Tag Archives: ppc

How Your PPC Strategy Should Differ on the AdWords Search VS Display Network

As we ramp up for Unbounce’s upcoming PPC week, we thought we’d revisit some of our favorite PPC posts from the archives. This post was originally published in June 2015 but still rings true. Enjoy!

Have you ever been kicking so much AdWords Search Network butt that it made you raise your chest and gave you instant super powers?

You know, the type of confidence that makes you walk with a pep in your step and hair bouncing around?

Confidence
Kinda like this mini-horse. Image source.

Feels AMAZING.

But sometimes you hit a ceiling with the keywords you’re bidding on, and there’s literally no more Search Network traffic out there (since your impression shares are all around 98%).

You immediately think of using the AdWords Display Network, simply because you know there’s more traffic, cheaper clicks and much more potential ROI just waiting to be grabbed.

dog-pee-to-claim-land-FACE-Low-Cost-SpayNeuter-Clinic-FB
Actually, don’t do that. It won’t get you conversions. Image source.

As you may already know, the AdWords Display Network (also known as the Google Display Network/GDN) is the biggest digital ad network in the world. It allows you to advertise on publisher properties like websites, mobile apps, Gmail, YouTube and more.

Compared to the AdWords Search Network, the Display Network also houses the largest viewership of any online platform. YouTube itself has a monthly viewership equivalent to 10 Super Bowls – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that display advertising is said to capture 34% of all online ad spend and about 10% of all marketing budgets.

But with new channels come different strategies.

What you’re doing on the AdWords Search Network will not perform the same way on the Display Network.

If the Display Network is uncharted territory for you, here’s how you need to adjust your current PPC strategy to get the results you want.

Different user behavior calls for a different strategy

The biggest difference between the AdWords Search Network and Display Network can be seen in the sweet visual I had my designer custom-make below.

unbounce-_chuck_norris

In the “Chuck Norris” action cycle above, you can see how the power of keyword intent in the Search Network can put people really close to taking action (AKA converting), but the Display Network typically has visitors who are a few steps behind.

This is because people who are on the Display Network aren’t actively searching for what you offer. As Erin Sagin puts it, they’re rarely in “shopping mode.”

Instead, Display Network visitors are most likely in the research phase when your display ads are hitting them. They’re on forums, blog posts, or watching that YouTube vid trying to gather enough information to make a decision. They don’t know what they need yet, so your job is create awareness.

If you’re selling more of an “emergency” service like being a locksmith or roadside assistance, then you’ll have a hard time using the Display Network to your advantage.

This is simply because ads on the Display Network are not triggered from a search engine like text ads on the Search Network are. The Search Network works as a demand harvester (your ads are grabbing the intent), while the Display Network works as a demand generator (your ads are creating awareness).

So how do you change your strategy from the Search Network to also make the AdWords Display Network a money making machine?

Create trust and deliver value

As I mentioned, your Display Network ads could be interrupting someone who’s reading the news, reading a blog or watching a video.

Because of that, the level of commitment it takes for someone to stop what they’re doing, click your ad, then call you or fill out your landing page form is high and much more unlikely compared to the Search Network. In other words, you can’t expect to have the same campaign conversion rates on the Display Network as you do on the Search Network.

If you’re offering “Free Quotes” on the search network because people are actively searching for someone who can relieve their problem, it might actually be better for you to lead with valuable educational material (i.e. your content) on the Display Network.

A perfect example of this is my crush of an email marketing company, Emma.

Emma uses the AdWords Search Network to drive sign ups, but they use the Display Network to give you great, fun and actionable value. Here’s what some of their Display Ads look like (click on them to go to the accompanying landing page):

emma-gif-1

emma-gif-2

emma-gif-3

I reached out to Cynthia Price (the Director of Marketing at Emma) and she gave me this golden nugget about how they use the AdWords Display Network:

We get that someone seeing a display ad isn’t necessarily interested in learning more about our product just yet. It’s all about brand awareness, and more importantly for us, trust-building.

So we offer content that we think will be valuable and helpful to our audience’s marketing efforts. It starts our brand relationship off on the right foot, helps them understand the strength of our expertise and paves the way for us to nurture or retarget them in the future.

You already know that content marketing’s core foundation is about adding true value.

Your display ads should be no different.

On the Display Network, your first goal is to establish trust by giving value, and then nurture the visitors down the road to become paying customers.

Revisit your targeting options

Once you have a great piece of content that delivers value and educates your audience, it’s time to figure out how to target it to people who actually want it.

Let’s have a look at the five targeting options that’ve been found to drive the biggest impact on the Display Network.

To illustrate how each one works, let’s pretend you’re a dog walker. Your name is Lori and you live in Huntington Beach, CA. You’ve been advertising on the AdWords search network and this is your landing page:

lori-the-dog-walker

What are your best targeting options?

Placement targeting

Placement targeting allows you to advertise directly on certain publisher sites. This means you could have your ad show up on Forbes or CNN if you’d like.

Best practice advice: Make sure the website or page’s audience is relevant to what you’re offering. Don’t shotgun approach all of CNN – sniper shot individual placements within CNN if you can.

Contextual/Keyword targeting

Contextual/Keyword targeting allows you to give Google your keywords and have it automatically find relevant placements for your ads.

Best practice advice: Mix this with placement targeting to be even more laser focused with your targeting.

Topic targeting

Topic targeting allows you to go more broad than regular placement targeting.

For this, you could target the topic of Pets & Animals directly and cast a wider net, with the possibility of your ads showing up on FerretLovers.com (yes, that’s a real site).

Best practice advice: See what Topic targeting gives you, then exclude unwanted placements from your campaign once things are running and data is coming in.

Interest targeting

Interest targeting is kind of similar to topic targeting, but instead of judging the context of websites, interest targeting tracks behaviors of web users. This targeting method can be even more vague than topic targeting.

Best practice advice: Every industry is different, so always test things out and see the performance. Be quick to pause and exclude irrelevant placements once data comes in.

Combining targeting methods

This is where you’ll have a lot of fun and potentially get better results.

You’re not locked into using just one targeting method with the AdWords Display Network. In fact, Alistair Dent over at Search Engine Watch and many others highly recommend never going with just one targeting option, but combining multiple together.

You can target certain placements with the addition of contextual/keyword targeting to tell Google that you only want your ads to show when a visitor is on CNN and reading an article about dog walking.

Or you can target different interests with contextual/keyword targeting as well.

Create multiple ad groups, each with their own targeting specifications, and see how they perform against each other. Once you’ve hit your stride and conversions are coming in, pause the other ad groups that aren’t working, and make variations of the ad group targetings that are working for you, so that you can squeeze more out of your PPC dollars.

Wrapping up

Wow! Quite a bit of info huh?

Now that you clearly know why your Display Network strategy has to be different from your Search Network strategy, what do you have to lose? Get started now. Try different targeting combinations, and never forget to offer true value.

What have you found to be the best driver of conversions on the AdWords Display Network? How different are your strategies compared to the ones we talked about?

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How Your PPC Strategy Should Differ on the AdWords Search VS Display Network

The Cost Per Lead Calculator – Better Allocate Your PPC Spend

The pay-per-click landscape has become so saturated that only the most analytical marketers are able to continuously turn a profit from their paid search, display and social campaigns.

Data-driven marketers who are able to effectively manage PPC campaigns to a target cost per conversion (a.k.a. cost per lead) will continue to see campaigns with a predictable, repeatable profit margin.

Everybody else is most likely paying too much to acquire customers.

As it stands, this means that more sophisticated and aggressive PPC marketers will eventually find the “ceiling” price for a click and will be forced to find operational efficiencies and higher conversion rates to improve their margins. Less savvy PPC marketers will be forced to find cheaper, less qualified traffic sources or get out of the PPC game altogether.

The most important metrics for PPC marketers

The PPC equation
Cost per click (CPC) and conversion rate (CR) are the two most important factors for improving the cost per conversion. The problem is, they are independent variables and don’t always move in unison.

As costs per click rise, cost per conversion will also rise assuming conversion rate stays constant. Therefore,
marketers that focus on optimizing for lower CPCs and/or higher conversion rates will consistently achieve better results and remain competitive.

Should you focus on improving cost per click or conversion rate?

Ideally, both! But knowing how to set the right expectations and manage your time is a bit trickier. Our clients typically understand the relationships between these three variables but sometimes the details get a little murky when combined with all the other PPC metrics that matter to campaign performance.

At Workshop Digital, we built this simple but powerful calculator to help our teams understand and explain the relationship between cost per click, conversion rate and cost per conversion:

CPL Calculator
Click to view the calculator (and read on to learn how to use it).

Our clients love it and we’re offering it up today to help you prioritize your time to achieve a target cost per lead for your PPC campaigns. As I mention in the video below, the calculator is a great way to determine where to focus your optimization efforts (whether that be in improving your ads or the conversion rate on your landing pages).

Video: See how to use the cost per lead calculator

Focus on the right metrics to beat the competition

PPC marketers often become enamored with surface-level metrics like click-through rate, average position or Quality Score. These data points are helpful in the right contexts but they don’t directly impact cost per conversion.

If you don’t focus on improving your cost per conversion with smart bidding and conversion rate optimization, ultimately you risk losing customers to your more efficient, conversion-focused competitors. Grab the calculator and run your ideal vs. current numbers today.

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The Cost Per Lead Calculator – Better Allocate Your PPC Spend

Why Your B2B Needs Account Based Content Marketing & How You Should Do It

abc

Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 report stated that over 60% of B2B marketers saw more success from their content marketing efforts this past year. What does this mean? It means – as so many of us have stated before – that Content is King. When it comes to digital marketing, there is truly no better way to convey value and transparent authority to your users. However, even if the majority of B2B search marketers are reporting strong growth stats, there is still a large discrepancy between how our content performs in theory and how it performs in reality. Ironically, content marketing…

The post Why Your B2B Needs Account Based Content Marketing & How You Should Do It appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Why Your B2B Needs Account Based Content Marketing & How You Should Do It

The Crazy Egg Guide to Conversion Copywriting

the crazy egg guide to conversion copywriting

PPC campaigns, email marketing, social media management, SEO optimization or good old fashioned word of mouth. All viable and potentially profitable methods to grow your brand. But they’re also all very different. A PPC expert couldn’t run a successful email campaign, just as a social media guru might struggle to achieve better SERP rankings. Marketing is a multifaceted beast. Yet, regardless of the different stratagems, approaches or “hacks” required for each marketing process, there’s one element that is present throughout. Good copywriting. Call me biased, but any of the above-mentioned areas of marketing would fall flat without good copywriting. Keyword…

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The Crazy Egg Guide to Conversion Copywriting

Boosting B2B Leads by 9x with PPC and Landing Page Best Practices [Case Study]

b2b-ppc-lp-best-practices-blog
Send your conversion rate soaring with landing page and PPC best practices. Image via Shutterstock.

Do you ever dream about increasing your conversion rate? How about increasing it by 290% and boosting your lead generation by 9x?

Well, that’s exactly what we did for our client, Revecent, a company specializing in sales consulting and recruiting. The results were so dramatic, they asked us to scale up the campaign less than a month after initial launch!

Today, I’m going to show you exactly how we did it, and how you can achieve the same results by following key PPC and landing page best practices.

Ready to start making more money than you ever thought possible from your B2B PPC campaigns? Let’s dig in!

Identifying the issues

Most B2B PPC campaigns have poor conversion rates and ROI. This usually happens because the campaign is not set up using best practices, is not managed using a disciplined process and does not use optimized landing pages. In fact, 52% of B2B PPC ads still point to home pages.

Indeed, when we first looked at our client’s old Google AdWords campaign for recruiting services, we saw each one of these issues at play.

before-campaign

Revecent’s overall conversion rate of 2.83%, while above average for a B2B campaign, was nothing to write home about. And the high cost per conversion didn’t produce many quality leads, thus preventing the client from scaling up the campaign.

While there were many issues, we focused on four key areas for our plan of attack:

  1. Poor account structure
  2. No targeted landing page
  3. Wasted ad spend
  4. Inadequate keyword management

Let’s dig into each with more detail…

1. Poor account structure

One of the biggest issues in the campaign was that they had only three ad groups with 40 to 50 keywords each. This resulted in poor quality scores and poor message match between ads and keywords. Here is an example of one such ad and the variety of different keywords that trigger it:

Sales recruiting keywords

Your ads (and landing pages) can never be relevant for so many different keywords. Ideally, you should strive for a 1:1 ad group to keyword ratio for keywords expected to drive at least 80% of the traffic to your campaign.

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2. No targeted landing pages

Rather than develop specific landing pages for the campaign, the client chose to use one of their service pages as a landing page. As you can see below, it had a number of issues including conflicting calls to action, multiple navigation links and some pretty blasé content and design:

Revecent service page

3. Wasted ad spend

Even considering their modest budget, the campaign was very inefficient — only 10% of the keywords had conversions, and 90% of the conversions came from 30% of their total ad spend.

4. Inadequate keyword management

Revecent’s existing campaign used mostly general and high-level keywords, rather than niche and long-tail keywords.

Keywords with specific job titles, industries and geographic locations were notably absent from the campaign. Because of this, Revecent’s ads were generic and not customized to the user’s search queries, which resulted in poor performance.

Additionally, while Revecent did add a few negative keywords when they first launched their campaign, they did not monitor their search terms on a regular basis to add new negative keywords. Ideally, this should be done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to improve the quality of traffic.

Implementing the solution

We came up with a three-step plan to optimize the PPC campaign: (1) Use best practices to structure the account, (2) create conversion-optimized landing pages and (3) use a disciplined process to manage the campaign and realize ongoing improvements.

1. Use PPC best practices to set up the campaign

First, we spent time understanding the client’s business in detail — going through their services, industries they serve, ideal customers and competitors.

For context, the client provides sales recruitment services to small and medium sized B2B companies located in major metropolitan areas across the US. The industries they cater to include software, technology, real estate and B2B services. Based on this information, we conducted extensive research to identify some quality keywords for their campaign.

Using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, we identified the best keyword opportunities including niche keywords around specific industries like software, SaaS and technology, as well as keywords containing metro areas like Chicago, NYC and San Francisco.

We poured through the Search Terms Report from the client’s old campaigns and extracted some excellent keywords as well as a host of negative keywords. We also used the SpyFu tool to look at which keywords competitors were using, and then extracted some of those as well.

Next, we set up an account structure that would give us a solid platform for the campaign. We created a structure where keywords accounting for around 90% of the expected traffic to the campaign were placed in single-keyword ad groups. This resulted in about 80 ad groups.

Our approach would give us the most control over the campaign, ensuring precise message match between keywords and ads, high quality scores and click-through rates, while keeping keyword cost per click at a reasonable level — even for the top three ad slots.

Below are three examples of the ad groups we created.

Ad Group Sales Recruiters Dallas:

Sales recruiters Dallas ad group

Ad Group Software Sales Recruiters:

software sales recruiters ad group

Ad Group Sales Recruiting Agencies:

sales recruiting agencies ad group

We rewrote all the ad copy to properly convey the client’s main benefits with lines such as “Build an All Star B2B Sales Team” and “Targeted & Vetted Candidates Only.” We also added sitelinks, callouts and call ad extensions.

Finally, we added a number of negative keywords in each ad group to make sure that any keyword searched on Google would only match one ad group. For example, in our “Sales Recruiters” ad group, we added “Dallas”, “Software”, “Agencies” and a host of other terms, as negative keywords.

2. Create conversion-optimized landing pages

We created a new landing page in Unbounce starting with the 5-Elements template. We customized the template based on the client’s brand, added original copy and then made tweaks according to best practices for landing page design.

Original optimized landing page

Some of the best practices we employed on the landing page were as follows:

  • Tagline below logo emphasizing focus on Sales Recruiting
  • Phone number integrated with Google call tracking so we could track phone calls being made from this page
  • Real customer testimonial
  • Prominent above-the-fold form
  • Clear call to action and animated arrow to attract attention
  • Customer logos to build trust
  • UTM parameter tracking using hidden form fields to capture the campaign, keyword, device and keyword match type

We also created a headline and subheading that effectively described what the client does and what the main benefits of the service are.

Instead of creating multiple pages with content customized to associated ad groups, we opted to use Dynamic Text Replacement to change the content of a few key areas of the landing page. Using this approach, we were able to change the entire headline based on which ad the user clicked on. We also used Dynamic Text parameters for a portion of the subheading and section headings.

For example, below is the ad copy for “Software Sales Recruiters”. The bolded, italicized portion represents the dynamic portion of the ad.

  • Headline: Hire Top Notch Software Sales Professionals Today
  • Subheading: We recruit the best software sales professionals in your industry. Candidates are assessed based on 21 sales specific skills common among top 20% performers to ensure success.
  • Section heading: Outsource Your Sales Hiring to Expert Software Sales Recruiters

Once we had our account setup the way we wanted and the main landing page ready to go, we launched the campaign.

3. Do ongoing optimization and A/B testing

Even if you use best practices to set up a campaign, things may not always go as planned. Real-world performance can throw a few curve balls.

In our case, while we did find that our campaign was performing a lot better than the old campaign, there were a few things that needed to be adjusted.

Negative keywords

One of the first things we found was that the campaign was getting lot of irrelevant traffic. We identified several search terms for industries the client did not serve; for example, medical and pharmaceutical.

We also found search terms that referenced services the client did not provide, such as IT recruiting. There were a number of informational search queries as well which were not ideally suited to our campaign. So, we went into the Search Terms Report in AdWords and added these as negative keywords. You can see examples of some of these below:

excluded-keywords

New keywords

On the other hand, we found dozens of new keywords that people were searching for that we hadn’t used in the campaign. We added these keywords into new ad groups in the campaign to maximize their effectiveness:

new-keywords

A/B testing

We started out with two ads in the ad groups receiving the most traffic and continued to A/B test until we found a winner. Then, we created a new variant and tested that against this winner and continued this process to improve click-through rates.

We also created a variant of the landing page using the Forward template in Unbounce. With this landing page, we tried a different CTA and a different headline that included a number (as these tend to perform better).

revecent-original-lp

Bid optimization

We employed a manual CPC-based bid strategy throughout, because that gave us the most control over the bidding process. We also monitored and optimized bids regularly to maintain a top three average position with most ads.

Lead quality

Our client wanted to make sure that we minimized leads from job candidates. They also were not interested in getting leads from companies looking for part-time help or commission-only sales reps.

Most leads specified what they were looking for in the description box on the form. We used this in conjunction with the search term used by the lead to identify keywords that were responsible for such leads. Based on this, we would either pause those keywords or modify the ad copy.

The Results (and the payoff)

As you can see in the table below, our new campaign performed exceptionally well compared to the old campaign. We were able to realize immediate performance gains and, because of the low cost per lead, the client asked us to scale up the campaign quickly.

campaign-results

In all, the new campaign was able to:

  • Reduce cost per conversion by 78%from $183.13 in the old campaign down to an outstanding $39.85
  • Improve conversion rate by 290%from 2.83% to 11.04%, which is outstanding for a bottom-of-the-funnel B2B offer
  • Boost conversions from 33 to 308 in the same time frame
  • Improve the lead-to-opportunity conversion rate from 10% to 25%

We achieved our results by following best practices for campaign setup and landing page design and by employing a disciplined process for ongoing optimization after the initial launch.

Although it took a considerable amount of time to set up the original campaign structure, this approach allowed us to get the perfect search term + ad copy + landing page message match. In the end, we were able to create a solid, highly scalable platform for sustained growth.

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Boosting B2B Leads by 9x with PPC and Landing Page Best Practices [Case Study]

The Top 17 Places to Spend on Paid Search Other Than AdWords

It seems like pay-per-click (PPC) is a strategy that’s sometimes overshadowed by organic SEO for the simple fact that it tends to yield smaller profit margins. Here’s my advice: Don’t neglect any channel that delivers any profit margins. While it’s true that you’re probably not going to see the same ROI with paid search as you would with SEO, paid search still has plenty of potential. In fact, “businesses generally make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords.” Not too shabby. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of organic traffic, content marketing,…

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The Top 17 Places to Spend on Paid Search Other Than AdWords

How to Optimize Pay-Per-Click Landing Pages

If you’re running a pay-per-click (PPC) traffic campaign, there’s a big chance that you’re sending that traffic to a landing page. Though when using PPC traffic, you can’t just throw up a landing page and expect everything to work out for the best. Rather, you need to ensure that you’re optimizing your landing page for conversions. If you don’t do this, your landing page will never reach its highest potential. In this post, we’re going to cover how you can optimize a PPC landing page. We’ll take a look at the different elements that you need to focus on and…

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How to Optimize Pay-Per-Click Landing Pages

Is Your Crappy Traffic Foiling Your CRO Efforts?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a great way to get more out of your online marketing campaigns.

After all, traffic takes a lot of time and expense to generate, so getting more out of your existing traffic is an easy win, right?

crappy-traffic-foiling-cro-efforts-650
If only things were so simple. Image via imageshunter.

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a simple matter of setting up a test or two and waiting for the conversions to roll in. According to VWO, six out of seven A/B tests fail to produce meaningful conversion rate improvement.

Is it really that difficult to come up with a page variant that drives more conversions? Or are there other factors involved?

To answer that question, you have to look at one of the basic assumptions behind CRO — you are testing relevant, interested traffic.

The rationale behind this assumption is fairly simple. If your traffic is a good fit for your product or offer, they should convert. If they aren’t converting, there must be something about your website or landing page that is hindering the conversion process.

Maybe your call to action doesn’t jive with your audience… maybe your page is missing an important element… maybe your form is too long… or too short

The list of potential problems goes on and on.

so-many-choices

Fortunately, with a little research and a few well-planned tests, you can usually see marked improvements in your conversion rate — by making sure you have the right traffic.

Right ads, wrong clicks

Simply putting together a great ad and reasonable targeting does not guarantee you’ll drive the right traffic to your site.

For example, last year I promoted a blog post on Facebook called “How to Spice Up Your Love Life With Google AdWords.”

Facebook Ad

The post was a humorous exploration of a unique way to use IP address exclusions in AdWords — an article I expected would be well received by my audience.

I’d run quite a few sponsored posts on Facebook before, so I had a pretty good feel for my target audience (typical CTR, conversion rate, etc.).

Not surprisingly, the sponsored post got a lot of clicks. What was surprising, though, was how few of those clicks filled out my lead gen form — my conversion rate fell through the floor.

At first, I couldn’t figure out what happened. I hadn’t changed my targeting. I hadn’t changed my blog, so the CTA and other page elements were basically consistent. The overall response to the blog post was very positive, so the article seemed to be working for my audience.

So why was my conversion rate so poor?

To figure out what was going on, I took a closer look at my Audience data and discovered something interesting. My CTR was up, but the extra clicks were coming from a very specific demographic: 55+ year-old women.

facebook-results-650
Click for larger image.

Apparently, a lot of postmenopausal women were connecting with the “Spice Up Your Love Life” angle.

Now, most Baby Boomers aren’t looking for the services of a digital marketing agency, which explained the low conversion rate.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the blog post — we were simply driving the wrong sort of traffic to our site.

The online marketing focus of our previous sponsored posts had served as a natural filter for the 55+ year-old crowd. This time, however, the idea of improving your love life was even more appealing to the 55+ demographic than it was to our normal demographic!

As a result, we got lots of clicks — but clicks without any real chance of converting.

After changing my targeting to exclude people over 50, my CTR dropped and my conversion rate improved by 57% overnight. Yes, I was driving less traffic to my post, but I wasn’t paying for worthless clicks anymore, either.

AdWords isn’t any better

You’d think things would be better with paid search advertising. After all, you are bidding based on intent, so you should be able to tightly control your traffic.

In theory, yes.

In practice, no.

Over the past two years, we’ve audited over 2,000 AdWords accounts. After looking through thousands of AdWords campaigns, we discovered something surprising:


12% of PPC keywords produce 100% of the conversions.
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That alone is a major problem, but it gets worse. As we dug in further, we discovered that the 88% of keywords that aren’t producing conversions account for 61% of ad spend.

Now, one of the big advantages of PPC advertising is the fact that you can limit who sees your ads to the audience of highest intent. However, even in PPC marketing, the average company wastes 61% of their budget on the wrong traffic!

When over half of your traffic has no chance of converting, it should come as no surprise that 86% of A/B tests fail.

You can’t make the wrong traffic convert

“But Jake,” you might ask, “isn’t it all a numbers game? If you get enough traffic to your website, you’ll eventually get some conversions.”

The problem with pushing the wrong type of traffic to a page is the fact that the wrong type of traffic never converts. They simply aren’t interested in what you have to offer and no amount of optimization will make them interested.

For example, back in October 2013, we published an article on our blog called “6 Killer PPC Branding Tactics Even Freddy Krueger Loves!

It was a halloween-themed content piece that drove a ton of organic traffic to our site. Overnight, we started seeing hundreds of organic visits to the post per day. In fact, the blog post got more hits than our homepage… for over a year.

freddy-guitar

On the surface, it looked like a runaway content marketing success. The post was ranked on the first page of Google and sent thousands and thousands of visitors to our website.

However, despite all that traffic, we still haven’t seen a single lead from the post.

No one called. No one filled out our form. No one even bothered to open up a chat and say, “Hey, I really enjoyed your article!”

What went wrong?

The post is clearly about pay-per-click advertising, and the search term “ppc” gets 110,000 searches per month. The article was relevant, insightful and talked about points that were relevant to our brand and company.

ppc-search-volume

So, why didn’t anyone convert?

As it turned out, our post was showing up on the first page of Google, but it wasn’t showing up for the search term “ppc.”

It was showing up when people searched “Freddy Krueger.”

I don’t know what all those thousands of searchers thought they were going to get when they clicked “6 Killer PPC Branding Tactics Even Freddy Krueger Loves,” but they definitely weren’t searching for an online advertising agency.

As a result, even with all that traffic, no one ever converted.

Start with your traffic

No amount of CRO will make the wrong traffic convert.

True, you could create a page that anyone would convert on, but even if you create an offer that convinces the wrong traffic to convert, they won’t turn into sales — which is what ultimately matters the most to your business.

So, before you spend weeks running page optimization tests, take a good look at your traffic. Are you setting your tests up to fail?

Consider the following:

  1. Who is your target audience, really? The more you understand your audience, the more effective your ads will be at bringing the right sort of traffic to your page.
  2. What’s your target audience’s pain point? Your product or service solves someone’s pain point. As a marketer, your job is to convince your target audience that you can solve their problem, which means your ads should use your target audience’s pain point to filter and prep potential traffic for your website. That way, when they get to your site, they should immediately connect with your solution.
  3. Do you have great message match? The tighter you can tie your ads and landing page to each other and to your audience’s pain point, the better your traffic quality will be.
  4. Are you paying for clicks that don’t convert? Dive into your analytics data and see where your money is really going. Stop paying for the wrong traffic.

Improving your traffic will naturally improve your conversion rate. Furthermore, it will also improve the effectiveness of your CRO tests, because you’ll actually be optimizing your page for the right traffic!

Traffic matters

If you want to achieve show-stopping conversion rates, you need an awesome website experience and the right sort of traffic. If you don’t have both, creating a profitable marketing campaign will always be an uphill battle.

You’ve heard my two cents, now I want to hear yours. How have you seen traffic undermine CRO tests?


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Is Your Crappy Traffic Foiling Your CRO Efforts?

Larry Kim’s Approach to Personalizing PPC Campaigns [WEBINAR]

Ever receive an email with a broken merge field in the subject line?

“Hey !FIRSTNAME, I done goofed.”

It’s the ultimate personalization fail.

The marketer attempts to appeal to the prospect with a touch of personalization but accidentally reveals the secret to his magic trick. It’s jarring to say the least…

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The same goes for neglecting to personalize your pay-per-click campaigns.

If you’re not careful, your generic PPC ads could be creating jarring experiences for prospects. And a poor experience = a poor conversion rate.

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The good news is that personalizing your PPC campaigns is easier than it’s ever been, thanks to a slew of recently released AdWords features. And in our latest webinar, Larry Kim of WordStream shared five of his favorite PPC personalization tactics — magic tricks that won’t make you pull your hare out.

Watch the full webinar here, or read on for a sneak preview of the tip Larry called “the most interesting AdWords feature in the last 10 years.”

A Customer Match made in heaven

As Larry explained in the webinar, we’re living in the golden era of personalized PPC marketing. For the first time in the history of advertising, you can target ads based on identity.

What is this witchcraft, you ask?

A little AdWords feature called Customer Match, which lets you upload a list of customer email addresses that you grab from from your email automation platform Then, when prospects are signed into Google Search, YouTube or Gmail (which according to Larry is about 50% of the time), you can serve them up an ad that relates to the list they were in.

Have a list of prospects who you opted into an offer for a PPC ebook?

Upload that list into AdWords and serve them up an ad about a related offering, already knowing that they’re into learning about PPC.

The magic of identity-based targeting

Customer Match works so well because you’re not blanket messaging strangers — you’re targeting people who are already familiar with your brand.

But Larry explained that the real magic happens when you couple Customer Match with more advanced email marketing segmentation.

Most marketers already use email marketing to reach out to specific lists of people who correspond with different stages of their marketing funnel: leads, recurring customers, recent purchasers, expired warranties…

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Larry suggested taking those same email segmentations and uploading them into Google Adwords as separate audiences.

From there, he explained, you can leverage existing segmentations and offers by sending complementary, hyper-targeted paid advertisements.

The result is usually pretty incredible. Check out this example from one of Larry’s customers, where they were using different targeting mechanisms for the same keywords:

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The Customer Match campaign (“Email” in the first column) is generating a $9.43 ROI — significantly higher ROI than any other of the targeting mechanisms.

And it’s not only about the return on ad spend. Larry has found that Customer Match can result in conversion rates triple that of a generically targeted campaign:

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Not too shabby, right?

…So what’s the catch?

Thinking this seems too good to be true? Well yeah, there is a catch.

Larry explained that your conversion volume is going to be low — you are cherry-picking your leads, after all.

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So to be clear, Larry isn’t advocating that you shut off your primary drivers of conversion volume in favor of this type of cherry-picking. But he is recommending that you experiment with capturing these rare and beautiful clicks.

And if you thirst for more…

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Take it a step further with Similar Audiences

Google has this other really snazzy feature called Similar Audiences which can help you expand your reach by leveraging the success of Customer Match.

In a nutshell, Google looks at the behavior, demographics and search patterns of your Customer Match audiences and finds similar people for you to reach out to. It’s an easy way to go after a larger audience of people without having to say goodbye to those sweet CPCs and conversion rates.

Go forth and personalize

Customer Match is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to personalizing your PPC campaigns.

There’s so much more you can be doing to make your prospects feel like you get where they’re coming from and that you’ve got a custom-tailored solution for their problems.

…In fact, Customer Audiences were one of five tips that Larry shared on the webinar.

If you want to get real up-close-and-personal with prospects, you’ll want to hear the rest of what Larry had to say on the webinar. You can watch the recording here:

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(Psst. For a tutorial on using Customer Match in your PPC Campaigns check out the AdWords support article here.)

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Larry Kim’s Approach to Personalizing PPC Campaigns [WEBINAR]