Ever since the advent of the internet, PPC marketing has been, and still is one of the most prominent marketing methods in the digital world. Yet, with the saturated marketplace, PPC campaigns can be really expensive when not managed well, and there’s a great chance you will get a negative ROI when you’re not careful.
In this guide, we will share 7 key tips to improve the ROI of your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns.
Before we begin, we should remind that the results of your PPC marketing will only be as effective as your overall marketing strategy. Visit our previous guides to help you in other aspects of digital marketing strategy (link).
Let us begin with the first one.
1. Target Mid-Tail Keywords
PPC campaigns can get real expensive, real fast, so it is really important to target the right keywords to optimize your spending.
Long-tail keywords are, most of the time, less expensive than short-tail counterparts, especially direct matches. Besides, people are getting more specific with their searches, especially thanks to the advent of voice searches (link), so there are many benefits of targeting long-tail keywords over direct matches.
The question is, how long should your long-tail keyword be? Too short, and it’s usually too saturated and expensive. Too long, and there’s usually less volume. 2-4 words length, or what we often refer as ‘mid-tail’ keywords, are the most effective options in general, although it will vary with different industries.
There are several tools that can help you plan mid-tail keywords, and this guide by Econsultancy have listed several effective ones.
You can use mid-tail keywords in combination with your primary, direct-match keywords to make your ppc campaigns more effective. The key here is to constantly monitoring the search behaviors of your target audience. If there are any mid-tail or even long-tail variants in your search terms report, don’t waste them.
2. Targeting The Right Time Frame
When thinking about PPC campaign targeting, the first things that comes to mind are usually demographics and keywords. Yet, while those 2 factors, among others, are obviously important, we often forget another really important aspect that is time.
Ideally, you should only run your ad campaigns on times where your audiences are browsing. The more accurate you can determine these times, the more effective and cost-efficient your PPC campaigns will be.
This process is easier for some niches or industries, while it can be borderline impossible for some others. For example, if you are an SAAS company targeting professionals, it is fairly obvious that targeting working hours and desktop devices (more on device targeting later) will be effective.
Although, as mentioned, figuring the right time might greatly vary depending on your niche, here are several key indicators you can use:
- Engagements on Social Media
The time period(s) where your social media channels are more active
- Site traffic
The time when there are more traffic to your site
If you have an active blog, the time where your audiences are submitting comments can be a great indicator
- Data from previous ad campaigns
Arguably, this is the most reliable data you can use,but trial and error can be expensive
3. Remarketing and Retargeting
Remarketing (and retargeting) is targeting your PPC ads to users who have already visited your site. The idea behind retargeting is simple: by showing your PPC ads (repeatedly) to those who are already interested in your brand, it can dramatically increase conversion rate and ROI.
The idea is to diversify your advertising budget into your PPC campaign to generate traffic, and a retargeting campaign to maximize the conversion chance of that captured traffic. Remarketing is by itself, a pretty broad subject, and we won’t give it much justice is this list. Check out our previous guide on retargeting here.
Yet, here are several key principles to help you get started:
- You might consider using a whole new landing page for your retargeting campaign,they are already familiar with your site, so something completely new can be more effective
- Test your ads, sometimes strong branding can work better with retargeting, sometimes CTA-oriented ads can be better.
- Find out the proper frequency . You don’t want to be too annoying, but you also want to maximize your retargeting ad. The key here is finding that sweet spot.
- Always monitor your progress, and adjust your campaign(s) when necessary
4. Make Use of Negative Keywords
PPC campaign is all about optimization, and the option to filter out negative keywords is there to ensure you are targeting the right audience and not the ones that won’t be interested in your product.
The easiest way to explain the concept of negative keywords is by example: let’s say you are an SAAS company with a cloud-computing product. Now, if you are primarily selling a desktop software, you might want to include ‘apps’ in your negative keyword list. Also, since we all know a lot of people are looking for pirated software, you might want to include ‘torrent’, ‘crack’, or similar keywords as negative keywords.
Although there are available tools that can help you build your negative keywords list, arguably there’s no real shortcut here, as you will need to examine user search queries data related to your main keyword. This guide by PPC Hero and WordStream might be relatively old, but they are still pretty relevant.
PPC campaigns can indeed be really expensive if you are not careful,so do your homework with the negative keywords to get the most of your money.
5. Go Local
In the past, local SEO and PPC are mostly only beneficial for brick and mortar businesses that rely on local crowds. Yet, that is no longer the case nowadays. First, the internet and search engine are getting more saturated by the day, and you will need to target the specific audience to be effective. Second, we all know that more and more people are searching from their mobile devices, which are location-tied.
So, we can no longer neglect the importance of location targeting in our PPC campaign. The simplest way to do this is to set-up a specific AdGroup (if you are using Google AdWords) to target certain locations like local cities for broader search terms. This way, say your main keyword is ‘toy maker’, if you include New Jersey in your AdGroup, people there won’t need to include ‘near me’ or ‘in New Jersey’ with their search queries.
On the other hand, you can also optimize your nation-wide or even world-wide campaign while also targeting location. This way, with the same example, people can search for ‘New Jersey Toy Maker’ and hit your nationwide campaign.
This is a relatively easy and very effective way not only to optimize your budget, but also to gain more local exposure.
6. Targeting Specific Devices
With how people are more and more on their mobile devices than ever, we should put more concern on which device to target. There are three main device groups: desktop, tablets, and mobile. During working hours for certain niches or industries, targeting desktop and tablet can be more effective if you are selling professional products or services. On the other hand, if your product is leisure-focused, targeting mobile devices will generally be more effective.
You can also combine device targeting with time targeting we have discussed above, as well as other tactics. For example, you can target desktop devices during the day,while targeting mobile devices in combination with remarketing campaigns for the evening.
Remember, that the main concern here is how you can make the most of your money with the best ROI. Ideally, with unlimited budget, you can target absolutely everything, but we all know it’s impossible (and you won’t make money with this practice).
The better you understand your audience, the better you can optimize your PPC targeting. So, do your homework of market research diligently, as well as competitive research to understand what your competitors are doing with their PPC campaigns.
7. Trial and Error Multiple Ads
Even after a careful planning and execution of all the right tactics, there is still no absolute guarantee for the success of any PPC campaign. This is where the importance of testing various ads comes in. Testing different ads will help you adjust your campaign faster when it’s not working as intended. You can also further optimize the campaign to ensure more conversion.
So, how should we test our ads? Should we just run several campaigns, monitor their progress and choose the most effective one? Although that is definitely a valid method, not everyone has the budget. Thankfully, there are various different options, including more affordable ones to test your campaigns. This guide by SearchEngineLand is a good place to start.