Great progress has been made over the last year in the capabilities of the search engines' contextual advertising offerings. Many advertisers who have watched their competition and click prices grow over the past few years could be tapping into a source of clicks where there's less competition and lower click prices.
Articles by David Szetela
Have you ever tested out non-alphanumeric symbols in your PPC ads? Google discourages the use of certain symbols, but others are still allowed.
Creating custom landing pages for PPC ads can help boost your conversion rates by percentage points. With a few simple lines of code, a landing page can be created with content that can be changed by marketers depending on the link that the user clicked on.
Last week's discussion of Google Conversion Optimizer generated a flood of user questions. It seems the promise of simplifying the time-consuming, complicated chore of regulating keyword bids is especially appealing to advertisers.
Google quietly added Conversion Optimizer to every advertiser's AdWords account a few months ago. In a nutshell, it regulates keyword-level bids, promising to deliver as many conversions as possible, at or below a cost-per-conversion you specify. That's right: automated bid management, available for free and using Google's proprietary data.
It's time to kick off the New Year by looking at examples of good and bad combinations of PPC ads and their landing pages. We'll look at some real-world examples to see what they're doing right, and what they're doing wrong.
The first and most important objective of the landing page is to convince the visitor that they've come to the right place. If this crucial first step doesn't happen, most visitors will hit the back button and click on one of your competitor's ads.
Amateur PPC advertisers ignore the importance of landing pages entirely. Sophisticated advertisers know that PPC landing page design and testing is at least as important as building and optimizing great ad groups with great ads. Expert PPC advertisers realize that PPC landing pages have more impact on conversion rates and ROI than anything else they can do.
David digs into the reader mailbag to discuss Google's quality score issues, and some good beginner resources for learning PPC advertising.
What's a good click-through rate? What's a good conversion rate? That's not an easy question to generalize on, but there are some guidelines that can help you see if yours is acceptable.
In Google AdWords, an ad's Quality Score calculation is based on how well the account's campaigns have performed over time, especially in terms of CTR. So what happens with new accounts? Since there's no CTR data on which to base QS, how does Google determine minimum bids?
The quality scoring system used for search engine ads is based on a complex group and series of calculations that take into consideration hundreds of factors that the search engines won't reveal. But you don't need to know what those factors are, as long as you create your campaigns correctly and make sure you're giving visitors what they're looking for.
Testing and improving ad copy is essential to optimizing overall PPC campaign performance. Improving ad text leads to better CTR and quality score, which means it can help drive your CPC down, and/or let you buy more clicks per dollar. So it has a direct impact on your campaign's ability to increase the number of profitable sales.
Once enough data has accumulated, it's important to run reports and take action based on the data. But what do all those numbers mean, and how should we make adjustments to improve PPC campaign performance?
Should you delete or pause under-performing keywords - or simply adjust their bid prices? The answer will vary by advertiser, but one thing is constant: decisions about keyword and ad performance should mainly depend on conversion performance.
Knowing how and when to make decisions about your PPC campaign's keyword and ad performance can make or break your campaign. Just remember that almost every action you take to improve your PPC ad campaign should be based on conversion data.
When it comes to PPC bids, should you start low and build up? Or start high and come down? As with many things, the right strategy for your company depends on your situation and objectives.
How much should you bid? How do you know if your PPC campaign is working? Setting ad group bid prices at the beginning of a campaign is one of the more challenging tasks for many PPC advertisers. The answers are a snap once you know the fundamentals.
These simple guidelines will pave the way to pay-per-click nirvana: double-digit click-through-rates.