Tag Archives: adwords

3 Ways You Could be Unknowingly Wasting Ad Budget


Today’s ad platforms can have even the most experienced PPC marketers spending more than intended.

Campaign settings, rules and other factors change over time, which can have substantial impact on your campaigns. For example, starting October 4th, 2017 Google announced they could spend up to two times your daily budget. If you’d been sitting calm with $1,000/day budget, not wanting to spend a penny more, you could have been surprised.

There are many unpredictable reasons you can wind up with traffic or spend you didn’t plan for (and may not even know) — which is why it’s useful to consider intended vs. actual traffic.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Intended traffic: Is the traffic you planned on acquiring in your strategy as a result of the keywords, geographies, and networks you defined.
  • Actual traffic: Is traffic you actually get from your ad platforms, in spite of your strategy. Sometimes you’ll see traffic that was not intended due to campaign settings, mistakes or platform changes.

In short, the gap between intended and actual traffic is wasted ad budget. But, fortunately, you can identify and fix this to save money.

are you wasting ad budget?
Wasted budget is like wasting pizza, only worse. (via Giphy)

In this post I’ll cover three ways you might be wasting your PPC spend and how to ensure you’re both aware, and can turn things around with quick fixes.

Mistake 1. Accidentally spending on bad search terms

Wasted budget on the wrong keywords is fairly common. As Melissa Mackey of B2B agency Gyro sees often:

“advertisers [bid] on keywords that they shouldn’t be bidding on. For example, novice advertisers selling shoes try to bid on ‘shoes.’ Overly broad keywords eat up budget and do not perform well for the advertiser.”

But the bigger problem here is that some marketers believe that keywords and search terms are the same thing. The terms are commonly used interchangeably, but they’re very different. Here’s how I define each:

  • What’s a search term? This is the exact word or phrase a person uses on the search engine to find what they were looking for (how buyers search). See the “Search Term” column in the example below.
  • What is a keyword? This is the word you use to target search terms on paid search platforms (how marketers target buyers). See the “Keyword” column in the example below.

If you misunderstand or accidentally misapply keyword match types (broad, broad modified, phrase, exact match), you can have a gap between search terms and keywords causing you to spend unknowingly.

For example, a client in the continued medical education space was targeting medical professionals who need Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. Here’s what happened:

  • Intended traffic in this case included people searching ‘Pediatric Advanced Life Support’ or ‘PALS certification’.
  • Actual traffic ended up including Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification and PALS certification. However, because of poor keyword match types (and the acronym in this case), the company ended up with traffic from search terms such as “penpals online,” “free kids online pen pals,” and “senior pen pals.”

See the Search Terms Report as an example:

Click above to see larger image of how intended medical certification traffic turned into pen pals traffic (via SCUBE Marketing).

Traffic that attracted anyone looking for “pen pals” wasn’t intended, leading to wasted spend. The root cause of this was confusion over the difference between search terms, keywords, and their match types.

Action item: Take a closer look at search terms

To avoid this scenario yourself, run a Search Term report discussed above to identify which search terms (triggered by your keywords) are not relevant.

Then exclude irrelevant terms with negative keywords at ad group, campaign, or account level. From there, use keyword match types to better control your exclusions. For example:

  • Exact Match Negative to exclude just the exact term that was irrelevant. Example: -[penpals online]
  • Phrase Match Negative to exclude an irrelevant phrase pattern you noticed in your search terms. Example: -“penpals online”, which will exclude ‘California penpals online’, ‘penpals online’, and ‘penpals online for seniors’.
  • Broad Match Negative to exclude search terms containing irrelevant words. Example: -penpals, which will automatically exclude all search terms with penpals.

Once you’ve eliminated any obvious waste, reevaluate your keyword match type strategy. If you skip this step, you will continue to trigger lots of irrelevant search terms.

Your match types will range from exact match (with a close correlation), to broad match (with far correlation) between your keywords and search terms.

Ideally, break your broad match keywords into more specific keywords with broad match modified, phrase or exact match types. They will give you more control and trigger search terms you intend to target.

Mistake 2. Wasting spend on unintended locations

Similar to keyword match types, incorrect location settings in AdWords can trigger ads in locations you don’t want to serve and amount to wasted budget.

When we look at the reality of the situation, your location settings can trigger three types of geographies:

  1. Physical location. Your ads appear to people physically located in your target geography. This is the option we usually expect when selecting locations to target, in that it’s very direct. This is our intended traffic insofar as geography.
  2. Location of interest. Your ads appear to people searching for (or indicating interest in) your targeted location. With this option, physical location doesn’t matter. As long as people have your target location in their search terms, the ad is triggered. This can result in out-of-country traffic that appears to be relevant, but perhaps isn’t for a myriad of reasons. (i.e. Perhaps you don’t ship to a given location, for example and your ads would thereby be irrelevant to those in that area).
  3. Both. This setting combines both targeting options. Your ads appear to people who are physically located in your target geography, or are searching for (or indicating interest in) your targeted location. This is the broadest option.

To see how you can waste spend this way, here’s an example of how unintended location targeting affected a client in the industrial machinery space:

With respect to intended traffic, this client wanted to target people physically located in the United States. However, they ended up with traffic from Nigeria, India, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, and the Philippines. Unfortunately, the client doesn’t do business internationally, so their budget was spent on targeting the wrong locations.

In this case, the client kept the default AdWords setting of ‘Both’, which triggered the traffic from physical location and location of interest, causing the unintended international traffic. Fairly simple mistake to make.

Action item: Stop Wasted Ad Budget on Unintended Locations

Get a list of locations where your ads have triggered by running the User Locations Report in AdWords. See an example below with multiple unintended international locations for the same client I described above.

Incorrect Location Settings causing wasted ad budget
Click above to see a larger, clearer image.(via SCUBE Marketing)

Once identified, exclude irrelevant locations from within your campaign settings. After your locations have been excluded they will appear next to targeted locations. See an example below.

Exclude Locations In Campaign Settings To Stop Wasting Ad Budget
Exclude locations in campaign settings to stop wasting ad budget

Once you have identified any unintended locations, check how these locations were triggered by reviewing a Geographic Report. In our example, the ‘location of interest’ setting caused the traffic the client did not want.

Location of Interest Targeting Setting
Click above to see a larger, clearer image.

To avoid this, simply change the setting to ‘people in my targeted location’:

Mistake 3. Using the default regarding unintended networks

Network targeting has similar quirks as location targeting. The devil is in the details and wasted budget often lies in the settings. AdWords has different campaign types. If you’re not careful, and you stick with the default settings, your targeting can (and probably will) be off.

To clarify, here’s an example from the intended vs. actual traffic angle for a new client we audited recently.

They’d wanted to target people using Google Search on Google.com, but ended up with traffic from the Search Network, Search Partners Network, and Display Network. Obviously this was unintended, and they didn’t know. As it turns out, they didn’t execute their targeting properly and their campaign settings had a default setting: ‘Search Network with Display Select’.

Click above to see larger image of default campaign network settings you may want to avoid (via SCUBE Marketing).

This resulted in the client targeting three unintended networks in one campaign. Prepared only for the Search, they didn’t have targeting and ads for Display, and ended up with automatic placements from irrelevant websites. Overall, 53% of their PPC budget went to the Search Partners Network and Display, but the traffic had zero conversions, and was a waste.

Click above to see larger image of Surprise Traffic Coming From Search Partners and Google Display Network (via SCUBE Marketing).
Action item: Stop Wasted Ad Budget on Unintended Networks.

How can you check if you are unintentionally targeting networks without your knowledge?

Segment your campaigns by network. See an example below. Once segmented, you can figure out the right settings, and can plan the action items for further optimization.

If you see traffic from unintended networks, simply change your network settings from the default.

Don’t drain your ad budget

Because of fine details, even the best marketers can fall into traps and overspend unintentionally. Paid campaigns can be difficult beasts to manage, and a campaign that hasn’t been optimized to eliminate waste is a ship with leaks in it, destined to sink.

Take a good look at your data for the above, scrub it against what you’ve learned here today, and see what you can save.

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3 Ways You Could be Unknowingly Wasting Ad Budget

The Crazy Egg Guide to Landing Page Optimization

When it comes to increasing conversion rates, few strategies are more effective than the implementation of landing pages. Yet, these crucial linchpins to the optimization process are often rushed or overlooked completely in the grand scheme of marketing. Here at Crazy Egg, we believe it’s past time to give these hard-working pages a little more attention, which is why we’ve created this complete guide to landing page optimization. Even if you consider yourself a landing page pro, you’ll want to read this guide to make sure your pages are on track and converting as well as they should be. Why…

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The Crazy Egg Guide to Landing Page Optimization

Advice for the Lone Marketer Who’s Never Touched Google Adwords Before

Recently I was given the opportunity to manage all of Wishpond’s AdWords campaigns. Aside from writing marketing content for all you beautiful people, I’m managing things like ad creatives, budgets, optimization, and conversions. I’ve managed PPC (Pay-Per-Click) accounts in the past, but this was definitely a step up from what I’ve done. I’ll admit that things were a little bumpy at first but after some experimentation and a lot of research I’ve slowly arrived at a comfortable place in my workflow. This experience got me thinking about all you business owners and marketers out there jumping into paid advertising. Unless…

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Advice for the Lone Marketer Who’s Never Touched Google Adwords Before

How Agency RevUnit Used Unbounce to Turn Up Conversions for School of Rock

How Agency RevUnit Turned Up Conversions
Digital Marketing Agency RevUnit rocked the house for their client by turning a deceptively simple idea into a 400% lift in PPC conversions.

When I first met Seth Waite over a Google Hangout a few weeks ago, he mentioned that his agency, RevUnit, had done some “pretty fun things with Unbounce” for clients.

It took a little while for me to understand what Seth really meant by “fun;” he meant innovative, experimental digital marketing that actually moves the needle on results. I’ll admit, fun isn’t the first word I’d use to describe Seth’s story.

It’s genius.

It’s also deceptively simple.

Based out of Las Vegas, Seth is the CMO at RevUnit, a full-scale digital agency that takes pride in their ability to “Build Small. Learn Fast. Iterate Often.”

This is the story of how Seth’s team at RevUnit used Unbounce to iterate a PPC — and it all started with a simple audit.

A little bit of background

RevUnit’s newest client, School of Rock, had a little bit of an Adwords addiction. Their PPC spending was on overdrive. But the ROI? Well, there was room for improvement.

School of Rock is a music school with more than 160 franchise locations worldwide. They came to RevUnit after experiencing poor-performing Adwords campaigns with a specialized PPC agency. Lead acquisition via PPC for new enrolments was slow and lagging.

School of Rock’s main goal was to drive new student enrolment to individual franchises.  In other words, they needed to get more students signed up for music classes at one of the more than 160 locations worldwide.

The question was, how could they increase enrolments and lower the cost of acquisition at the same time?

It all started with a simple audit

Before digging in and building new campaigns from scratch, RevUnit performed a full audit of School of Rock’s Adwords account concentrating on keywords, ads and landing pages.

The AdWords account consisted of 160+ campaigns, 800,000+ keywords and 160+ landing pages. It’s important to note that each campaign represents a franchise location (for instance, “School of Rock Scottsdale” is a single campaign) and each of those franchises locations had their own dedicated landing page.

During the audit Seth’s team found some pretty common mistakes, particularly with the landing pages associated with each campaign. Here’s what they were working with in the beginning:

Problems with the “before” landing pages:

  • Pages were very slow to load. Search engines like Google see this as a poor experience for users, and as a result, penalize pages with a lower quality score.
  • The lead forms embedded into each landing page were pretty long. Too many form fields can cause visitors friction, meaning they’re less likely to complete the form (and more likely to bounce).
  • There were some general design and copy issues, the biggest being that content was not designed for easy reading. While there was a lot of information on the pages, it not tell a compelling story.
  • The pages did not mirror their upstream ads. Without a strong message match, visitors are more likely to bounce, again resulting in a lower quality score from Google.
  • Campaigns weren’t enabled with click-to-call tracking so it was impossible to measure how many phone calls were generated from Adwords activities.

Seth’s team hypothesized that if they tackled each of the problems above, School of Rock would yield better results from their AdWords campaigns.

But (and this was a pretty big ‘but’), they couldn’t really afford to tackle 160 different landing pages without knowing for sure.

Here’s the good part

Instead of jumping in willy nilly, Seth’s team decided to use Unbounce to create a template for just one of the franchise locations. Basically, he created a single landing page to test out his hypothesis. The idea was that if the template actually increased enrollment for one of the franchise locations it could be replicated for others.

Sidnee Schaefer, RevUnit’s Senior Marketing Strategist, then went to the whiteboard with Seth and other members of the team to design the new strategic landing pages. After creating a mockup of the new page’s layout, Sidnee jumped into the Unbounce builder to implement the design.

The newly designed landing page template aimed to follow a story that is easy-to-digest and comprehend while presenting a clean and well-structured format. The page was built to create the shortest path to conversion without sacrificing need-to-know information.

According to Seth,

Every brand has a very different story and we knew how important it was to tell the story of how School of Rock is different than the average music school. We designed the page to reflect this brand positioning.

For the new School of Rock landing pages, content was strategically placed into sections covering who, what, where and why (including reviews). “We kept the copy clear and strong to avoid burdening people with too much information,” says Seth.

RevUnit also used Zapier to bridge a connection between Unbounce and School of Rock’s CRM system, so new leads go directly to franchises once submitted.

The result of RevUnit’s pilot was pretty convincing: a 75% increase in average weekly conversions and a 50% decrease in cost per conversion. And, all these new leads were acquired using half the budget.

Whew.

But that’s not all.

Seth didn’t stop with “good enough” – that’s just not his kind of fun.

Here’s the even *better* good part

The cherry on top of this masterminded plan is how RevUnit implemented Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) to really match Google search queries with the landing page’s headline.

DTR is an Unbounce feature that lets you tailor the text on your landing page to match keyboard parameters, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and other sources, using external variables you can attach to the URL.

DTR automatically updates specified content on your page (like a word in your headline) based on a visitor’s search query. RevUnit used DTR on their client’s landing page to ensure each visitor was served up the most relevant copy possible.

Seth explains:
DTR_!

We used dynamic content on the landing page which allowed us to show personalized content to different site visitors based on keywords and locations from the ads. This helped us match the perfect ad with the perfect landing page.

In other words, when a searcher types in “drum lessons, Scottsdale, AZ” dynamic text replacement (DTR) is used to match the landing page headline with the Google search query. As a result, when the visitor clicks through to the School of Rock landing page, the headline would look something like this, “Scottsdale Drum Lessons.”

A strong message match between the traffic source (PPC ad, social media, dedicated email or otherwise) and the landing page headline helps visitors understand that they are in the right place (and prompts thoughts like “yes, this is exactly what I was looking for!”).

According to Seth, here’s why DTR was a game changer for this campaign, “because our PPC keyword strategy was very focused on instrument lessons (guitar, piano, etc), we’d need five landing pages (a different landing page for each instrument type) for each franchise location.”

This would have normally been a painful and timely undertaking but, as Seth put it, “Unbounce had a solution.”

Here’s how they used DTR:

We strategically designed the pages with DTR in mind, so that instrument keywords could be placed throughout the page. Instead of having to create 750+ landing pages, we only had to create one for each franchise location.

The results

After the pilot’s stellar performance, Seth knew with confidence that it was time to roll it out to the rest of the 160+ School of Rock franchise locations.

Again, the results were incredible:

The number of monthly conversions improved 5x, by 250%, and the cost per conversion decreased by 82%. School of Rock has seen a huge improvement to their ROI on AdWords and their lead volume is stabilized.

What did the mean for School of Rock? Well, according to Seth, the “average value of improvements made based on customer lifetime value is potentially a 400% increase in yearly revenue based on new leads.”

The numbers are impressive but the best part of this story is that it’s easy for data-driven marketers to replicate. Start with a guess – a hunch, a hypothesis, an idea – and test it out. In other words, “Build Small. Learn Fast. Iterate Often.

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How Agency RevUnit Used Unbounce to Turn Up Conversions for School of Rock

Get A Better ROI From Your Marketing Budget With Google Adwords [INFOGRAPHIC]

Here’s a doozy for you: In 2013 Procter & Gamble spent $5 billion on marketing.

Must be nice, eh?

Most businesses, though, have a much — how shall I say it — slimmer marketing budget. And squeezing as much as possible out of that budget is paramount to their success.

Sounds like a lot of pressure, no? And with so many options to get your business out there (social, direct mail, radio ads and more), it’s hard to know where to allocate funds to get the best return on investment.

Well, we’ve got two words for you: Google Adwords.

Combined with dedicated landing pages, Google Adwords can significantly improve your ROI. And we’ve got a handy dandy infographic from SMBclix to show you why you should be using Google Adwords. If not to better your ROI, then at least to give Procter & Gamble a run for its money.

Adwords infographic

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Get A Better ROI From Your Marketing Budget With Google Adwords [INFOGRAPHIC]

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3 Metrics You Must Know to Optimize Your Paid Traffic

There is no doubt about it, split testing paid traffic can be confusing. Even if you know what numbers to review, it’s hard to know what they mean or how they can guide your strategy.

If that’s you, I’m going to clear that up for you in this article. I’ll show you how to use this data to get better results from your paid traffic without paying too much.

We’re going to cover 3 important metrics that you need to split test. All 3 are critical to getting paid traffic right:

  • CTR (clickthrough rate)
  • CPC (cost per click)
  • EPC (earnings per click)

Once you know how these metrics affect your campaigns and how to change them for the better, it won’t be long before you’re getting great results.


3 Metrics You Must Know to Optimize Your Paid Traffic
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CTR: The Basics of CTR

Selection_014

An Example of a Google Adwords Display Campaign

CTR stands for clickthrough rate. It is often used in the world of paid traffic and can determine a number of things.

1. CTR is commonly used to determine how relevant your ad is in relation to the people you have targeted.

If your ad has a great market-to-message match, the CTR should generally take care of itself.

If people come across your ad whilst on Facebook or entering a Google search, they will probably click on it if it is relevant to them. However, if your ad is not relevant, no one will want to click on it. That is why CTR can be a useful metric when measuring the effectiveness of an ad.

2. CTR can also determine how much your ad is going to cost.

For some ad platforms like Facebook, a low CTR can lead to a higher cost per click (CPC). This is often because platforms like Facebook want to keep things as relevant as possible and so will penalize those who have chosen to display irrelevant ads. Google tends to this as part of their ‘Quality Score.’

How CTR is Calculated

With paid traffic, CTR is the result of the following equation:

people who saw your ad/people who clicked your ad

This number is then displayed as a percentage.

So imagine you were using Facebook advertising and 100,000 people saw your ad. Then imagine that 1,000 of those people decided to click your ad. That means that you had a CTR of 1%. Now, that might sound low, but you’d be surprised to find out it is actually a good number to aim for when it comes to Facebook Advertising.

In any case, you need to remember something important. Each form of paid traffic is going to have its own ideal CTR. For search campaigns on Google Adwords, the CTR generally tends to be much higher than 1%. You should therefore avoid using one ideal CTR number across all platforms.

How Does CTR Apply to Split Testing?

As mentioned earlier, you want an ad with a high CTR. So if you have a number of similar ads, you might want to improve the winners by improving their CTR.

A high CTR has the potential to reduce your cost per lead. That’s because you are now receiving more relevant clicks to your ad, and hence, more of these people will enter your ‘lead flow.’ This of course assumes that they find your landing page relevant. If all is well, this should eventually lead to more revenue for you.

How Can You Improve Your CTR With Split Testing?

To improve your CTR, you’ll want to create several versions of the same ad. You’ll then want to implement some differences amongst the ads being displayed.

Experiment With Targeting

If you are using Facebook or Twitter, you might want to improve the targeting.

Is your audience too broad or too narrow? If there are too many people seeing your ad, naturally you are going to have a low CTR. That is because you’re trying to reach too many people. If your ad is too narrow in its reach, it might not be reaching enough people to produce a good CTR.

Facebook Targeting Options

Facebook Targeting Options

On Google Adwords, you may want to make your keywords more specific. Experiment with varying specificity levels when using targeting/keywords to improve your CTR.

Vary the Copy

If you have a low CTR, you may also want to improve the copy in your ad. To keep things simple, I always try to follow the concept of entering the conversation that is going on the mind of my prospects. When using Facebook Ads, I have found that:

  • the headline is good for calling out your ideal client (an example might be: ‘Are You Looking to Get Married?’)
  • The image should catch their attention
  • the text should let them know what to do next

Change the Ad Format

If you find that your ads are producing a low CTR, you can change the ad format. This generally involves creating a totally new ad that works in a different manner.

If you are using Facebook Ads, you might find that newsfeed ads are able to provide you with higher CTR levels. If you are using Google Adwords, you might want to experiment with the display network.

Keep in mind, however, that targeting is still a big focus. Your CTR will not rise in a productive manner if you’re just changing the style of ad and ignoring the importance of targeting.

Go After Different Groups of People

This is slightly different from the point above. Here we want to go after completely different groups of people. This is often a good idea when using Facebook Ads.

If you have a winning ad, you could try using that ad with different targeting preferences. So for instance, if you were selling a weight loss product, you might decide to target people who were engaged and about to get married, instead of people who like fitness-related pages.

As alluded to earlier, you could also work on your copy to max out results. You could take things further by mentioning in your ad the fact that these people might want to lose weight in time for their wedding. Your copy could be something along the lines of, ‘Want to Look Good in that Wedding Dress?’ This of course is just an example, but hopefully you get what I mean.

Try Different Devices

You could also try targeting mobile devices. Some people find that their ads do much better on mobile devices. This all depends on the niche you’re going after. It also depends on what your giveaway is going to be, assuming you have one. If your giveaway is a video, it might be hard to view on a mobile device.

Replace Your Ads

With ad platforms like Twitter and Facebook you will need to replace your ads on a regular basis. That is because your CTR will fall even if you had a great ad with great targeting. This tends to happen because the same pool of people are seeing are your ad and so will become satiated with it.

After that, something known as banner blindness will begin to take hold. On Facebook, there is something known as ‘frequency.’ This lets you know how many times people have seen your ad. As this number rises, you’ll tend to find your CTR fall.


Facebooks ad tip: as frequency rises, CTR falls. Read here for the fix.
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Don’t Be Careless

You should not try to raise your CTR for the sake of it. Just because people click on your ad does not mean that they are going to take an action on your landing page.

If you have a crazy image on your Facebook Ad just to get clicks, you may be successful in getting a lot of clicks. Yet there is a big chance that a lot of these people will not find your landing page relevant and so will just leave.

This is a phenomenon known as curiosity clicks and is to be avoided. You can minimize this by pre-qualifying people in your ad copy.

The Golden Rule?

I have found that in order to improve the CTR of an ad, the golden rule is this:

golden rule ad ctr

As long as you are targeting the right people, curiosity clicks should be kept to a minimum and CTR should rise. On Google Adwords your copy should be used to screen out time wasters.

The Importance of CPC

CPC refers to ‘cost per click.’ It lets you know how much you are paying every time someone is clicking your ad. When using paid traffic, there is the option to use CPC or CPM (cost per impression).

CPC tends to be the best way to go about things because it can provide you with some solid numbers. These numbers relate to how many people are clicking your ad and can eventually let you know how much each lead is costing you. With CPM, you will be charged in relation to how many times your ad is shown.

How CPC Works

Facebook Ads

Notice how CPC has been calculated when using Facebook Ads

Whether you are using Facebook Ads, Google Adwords or Twitter Ads, CPC can be a very dynamic number. Most ad platforms use a bidding mechanism. If there are a lot of people trying to target the same group of people, the average CPC will rise.

If you bid too low, your ad might not be displayed. If you bid too high, your ad will get a lot of exposure, yet you will also end up spending a lot of money. In fact, with a bid that is too high, you will generally tend to spend way more than you need to.

A CPC figure can change a lot, as your competitors are always starting and stopping their own ads. This means that they may or may not be bidding for ad space that you’d rather have, therefore causing price fluctuations.

Split Testing to Find a Good CPC

I have often found that if you try to be too cheap with paid traffic methods, you won’t get the best results. Of course don’t be frivolous with your spend, but keep in mind that sometimes paying what the platform suggests can bring the best results.

Nevertheless, you can do some split testing on your campaigns to improve your CPC. Create two versions of the same ad and then experiment. Here are a few ideas.

Who Has Your Competitor Forgotten About?

For a start, you can use the same ad and target different groups of people. If you target people that your competitors have forgotten about, you might be able to make some quick wins. The low competition means bidding costs are low. However, keep in mind that in some cases, people are not targeting these people for a reason.

You can also experiment with how specific you are being with your targeting. This tends to vary depending on the niche. However, by making your ad targeting/keyword more narrow or broad, your CPC could fall whilst providing you with the equal results.

Remember to Look at the Bigger Picture

Keep in mind that, to obtain a great CPC, it helps to look at the bigger picture. Remember ad platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Adwords tend to raise your CPC if your CTR is low. If you go do things that make your ad irrelevant, it could cost you either way.

In order to keep things affordable, you’ll want to do all that you can in order to keep your CTR high. That will stop things from spiraling out of control.

Bidding Strategies

If you want to experiment with bidding amounts, there are a number of strategies that work. Many people find that it can be a good idea to let the ad platform pick the best bid for them. This gives them a chance to outbid everyone else by a small amount and give their ad the most exposure.

You could also try using the lowest possible suggested bid and then slowly reducing your bid amount. Some people try to do this until their results are no good. It has the potential, however, to produce lower quality leads.

EPC: The Most Important Metric?

EPC means ‘earnings per click.’ It refers to how much money you make per person who clicks on your ad. You can calculate EPC with this formula:

the money you make/the number of clicks generated

To be honest, I think that this is the most important number of them all. If your EPC is higher than your CPC, you are making money.


Ad tip: If your EPC is higher than your CPC, you are making money. Here’s why
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To increase your EPC, you need to make sure that everything else has been split tested so it performs better. You cannot really split test your EPC directly. If you wanted to, the best EPC split test would be to try another traffic source.

It is important I mention EPC because it tends to be the reason you are doing all of your split testing in the first place. After all, who cares if you have a high CTR if you’re not increasing your bottom line? Always split test and then refer to the change in results to see how they have affected your EPC.

If you have a great EPC, you can afford to spend more on your CPC and expand your efforts. It is easy to get bogged down in the details when split testing paid traffic. By focusing on EPC you shouldn’t have that problem.

A Small Caveat: You Must Spend

When you want to split test, it is important that you are working with a good amount of reliable data. If your sample size is too small, you might not be able to make decisions that are effective, as you are working with incomplete information.

It is therefore important for you to spend around $50–$100 before you make some major changes. You should try to do this over the course of a day. When you have done this, you’ll then know whether or not your results are repeatable.

Time for Better Results?

To get the best results from paid traffic, you will need to split test. In my opinion, the metrics mentioned here are the most important when it comes to split testing. The most important number of all is EPC.

The points mentioned here assume that everything else already been optimized to its highest level. Delving deep into one aspect of your funnel can only bring you big benefits if everything is else is working well.

All of this testing is often done in the name of making money. If your tests produce a higher income, you know you’re making some great wins. However, if they just produce some vanity metrics, it might be a better idea to focus on other parts of your funnel. Using the information here you should be able to test your way to success.

In any case, try some of the tips mentioned and see how they work out for you. If you have some tips that have worked for you, feel free to mention them in the comments below.

 Read Other Crazy Egg Posts by Rakesh Kumar

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3 Metrics You Must Know to Optimize Your Paid Traffic

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How to Use Google Adwords Ad Customizers to Improve Your Conversion Rate

Imagine for a moment that you’re managing multiple Adwords campaigns for your company…

You’ve got an amazing sale going on for widgets and really want to push your red widgets at the new year…

You want to create a limited time “countdown” ad, but also let customers know how many red widgets are in stock before they disappear for good…

What’s more, you need to be able to adjust the price on the fly to determine the best price point that drives the most conversions and sales.

The good news is that you can do all these things dynamically using Google Adwords Ad Customizers.

google search - placeitSource: Placeit.net

What are Ad Customizers?

As the name implies, ad customizers allow you to dynamically insert specific details from a feed. The benefits from doing this are two-fold: You vastly improve the relevance of your ads (and thus your quality score), and your visitors get exactly what they want with less barriers to purchase. It’s a win-win.

Ad customizers go well beyond things like color or style. If you only want to make minor changes to an ad or ad group, you may be better served by dynamic keyword insertion. But for deeper, more meaningful customization, ad customizers are a better option. With them, you can dynamically adjust things like:

• Color
• Size
• Inventory/stock details (Only X left!)
• Pricing
• Countdowns (days, hours, etc.)
• Seasonal sales, discounts, events

Google’s own examples of what can be replaced to more precisely target customer searches:

Connect-with-customers-at-scale

Optimize-workflow

The great thing about ad customizers is that you’re in complete control of managing the process and what information gets pulled. This gives you unprecedented flexibility in focusing in on and targeting precisely what your audience is looking for—right down to the granular level.

So how do you use them?

Using Ad Customizers Successfully

Ad customizers are made up of parameters which are inside braces like this. Each parameter includes two parts: the data sheet reference and the column reference.

An example of an ad customizer parameter.

An example of an ad customizer parameter.

The data sheet is a spreadsheet that you can download here. In it, you’ll see several columns, including price, text, date and number. These columns tell Google how to format the data you set.

Countdowns work a bit differently, since time zones get thrown into the mix—and the last thing you want to do is anger visitors who think they’re getting the deal on time but are too late. You can also use countdowns to set a one-time event, or multiple events.

Ad customizers also give you the option to specify a language, so you can target ads internationally if you wish.

For large accounts or multiple campaigns, you can save hours of time simply by copying and pasting the relevant data-pulls into your ads. The template uses sample data which you can replace with your own information. You’ll then need to fill in the appropriate attributes depending on what you want to promote.

For example, your spreadsheet might look like this:

google-example

As you can see from the example, you can mix and match different ad customizer parameters to create a unique, time-sensitive or inventory-sensitive ad that stokes that all-important urgency fire that your visitors may have in trying to find the best product for the lowest price.

Now, what’s the point of going through all this trouble when you could’ve just spent that time creating the ads themselves? This is where ad customizers really pull their weight.

Each time you change and re-upload the spreadsheet, the ads change automatically. So if you need to swap out prices, countdown events, color or number available (to name a few), you can simply make that change on the spreadsheet once, re-upload it, and have your changes reflected across all of the ads in that particular group.

And your edited ad would look like this:

An example of ad customizers using spreadsheet data.

An example of ad customizers using spreadsheet data.

The finished example that the customer will see (minus highlighting)

The finished example that the customer will see (minus highlighting)

Uploading Your File to Adwords and Launching Your Ads

Save your newly created spreadsheet as .xls, .xlsx, .csv or .tsv. Don’t use any spaces in the filename, and name it something that makes it clear to you what it is. The filename is what you’ll be referring to when you insert the actual ad customizers into your ad, which is what will come next.

To find your ad customizer upload area, simply log in to your account, navigate to Shared Data and choose Business Data. Click the +DATA and choose Ad Customizer Data.

It should be noted that Google requires you to add a standard text ad to any group with ad customizers, otherwise they won’t run. The text ad is a sort of failsafe panic button that loads if for some reason your ad customizers don’t work.

It’s also important to be mindful of character limits, since any descriptions or customizers that fall outside these limits won’t work either (even if the information being pulled will ultimately fall within limits).

As with all Adwords management tools, you can pause campaigns and view the performance of your ad customizers just as you would any ads or groups. Even when a certain ad’s customization is triggered (such as a countdown timer), that ad’s performance won’t reset, so you’ll never lose valuable analytics data.

So How Can These New Features Improve Your Conversion Rate?

Just as Google Adwords revolutionized the pay-per-click market, so too are ad customizers changing the way customers interact with ads and shop online. Ad customizers essentially blur the lines between shopping and viewing ads, so all of the relevant, important details can be shared on an up-to-the-minute basis, allowing you to remain competitive with psychological triggers like countdowns, real-time inventory details and more.

(Read more about how to leverage urgency and scarcity.)

With ad customizers, text ads now have a more level playing field against shopping results. And, while there’s still work to be done, text ads are becoming increasingly more tempting to consumers to win over that click as Google delicately tries to avoid having text ads being lumped in with “banner blindness.”

Ad customizers can nab the customer at that crucial decision-making moment with the right kind of incentive. You’re going to want to split test those ads to determine which kind of incentive attracts the right kind of customer for the product or service you’re looking to promote.

Just keep in mind, when your customers click through, they need to land on a Web page that’s an exact match to the messaging in the ad. That builds trust. And it’s key to optimiznig your conversion rate.

Examples of Ad Customizers at Work

So how exactly can you put these kinds of dynamic customizations to work? Let’s say your company is hosting conferences across the east cost of the U.S. If you were to use the countdown option, someone in Chicago could see that they have two days left to attend the November 15th conference, while someone in Florida would see an “early bird” discount ad for the conference on December 1st.

Referring back to our original widgets example, if you wanted to only highlight red widgets in your ads, you could create a single ad group with multiple ad customizers promoting red widgets, including seasonality, number left in inventory, number of models you sell, discounts available and more. One ad group—many possibilities.

Perhaps the best thing about ad customizers beyond their flexibility is how much time they’ll save. Taking the time to create ad customizers and plan out promotional strategies that leverage them might sound like a lot of work in the beginning, but it has huge potential to pay off in terms of click-throughs and conversion rates.

Are There Any Downsides to Using Ad Customizers?

At the moment, the only major issue with using ad customizer is the need to consistently update the spreadsheet for every change you want to make. That means if you need to update prices regularly, you’ll want to upload the spreadsheet accordingly.

If customers click your ads only to find that the deal you’re promoting isn’t available or the item you’re looking for is suddenly out of stock, it will not only cause your conversion rate to plummet, but will also leave a poor impression of your brand overall. So if you come away with nothing else learned from using ad customizers, remember this: Stay on top of that spreadsheet!

Also, because ad customizers are still relatively new, the parameters are still fairly limited. But remember that this is just as much an experiment for Google as it is for PPC managers and business owners. Don’t be surprised if the popularity of ad customizers leads to more parameters being created in the future.

Right now, the thing most people seem to be excited about (and rightfully so) is the countdown option. But don’t be complacent about what parameters and options you choose. Break out of the box a bit and experiment with creative that encourage visitors to learn more at every step of the buying process.

Have You Used Ad Customizers? What are Your Thoughts?

How has your experience been with using ad customizers? What do you think about the use of this dynamic technology in your pay per click advertising? Share your thoughts and perspective with us below in the comments!

Read other Crazy Egg posts by Gary Victory.

The post How to Use Google Adwords Ad Customizers to Improve Your Conversion Rate appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Original article: 

How to Use Google Adwords Ad Customizers to Improve Your Conversion Rate