Google AdWords can be an exceptionally powerful tool that can help you increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, and bring you both leads and sales… but only when you execute your campaigns well.
There is a lot of competition in the PPC space and in organic search alike, so knowing how to knock your campaigns out of the park can make a huge difference in the growth of your business.
We wanted to help with that. Kirk Williams — owner of Zato PPC Marketing — joined us for last week’s #SEMrushchat to talk about how to create a killer Google AdWords PPC campaign in 2018. Both Williams and our chat participants had a lot of great advice to share, so check out this recap before you start to work on your next campaign.
Q1. What are your favorite ad extensions that can significantly improve your CTR?
Ad extensions can be added to any AdWords campaign. They give you extra room to give viewers additional information,which can increase the likelihood that they click or convert. Knowing which extensions to choose when could make or break your campaigns, so we asked our chat participants about their favorite extensions for boosting CTR.
If you are selling products and looking to get immediate conversions instead of leads, price extensions can be your best friend. After all, when you are shopping, what is the first thing you do when you see something you like? If you are like most people and have to stick to a budget, you look right at the price tag. This gives users key information straight away, and while it can absolutely increase clicks, it will only increase relevant clicks. If someone can’t afford your product, they move on and, ideally, you never pay for a click that won’t convert.
Promotion extensions are a newer extension, but some of our chat participants had good results with it. They can help you showcase certain offers which can help increase CTR because people have a healthy case of FOMO and don't want to miss out on a sale. Just remember to keep your promotion information consistent with the specific ads you are running to help them appeal to your audience more.
The reviews extensions will lend you instant credibility, which can be huge when you are stacked up against multiple competitors with similar ads and offers. This shows ad viewers right away that your brand and product are solid and were loved by plenty of customers before them. They will be more likely to click and convert after seeing other reviews, so if you have great reviews, use this to your advantage.
Call extensions can be particularly valuable on mobile ads, but they can work well on desktop ads, too. They can help to bring in the highest CTR rates and number of leads generated, so they shouldn’t be ignored.
You also can’t go wrong with site link extensions, as they offer several different suggested paths users can follow. This increases the probability of clicks by giving the user several different relevant options, showing them right away that you definitely can help them.
Location extensions, if applicable, can grant you even more visibility than other valuable extensions, and when it comes to search results, more visibility is always a good thing. It gives you prime real estate and it can put you on a map to show customers exactly how close you are. Similarly, both the callout and extended snippet extensions give you more room on your ad to add information, and also give a big boost in visibility.
Q2. What is the strategy you would take if the CPC on your best keywords continues to go up?
Different keywords will hold different values for each brand. Certain keywords may cost more but still be worth investing in if they bring in the most traffic, or the highest paying customers. That being said, it is never fun to see the cost per click (CPC) of your best keywords continually inching their way up.
If you notice that the CPC on your best keywords is climbing up with no end in sight, there are a few strategies that you can use.
Grouping your keywords tightly is a good first step. Group them by themes in small ad groups that are specific. By doing this, you will be able to create ad copy that is more targeted, increasing relevance and boosting CTR at the same time. Over time, this will help you get more results and hopefully at a lower cost. Always make sure that your landing page is as relevant as the ad copy for best results because Google factors that into their quality score.
If you really want to make your ad groups as tight as possible, you can also utilize Single Keyword Ad Groups. These are ad groups that are exactly what they sound like, containing just a single keyword. With only a single keyword for each ad group, you can create exceptionally relevant ads, optimizing them like nobody’s business.
Testing will be important here. You may find that new ad copy can help trigger a boost in the ad’s relevance and quality score along with CTR, which can offset the rising CPC for those keywords. Maximize every available ad extension to help with this. You may also find that using different match types can get you better results.
Sometimes, though, you may be fighting a losing battle. If your CPC creeps up too high to where it is no longer as profitable as it should be, remember that long-tail keywords can work exceptionally well, too. Incorporate more of them into your keyword groups so that you are getting the best value for your budget, keeping your overall CPC lower while your CTR stays high.
Q3. What are the first steps you would take to optimize your local PPC campaign?
Local PPC campaigns sometimes require different optimization strategies than generalized campaigns.
This includes immediately eliminating all broad match keywords. Broad match keywords allow Google to take a loose interpretation of the keywords you have optimized for when choosing who to show your ad to, which can affect whether or not local users will be the ones to see this. Use phrase match or exact match keyword types instead.
You don’t want to rely on the keywords alone to give you the right location match. You should be using the Advanced Location setting in Google AdWords set up so that you are only targeting users who are located in the region you want to reach. Target users within a certain radius of your desired location. This will take some of the gambling out of the equation, and allow you to utilize a combination of both local and generic keywords, which will help your keywords get more and better placements. Test out both and see what works for you, and maximize results by using location-specific copy.
Ultimately, you should be using the right extensions here like with all your other PPC campaigns. Location extensions can help you increase visibility and show local viewers exactly where you are. Call extensions can also be used, but you should use dayparting so that ads with call extensions only run during your open hours for best results.
Q4.How do you find opportunities your competitors are missing and use that to your advantage?
Competitor research matters just as much in PPC advertising, as it does in all other areas of marketing. When it comes to PPC, it can help you see how your competition is getting their best results, but also where they may be dropping the ball. This gives you an opportunity to swoop in and steal the show.
You will want to look for keywords/audiences that have not been targeted by either you or your competitors. This information will benefit you. If you want to do this, you’ll need to get a little extra creative. This will mean taking the time to search for long-tail keywords that have lower CPCs.
You can also reverse-engineer this strategy for excellent results. Have a budget set aside for keyword research through Broad Match Modified or Dynamic Search Ad campaigns. This will allow you to look for new search queries that Google matches with your ads. Once you have found these keywords, you can start to target them intentionally for even better results.
Having the right tools will help with all of this. Competitor analysis tools like SEMrush can help you conduct PPC audits to see what your competition is bidding on. You can test out those keywords for yourself and see what works well for you. You should also use the search terms report regularly — especially for seasonal products— to get insight into updated keywords and see how your A/B tests for copy and keywords alike are performing. These can also help you root out search terms that aren’t performing well, helping you to avoid targeting keywords that were limiting your competition’s campaigns instead of advancing them.
Q5. Which Google AdWords reports do you use to get insights about the effectiveness of your current campaigns?
Analytics is an essential part of analyzing the effectiveness of your campaigns and optimizing them further. AdWords’ native reports can give you incredible insight if you know what to focus on, though there are other 3rd party tools you can choose to use as well.
The Auction Insights report can show you how you are measuring up to other advertisers competing in the same space for the same searches, letting you see where you stand and where there is room for improvement. Similarly, the Search Term report can show you which terms are getting you the most clicks and the best results, and your quality score can show you how relevant Google thinks your ads are. That being said, the best reports often come from scripts that use heatmaps and hourly bidding, which can give you detailed information like no other.
Kirk Williams prefers working in the AdWords UI. This requires that he creates custom columns, but it allows him to organize this in a way that can give him instant feedback for fast evaluation. This makes it easier to focus on KPIs instead of drowning in the weeds of vanity metrics, or those that just don’t matter quite as much.
This will likely vary depending on your campaign’s goals, and each campaign should have distinct goals and KPIs that you are monitoring accordingly. Only once you have established this will you be able to assess your campaign’s effectiveness.
He typically focuses on the following metrics:
Return on ad spend (ROAS)
Search impression share
That is all for today! Join us for this week's #SEMrushchat for a live site audit!