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best practices for PPC campaigns

9 Best Practice Tips for PPC Campaigns in 2020

Pay per click has become one of the most popular and effective marketing channels. It offers a level playing field for all companies, regardless of their size to advertise to the world. If you have the budget, you can create a PPC marketing campaign to do anything; from improving your brand identity through to encouraging more sales. 

When it comes to getting the best results for your PPC campaign, understanding some clever tips can make a big difference. Our best practice tips for PPC campaigns in 2020 will include a few you might already know, but hopefully some clever hacks you might not be aware of.

We’ll assume you’re familiar with the basics of setting up a PPC campaign, but are looking for some effective hacks for the least amount of effort. All of our tips here will be black hat, that is, no shady techniques. And, we’ll also be looking at ways to beat those sneaky click fraudsters (after all, that’s what we’re all about here at ClickCease). 

1. Go Long (Tail Keywords)

This isn’t a new PPC campaign tip by any means, but focusing on long tail keywords is still one of the most effective ways to target a specific stage in the funnel. Reports suggest that targeting long tail keywords can result in boosting conversions by up to 30%.

Think about it: Going for generic attracts a bigger volume of clicks, but they might not all be interested in buying. The longer tail results tend to suggest people looking for a specific result, or those closer to a decision.

  • Running shoes – 368,000 searches per month
  • Best long distance running shoes – 6,600 searches per month
  • Best running shoes for bad knees – 2,400 searches per month
  • Best womens marathon shoes – 480 searches per month

Coming top of the SERPs for ‘running shoes’ is going to be hard work, with plenty of competition. And, to top that off you’ll also have a lot of browsing clicks on your ad, driving up your ad spend and lowering your return on investment.

Focus on a specialist or specific aspect of your service, and aim to entice those customers closer to a decision towards your business.

PPC ad campaign best practice requires focusing on your keywords
That’s a lot of (very expensive) keywords

2. Negative Keywords 

We’ve spoken about negative keywords in a previous article. So if you haven’t read it we recommend checking that out after this one. Used together with your long tail keywords, adding negative keywords can be a very effective way to focus your marketing efforts, and is usually found in lists of top PPC campaign tips.

Sticking with our previous example of ‘running shoes’, you could eliminate unwanted clicks by adding terms such as:

  • Cheapest/cheap/affordable running shoes
  • Retro/novelty running shoes
  • Nike (or other specific brand) running shoes

Google allows you to easily add negative keywords in specific campaigns, with up to 5000 words able to be added to each list.

3. Reward Your Top Performers

Have you got a few search terms that always perform well? One of the most simple tips for PPC success is to focus more efforts on these at the expense of less successful terms. This might sound super obvious, but cut back on the poor performers and give your top performing keywords room to breathe.

But, even if they’re doing well as they are, don’t be afraid to tinker with them. Adjust your bidding strategy and your budget regularly to see what works. You might find that even your top performers work better with some tweaks and customisation.

One way to understand which are your best performers is to keep an eye on the quality score on your Google Ads dashboard. Be aware that the quality score can be applied to the group, campaign or keyword, so if you have a campaign that is performing particularly well, you could channel your marketing energies to this broader selection.

However, the trick is to find those keywords which are good performers, but that aren’t super competitive or the most expensive option.  

The lessons you learn with your optimised campaigns and keywords can also be applied to other lower performing keywords as you adjust your ad campaigns.

4. Content is King

Your ad copy is crucial and really should be PPC best practice tip number one. If your ad content isn’t clear, if it doesn’t say the right things, or ignite the interest of your target audience, well… It just isn’t going to cut it.

Work out how to optimise your ad copy and say more with a lot less. You might need to hire a professional copywriter, especially if writing isn’t your thing. If you’re trying to cram in keywords, fluffy prose and outrageous claims, look at what others in your industry are doing.

Some of the most effective PPC ad campaigns use the most simple language. Remember, you have fractions of a second to get your message across, so if you’re explaining in your ad copy, you’ll lose people. 

5. It’s All in the… Timing

Do you run your PPC ads 24/7? Hopefully not, but if you do, be aware that you’re probably flushing quite a lot of money down the toilet. It is definitely best practice with PPC campaigns to work out the optimum time to display your ads and to either scale back your bids out of these hours, or switch it off completely.

As an example, you might be selling package holidays to families. But, would your target demographic be looking to make a purchase at 10am on a Tuesday, or at midnight on Sunday?

Your research based keywords, or lower cost search terms could be activated for some of the day. After all, plenty of people do their research in work hours (naughty). But, for those proven high volume and expensive keywords, it will be more effective if you identify the most likely time that your ad will be viewed. In this instance, possibly Saturday morning or a work day evening.

6. Bid Right

There are lots of different bidding strategies with all of the major PPC platforms, and choosing the right one for your end goals can be critical. On this blog we’ve looked at quite a few of the bidding strategies in depth, so we’ll just cover this in brief here.

check out our best practice tips for PPC

Put simply, the different bidding strategies are best used for different for different end goals. 

  • CPM (cost per mille/one thousand impressions): Is best for maximising impressions of your ad and boosting visibility
  • CPC/CPV (cost per click/view): Ideal for optimising the cost you wish to pay per click or view on your ads or videos
  • Maximise Clicks: A useful way to get the most out of a limited budget for individual clicks on an ad
  • CPA (cost per acquisition): Designed for those looking to maximise their website conversions

Working with your marketing strategy, your budget and your advertising goals, you should optimise your bidding strategy so that it works best for you. 

7. Target Obscure Variations of Your KWs

A little bit of random doesn’t harm. In fact, with regards to PPC strategies, it can add a whole other dimension to your advertising campaign.

These obscure variations might be phrases or terms that only some people use, perhaps in specific locales or dialect. The trick here is that you’re targeting a market or a method that will probably yield a low search volume, but could be an interesting hook into a niche market.

For example:

Focus phrase or KW: Package holidays for families

Variations:

I need a holiday, where shall I go on holiday next, tell me where I should take my family in August, where can I go on a summer holiday that isn’t expensive

Focus phrase of KW: Running shoes

Variations:

Find me shoes that won’t break in six months, I need new trainers/sneakers for next week, shoes that are environmentally sustainable

You’ll notice in these that many of my suggested variations are optimised for voice search. In our marketing strategies for 2020 post, we looked at the fact that voice search is going to be a growing sector. 

Have fun with finding random search terms, experiment, see what works and what doesn’t. Ask your current customers how they use their voice search devices and what terms they use to find what they want and you might find some interesting results.

8. Use DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion)

Yes, we’ve got this far down the list before we come to a technical strategy. But, dynamic keyword insertion is a clever little feature, that is actually very easy to use and can be a useful way to switch up your ads. How does it work?

If you have a store that sells multiple products or services and you want to create an ad that adjusts to your customer search, you can add a snippet of code to your ad. This snippet will contain information that can be used to change the displayed keyword on your ad.

For example, if you run a store that sells coffee, you might want to switch your headline from:

Buy best quality {Keyword: Coffee}

To

Buy best quality {Java coffee}

Buy best quality {Italian coffee}

You can specify the keywords that get replaced and activated when setting up your ad. However, it is a feature that needs to be used with care as the copy needs to fit within the character limit and to also make sense when read. 

Using DKI is an interesting PPC campaign strategy, and one that could be a useful addition to your marketing in 2020.

9. Monitor Your Clicks

Whatever your industry or your marketing budget, it’s very likely that your ad will be affected by what Google calls invalid clicks. This catch all title refers to any click on your paid ad that isn’t from a genuine human, or multiple clicks from the same source.

As part of the best practice for any PPC campaign, keeping tabs on the sources of those clicks can save you a whole heap of money. In fact, with one in four clicks on paid ads (yup, 25%) estimated to be from automated sources, most marketers are paying out a sizeable chunk of their budget for no gain.

So, how can you protect against this?

The manual solution is to monitor the IP addresses, timestamps and user agents. This can help you to identify whether there has been automated or fraudulent activity from a specific source. However, this isn’t always the most effective solution, as things like VPNs or public networks can be a reason for multiple site visits. 

You can also specify your ad targeting to specific geographic areas, which can also limit your exposure to invalid clicks or click fraud. This isn’t 100% effective though as those sneaky bots can find ads targeting pretty much anywhere, regardless of their server’s geographic location.

Currently, the most effective method to safeguard against invalid clicks and click fraud is by using automated anti-click fraud software such as ClickCease. By incorporating this software into your PPC campaign strategy, you could find that you save anything up to 25% on fraudulent clicks. 

If you’re running a PPC ad campaign, especially one with a high budget, we strongly suggest seeing how much of a difference ClickCease can make. We offer a 14 day free trial, so you can see for yourself how effective a solution it can be.

Oli

Since working for ClickCease, Oli has become something of a click fraud nerd, and now bores people at parties with facts about click farms and internet traffic stats. When not writing about ad fraud, he helps companies to optimise their marketing content and strategy with his own content marketing business.

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