The world of internet marketing keeps changing and many are turning toward the PPC model as their solution. Find out if PPC is your next step in your digital marketing strategy.

Have you ever thought about the number of times you’ve clicked on a paid advertisement without even knowing it? 

These days, you’ll most likely see a paid ad link before an organic result every time you Google something. Suppose you search “running shoes” on Google. In that case, the results give you about four different advertisements before the first organic post on the topic appears. That’s the beauty of paid marketing: 

When it’s done right, you’re right at the top for all to see. 

Let’s be honest- the world of paid marketing can be intimidating and sometimes confusing. Most of the time, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes action within that one little link. 

But there’s noise coming in from every direction about what to do, what not to do, and everything in between. 

With all the commotion, it can be hard to know what advice to take with a grain of salt or take and hit the ground running. While the plethora of advice can be helpful in some cases, it can also stand as a roadblock for those who want to start taking action and optimize their paid marketing strategies. 

Today, we will talk about five key things you can do to boost your PPC performance. But first, let’s rewind a bit…

What is PPC, anyway?

PPC is a digital marketing model where advertisers pay each time one of their ads is clicked. In other words, advertisers will only pay this fee if a user clicks on their ad. 

You’ve probably heard of PPC’s sibling, organic search marketing. Where organic search marketing represents a more reserved sibling who goes by the book, PPC represents the louder, left-brained sibling who is always ready to jump into their next adventure. 

Unlike organic search marketing, which requires more time to see results, PPC drives quick results and takes virtually no time. The moment your ad scores for a specific keyword, you’ll be able to see the results in your site traffic almost immediately. 

Similarly, while organic search marketing focuses on content creation through the likes of SEO, blogs, social media, and more, PPC is all about keywords and bidding. It all comes down to a trial and error of sorts when it comes to paid search marketing. 

Experimentation, analysis, and refinement are vital aspects of what makes a PPC strategy successful and sustainable. 

Common PPC Mistakes

Before we get into all the ways, you can optimize your PPC performance. We thought it’d be helpful to highlight a few common mistakes that people often make when it comes to setting up their PPC strategies:

Failing to set clear key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives can be what makes it or breaks it for your PPC strategy. Setting specific goals but having limited tracking methods can put you behind in the fast-paced race of paid marketing. 

Start by prioritizing what’s important to you.

Whether growing your conversion rate, upping follower growth, or increasing your customer’s lifetime value (LTV), determine what makes the most sense for your business or product. Set realistic but challenging numbers where you can track them over time and get to measuring! 

Some people tend to treat their PPC strategy as if it will optimize and update on its own – like a chia pet. However, this is the opposite of what will happen. As we mentioned earlier, 

PPC optimization is all about experimenting and testing to make updates for the best results continually.

“Setting and forgetting” is a surefire way to leave your ads in the dust. We’ll talk about how you can test different versions of your ads to determine which is performing the best in just a minute.

While bidding more on specific keywords or phrases can help boost your ad in some cases, it can prove unsuccessful if you’re not bidding on the right words. 

No matter how much you increase your bids, it won’t matter if your bidding terms are not relevant to what you offer.

It can be easy to spend a lot of money on irrelevant searches if you fail to set up negative keywords…something we’ll dive into below.

Now that we’ve got a few critical mistakes, let’s talk about what you really wanted to read:

Here are FIVE THINGS you can do to make sure you get the BEST RESULTS from your PAID MARKETING STRATEGY:

ONE:

Do your (keyword) research…and keep doing it. 

Like SEO is to organic search marketing, keywords are a core component of a successful PPC strategy. Without them, you wouldn’t have a fighting chance. Here’s how to get started:

Start by digging into keywords most related to your business. This will get users to click on your ads and eventually get them onto your website or landing page. 

Think about what your business or product offers broadly, then you can narrow it down to more specific search terms. For example, maybe you’re a retailer who sells petite-size jeans. The time “women’s jeans” will have an insanely larger search volume than “women’s petite jeans for short legs,” a more specific search term. 

You can start from scratch, put pen to paper, or just start googling. By researching, you can identify both broad and specific terms that work for your ads. Another tactic is to think of any adjectives or descriptive words related to your business or product offering that you can add to your list of keywords or phrases. 

This stage is CRUCIAL as it helps you identify broader search terms and longer-tail, more specific keywords for your offering. 

Suppose you find a keyword later down the line that is winning with users. In that case, you can start making match types, which determine how closely the word is in line with the user’s search so that the ad is considered for the auction. You can consider altering your bidding strategy for even further optimization.

If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, don’t fret! There are several tools out there that can help you gain insight into the search volume and level of competition of each keyword. It’s important to note that the best keywords will have higher search volumes and lower competition. So basically, what many people are looking for without the crowded room of competitors vying for the same thing.

You can and should regularly revisit your keywords to ensure they’re as up-to-date and relevant as possible.

Revisiting and revamping your list of keywords can help you expand your current roster, clear the clutter by getting rid of those with poor performance, and update your negative keywords list. 

TWO:

Negative keywords

While it’s important to research relevant keywords, it’s equally important to research those unrelated to your business. The last thing you want to do is lose money by having your ads appear in irrelevant searches because you forgot to set negative keywords. 

For example, suppose you are a dog toy company that exclusively sells dog toys. In that case, you’ll probably want to exclude terms like “cat toys” or “baby toys” to prevent people looking for those items from clicking on your ad. 

By identifying what not to target, you can exclude keywords that don’t fit your product offerings and reduce costs.

That way, you can prevent your business from coming up in irrelevant searches, reduce your bounce rate, and appeal to the most qualified leads. In addition, you’re more likely only to attract users who are searching for your product offering. Meaning they might be more willing to convert or make a purchase. 

THREE:

Test and retest.  

Experimentation is everything in the world of PPC marketing. You can test several items when it comes to your advertisements — from visuals to ad copy to the location of a CTA button. The list goes on. 

You can do this by implementing A/B testing, which allows you to examine two ads with one varying factor. Doing so will help you identify which version of your ad is performing better so that you can make any necessary changes. As I said before,

Experimentation is everything in PPC marketing.

Perhaps your audience is more prone to click on your ad if it’s green versus purple. You won’t know this until you run an A/B test to see if this is the case. Similarly, maybe people are not clicking your CTA button because it’s too low or too high up on the page. Again, you can run A/B tests to determine which of the two ads is doing better with your audiences. 

The critical thing to remember when running A/B tests is only change one aspect of the advertisement.

For example, if you were to change both the color and the ad copy before running the test, it would be difficult to assess which factors contributed to the change in reception you’re seeing from visitors.

FOUR:

Optimize your website and landing pages. 

You see an ad for something you’re looking for, like chapstick or new headphones. And let’s say the ad appeals to you, so you click on it. You’re then brought to a website or landing page, but when you click on the “About” tab, the web page takes a long time to load. Or it leads to an error page. Or maybe it doesn’t take you to the “About” page at all. 

Like it or not, we live in the age of instant gratification, and everyone has to keep up if they want to play the game.

It’s so crucial to make sure your website and landing pages are optimized because that’s where you want your visitors to end up. Your website or landing page is where visitors can consider making a purchase or becoming a customer more seriously and where conversions happen. However, if something goes wrong or takes too long, your visitor may get distracted or lose interest entirely. 

You can optimize your website or landing page by:

FIVE:

Determine a bidding strategy. 

Your bidding strategy will be tied to your keyword research and depend on your budget. While Google provides a popular and well-used automatic CPC bidding system, it may not always be the perfect fit for your needs. 

Explore alternative solutions (such as manual bidding) according to your marketing campaign goals. One method is the tiered bidding strategy, where bids are placed on one keyword across all four match types. Tiered bidding can be used when you find a top-performing keyword. However, it typically focuses the most spend on the exact match type, as it notes what the user is searching for.

If you’ve made it through this article, you know one thing is true: 

PPC optimization isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible.

When executed well, PPC optimization can bring your business superb results, drive conversions and bring more traffic to your website. Hand in hand with organic search marketing, PPC marketing can catapult your marketing efforts beyond what you imagined. Now it’s up to you to take the first leap.