Our paid media expert shares four tips for international PPC success

PPC is a cost-effective way to reach your preferred target audience. But when your campaigns span across countries, cultures and languages it can present a significant challenge. Running a successful international PPC campaign involves tailoring a wide range of factors for each and every region targeted. But everyone loves a challenge, right?

We certainly do at Fifty Five and Five—and our teams have a lot of experience and expertise working on large international PPC campaigns for some of the world’s biggest technology companies. We wanted to share some advice to help you succeed with your own paid media efforts.

We sat down with Maria Angelino, Fifty Five and Five’s original PPC superstar—just days before she heads off on maternity leave (good luck, we’re going to miss you)—and explored what to consider when running campaigns across multiple countries. Maria highlighted four tips you cannot afford to ignore. We’ll cover:

  • Why research is so important
  • Why you need to think locally as well as globally
  • Why search engine market share is important
  • Why PPC cost variation can catch you out if you’re not careful

1. Research is everything

The first thing Maria tells me: “You really need to stress that international PPC means a lot of research, research is everything—the reader might not like to hear that, so say it nicely. Make sure you tell them that it’s 100% worth it. Because it really is.”

Paid media is a fantastic way to reach your target audience and direct their attention to your products and services. In a HubSpot poll of 1000+ marketing professionals, 79% of respondents said that they rely heavily on paid advertising and social media. And 83% said that quality is more important than quantity.

We are highlighting this because it gets right to the core of what’s required for international PPC. It can be tempting to publish the same ads all around the world when you have a deadline. I mean, the copy is great, it’s been translated into all the respective languages, and you just want to get your ads out to all your target regions as soon as possible.

With so many businesses like yours relying on paid media, using similar keywords and targeting the same c-suite professionals on LinkedIn, your ads need to stand out. We’re talking quality in terms of genuinely nailing the nuances that come with the differences in language, culture, and user activity/behaviour of such a diverse world.

What we want to achieve is a little intimacy, like your ads are helpful friends solving specific pain points and nudging the customer towards your products. And this won’t work if you’re sloppy—for instance, using a colloquial term that makes no sense abroad or publishing on LinkedIn during a public holiday. Ideally, you need to approach each region with the care you would if it was its own campaign—and put in the hours of research accordingly.

2. Every global citizen is a local one too

Continuing from the previous point, it’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of the target audience. These people are not vague abstract dots on a screen. They are real people, living and breathing the cultures of the countries they are located in. So, it’s crucial to know your target audience inside out – what they’re searching for (and how) – and to tailor ads successfully.

Some of this may seem obvious: language, spelling, and time zones. But these things still take research and then careful execution to get right. Others can be more complex. Keyword research for every region is essential. Search queries don’t just vary by language; the wording will differ between regions, users might prefer different devices, and user intent can vary. Keywords must be localised for each region of your campaign.

Let’s take Europe as an example. Europe is made up of lots of close neighbours that each have different cultures, languages, backgrounds. Every country has their own way of interacting with ads. For instance at Fifty Five and Five Maria has noticed that, compared to likeminded demographics in other countries, German professionals are more concerned with data privacy issues and are less likely to give out data easily. So, lead generation campaigns might be less successful in Germany. So, trying a different approach and adjusting the budget or changing your expectations and how you measure success is key.

3. Take search engine market share into account

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that in every country people use search engines and social media platforms their own way. They don’t just use different platforms, but similar demographics might use the same platform in subtly unique ways, e.g. an HR exec in Bulgaria may react differently to one in the United States. And, of course, each platform varies in popularity wherever you are, i.e. the search engine market share will be spread differently across regions.

Therefore, which platform you focus your ad budget on is vital. It will be different for every country, and you’ll only find out by trial and error or – to save some time and a lot of budget – by conducting your own research. In many cases it will involve small tweaks. With LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, and Facebook, proving to be the most popular generally. For B2B campaigns targeting professional people, you would go to LinkedIn for campaigns in North America, the UK, and most of Europe. But this is not the case worldwide, for instance, it will be more useful to run ads on a search engine like Baidu in China or a social platform like Naver in South Korea.

Trends might be similar but it’s getting to grip with the subtle differences that takes your campaigns to the next level, results-wise. This might just mean getting over the biases of your own culture. That’s why paid media specialists who have experience in running international campaigns know this better than anyone else. If they have been getting results it’s because they step out of their heads, out of their own cultures, and more importantly put in the hard work when researching.

4. Don’t forget PPC cost variation

Now on to cost. This one did surprise me.

Maria: “PPC costs more in certain countries so you have to adjust….”

Me: “Really?”

Maria: ”Of course. When we run campaigns in North America it costs more than in the UK.”

Me: “How come?”

Maria: “It’s going to cost more to target the c-suite in the US because everyone is doing it. There’s more competition. Also, there are complexities between different states that can make it tricky too. What’s more, your clicks are going to cost you more if you set certain goals and target certain audiences in certain countries.”

So, the variation in cost for PPC across countries and regions can be significant. To run a campaign in North America you have to consider a higher pay per click, for instance. In fact, you are going to be paying a premium cost.

Platforms are priced differently too, and this is also tied to who you are targeting and where they are based. As Maria summarises: “A good rule is that LinkedIn is expensive. Google is cheap.” But this doesn’t mean one is better or worse than the other. It depends on your goals and on your budget. For certain roles within particular industries, it is going to cost more, but the results will probably be worth it. But you also cannot assume that one region will outperform another and push less of your budget in that direction. It’s a balancing act between PPC cost, performance, and how you are going to measure success.

First you need to have clearly defined goals and understand the expectations of all stakeholders. Then it's only with the right research that you will find creative ways to optimise your budget for PPC cost variation.

Make international PPC work for you

So those are our four tips for making international PPC a success. Why not try them out and let us know how you get on? As PPC superstar and soon-to-be supermom Maria says: “The most important thing is to do your research properly. No ifs or buts.”

Want to get measurable results from PPC? At Fifty Five and Five we help companies to grow their business, drive brand awareness and achieve their marketing goals. And we run international PPC campaigns for some of the world’s largest technology companies, navigating all the tricky nuances outlined above.

To learn more about our paid media services and how Fifty Five and Five can help you run successful international PPC campaigns, get in contact with our team or go to our services page to learn more.

Illustration paper planes

7 digital marketing technologies to help you raise your game in 2022

Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, from the way we communicate to the way we shop. Marketing has become an art that’s primarily digital. No matter what you’re selling, and to whom, technology can improve the quality of your marketing output and, ultimately, help you generate more leads. In this post, we’re going to examine the current state of seven digital marketing technologies and channels, plus, how you can use them to raise your game in 2022. 

  • Social media 
  • Paid media 
  • SEO 
  • Email 
  • Reporting 
  • Training 

You already use all of these technologies, right? Well, let us blow your mind.


Effective Digital Marketing Channels

Digital marketing channels refer to the platforms where brands can reach their audience by using a variety of marketing techniques.

The effectiveness of a channel depends on a business and its goals. However, across many industries, including technology, some of the most efficient channels include SEO, which is no surprise, as organic is the main source (53%) of traffic.

Paid is yet another effective channel, and combined with SEO, produce a total of 75% traffic for many B2B businesses.

1.  Social media  

Social media can be used to build your brand identity, to reach out to your existing customers and to find new audiences. It can be used for thought leadership, to enhance your SEO rankings and as a direct channel for people to interact with your brand. Most organisations already know this, but they invest hours in social media management without having a good idea of how to get return on investment.  

The key to using social media is knowing what you’re using it for. Are you looking to create brand awareness? Then that goal needs to inform the way you use social media - you need to target your audience, create relevant content and maintain a strong brand.

What tools to use and why? 

If you’re looking for greater visibility over your social channels, detailed insights about what is does or doesn’t work or greater control over publishing posts through automation and scheduling, these tools can transform what’s possible with social media. If you want to produce quality posts that engage and grow your social following across multiple channels, then these social media automation and listening tools tools are exactly what you need.

Hootsuite is one of the most popular tools for enhancing your social media output. It supports over 150 integrations, allowing users to update multiple networks in one step. It’s also capable of analysing over 200 metrics, so you can create a dashboard that perfectly tracks your business’s goals . It’s the perfect first tool to get started when you’re investing in your social media management.


Social media management Hootsuite dashboard

Hootsuite’s dashboard


Sprout Social is a social media scheduling, monitoring and reporting platform that offers a customer relationship manager (CRM) feature. This enables you to create profiles of your customers, which will lead to stronger relationships. When it comes to social media followers, it’s about quality over quantity: having many followers who don’t interact with your channel is less valuable than a few followers who do.

Social media management Sprout Social dashboard

Sprout Social’s CRM platform


Revive Old Post is an excellent tool to get maximum impact from your content. It helps you schedule new and old content that can be automatically posted in regular intervals that targets your audience. Many businesses make the mistake of never reposting their content, but it’s essential to reshare content in order to improve its performance. This tool will help you create a schedule that works for you.


Content scheduling tools - Revive Old Post PRO

Revive Old Post PRO


Loomly isn’t just a social media management tool – it’s also an idea generation platform to help you create ideas that will resonate with your audience and tie in to current trends. It suggests ideas related to your industry, any holidays or national days that are close, trending hashtags, and more. You can even integrate it with Zapier so that your content generation and publication processes are entirely streamlined.


Social media idea genrator platform - Loomly

Loomly’s post builder


Buffer is one of the most popular social media platforms and has multiple functions, which include performance measurement, post scheduling, comment response feature, and analytics.

It has four different pricing tiers, including free to ensure that every business is covered.

Buffer dashboard

2. Paid media 

Paid media is an external marketing effort that involves a paid placement. This can include PPC advertising, branded content and display ads. It’s a crucial part of any marketing strategy: by picking the right platform and targeting the right demographic, paid media can ensure your message reaches the right audience. However, to do this you need the correct tools to track your campaigns. There are also great online campaign tools to help you develop a competitive strategy.

What tools to use and why? 

Using a third party platform means you can extend visibility of your advert placements and find a larger audience. Your ROI needs to be optimal, which means a lot of planning and overseeing your long term strategy. A management platform simplifies the process, allowing you to target your audience more effectively and reduce your overall spend.

There’s a great tool called SpyFu, which enables you to carry out PPC competitor research. Whether it’s a competitor’s estimated monthly spend, the keywords that they are targeting or how well their ads are ranking, SpyFu gives you insights to help put together a highly competitive campaign strategy.

SEMrush is a popular paid media tool that offers an extensive keyword database. It makes building ads simple -using information about the ads posted by your competitors to ensure that they have the best chance of ROI. This chance for better audience targeting means your PPC campaigns will be more likely to succeed.


SEO tools - SEMRush dashboard

SEMrush’s dashboard


Leadpages is a tool that’s suited for smaller businesses who are looking to engage with their core audience on social media channels. It acts as a funnel, sending your target audience to a specific landing page designed for them. When it comes to social media followers it’s a case of quality over quantity – if you can engage with a small selection of more interested followers, your content is more likely to see conversions. It’s integrates with with Google Ads and Facebook Ads, so you can capture leads effectively and quickly.


Custom landing pages - LeadpagesLeadpages’ dashboard


PPC is an investment that takes research and precision to get right. Before intelligent digital marketing technologies and tools, it was simply a case of buying ads in places you thought your audience would see them and hoping for success. But now, with the amount of research and segmentation that’s possible, your business stands a much better chance of getting seen by the right people.


3. SEO 

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about staying visible on search engine results pages. It feels like an arcane art sometimes because Google is forever changing its algorithms. Staying on top of these changes is hard enough but being able to adapt your SEO to these changes and stay ahead of competitors is the real challenge.

What search marketing tools to use and why? 

SEO market is saturated with various tools, some of them free and some paid, so finding the right SEO platform for reporting and auditing can seem like a difficult task.

Moz is a great bet for continued SEO success. Not only does it offer useful educational resources to keep on top of SEO best practice, but the Moz all-in-one SEO toolset provides the full range of capabilities that you need. It tracks desktop and mobile keyword ranking, allowing users to easily keep tabs on any and all active keywords. This intelligent keyword analysis is supported by other features like link building and opportunities, site audits, search visibility score and page insights.


SEO tools - MOZ dashboard

Moz’s dashboard


DeepCrawl is a unique website crawling tool. It provides SEO auditing that shows you a deep dive of your site issues to assess your overall site health. With features like backlink tracking, device breakdowns, ad hoc keyword research and more, DeepCrawl puts you in a great position to begin improving your SEO from. It’s not a tool for keyword research or position monitoring, so it’s perfect for SEO newbies.


SEO website crawling tools - DeepCrawlDeepcrawl’s dashboard


In today’s competitive online world, it’s not enough just to use SEO practices and hope you rank above competitors. You need to use the right tools to find the right online niches to occupy. Long tail keywords, in particular, have become a beacon of hope for small businesses hoping to rank on results pages. Taking SEO seriously means doing your digital research and picking the perfect keywords.


4. Email 

Our email inboxes are awash with communications competing for our attention. With so much competition, you need to make sure you optimise your emails so they stand out from the crowd. Great email marketing isn’t just about open-rates but click-throughs and conversions. It’s not just about getting people to open your emails; you need to offer actual value.

What email management tools to use and why?

MailChimp is our tool of choice for sending out emails. MailChimp allows you to automate your email marketing with simple A/B testing, ready-to-use campaign templates and a simple email designer, so you can focus on the strategy to guarantee that your emails add value to the target audience. ‘MailChimp reports’ make it easy to track how successful your emails are at engaging with your audience, using advanced segmentation for precise targeting, distribution by time zone and comparative data reporting.


Email platform - MailChimpMailchimp’s dashboard


SendinBlue is a digital marketing suite that includes an email marketing platform. It’s easy to build emails with a drag and drop editor, and it offers personalisation, data list segmentation, automation and analytics. The free version is more than enough to keep a small business going, offering unlimited contacts and up to 300 emails a day, so this is an ideal way to get started with email campaigns.

Omnisend, as the name suggests, is an email marketing tools with omni-channel capacity. Within the automation workflow, you can add additional functions like push notifications and social media messages alongside your email campaigns. This is a wider approach to email marketing, incorporating it into targeted workflows that reach your audience using multiple personalised methods. It’s ideal if your marketing resources are stretched, giving you a single tool with plenty of functionality.


Omnichannel email managing plaform - Omnisend

Omnisend’s automation dashboard


Email marketing is one of the core tools for a marketing team for a reason; it’s excellent at nurturing leads into customers. It also offers an opportunity to create a dialogue with your audience, sending them targeted updates and offers that’ll pique your interest. It’s a more one-on-one dynamic, and that means gauging the tone and the relationship between you and your audience correctly. The name of the game here is personalisation.


5.  Reporting 

40% of marketers said that demonstrating the ROI of their marketing activities is one of their greatest priorities. Marketing professionals are under pressure to prove that their campaigns are creating business value. These days, marketing is very much a numbers game. You need to be able to report back to the C-Suite with hard evidence that your campaigns and strategies are working – otherwise the budget for your next social campaign will dry up.

What tools to use and why? 

Most digital marketing reporting tools and platforms – from the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to dedicated-marketing tools like Hootsuite – offer in-depth analytics. Google Data Studio collects real-time data from YouTube, Google Ads and Google Analytics to help you create dynamic, interactive dashboards. It’s also compatible with multiple third party data sources like Twitter, MailChimp and Salesforce. Google Data Studio helps users put together reports that are fully customisable, easy to filter and easy to share.


Data reporting tools - Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio’s dashboard


However, for that added bit of magic to pull everything together, Google Analytics stands head and shoulders above the rest as a tool for measuring the bigger picture – particularly by monitoring traffic arriving on your website and how site users are behaving. Google’s machine learning capabilities mean that Google Analytics can generate insights you just can’t get anywhere else.


Google Analytics dashboard for reportingGoogle Analytics dashboard


Cyfe is a popular tool for marketers because of its comprehensive reporting. It tracks just about everything within your business, from social media to analytics, and sales to KPIs. There are more than 250 metrics available to measure, and it’s easy to integrate with other services like Google and Salesforce. The dashboard is fully configurable with pre-populated widgets that can be tailored to each marketer’s need. The reporting is all-encompassing across your business, so this is a great tool for businesses without much room for new tools.


Data reporting dashboard - CyfeCyfe’s dashboard


Instead of thinking of reporting as the culmination of your efforts, you need to think about it as the way that you justify future investment in your marketing efforts. After all, management want to see results and return on investment – this is the best way to show that the tactics you’re using are successful, and that you have ideas about how to improve in future. Digital reporting tools are your best friend when it comes to innovation in your marketing efforts.


 6.  Training 

In a sector where change is almost always constant – SEO is a great example of this – it is essential to keep on top of the latest marketing platforms. In this respect, to succeed in marketing you need to be a life-long learner. You need to be open to change and ready to pick up new skills all the time.

What tools to use and why? 

There are several tools that can help you keep up with the latest digital marketing technologies, platforms and skills. LinkedIn Learning is a great example – with a wide range of professional courses and tutorial videos. There are courses for every level from beginner to expert, and even over 16,000 entirely free courses. From the technical aspects of PPC to the writing skills you need for engaging content, there’s a course here for everything.


Tools for continuous learning - LinkedIn Learning LinkedIn Learning


Another great example is the Top 50 Microsoft Partners benchmarking tool; a tool created by our team at Fifty Five and Five. Using a wide variety of metrics, you can rank your company’s marketing efforts across its social output, website and blog. See where you rank today.

Fifty Five and Five Top 50 Microsoft Partners ReportThe Top 50 Microsoft Partners dashboard

Google Digital Garage also offers a fundamentals of digital marketing course that’s extensive enough for any beginner, as it offers everything from analytics and data insights, and business strategy, to content marketing and display advertising.

After all, a lot of digital marketing is about working with Google, so why not go directly to the source for more information? It’s self-directed, with 26 modules coming in at around 40 hours, so it’s a handy way to get started for free.

Keeping on top of digital marketing technologies is essential – things are always going to change, and if you don’t keep up then you’ll get left behind. We like to think of training in marketing as a way of investing in the success of our future efforts.

Google Digital Garage 


CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) is an institution that offers professional marketing and digital marketing accreditations. Their certificates are excellent for those wanting to advance their careers further.

There are a range of levels no matter your experience - from the foundational level 3, all the way to level 7, which is more suited to managers and those in leadership roles working on the marketing strategy.

CIM Marketing

HubSpot training

HubSpot academy has many courses, ranging from LinkedIn, YouTube, general digital marketing and many more. If you don't have much experience, then having a certificate from HubSpot is beneficial.

You will find a lot of digital marketing areas covered with SEO, social media, email, inbound, and much more being offered through their Academy - completely free of charge.

HubSpot Academy Courses

7. Branding

Design is a major part of digital marketing. Luckily, you don't have to be a Photoshop professional to create stunning visuals. There are a variety of design tools catered to marketing professionals, whether you're after a comprehensive infographic or a presentation.

What tools to use and why?

Below we'll list some of the creative design tools that will make creating any marketing materials a breeze.


Canva dashboard

Canva is useful for creating marketing materials with countless templates.  It's particularly handy for social media, as it Includes various designs for Instagram stories, Facebook covers, LinkedIn banners, and a bunch of other formats.


BeFunky dashboard

This photo editing software is free and has multiple functions: design creation, photo editing, and collage making. It's a multi-purpose tool that is superb for resizing and retouching photos.

Why are digital marketing technologies important? 

There’s now such a wide range of applications to help B2B marketers that it can be hard to decide what your team requires. A recent BrightTALK study found that lack of resources such as staff, funding and time remains the biggest obstacle to successful B2B lead generation for 61% of respondents’. With that in mind, more marketers are going to rely on digital marketing technologies to streamline their marketing efforts. 

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer variety in the market, but the key is remembering what your business is trying to accomplish. Create a strategy and set goals – this will make it easier to identify features in tools that will be most beneficial to you. There are thousands of tools available, so make sure to create a list of the most beneficial services your business needs before you get started researching. 

We hope this guide can point you in the right direction to find the digital marketing technologies that your marketing team requires.

At Fifty Five and Five, our expert marketing team use a variety of digital marketing technologies to help them deliver the best results for our clients. To find out more about our team, what we do, and the technologies we use, get in touch with us today.

Taking the lead with data-driven paid media

In 2020, the entire world was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It forced organisations of all kinds to rethink everything from long term strategies to day-to-day operations. It also meant that sporting events across the world were either cancelled or rearranged to comply with COVID-safe necessities. Such was the case for the world’s most famous cycling race, the Tour de France.

With the race postponed until the end of August and fans curtailed from attending in person, official technology provider to the race, NTT Ltd., were challenged with helping Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) create a fan-focused event that prioritised a remote experience. And consequently, it forced Fifty Five and Five to rethink our paid media strategy for the race’s official technology partner.


Top 5 PPC trends in 2020

Whatever you can say about 2020 so far, nobody can claim it’s been uneventful. Businesses, markets, economies – they’ve all been on a rollercoaster ride in the months since the clock struck midnight, the fireworks went off, and this year began. And the world of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing hasn’t been sitting still either. As a digital marketing executive at Fifty Five and Five, I’ve been closely monitoring recent changes in the paid media world and evaluating how the PPC trends in 2020 have had an impact on the marketing landscape and how new developments allow us to better serve our clients. In this blog, you’ll learn my discoveries and what they mean for your business. Let’s explore the top 5 PPC trends in 2020 so far.

1. The rise of automation

Although some marketers have regarded automation with suspicion – and others have outright rejected it – it’s becoming a reality we can’t avoid. And one that’s starting to show significant benefits.

More and more marketers are adopting Google’s responsive ads and Facebook’s automated ads. Facebook’s offering hasn’t yet delivered the results we’re looking for in our tests, but the format is still young, so time will tell if they will improve PPC performance in future.

Google’s responsive ads achieved a click-through rate (CTR) of 5.69% in a recent PPC campaign – compared to a 4.32% CTR via the expanded text ad format. It’s a promising start, which might owe something to the fact the Google’s responsive ads were launched earlier (May ‘18) than Facebook’s (Dec ‘18).

In any case, it’s clear that automation is definitely the way the wind’s blowing. Here are three of the biggest benefits of getting on board with the trend:

  • Higher CTRs: Google’s responsive ads performed 5.75% better than expanded and converted 8.5% better.
  • Easier to understand: the Google Ads interface allows users to see whether their ad’s quality is good enough or need improvement.
  • Saves time: Optimise your ads and achieve better results with less manual tweaking and experimentation.

Now I’ll run through some top tips for making the most of PPC automation:

> Be smart when building ads

Now you have a smart tool that tells you whether your ads are good or bad and whether you’ve inserted the keyword enough in the text. Be smart and select the best-performing keywords to implement in the copy so your ads will perform even better.

> You’ve got time now. Use it well!

I’ve often faced the challenge of not being able to optimise negative keywords because I don’t have time. In the past, monitoring ads often required going through worse performing ads, analysing what isn’t working and talking to the writing team to improve them. That’s over now, so we can focus on other more important matters like keywords and improving audience targeting. For example, Google Ads provides the option to target a specific audience sector and it offers stats that help you see whether those audiences are performing. Marketers are also able to tweak the bid for each audience, which is an excellent way to use the time that automation is helping you save.

2. SEO and PPC are now a team

This year has also seen search engine optimisation (SEO) and PPC working increasingly closely together. These two disciplines are indispensable to a digital marketer’s toolbox, and their new convergence means that together they offer even more value. This PPC trend introduced is a victory for joined-up digital marketing: when all the elements fit together and work perfectly.

Here’s how SEO can help to improve PPC performance:

> Increased visibility

By running a PPC campaign along with SEO, you’re ensuring your website’s traffic increases considerably and also you’ll give the impression that you are a permanent presence in your market.

> More keyword data to analyse

Running SEO and PPC campaigns together means you can see and analyse a wealth of additional data that will enable you to make more informed decisions in your global marketing strategy.

> Best-performing PPC ad copy informs organic content strategy

It’s useful to see which of your ads work well and lead to maximum conversions. You can then create title tags, meta descriptions and content using these as your basis, learning from what has worked for PPC.

3. Audience targeting is getting better

More and more businesses are realising the importance of accurate targeting of their digital marketing, and of offering potential customers valuable content. At Fifty Five and Five, we’re already long-time devotees of the art of content marketing, so it’s good to see others are reaching the same conclusions we have.

Here are the most effective ways to reach your target audience via PPC:

> Define your audience via personas

Defining your audience involves more than selecting the right keywords or targeting the correct audience in Facebook ads. By creating our own consumer personas, you’ll be able to be more specific and accurate with your targeting and ensure you’re building the right audience across all the different channels.

> Offer useful and relevant content

Content isn’t just about getting the client’s offering out there and waiting for leads to come. Don’t just try to trigger clicks: provide content that responds to their needs at that moment. Using the right tone and expressing the intention to help will reach your audience and encourage them not just to click on the ad but go further, completing a lead form or visiting the website the ad links to.

> Build a relevant audience in each platform

Each platform is different and they’re continually changing. It’s recommended to stay up to date with the latest news, so you can be a useful, credible authority for your audience. They have questions, and you want to be the one with the answers. For instance, if they’re following you for digital marketing news and insights, they may ask: “should we use hashtags in Twitter ad copy?” Or “should we build an audience on LinkedIn based on skills or job titles?” Keeping up with new announcements means you can provide the information they’re looking for.

4. ¡Viva el video!

Video is one of the most engaging types of content available to marketers, and we love to work with the format because of the amazing results it can deliver. The better optimised the video is, the better results you can get. For example, our latest video campaign on LinkedIn reached a view rate of 34.25% – which is higher than the benchmark provided by LinkedIn.

So how can we make the most of video content to create very successful campaigns? Here are our tips for the fundamentals:

  • Briefer is often better. Usually a short length of around 30 seconds is best.
  • Focusing on the content is the key. Be dynamic and get straight to the point.
  • Music matters. Don’t annoy your audience with a distracting background track.

5. It’s time for portfolio bidding

This is really clever and useful stuff, and a topic I’m fascinated with – it could be one of the most exciting PPC trends in 2020. I could write an entire blog on the subject, and perhaps one day I will. But for now, let’s take a look at what portfolio bidding is and what it offers.

The PPC bidding portfolio is a library where you can store different bidding strategies used across campaigns and ad groups, as well as keywords, to help you reach your goals.

Here’s why I think the bidding portfolio is very cool:

  • It helps you to ensure all your campaigns are fully optimized at all times, giving you the best chance that they will succeed.
  • It saves lots of time in managing each campaign’s budget and it also gives you more control over what you spend.
  • Its new seasonality feature lets you tweak bids for specific periods of time. This means you can align them better with other activity.

I think you’ll be hearing the words ‘bidding portfolio’ more and more in digital marketing conversations as time goes by, so my advice is to get acquainted with it sooner rather than later. My prediction: it’ll get to the point where you wonder how you managed without it – like all the best developments.

Will there be more PPC trends in 2020?

I hope this article has been useful and that you’re finding these PPC trends in 2020 as interesting as I am. The year’s not over yet, and there’s still time for new trends to emerge before we usher in 2021. It’s a fast-moving world – let’s see what’s up next.

Meet the team: Laura, digital marketing executive

We recently caught up with Laura Lopez, a key member of our Demand Gen team. She told us a bit about her working life at Fifty Five and Five and what she loves most about her job as a digital marketing executive.

Hi Laura. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Laura Lopez, digital marketing executive at Fifty Five and Five. In my role,  I cover most fields in digital marketing. This includes PPC, social media, SEO, and the strategy behind these fields as well.

Where are you from?

Zaragoza, Spain.

What did you study at university?

Journalism. I loved it at first and still love writing but I realised later on that journalism wasn’t right for me.

Where did you work before Fifty Five and Five?

Directly before Fifty Five and Five, I worked for a technology company in the Microsoft partner network. At first, when I started, I was so taken aback by all the Microsoft acronyms, I didn’t understand a thing. I spent the whole time trying to work out what all the Microsoft tools were doing. But now, I’m an expert. That experience really set me up well for this job. Sometimes I feel like a nerd. A Microsoft nerd.

If you had to pick a favourite area of digital marketing, what would it be?

Pay per click campaigns.

That was a quick answer.

I like working on Pay Per Click campaigns the most. PPC is more straightforward in terms of getting tangible results, fast. When you drive a lead gen campaign, you actually see people responding to your ads. Seeing people react to all your hard work is very satisfying.

Describe a typical working day… in the office.

In the office? The one that we don’t have access to at the moment?

If you can remember life before lockdown?

Ha. Ok. So, the day starts with me catching up on my tasks and projects. If there are paid media campaigns running, the first thing I would do is check on that. To make sure everything is in place in terms of budget, in terms of links, making sure everything works correctly.

Then I start catching up with SEO, to make sure we are on top of any updates or any algorithm changes that have happened. And the same for social media – for instance, if there are any notifications or mentions we need to be aware of for our clients.

Then we have our ‘stand-up’ meeting and I start in on my list of tasks for the day ahead.

It sounds like a busy schedule.

Yep, but it is enjoyable, rewarding work and we have a great team here at Fifty Five and Five that supports us.

What’s the stand-up meeting?

This is our daily meeting in the morning, where we meet with the entire company and quickly go through our priorities for the day. It's a nice way to catch up with everyone, but also to make sure we are on track and on the same page with all of the various projects going on.

What’s your favourite part of the day?

I think what I like most is analysing data and finding out the reason behind the performance of ads and campaigns. For example, when there’s a campaign going on, I enjoy checking in to see how it has progressed. Analysing how many leads we’ve got over the day and understanding why that has happened. This might sound a little bit weird, but I even enjoy having a quick check over the weekend. Even when I don’t have to. Just to see how it’s going.

So, this is 24 hours, seven days a week PPC?

Well, actually, when I am tired of Netflix, I go to LinkedIn and check it. Just to see if there’s anything exciting going on… ok, I am joking. Whoever is reading this is going to think, woah, chill out.

But, seriously, what I enjoy the most is research. Normally we come up against many challenges, because a lot of the work we do is quite technical and best practice is always evolving. I find SEO quite challenging in this respect. And so, what I enjoy most is when I research something and suddenly the light comes on and I find the answer to a problem. That is the happiest moment of the day, of the week.

I said that I love PPC because it delivers results fast. But I also love SEO because you never stop learning. And when you figure out an answer which helps you overcome a challenge, it feels great!

What skills do you think are needed to be good in your role?

Perseverance. Because some projects can be quite time – and energy – consuming.

It is important to have a positive attitude. It’s hard work. But it’s rewarding work. You know, I was only half-joking about looking at LinkedIn on the weekends. You might laugh but PPC is quite exciting sometimes.

Another important skill is wanting to learn. Being very open to the latest news, announcements and developments in every field. You should be… I don’t how to say it, but it’s important to be an expert in what you do, but at the same time you need to be open to what is going on in other areas of marketing, or technology, so that you can respond to challenges with a broad view and with a contextualised understanding. Because digital marketing is always a mix of different fields. Being open-minded and willing to learn is crucial.

What do you like about Fifty Five and Five?

The people… obviously. I love all the people at Fifty Five and Five. It’s a great team. If you need something, someone is always willing to help you.

There’s also always room for you to investigate your way through things. There’s no “it can’t be done” attitude. I like the freedom to be able to work on my own projects in my own way, but also, at the same time, knowing that I have the full support of the team.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in your role?

I would say: always ask questions. There are many new things coming up every day. And it’s difficult to keep up, so we have to help each other.

Also, because things keep changing, it’s always good when someone comes in with a pair of fresh eyes. So, it’s really useful, when you are new, to speak up - because it can be helpful for the whole team. And everyone brings different experiences and skills to the job.

If you had to start again… in life… what would you do instead of marketing?

I don’t know. I started out in journalism. But I realised I didn’t like it. Maybe photography? I have always enjoyed that.

What’s your favourite thing to do on the weekend?

Before the lockdown my favourite thing was going out and exploring South London. I’m looking forward to doing that again soon.

Thanks Laura!

10 common Google Ads mistakes to avoid (Part two)

Do the results from your Google Ads campaigns match the ambitions you set? Here are ten Google Ads mistakes to avoid so that you can achieve the results you are hoping for. 

Recently, I sat down with our two longest-serving paid media specialists, Laura and Maria, to discuss some of the Google Ads mistakes to avoid when running paid media campaigns. However, they were keen not just to highlight mistakes but also to earmark a few areas of the platform that are hidden away or less known.  

We had to split the blog into two parts, because Laura and Maria overwhelmed me with tips and adviceYou can read the first five mistakes to avoid here. Now, let’s take a look at the final five. 

Google ads mistake 6Forgetting about Search or Display is an easy mistake to make 

A nice easy one to kick off the second part of our list. But, as Laura and Maria both suggest, it’s one that is all too easy to forget about. When setting up a campaign, you need to remember to tell Google what kind of campaign you are running and which kind of network it is targeted at. 

Laura’s advice: When you are setting up a campaign, you have different steps you need to go through. These are: 

  • The type of campaign 
  • The name of the campaign 
  • The networks you are targeting 

You need to go through these and set up the right ones for your campaign. The mistake here concerns the last of these, networks. 

Google works with many partners across the internet. These are divided into Search and Display. Search ads are those you see at the top or bottom of the Search Engine Results Page. Display ads are graphic ads that appear on web pages, usually at the top or on the side of web pages – think of the banners at the top of a news article or a pop-up video that might appear midway through reading. If you leave both boxes ticked, your ad will be targeted at all of these partners. 

 If you are setting up a Search campaign, you don’t want it to be targeted at the Display partners. It doesn’t make sense to do this, but it is all too easy to forget to untick the Display box. This is a mistake that is easy to make when you are new to the platform. 

Google ads mistake 7: If you don’t use a benchmark, you won’t know what to expect 

When starting any Google Ads campaign, it is important to have a good idea of what to expect. This way you can plan accordingly. By looking at previous campaigns with similar budgets you can get an accurate forecast of what is achievable. 

Maria’s advice: Not analysing the data is a huge mistake. Everyone needs to analyse the data. 

You need to compare a new campaign with previous campaigns that had similar objectives and budgets. We always look to see how many clicks those previous campaigns achieved for the budget that was spent. This gives us a benchmark, which we can use to plan the strategy for the next campaignThis way we can show our clients that if they invest a certain amount of money, they will get certain level of results. 

This is incredibly useful. Imagine a client wants to spend £500 on three-month campaign. We can look at the benchmark, and it shows just what the impact will be. For instance, £500 might be used up in a week; it’s not enough for the results the client is hoping for – and we’ll suggest another strategy. 

Google Ads mistake 8: Not making use of ad extensions is a missed opportunity 

Ad extensions are the small additions you see directly underneath an ad, usually consisting of side links or extra information. Google lets you add all sorts of useful information here and making best use of these is an important part of running a successful Google Ads campaign. 

Laura’s advice: “Using ad extensions is one of the many things that Google puts forwards as an example of best practice. They highly recommend it, because it drives traffic to your ads and results in a good click-through-rate (CTR) for your campaign. What’s more, it’s tactical. You can take up as much room as possible from the search rank, to push you up and competitors down.” 

“You can add as many ad extensions as you want. You can include an address or contact details or links to other pages on the web site. You can connect to Google Maps, which will provide directions on how to get to your business. You can even add a phone number as a link (a “call side link”), so that when it is clicked it automatically begins a phone call.” 

These are all tools which simplify how the user can get in touch with you. It’s important to use these, especially if you are a local business offering services for local people. If a campaign is local to city, or even on a national level, this can be really useful. 46% of all Google searches are linked to something local. So, it is a big mistake not to take advantage of this.” 

Google Ad mistake nine: You should optimise your ads every day or you’ll miss out 

It’s really important to keep monitoring the performance of your ads. By looking at the data you can find ways to optimise themLaura and Maria recommend doing this every day. Here, Laura gives an example of one area you can exploit. 

Maria’s advice: In general a lot of the work on a Google Ads campaign is done up front. You need to plan ahead for keywords and ad copy. But there are many opportunities to improve your ads once the campaign has begun. So, you need to keep an eye on how the campaign is developing, so that you can optimise it daily.  

Laura’s advice: “The campaign overview offers a glimpse of how the campaign is performing, providing the main highlights. One thing it tells you is the difference between devices – i.e. how your ad is performing on desktop computers or on mobile phones.” 

“If it performs well on mobile, there are things you can do to tweak your ad to reach mobile users even better. You could start by including ad extensions that work well with mobile users, for instance adding contact details or call side linksAs people are looking at the ads on the go, why not make sure the address is there, so they can get in contact if they are in the area. It’s important to take advantage of things like that. 

Google Ads mistake ten – If you don’t use rules, you risk unnecessary errors 

If used correctly, Google’s Rules can give you greater control over your campaigns. As Maria says, it’s a lifesaver and can prevent all sorts of difficult situations developing. 

Maria’s advice: “This was a big discovery for us. It’s really useful because it gives you more control over your ads – effectively, it prevents you from making mistakes.” 

“Usually we will use it for spending, but it can be used for anything. Sometimes, as we mentioned in mistake five in part one of this blog series, even if you set up spending for the day, it can go over, or even double. With rules you can tell Google when you want the campaign to stop, for instance at a certain time or under certain conditions. For instance, once you reach the budget, stop.” 

“Google doesn’t let you pick a total budget, just the number of days the campaign will run and the daily budget. If you don’t check that daily, Google can easily spend that budget in two days. So, if you set up rules, you can tell Google to stop the campaign if a certain amount of money is spent. It’s a lifesaver.” 

This is an important tool, yet many marketers don’t know it exists. Its a hidden one. Unless you went through a certain certification where you are shown the whole platform and how it works, you won’t know to use it. 

Realise your ambitions with Google Ads 

At Fifty Five and Five, our purpose is to help our clients realise their ambitionsWe plan, execute and manage a wide variety of paid media campaigns of all sizes and budgets. Over the years our PPC team has grown in experience and expertise – and some of the biggest organisations around the world trust us to run Google Ads campaigns for them. 

10 common Google Ads mistakes to avoid (Part one)

Google Ads is a popular and highly effective way to drive traffic to your website or campaign landing pages and content assets. Not convinced? Well, approximately 75% of the world’s desktop and laptop searches come through Google search. Apparently, that works out at around 70,000 searches every second (stats courtesy of, you guessed it, a quick Google search). If you want to get your campaigns in front of your target audience, avoiding the most common Google Ads mistakes is essential.

Recently, I sat down with Fifty Five and Five’s two longest-serving PPC specialists, Laura and Maria, to pick their brains and – a quick confession from me: although I write a lot of copy for Google Ads, I know little about what actually goes into setting up and running the campaigns. So, this proved a great opportunity to learn more about what Laura, Maria and the rest of our busy paid media team do to make sure our clients’ campaigns are a success.

We had a long discussion, and I learned a lot about common Google Ads mistakes. To share our knowledge, we’ve compiled a list of ten to avoid. Here they are:

Google ads mistake 1: Ignore negative keywords at your peril

Negative keywords are the search terms you don’t want people to have used to get to your ads. If you set up a campaign to promote your managed services, you don’t want people who are looking for jobs in managed services to click on your ads.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, set the right negative keywords. Choosing ‘managed services specialist salary’ or ‘managed services job roles’ as a negative keyword would ensure you don’t attract the wrong attention.

Laura’s advice: “We recommend putting your negative keyword list together at the start of the campaign. But, during the campaign, you may become aware of certain keywords you want to add to this. When you are in Google Ads looking at a campaign, you can go to ‘Search terms’. Here you have a list of all the keywords, including both negative keywords and search terms, that are associated with your ads. We suggest checking these on a regular basis during the campaign – sometimes every day, maybe three times a week.”

Google ads mistake 2: Poor keyword research and unsuitable keywords will derail your campaign

According to Laura and Maria, poor keyword research is one of the most common mistakes that marketers make.

Laura’s advice: “This is a tricky one because sometimes a short tail keyword, for instance ‘digital transformation’, might at first seem like the right choice. But on closer analysis, it’s simply too broad. You would get a lot of impressions, probably a lot of clicks, and end up spending a lot of money. It’s highly likely that users won’t be interested in what you’re offering or will not stay on your site for long. That’s because this keyword could draw in people who are just searching for ‘what is digital transformation?’.

A short tail keyword, for instance ‘digital transformation’, might at first seem like the right choice. But on closer analysis, it’s simply too broad.

“A better option would be to use ‘digital transformation solutions for HR’, for instance. Or, if you are promoting a whitepaper, use that in the keyword.”

Maria’s advice: “It’s more sensible to use a mix of short tail and long tail keywords – and then to monitor the results to see which keywords are working and which aren’t. You might have a broad keyword, but if it’s driving clicks, and the clickthrough-rate (CTR) is high and the cost per click is good, then it could be worth keeping. But normally broad keywords are expensive.

“You should also look at the bounce rate and the average session duration. For instance, a keyword might be producing a great CTR, but the average session duration is zero or ten seconds. This strongly indicates that whoever is clicking on your ad is not engaged with what they find when they get there. In that case, it’s worth pausing the campaign. Time to try a different approach.”

Google ads mistake 3: Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool and not using it is a crime.

Google Ads is full of useful tools to help you run your campaigns and set them up to be effective. Keyword Planner is one of the most relied upon – and there’s a reason for that.

Laura’s advice: “It’s a good idea to use Keyword Planner, which provides insights for PPC and also helps you discover new keywords. It provides lots of useful data, such as the competition and the average monthly searches. Most importantly, it gives you keyword suggestions. You can define the location, the language, the search network, the time your ad will run and much more.

“What’s more, Google keeps improving Keyword Planner. Now you can include the URL of the page you want to promote, so Google can scan that page and tell you exactly how the keywords you have chosen are working for you – a huge help. It’s a big mistake not to take advantage of these features when researching keywords.”

Google ads mistake 4: If you don’t test different variations of ad copy, results will suffer

You can set up your ads like a pro and do everything right, but if your ad copy doesn’t speak to your target audience in language that grabs their attention, your ads will fail. Therefore, you need to test your ad copy. The mistake here is to fail to write enough ads to test.

If your ad copy doesn’t speak to your target audience in language that grabs their attention, your ads will fail.

Laura’s advice: “Some marketers have two versions of their ad copy and think that is enough; some only have one, which is not good for testing. We normally try to have three different versions at least, normally four or five. This provides the room to test different descriptions and headlines.

“A/B testing is essential, as it helps you see what’s working best and what isn’t.”

Maria’s advice: “It’s also good to make use of Google’s responsive ads. When you use responsive ads, you can implement all the headlines and descriptions you have, and then Google uses machine learning to organise them so that they have a greater impact. We find that responsive ads usually perform better – at least that’s what we see most of the time.

“This automation seems to be part of a wider trend. And it is a mistake not to embrace it. Google and Facebook are trying to bring users towards an approach where they take greater control of how your ads perform on their platforms. The thinking goes that if they can help customers improve their results and ROI with paid media, then these customers will keep coming back with more business – a win-win scenario.

“With responsive ads, you don’t have control over which ad will be shown or the specific structure (i.e. the combination of headlines and descriptions). But you have full control over the headlines and descriptions submitted in the first place, before Google’s machine learning works its magic. I think this is something some marketers are against. But if the results are better, why would you not go for automated optimisation?”

Google ads mistake 5: Neglecting to take daily budget in consideration can be costly

As Google optimises your ads for your target audience, it will change certain aspects of your campaign, based on what is performing and what you are trying to achieve. If your daily budget changes, it can have expensive consequences.

Maria’s advice: “When you create a campaign, you set up certain parameters (e.g. daily budget, audience, keywords etc.). Google then goes into a phase called Learning where it ‘learns’ your settings. This can last 48 hours, so it’s always good to set up early and schedule in advance, to let Google perform its magic before your campaign goes live.

I’s always good to set up early and schedule in advance, to let Google perform its magic before your campaign goes live.

“But it is important to check this daily. Because in the process, Google can do some strange things sometimes. For instance, it can double your daily budget.

“For example, if you have a daily budget of £20, optimised for clicks (the bidding strategy that is), and if your campaign is doing well, Google may take your daily budget and spend up to twice as much. Suddenly you have £40 of daily spend. In that example, it’s not too much of a worry because the spend is small. But when the campaign has a big budget, in which the daily spend might be £200 or £300, then waking up in the morning and seeing that your campaign has spent £600 instead of £300, it can give you a heart attack. So, you need to be aware that this is a possibility and keep checking daily.”

Laura’s advice: “It depends on the bidding strategy. If it is being optimised for clicks, then Google has a limit. It will only raise the budget by double. If it’s for conversions, there is no limit. It can be 3 or 4 times more. So that’s something else to be wary of.”


… to be continued.

We can help you avoid these Google Ads mistakes

That’s end of the first half of our list of ten common Google Ads mistakes. To learn more, make sure you check back for the second part, published soon. If you can’t wait till then, you can go to our services page to learn more about the paid media services we offer.

improving PPC campaigns

4 highly effective tips for improving PPC campaigns: sort out AdWords problems

  • Part four in our five-part series on Google AdWords PPC success
  • Guide for improving PPC campaigns
  • Key tips for when your Google AdWords campaign underperform

This post is the fourth in our ‘Managing your PPC’ blog series. Here, we’ll discuss what to do when your PPC campaigns underperform. This guide will help you identify and solve the most common issues with PPC – so that you can turn your underperforming ads into the powerful lead generators you had in mind when you invested your budget in them.

Please note: for this blog series, we’re focusing improving PPC campaigns on the ‘Search Network’ only. In short, this means it will only appear on Google search, rather than running on third party websites and YouTube channels.

How to identify underperforming ads

First things first, how will you know your campaigns are underperforming? Before anything else, look at your stats. Things to watch for:

  • Your campaign isn't performing as expected
  • Your click-through rates have fallen from previous weeks
  • It has been several weeks, and the stats aren't as good as they should be
  • Your spend isn’t matching up with your estimates

These are all indicators that something needs to change. The next step is to dig a bit deeper by looking at the ad status. Normally, Google will highlight any warning signs for your attention.

improving ppc campaigns


There are three different types of status, the third of which is the one we are interested in here:

  • Statuses that you control– e.g. ‘campaign paused’ and ‘'
  • Statuses related to where your keyword is in Google’s approval process– e.g. ‘eligible'
  • Statuses that are impacted by other factors– e.g. ‘low search volume,' ‘below first-page bid estimate’ and ‘limited by.'

Finding a solution for improving PPC campaigns

There are four areas that are important here:

  1. Campaign ad budget cap
  2. Individual cost per click bid
  3. Keyword match type
  4. AdRank score

It’s good to focus on these four because there isn’t too much that can go wrong beyond them. Also, they are factors that you can control, and they will draw immediate results. In the following section, we will discuss each in turn.

Improving ppc campaigns


Now might be a good time to note that things don’t happen overnight, and as we know, good things take time. To get a real indication of your campaign performance, it’s best to wait a week before making changes. If you’re reporting to your stakeholders on a weekly basis, it’s a good chance for you to get a 7-day-view of the campaign—leaving enough time to justify a change to your campaign.

1. Campaign ad budget campaign

What’s going wrong?

With the cost-per-click (CPC) model, Google charges you every time someone clicks on your ad. But before it goes live you get to decide, given your budget, how much you are willing to pay per click. For example, if you have £50 and are willing to pay £5 for one click, then your ad will receive 10 clicks before your budget runs out. When your budget has been used up, Google will change the status of your ad to ‘limited by budget.'

How to fix it

The key here is to keep an eye on Google’s recommended bids, which can be used to optimise your budget and ads. When you set your budget, Google lets nature take its course and won’t initially provide any recommendations. But after a day or two, it will begin pulling in the click data, and you will see Google’s recommended bids. These provide an opportunity to improve your reach and make sure your ads are seen.

There are two types of page bid:

  • First page bid – the amount needed to be displayed on the first page of Google’s search results
  • Top page bid – the amount required to be displayed at the top of Google’s search results (i.e. the best position)

When Google says budget limits your ad, it means that it’s performing below its potential. You must look at the first page and top page bids and decide what you can afford to improve it.

improving ppc campaigns

In the example above, the estimation for the first position bid is $27.30, and for the top page bid it’s $22.00. Can you afford $27.30? If it’s an important campaign, then you might decide it’s worth the extra expense. However, the more affordable $22 is a top page bid and that coupled with the lower price might be the right combination for your campaign.

Sometimes Google will indicate that your budget is capped, but when you look at your ads, they seem to be performing OK. Here, you don't need to make any changes – it all depends on how many clicks your ad is getting. For instance, the ad has reached its budget cap, but it has 76 clicks, which is fine. If it was getting zero clicks, you might want to bump it up. But, again, this comes down to budget.

2. Individual cost per click bid

What’s going wrong?

When you set up a campaign, you can choose to spread your budget equally across your ads in bulk. This way, all your ads will have the same maximum bid based on the budget you select. It’s easy for an ad to reach its limit this way – normally because it’s doing slightly better than the rest. This means good ads can end up being penalised.

How to fix it

Over time, some ads will do better; others will do worse. The ones performing well may reach the budget cap quite quickly. The key here is to identify which campaigns are performing and which aren’t and to tweak them accordingly. Let’s look at an example.

The things to think about include:

  • The position you want
  • The page you want to appear on

When we set up these two campaigns one was allocated a $1000 budget, and the other was only allocated $500. What we found was that the $1000 budget wasn't being used up, but that the ad with the budget of $500 had already reached its cap.

The answer here is to reduce the campaign cap for the first one and increase the cap for the second. It’s important, to always keep an eye on your campaigns. It’s common that you might have to stop half-way through a campaign and reallocate the budget cap.

3. Keyword match type

What’s going wrong?

When you set up an ad campaign, Google will ask you to select a keyword match-type, which will influence who sees your ad. Choosing the wrong one can lead to your ads underperforming. There are three main types:

  • Broad match
  • Phrase match
  • Exact match

Your choice of keyword match type is dependent on how broad or specific you want to be. To illustrate this, imagine you're a company that provides cyber security products, and want to use the keyword 'company data breach.'

Broad match has, as the name suggests, the broadest reach of the three types. If you set a broad match type, your ad could be triggered when someone types in anything that is related to data, company data or data protection. The downside of this is that people who click on your ad might not be interested in cyber security, they could just be looking for data.

Phrase match is a more targeted approach that matches variations of the phrase used in your keyword. For example, your ad will be triggered when someone searches ‘most recent breach of company data,’ or ‘am I at risk of a company data breach?’

Exact match will only surface to people who search for ‘company data breach’ exactly. With this type, you can feel far more confident that the people who click on your ad will find it valuable. It will reduce your clicks but should produce a higher conversion rate.

How to fix it

So, if you notice your stats aren’t looking as good as you would like, it might just be a case of having the wrong keyword match type. A general rule of thumb is that the more specific you go, you get fewer people seeing your ads; however, those who do will be more likely to click through and like what they see.

If your keyword is set to broad match, it might be worth changing it to phrase match. People are probably seeing your ad, and maybe even clicking on it, but are finding that it's not relevant to them.

If you make it more specific you know that people will be more interested. It’s about finding the perfect balance so that the right people see your ad, which will impact your CTR.

4. AdRank score

What’s going wrong?

Google gives every ad campaign an AdRank score, which influences where your ad will rank. Without these, the highest bid would always win, and large organizations could easily outspend their competition. But you might have a lower budget and a better ad. Google wants to reward good ads because a better ad will create a better customer experience for its users.

The algorithm factors in:

  • The keyword quality and relevance
  • The landing page quality and relevance
  • The budget
Improving PPC campaigns
AdRank score
improving PPC campaigns
Quality score

If you notice a campaign is underperforming, it could be because one or more of these factors is letting you down.

How to fix it

You need to figure out what is causing your low score. To make matters easier, Google is here to lend a hand – pointing out the cause of the issue. In this example, the keyword relevance is above average, but the landing page is below average.

Next, you need to use Ad Diagnosis – a tool that helps you solve any problem. Google will guide you to a solution by pulling up the area you need to improve by providing the relevant information.

Once you have identified the culprit, it’s time to work on making the relevant adjustments. Unfortunately, unlike the three other fixes, the AdRank score solution can create several related tasks that you must complete before the fix can be implemented. For instance, if it’s your landing page that’s not up to scratch, you will need to change the content and design. You may have to temporarily take down the site so that you can work with your designers, copywriters and development team to improve the experience of customers who visit it. It might be days before the landing page is back up and running and your campaign is getting the clicks and conversion that you would like.

There is a lot written about AdRank scores on the web, but there’s no perfect solution to achieving a perfect score. The easiest way to boost yours is to tailor your ads so that they better reflect your keyword choice. As always, practice makes perfect.

In the next post in our Managing PPC campaign series, we’ll be discussing how to make a killer report. Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@takefiftyfive) and Facebook to know when we publish the next post!

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PPC campaign reporting template

Download your free copy of our PPC campaign reporting template

To conclude our 'How to' PPC campaign series, download your free PPC campaign reporting template to help keep your ad campaigns on track.

PPC campaigns

Round up your PPC campaigns with killer reports

  • Fifth blog in our five-part series on Google AdWords PPC campaigns 
  • Steps to follow when rounding up your PPC campaigns
  • Free downloadable report template 

This is the fifth and final post in our ‘Managing your PPC’ blog series. By now, you know the basics of PPC and can run a campaign from start to finish. The last piece of the puzzle is reporting. It’s essential to know how to deliver a report that explains the results of your campaign, indicates what did and didn’t work and provides a consistent and rigorous overview of activities. We’ll cover everything you need to know, including:

  • Why reporting matters
  • Which key metrics to include
  • How to take your report to the next level

At Fifty Five and Five, we run PPC campaigns for a wide range of companies across the Microsoft Partner Network. So, our focus is on producing reports for our clients. Where our key stakeholders are our clients, yours may be your marketing director, management or board of directors. Either way, the advice in this post is equally applicable. So let’s get started!

Please note: for this blog series, we’re focusing improving PPC campaigns on the ‘Search Network’ only. In short, this means it will only appear on Google search, rather than running on third party websites and YouTube channels.

Why reporting matters

If you’re not reporting on the outcomes of your PPC campaigns, how do you know when they have been a success? How, when something doesn’t work out, can you identify what went wrong and learn from your mistakes? Reporting is one of the best ways to improve your campaigns and move things forward.

The key metrics

The first part of putting together your PPC report is to decide on the metrics to include. These should be based on the agreed goals that you set at the beginning of the campaign. Each company will have a unique perspective on what counts as success. But, in general, it’s good practice to use the same metrics every time. There are four good reasons why:

  • it will make your life easier
  • it creates a consistent experience for whoever sees your report
  • it will ensure you include all the important metrics
  • it will help keep your reports clear, clean and easy to understand

Here is our fail proof list of the key metrics you should use in your report:

1. Number of leads

Generating leads is one of (if not the) biggest driver for running ads. When reporting, this is the 'bottom line' number. Define what a 'lead' counts as from the beginning (e.g. number of people who clicked on an ad, filled out a form and gave you their email address) and then tot this number up.

2. Click-through rate percentage

Whether their performance is good or bad, reporting on your ads CTR is a key part of your PPC campaigns. If you’re producing weekly reports over a three-month period, for example, reporting will help you identify which ads aren’t performing to a good standard and adjust accordingly.

3. Result by region

Depending on the size and scope of your PPC campaigns it might be a good idea to break down your results into regions. If you are targeting certain regions – and specific budgets have been allocated for these regions – then it becomes essential.

4. Number of impressions

Impressions are counted each time your ad is seen by people on a search engine results page.

5. Cost-per-click (CPC)

CPC refers to how much your ad has cost for one person to click on it. If you’re working to a rigid budget, this might be the most important metric to track.

6. Total cost

Another area that your internal stakeholders will care considerably about is Total Cost. Be clear on how much you’ve spent so far, even down to the region if your targeting is very granular, along with how much is remaining.

7. Average page position

This is the average position that an ad has appeared on Google’s search engine results page. Good for getting an overall idea of how well an ad is performing.

Taking your report to the next level

The key metrics mentioned are essential, but to produce a report that goes above and beyond, there are few more things to consider. Not everyone will do these, but, at Fifty Five and Five, we believe these additional metrics give you a better idea of where your money is going and the impact they’re having. With that, you gain better visibility into your PPC campaigns and can make your money go further.

Here are three things you can do to take your reports to the next level:

  • Use Google Analytics to provide extra insight
  • Include the conversion rate
  • Include a commentary

Google Analytics

Before you begin any PPC campaigns, you need to set up your ads so that you can find them later in Google Analytics. To do this, you need to set up an Urchin Tracking Module (UTM). You can read more about UTM’s in Part 2 of our PPC blog series.

In short, by adding these UTMs, it gives you additional information on where a click has come from. So, let’s say your ads are targeting the UK, Australia and the US, by adding these UTMs, specific to each region, you’ll then be able to see how each has performed.

PPC Campaigns
In the screenshot below we can filter the source/medium for each goal

As well as looking at the UTMs that report on your campaign goal, Google Analytics also lets you look specifically at the landing page you’re promoting. From there you can see how much traffic has come to that page, and the percentage of that traffic which has come from your PPC work. This lets you report on both the lead generation aspect and from a brand awareness angle (by viewing pure sessions/visitor numbers).

Conversion rate

A great feature of Google Analytics is that you can create goals, which can help you work out conversion rates. This is where the data from AdWords and Google Analytics marry up.

The conversion rate is the percentage of people who have done what you want them to do (i.e. download the whitepaper after clicking through from your ad). You can work it out by dividing how many people clicked on your ad by how many times the goal was triggered and multiplying that by 100.

Why is this important? It helps you define the true worth of your campaign. You might produce great ads, but the conversion rate remains poor. This could be because the landing page isn’t good enough or because AdWords isn’t the right channel for this campaign. But, by being transparent about the conversion rate, it helps key stakeholders decide on what to do next.

See below for a preview of what the downloadable template consists of, and how to calculate the conversion rate for AdWords.

PPC campaigns
PPC campaign reporting template

Telling a story

It’s always useful to write a commentary because a little context can go a long way. While the stats are great, commentary can help explain to your clients or managers why you have had a poor week, or why you have had a great week.

The commentary doesn’t have to be very long. It should include any anomalies and any short or long-term trends; it should emphasise any particularly good outcomes and explain the reasons for bad ones. It is also useful to briefly discuss the budget, i.e. outline why you spent the amount that you spent.

Now might be a good time to note that things don’t happen overnight. To get a real indication of your campaign performance, it’s best to wait a week before making changes. If you’re reporting to your stakeholders on a weekly basis, it’s a good chance for you to get a seven-day-view of the campaign—leaving enough time to justify a change to your campaign.

Maximise your PPC campaigns

If you address the areas mentioned in this post, you can produce a killer report that complements and completes your campaign. Make your PPC campaigns go above and beyond with a report worthy of your hard work.

Don't forget to download your copy of our free PPC campaign report here.