improving PPC campaigns

5 simple steps for improving PPC campaigns: Getting AdWords back on track

  • 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.

1. Identify under-performing ads

First things first, how will you know your campaigns are under performing? 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:

  • Campaign ad budget cap
  • Individual cost per click bid
  • Keyword match type
  • 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 rest of this post, 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.

2. Fix ad budget issues

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.

3. Reallocate budget for individual cost per click bids

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.

4. Review your 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 different 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.

5. Check your 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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how to measure Google Ads success

Guide to monitoring your PPC AdWords Campaigns

  • Part three in our five-part series on PPC ads success
  • Guide for daily monitoring of your Google Ads campaigns
  • Key tips on how to measure Google Ads success

This is the third post of our ‘Managing your PPC’ blog series. By now, you know the basics of PPC, and you’ve set up your campaigns. Today, we’ll be guiding you through the monitoring of your PPC campaigns — the day-to-day basics you should follow to keep your Google Ads campaigns on the straight and narrow.

Please note: for this blog series, we’re focusing on creating your Google Ads campaign(s) 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.

What should you be monitoring in your Google Ads campaign?

Once you log into Google Ads, you have an overview of your campaigns dashboard, which will give you a quick and clean overview of how your campaigns are doing.

Depending on your workload, I’d recommend checking in with your campaigns on a daily basis, even if it’s just to check all is going to plan. At first glance, it can be slightly overwhelming looking at all the different stats, charts and drop down menus. To be honest, for simple campaigns or a quick health check, you’re only going to need to look at a few of these.

Now, before you panic that you’ve gone over your budget in 3 days or you’ve completely underachieved the estimated clicks, make sure that you’re looking at the right time frame. If you’re the only person in your team using Google Ads, this won’t apply to you, but it’s useful to know for those working in a bigger team. Every time your campaigns ends, the date selected sticks, so when you log in, you’re viewing from the date which was previously selected!

To make sure you’re getting the right data, clicks and spend, choose the time frame you’re looking at:

how to measure adwords success

So now we’re looking at the specific dates, we can start checking all is in order. To make things easy, we’ll be looking at the dashboard view.

It’s worth noting that Google Ads can present your dashboard with campaigns that may not be a real snapshot of your campaigns. If you make changes to your ads or keywords mid-campaign, for example, it removes these from certain dashboard views. To put this into context, Google will deactivate any existing keywords you’ve changed if you’re viewing your campaigns. If you’re doing a weekly report for your team or client, and you’ve made changes to your campaigns, you want to report with the 'all campaign' views. This will make sure you’ve got any existing keywords that may have previously been used in the campaigns, which may have been removed.

how to measure adwords success
All campaigns view
  • You should have a campaign budget, and ideally, a weekly budget. It’s always worth checking that your current spend is on target, or within the budget. By checking this every day, you’ll spot any campaigns that are using up a lot of the budget. If you need to increase your budget or the length of the campaign, this can be done in ‘AdGroup settings.’
  • The Cost Per Click (CPC) is the amount it costs you when someone clicks on your ad. This will vary per keyword based on the competitiveness. In each AdGroup, I’d recommend setting the maximum CPC per keyword, rather than setting an average for each keyword – remember you want to spend the least possible!
  • Looking into your CPC bidding strategy a bit further, you can bid based on the position and page you’re aiming for. If your AdGroup had a generous budget, you could afford to bid higher for those top positions. To make sure that you can fully understand your bid strategy, make sure that you’ve added the appropriate

Budgeting and bidding on Google Ads campaigns

So, let’s say you’ve got a large budget, and you’re trying to get your ad to show for a relatively competitive keyword. Ideally, you’ll be bidding above the ‘estimated first position bid.’ You don’t need to bid much above that estimate, but a little higher. If perhaps you’ve got a smaller budget, then you can bid for top page, and then first page bid.

  • You can view these on the top tabs and broken down into different extension options. I’d recommend adding:
    • Sitelink extensions
    • Structured Snippets
how to measure adwords success
Adding site extensions

In this view, you can see which structured snippets have performed best for your campaign and make any necessary changes.

  • The stats that you and your client are likely to be interested in are the ‘clicks’ and ‘CTR’ (click through rate), as this indicates if you’re doing things properly. To get a good idea if your campaign is performing, you want to work out the weekly estimated clicks you’re going to get with your budget.
  • The number of clicks will determine the CTR, so the higher the number of clicks the better. There’s a lot of information out there saying what the perfect CTR, but I trust HubSpot. For B2B ‘search’ – remember if your campaign is GDN or Search, which for this campaign blog series it is, you want anything between 1.3-2.5%. If your impressions are high, but clicks are low, then your CTR isn’t going be high. This is a good indication that perhaps your ad copy isn’t relevant, or the keywords you’re using aren’t appropriate. Either way, a low CTR is a warning sign.

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.

  • You need to consider “all” keywords in the AdGroup generally. If you make changes to keywords, Google Ads will remove the old keywords unless you have them in a particular view. If you don’t view this as a whole, you might not get accurate spends and clicks.
  • Changes can take longer than a week to take proper effect, so you have to be patient and maybe wait for ten days to decide if something is working.

As my team and I do, I’d highly recommend you reporting to your team or client on a weekly basis. Even if it’s just to give them an idea of how your campaign is doing—if you’re on track to hit or exceed click target, whether the budget is under control and if your ads are relevant for the audience you’re trying to reach. Given your PPC campaigns can be a hefty investment, it can be too risky not to monitor.

In the next post in our Managing PPC campaign series, I’ll be discussing when things go wrong and sharing our PPC disaster recovery plan to help get your campaign on track. Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@takefiftyfive) and Facebook to know when we publish the next post!

Learn PPC marketing using Google AdWords

Learn PPC marketing: 5 BIG IMPACT tips

  • Beginner's guide to learn PPC marketing
  • 5 steps for preparing ads for your PPC campaign using Google Adwords
  • Everything you need to know when creating your ads

This post is the second in our series to help you learn PPC marketing. In our first post, we touched on the basics of a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign, and Google AdWords in particular. In this post, we’ll guide you through the preparatory stages of creating ads for your own PPC campaign.

Running a PPC campaign is a huge investment and requires serious planning. Deciding what ads you should produce, where they’ll be placed online and how to target them will have a serious impact on the success of your PPC campaign

If you’re new to the world of running a PPC campaign, the process can feel intimidating. So, to make it easier, today’s post will help you learn PPC marketing fast so you can have the greatest impact.

We’ll help you learn PPC marketing in 5 simple steps:

  1. Defining the audience

  2. Deciding on your keyword strategy

  3. Planning your budget

  4. Creating ad copy that converts

  5. Enhancing your ads

Please note: for this blog series, we’re focusing on creating your AdWords campaign(s) on the ‘Search Network’ only. In short, this means it’ll only appear on Google search, rather than running on third party websites and YouTube channels.

Learn PPC marketing: define your goals

Before you log into your AdWords account, you first need to think about why you’re doing this PPC campaign. What’s the ultimate purpose of the campaign you are about to start spending your precious marketing budget on? Is it to encourage more sales? Increase brand awareness? Or to promote a new product or service? As we highlighted in our first post, having a defined goal is key.

Read on to learn PPC marketing in 5 steps:

1. Have a clear idea of your audience and how you'll reach them

Understanding your audience is the foundation to any campaign. For example, if you work in Europe, are you targeting the whole of Europe? Or just those countries where English is the primary language? Does your company have a hierarchy of those countries most important to them? Every company is different, so know your audience inside out.

The beauty of Google AdWords is that you can focus your ad to specific locations you’re trying to target, rather than firing them out to the whole world. This helps you tailor your ad, allocate your budget and build your unique UTM codes (which we’ll cover later). You may be running a campaign only directed at one location, which is simple. But if you’re taking a more granular approach, and weighting your campaign between different countries (e.g. 91% towards UK, 4.5% towards USA, 4.5% towards Canada), you need to allocate your budget beforehand.

Now, it might feel like it’s more work, but we’d recommend creating a campaign per region. This means that if you’re running a campaign in different regions, you can get a granular overview of each campaign. Of course, you don’t want to go too granular, as that can become counter-productive. As much as it’s possible, try to keep things simple.

Learn PPC marketing using Google AdWords
Example AdWords campaign dashboard


2.  Create a detailed keyword strategy

So, now you know where and who you’re targeting, you need to figure out what terms people in those regions will be searching and those golden buzzwords that will get you conversions. Welcome to your keyword strategy.

When thinking about your keyword strategy, you need to consider a few things:

  • How much budget do you have? Keywords have an average cost per click (CPC), which is how much you’d pay every time someone clicks, so you need to calculate how much you can spend on your chosen keywords.
  • How relevant are your keywords? Assuming you know your campaign material inside out, highlight any relevant buzz words that crop up throughout the campaign.

Note: if you pick keywords not related to the page or content you’re advertising, you’ll be penalised by Google, your quality score will be poor, and thus your ad won’t perform.

  • As with everything, Google has a useful (paid) tool: Google Keyword Planner. This highlights the search volume and CPC for keywords you’re searching, and suggests relevant terms you could use.
  • What keyword type are you going to use for your campaign? There are four keyword match types that you can use:
    • Broad match type – this is the default and reaches the widest audience, which appears whenever a user’s search includes any words in your keyword, in any order.
    • Modified broad match – targets a wide audience, but locks the audience by putting a '+' in front of keywords, which tells Google the search must include the term.
    • Phrase match – which has more control. The ad only shows for searches in the exact order you’ve listed, although words can come before or after.
    • Exact match – the most specific search match: users only see the ad when they type in your keyword on its own

Once you’ve chosen relevant and affordable keywords, you need to put these in your ‘AdGroup’ keywords within your campaign. When you set this up, based on your given budget, Google will estimate how many clicks you’re likely to get. Here’s a good chance to make changes (if necessary!)


Learn PPC marketing using Google AdWords
Adding keywords to AdWords campaign

3. Know your budget and the 20% rule

It’s likely you have a clear budget in mind and know how it’ll be allocated towards your PPC campaign. But, have you decided how long you want this campaign to run for, and have you factored in the 20% rule?

When creating your campaigns, you would normally give it a start and end date, at which the campaign will stop automatically.

So before getting started you need to figure out what your daily budget will be, based on the length of your campaign. And when working this out, you need to give yourself a little extra breathing room. While AdWords will stick to your overall budget, it sometimes can spill over by up to 20%, which you need to consider when creating your campaigns.

For example, if your budget for the whole campaign is £10,000, you could potentially hit £12,000 as your total spend—which can come as a nasty shock! Rather than allocating your budget as £10,000, tell Google that your actual budget is about 15-20% lower. For instance, if you tell Google your budget is £8,300, when 20% is added on this figure, you'll come in just short of your real £10,000 budget.

We’d also recommend reviewing your campaign on a weekly basis so that you can stay on top of things over a seven-day period. By that we mean, you know your total budget, you know your daily budget... so what does that give you for the week?

Say you have a £10,000 budget for an eight-week campaign: you’d allocate £8,300 to AdWords, and then split it into eight weeks. When reporting to senior stakeholders on spend, you know that you have a weekly budget of just over £1,000, so they can see how well you are doing and whether you are about to massively overshoot or underperform on allocated spend.

4. Creating ad copy that drives conversions

So now we have the basic structure underlying our campaign, we need to make sure we can lure that audience in. There are some things to consider for creating the perfect ads (we briefly covered this in our 1st blog):

  • Your headline should not exceed 60 characters
  • You URL path should not exceed 30 characters
  • Your description should not exceed 80 characters

Like your keywords, your ads should be relevant to your landing page. If they’re not, this can affect your AdRank quality score as this video shows:

We’d recommend running two or three variations of your ads per campaign, testing different titles and descriptions as you go. You could test the success of ads with questions, stats, and statements and test these over a two-week period – you could treat your spare ad copy as a ‘back up’ if the others don’t perform as expected.

Learn PPC marketing using Google AdWords

5. Tracking the performance of your ads with UTM codes

Let’s say your goal is to drive people towards a landing page, which contains the awesome report you’ve just produced. How have they got there and which ads helped drive them there? Without UTMs, it’s almost impossible to know.

A UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) code is a small snippet tag that you can add to the end of the URL link in the ad, which helps identify the link in Google Analytics. It tells you how visitors came to land on the landing page. For example, if your main objective was to get clicks from the UK and U.S., your UTM will be able to tell you exactly how each region is doing.

Our recommendation is to create a UTM snippet per ad campaign. That way when you come to tracking conversions, you will know which ad campaign was most successful. In the long run, they also help you identify which ads aren’t performing, which means you can decide to remove some budget or re-adjust some of your keywords.

Learn PPC marketing

So, there we go. By preparing thoroughly for your own AdWords PPC campaign, you’re giving yourself the best chance for success and meeting your goals.

Want to continue to learn PPC marketing? Stayed tuned for Part 3 of our PPC campaign blog series where we cover the day-to-day management of your campaignsMake sure to follow us on Twitter (@takefiftyfive) and Facebook to know when we publish the next issue!

The ultimate 5-step beginner's guide to PPC ads

  • Post #1 in new five-part series on PPC ads success
  • Learn best practice to start building a PPC ads campaign
  • The top 5 elements to consider when creating your ads

You have seen them when you search on Google, or when you’re cruising Twitter, getting distracted by Facebook, or looking up a potential client on LinkedIn. You might have even clicked on one or two. The reason your competitors are creating “pay per click” (PPC) ads is to drive traffic to their websites, to create leads, and to produce more revenue for their business. PPC ads are now a mainstay of any well thought-out marketing campaign.

And this is why we are putting together a series on how you can get the most from your organisation’s PPC ad investment. Our series will focus on each of the five most important aspects of running a PPC ad campaign. Today’s article will give you a strong foundation in the basics of PPC ad best practice, and forms the introduction of our series—so look out for future posts where we will go into further detail on everything discussed here.

If you are unsure of where to begin, or are anxious about blowing your budget on ads that don’t return on your investment, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. But be warned, it takes much more than simply sticking just any type of ad online and watching the numbers role in. The evolution of ad-blocking, combined with increased competition mean you need to be more savvy, more creative and more determined than ever to make your PPC ads do what you want them to do. This is our exclusive guide to giving your brand content, product, or service the best chance to be seen by as many of the right people as possible.

Let's look at how to get started with PPC ads in our 5-step guide:

1. Know your medium?

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is where do you intend to run your PPC ads? The most popular mediums for your ads are Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Where you choose to place the ads will depend on a number of specifics for your business and industry. For example, Twitter and Facebook are popular in consumer markets, whereas LinkedIn is useful for B2B organisations. However, B2B businesses should ideally have a mix of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google AdWords for the best possible return in terms of traffic, impressions, and those all-important clicks.

Once you have decided what platforms you are going to run ads on, it’s important to have the format and specs for the different kinds of ads you’re looking to create. For example, if you are creating LinkedIn Text Ads, you should be aware that:

  • Your headline cannot exceed 25 characters (including spaces)
  • Your description cannot exceed 75 characters (including spaces)

A neat example of three LinkedIn Text Ads:

PPC ads

2. Support your PPC ads with images

From our above example, you can see that even the smallest of ads are supported by images. That’s because images are extremely important to the conversion rate of almost any kind of PPC ads (you don’t need to worry about images for Google AdWords, FYI). The most important things to think about when it comes to images for your ads are:

  • Different mediums will accommodate different image specs. That means a LinkedIn text ad (as in the above example) won’t have the same image size capacity that a Twitter website card will have…see the specs here.
  • Images (and videos) will eat into your character count. Twitter has relatively recently changed in this respect, but it’s worth making sure how multimedia affects the other ad mediums.

Here’s a handy guide to consult if you get a little confused as to what images can go where, in what size and in what focus.

You will also probably want to understand how videos are viewed differently depending on your chosen medium. For example, videos on Facebook will begin playing automatically and thus up your impressions/view count (and eat into your budget), but may not give you the same click-through rate as say, a YouTube video with the same views. So, remember, context is key.

3. Use persuasive copy

Persuasive copy is important. Creating a connection with your target audience is the name of the game. Part of that is making choices about how you present your information. Should you use a question in your PPC ad? Should it be a statement? Maybe a quote from the report, or a statistic about the product you’re promoting will be so juicy and tantalising that your audience can’t help but click to find out more. The point here is that you need to give this some thought. There is no right answer. But it does bring us on nicely to our next point…

4. Analyse your data

Possibly one of the most important aspect of any marketing campaign, whether it’s a direct mail, a newsletter or an email blast, is to mark your progress. Benchmark what you’re doing, see your results, make changes, see their effect, tweak again, see the effect and continue. When you create PPC ads, you already get access to some great analytical tools:

  • Use UTM codes to track where your clicks are coming from
  • Check the industry standard that is shown on your PPC ad dashboard
  • A/B test your images and videos – different people respond to a different combination of multimedia and content, etc.

5. Know your goal

This sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many organisations want PPC  ads because they have heard it’s an essential aspect of any marketing arm they should do. Well, PPC ads only work if they have quality content to hold them up. For example, it’s no use having well-crafted ads without the proper landing page behind them. In fact, if you don’t have a relevant destination behind your ad, Google will penalise you and you’ll be wasting your money on ads that aren’t going to connect with your audience. You could think of your standing with Google as a kind of credit history, the more you have ads with relevant content the better everything is.

No ad is an island

Some of the best performing PPC ad campaigns are those that are part of a well thought out and smartly executed marketing plan. So, pair you PPC ads with a fine-looking landing page that is promoting something. And follow that up with great content like a series of insightful blogs, which you can tweet about, etc. Support these with well-timed PPC ads for a little extra firepower, and if you take our above advice, you'll receive the clicks you deserve.

Next time....

Look out for the next blog in our ultimate guide to PPC ads series, where we will delve further into the topic of PPC ad mediums; where best to place your ads and what specs you need to be aware of.

How to setup Google AdWords remarketing

  • Google has released exciting new AdWords remarketing features
  • We look at how you can get started with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)
  • Learn how to start building a simple AdWords remarketing campaign

Remarketing with Google’s AdWords is one of the most exciting new ways for you to get your brand message in front of your target audience. AdWords remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is a new feature that lets you target ads at people who have visited your website, based on their behaviour when they visited. RLSA shows visitors specific ads based on what they have viewed on your website. For instance, people who have expressed more interest in your brand will see a different ad compared to those who might have just had a quick look around your site.

Another example: if someone has already visited your landing page and downloaded a piece of marketing content, an eBook for instance, RLSA means you can ‘turn off’ the ads directing that person to the download page, since there’s no point in sending them there again. Instead, you could show them targeted ads that are related to the key message from the eBook. This means that your ads aren’t wasted or feel irrelevant to the user. Done correctly, it can drive your visitors further down the marketing funnel.

So how can you start using AdWords remarketing in your campaigns? To begin with, let’s look at some of the key concepts and then some suggested starting points. You’ll need access to your company’s Google AdWords account, as well as your Google Analytics.

Sounds creepy - how does AdWords remarketing work?

We’ve all experienced remarketing at some point – those ads that seem to follow you around the internet because you visited an online store. They might seem creepy at first, but these ads are simply using the cookies that you agree to have added to your browser whenever you visit a website – meaning those ads you see are more useful to you…and keep the web free! If cookies bother you, just clear your cookie cache (here's how).

The marketing funnel

To make the most of RLSA, you need to think about your audience in terms of their position in the marketing funnel. Let’s see how your visitors' position in the marketing funnel would mean they should see different kinds of ads.

how to set up google adwords remarketingAt the top of the funnel you have your ‘visitor’ who is typically shopping around at this stage. They’ll view a page or two, they don’t spend very long on your site, and they generally have a higher bounce rate. In the nicest way possible, they don’t have much interest in you (yet!). To get them down the funnel, you’d probably retarget them with ads that highlight your key services or products so they get to know you a little better.

In the middle of the funnel you have those in the consideration stage, who are flirting with the idea of converting. Typically, this audience will view more than one page, they spend longer on your website and they begin to look at specific products and company pages. For retargeting this audience, you want to focus your ads around the products and services they seem to have expressed interest in. At this stage, it will be worth designing ads which pique their interest and bring them back to the eBook landing page itself.

At the bottom of the funnel are those ‘close converters’ who are warm leads. A close converter will spend at least five minutes on your site, view five or more pages, and they may have even filled out forms. For this audience, your retargeting should lead them right back to where they left off, to save them having to navigate to convert. At this point, it might be worth using ads that include action words or special offers.

So, now we know who we’re targeting and where they are in the funnel, the next question is: how can we separate those visitors out from one another?

Let's segment our audience

Understanding segmentation is essential for success with RLSA. Imagine you have written an eBook about IT best practice. You want people to download this eBook and then, ideally, contact you for help with their IT set up. As part of your promotional campaign, you could use RLSA, both for getting people to download the eBook, and then getting people who have downloaded it to keep thinking about your company with more targeted ads.

To do this well, you’ll need to segment out your audience using the RLSA feature in AdWords:

Target ads at people who have expressed some interest

These will be people who might have spent a couple of minutes looking at your website, and may even have clicked on the eBook landing page, before leaving your website.

how to set up google adwords remarketing

Kind of ad to use: ads which will remind them of who you are and tempt them to find out more. Something like: “want to stay up to date with IT best practice? Find out more”.

Target customers who are almost there, but haven't quite converted

The second kind of segmentation will be people who have expressed a lot of interest in your eBook. Perhaps they visited a couple of different pages on your website and even started filling in the eBook download form, but for some reason abandoned the form before clicking ‘download’.

how to set up google adwords remarketing

Kind of ad to use: ads which will make it very easy to go back to the download page, something like: “click here to finish your download”.

Target customers who have already downloaded your eBook

Finally, you’ll want to target people who have already downloaded your eBook to take the next step. You need to filter them into a ‘past converters’ list, so they don’t get ads directing them to the eBook (which would be pointless), but instead, see ads with a call to action.
how to set up google adwords remarketing

Kind of ad to use: typically, this will be some kind of call to action related to what the eBook was actually about, something like: “you now know about IT best practice…contact us today for help”.

So how can you use this segmentation when you're writing ads?

As you write your different ads, Google AdWords gives you various options for how and where the ad will be seen, and includes an option to tag an ad with remarketing options. At this stage, you ensure that your ad copy corresponds with the different segments of your audience.

To get started, you need to create a +Campaign within the Display Network. You'll then be led to the page below highlighting the objective of your remarketing, and what you want to get out of your campaign. Going back to the eBook example, let's imagine we want to retarget an ad at someone who started filling out the form, but then abandoned it. We therefore want to show them ads that will entice them back to complete that action .

how to set up google adwords remarketing

Once you've named your campaign and set the budget, you need to opt for interests and remarketing, which will allow you to segment the audience that you want to remarket your ads at. For this purpose, we're targeting those people who began filling out the eBook form, but left before converting.

how to set up google adwords remarketing

Next, you need to create an advert that's relevant to the stage of the funnel this person is at--somewhere in the middle for this example. It should, of course, include a link which takes them directly to the landing page where they can carry on filling out the form.

how to set up google adwords remarketing

Simple as that! But remember, as with anything in the world of AdWords, there's no 'right' answer. You'll have to keep on testing variations of the ad to see what has the biggest impact.

Start using AdWords remarketing today

In this blog post we’ve covered just a snippet of how you can use RLSA to streamline your marketing. Successfully using Google AdWords remarketing as part of a campaign will naturally depend on a lot of planning and preparation – it’s not just something you can run into and will not be a great success if you don’t properly target and then retest your ads. That said, done well, it can serve as an incredibly powerful means of driving visitors further down the marketing funnel, while also ensuring your AdWords spend is used most effectively.

Intrigued by the potential of AdWords remarketing? Want more tips or guidance on how to develop and RLSA campaign? Contact us today. 

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