bid changes
Where you use manual bidding for your campaigns, there is the facility to change your bids based on conversions, costs and overall performance. Bids can be edited for an entire ad group or they can be adjusted to suit individual keywords. Making edits to your bids based on how your campaigns perform can influence the amount of traffic that your ads will receive in addition to the return on investment.
The default bid on your ad group will allow you to set a single bid for all of the keywords, audiences, placements and other forms of targeting in a particular ad group. Unless you enable custom bids for any of your targeting AdWords will use your ad group default.
If your campaign uses manual bidding you can set your own maximum cost per click. This will be used instead of the ad group default bid whenever a certain placement, targeting method or keyword triggers your ad.
You can edit the ad group default bid for a single ad group by:
Selecting the campaigns tab and navigating to the name of the campaign where you wish to edit your bid. Click ‘Edit’. Enter any one of the following:
Search Network Only – Enter the new default bid amount for all keywords that you haven’t already defined a specific bid for
Search and Display Networks – Enter the new default bid amount you want to use for all keywords, targeting and placements.
To evaluate keyword bids:
Select the campaigns tab and click on the ad group or campaign that you wish to manage.
If you wish to change Search Network Only, Search Network with Display or Search and Display Networks click the Keywords Tab. Click on the bid amount and to make changes for multiple keywords just select the corresponding boxes. Enter your new bid and click Save.
Pause Underperforming Keywords
One of the great things about Pay Per Click is that it offers immediate feedback on a number of different data points meaning that it is possible to identify poor choices and take prompt action. This is perhaps one of the best indicators that you have that a poorly performing keyword ought to be paused.
Over time, as you manage a campaign you want to create an effective process which will clearly identify which keywords you should pause, perhaps because they are negatively impacting on your ROI or they are having a negative impact on quality scores.
Before you consider pausing any keywords you need to firstly identify what metrics you should use to form this decision. Use your goals to help you determine what metrics to use.
Where you are tracking conversions such as sales, leads or registrations your metrics should include Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) or cost per conversion. If a keyword has a low click through rate but a higher conversion rate and lower cost per acquisition you should keep this keyword in your campaign.
If you are tracking other metrics such as time spent on page or time spent on the site, consider using click through rates as a metric. Improving click through rates will boost quality scores which will reduce the cost per click.
Once you have these metrics figured out you are ready to choose which keywords should be paused.
Pause / Change / Split test Underperforming ads
No one wants an underperforming PPC campaign, but there are several strategies that you can use to address this problem:
#1 Boost Quality Score
An essential component in AdWords which focuses on keyword quality, ad quality and landing pages. If your ads, keywords and landing pages are highly relevant then users will receive a better search experience. The Quality Score is based on click through rate, the relevance of the ad and the relevance of the landing page.
To improve click through rates you should:
- Use the right keyword matches
- Deploy negative keywords
- Increase your bids
- Complete A/B Testing to determine what works and what doesn't
- Ensure consistency between keywords and ads
What is Ad Rank
When managing your PPC campaign, Ad Rank is a term that you need to be familiar with. This is because your ad position can have a significant impact on the results of your campaigns. Ad Rank refers to the position in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) where your ad appears in relation to other ads competing against you in your industry.
Ads can appear either at the top or the bottom of the results pages and you can check where your ads are appearing using the average position metric. That being said, average position isn’t something that you should use to monitor Search Network progress.
When the ad auction begins, Google will use the auction to determine which advertisements it will show and in what position. AdWords will calculate the Ad Rank for each ad within the auction and then Ad Rank will decide where your ad will appear, or if it will appear at all. But what factors do you need to take into consideration when thinking about Ad Rank? There are currently five:
When you place your bid, you are indicating to AdWords the maximum that you will pay for someone to click on your ad. The amount that you will pay per click is often much less.
#2 Quality Score
Your ads and landing pages must be exceptional and relevant. AdWords will look at how relevant your ads and landing page is in relation to the users search query. The quality of your advertisement is indicated by your quality score.
#3 Ad Rank Thresholds
To maintain quality across all ads, minimum thresholds are set by Google. Ads must achieve these minimum thresholds to be displayed in a particular position.
When it comes to the ad auction, context really matters. The calculation that goes into Ad Rank will explore the search terms that the individual has entered, the location and device as well as the time, the search terms, other search results and what ads are shown on the page.
When you develop your ad, you will have the option to incorporate a number of different elements including telephone number, links or location information. Also known as ad extensions, AdWords will estimate how extensions that you use impact on the performance of the ad.
Ad Rank can be increased by improving the following:
- Click Through Rate
- Relevance to the searchers query
- The quality of your landing page
Ad Rank has the ability to affect a series of elements within your PPC campaign including:
- The minimum thresholds for your ad
- Cost Per Click
- The position of your ad
- Whether you can include ad extensions and/or other formats
Higher quality advertisements often result in lower costs, improved ad positioning and greater success when it comes to PPC.
Landing page changes
One of the biggest problems when it comes to landing page management is that marketers often lack the tools to test their landing pages. A/B Testing will enable you to test a variety of layouts and content to really understand what works for your audience. A/B testing can be achieved by segmenting your audience. It is often very difficult to determine what triggers users to take action, but A/B testing will help you identify this.
Landing page optimisation is a difficult task and changes to your pages should only be made after thorough testing. There is no proven formula or one technique fits all approach. It simply involves testing different strategies to find out which one works for your business.
It is important to make changes carefully and consider and then measure the implications of this change. Changing multiple elements of a page and traffic at the same time will only lead to confusion.