2013 brought enhanced campaigns – the good and the bad – to search marketers. Plenty of changes have been made on both Google and Bing Ads in the last year as a result. With a long list distractions and optimization ideas let's focus on three simple tactics that can drive quick wins.
- Bid multipliers
- Ad group level sitelinks
- Device specific ad copy
Let's dive into these PPC power plays.
Bid Multipliers: Move Beyond Bidding 101
Earlier in my career, I worked with a number insurance companies. Terms like "cheap auto insurance" typically went for $50 or more a click. With competition so extreme, every advantage mattered. The savviest marketers realized their conversion rates and average order size varied by time and geography (among other factors).
They used bid adjustments (a.k.a. bid multipliers) to capitalize on these differences in a few ways:
- Time: Searchers on Monday and Tuesday mornings typically converted more often and signed up for more valuable insurance policies versus the rest of the week.
- Location: Insurance policies in specific ZIP codes were worth considerably more than others.
While their competition was bidding $40 all day, these marketers used a base bid of $30, but hit $50 in the morning during their best times and $30 in the evening when conversion rates were lower.
These subtle changes throughout the day drove higher lead volume because they were able to maintain higher positions in peak times, while improving ROI in the slower evenings. Double win.
Last year's mobile bid multiplier dilemma has now left search marketers with the right experience to move beyond bidding 101. Turns out conversion rates and average order size can vary by devices (surprise!). This same analysis can be applied to time of day, days of the week, locations and more dimensions – focusing first on conversion rates as your guide.
A few quick considerations when implementing this strategy:
Ad Group Level Sitelinks: Balance Missing Out With Management
Nothing says "luxury" like a 2-star rated hotel. No? Then why are marketers blasting searchers looking for "luxury hotels in [city name]" with generic sitelinks offering 2-star, 3-star, or hotels free parking?
Sitelinks can improve an ad's CTR, but they offer more. They also offer searchers a way to self-refine their intent on head terms and engage deeper landing pages, all before clicking on an ad. Too often, marketers are missing out.
Missing out: "Luxury Hotel Las Vegas"
Not everyone is missing out. A number of competitors have created engaging and valuable sitelinks such as "5 Star Hotels", "4 Star Hotels", "Spa Packages" and even "Luxury on a Budget".
Spending 30 minutes thinking through your sitelink strategy can yield results. It's helpful across all industries, here's a great example for retail:
Nailed it: "Mens Dress Shirts"
That said, creating customized sitelinks for every ad group can be considerable work. What matters is starting. Consider experimenting with a set of your highest volume ad groups by conversions and clicks.
Device-Specific Ad Copy
A study from Bing Ads looked 143 million ad impressions from 100,000 search ads in January 2013 for the Education Provider vertical. One of the interesting findings when comparing the top ads across devices was PC users respond to "at-home" in ad copy, whereas mobile users respond more to calls to actions "enroll now" and "learn more."
The fact there was a performance difference between mobile ad copy and PC ad copy isn't a surprise. Just as it isn't a surprise conversion rate or average order size can vary by device type.
The new mobile ad preferences for enhanced campaigns removed the ability to target by device. All is not lost.
Test multiple mobile preferred ads and remember Bing Ads still offers the choice to target mobile campaigns without other devices. Ultimately, targeting devices (and even operating systems) gives you the chance to deliver highly targeted, customized experiences for your customers, which could result in higher conversions.
Taking advantage of these three power play that enhanced campaigns delivered. What other tips and tricks have you seen success with as a result of enhanced campaigns?
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!