3 Ways To Make More Effective PPC Campaigns

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

When a business starts experimenting with paid advertising, the story is almost always the same. The company will big on a handful of brand terms, and see a large portion of their budget go to high-cost generic terms that don’t lead to conversions. To maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns, businesses quickly learn they have to invest time in building a keyword strategy.

Companies want more than a large number of words to bid on, they want to find high-converting keywords that will drive sales — without the cost of bidding on expensive broad terms.

Very few PPC campaigns follow a “set it and forget it,” strategy, and the process of adding keywords is only the first step. Once there, you need to regularly adjust the bid type, cost, and thresholds to make sure you’re only spending money on your terms. Follow these steps to build out your keywords and create a clean, tailored campaign that converts.

Do Your Research with Google’s Tools

It’s in Google’s best interest to make sure brands find advertising through Adwords valuable. If they don’t, they’ll stop their campaigns, which means lost revenues and customers for the search engine. This is why Google provides so much training for beginners and tools that even experts continue to use.

The Adwords Keyword Planner is a tool that suggests keywords and bid groups based on related interest. The program pulls in thousands of related terms, making it easy to set up a simple campaign quickly. While the Adgroup is a suggestion for where the new keywords can live, customers can add and remove keywords that aren’t relevant to their brand or are too expensive.

Google Opportunities is another must-use for Adwords managers. The search engine will suggest new keywords to add, different bidding strategies, and other tips and tricks for teams to use. They also try to estimate the impact based on clicks, impressions, and conversions. Remember, however, to apply critical thinking to these suggestions. No one understands your business better than you, so if the tool suggests terms that don’t make sense, be sure to research them before adding them to an active campaign.

Turn Search Terms Into Keywords

While Google specializes in estimating what your customers are going to search for and showing them what they want, it will never completely know what goes on in the minds of your customers. The best way to harness your customer’s thoughts is by looking at keywords and phrases that drove customers to click on your ad and on-site search terms.

Some brands set up multiple ad groups with similar keywords so they can have broad, phrase, and exact match settings on each of them. As you expand beyond exact match keywords, you should have a treasure trove of similar words and phrases that you had never thought to use before. It’s entirely possible that your customers are using a search term that never dawned on you during your brainstorming sessions with Google Keyword Builder. For example, a shoe retailer might not think to bid on searches using the term “thong,” despite the fact that many customers use it interchangeably with flip-flops.

SEM managers don’t even have to leave their websites or Google Analytics accounts to dig into the thought process of their customers. Adding tracking to your site-wide search might require a small edit to your analytics code, but the data you glean from it may be potentially invaluable.

What keywords are your customers typing into the search bar? Are they relevant to products that you offer? If so, do they have a landing page that would be appropriate? If you see the same phrases appear in multiple searches, consider adding them to your AdWords campaign.

Not only can your customers provide keyword suggestions from your website, they can also let your team know what’s on-trend and how their shopping habits are changing. You can see when it’s time to start bidding on swimwear when you start to see an increase in traffic and searches for bikinis and trunks on your landing pages.

Create Retargeting Campaigns to Keep Customers in the Funnel

Some marketers are still cautious about retargeting campaigns because of the so-called “creep factor,” or the idea that the Internet shouldn’t know what you browsed and continue to follow you around the Internet. While many customers would agree, this is because they have had terrible retargeting experiences in the past. Who hasn’t clicked to their favorite news site only to find three massive banners at the top and sides advertising the gym socks they just looked at?

However, smart PPC teams can create remarketing campaigns that gently pull customers back to the website and deeper into the funnel. Google’s RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) program is different from remarketing campaigns on the Google Display Network, but they both use cookies to determine whether a user has visited your website before. If they have, RLSAs will show your retargeting ad to bring them back to your website and into the funnel.

On Google’s side, retargeting ads increase the likelihood that a user will click on a paid ad instead of an organic result, meaning they get a paycheck. On the business side, SEM managers are able to reach audiences who are already familiar with the brand and have shown a past intent to buy, increasing the likelihood of a conversion.

Some companies have questioned the value of RLSAs in the same way they question brand terms: if the customer was already familiar with the brand, why should businesses waste money attracting them? With brand terms, companies bid to take up more real estate and improve branding. With RLSAs, companies have opportunities to show up on more non-brand terms and can be more competitive against their peers. Without RLSAs, many brands wouldn’t be able to compete in non-brand searches as competitively as they do.

Never Stop Improving

Keyword building and strategizing are easy when you have the tools to think like your customers. Google offers Keyword Building and Opportunities to add popular phrases, while your onsite search and retargeting provides insight into how your customers think.

Once you have your Google SEM campaign configured, you can copy the results and upload them to other advertising networks, such as Bing Ads. This will give you a consistent, clean, and unified SEM campaign. After allowing it to run for a while, you can adjust the parameters and tracking as required.

Advertising, like SEO, is a process. Effective campaigns are never truly done, but instead are in a constant state of improvement. With these new tools, you should be able to build a new, more effective, PPC campaign.

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