How to Measure and Optimize PPC Ads

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by Dita

When one considers launching and managing a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign, words such as measuring and optimization might sound like a lot of effort and therefore be discouraging, but they don't have to be.

A successful PPC ad campaign does not require a large team of sophisticated experts (though, a consultation with an expert agency, such as Best PPC Marketing can be very useful and save you the time of going through numerous trial and error situations by yourself). Generally, all one needs is a clear-cut set of goals, well-researched keywords, and constant focus on conversions and other types of metrics.

What are the options

First of all - establish your goals. Finding the right approach for different products or services and their target audience can take time, but only with meticulous research and planning can one find the appropriate keywords, create productive ads, and most importantly - reach the right people. For example, let's say that you have created a campaign in order to gain conversions. With this goal, it could be more effective to implement the PPA (pay-per-action) marketing scheme in which you pay not for the clicks, but rather for every action taken. That could include things like the user making a purchase, agreeing to a free trial, signing up for a newsletter, etc.

On the other hand, if brand-building is the reason you wish to begin the campaign, and you have a highly engaging and eye-catching ad prepared, PPM (pay-per-mille) campaign could be applied, which means you pay a fee for ever thousand impressions/ views. However, this type of campaign model is not very popular, and involves a lot of risks, for it might easily be taken an advantage of by spammers and unfair hosting websites.

Most likely though, the regular route of PPC is the one for your brand, especially if you run ads that are yet to gain recognition. That allows you to save money since PPM runs ads that might not be attracting attention, and you still must pay for the views they get, whilst with PPC the ad can run for free until it earns clicks. PPC setting options also allow you to avoid the harmful third-party networks and to optimize your campaign based on the analysis of your metrics.

 Important things to measure

One of the points to consider is which metrics you should track most attentively. Two that are always worth exploring include the quality score (elaborated upon further) and the CTR (click-through rate), both of which allow you to evaluate the effectivity of your ad copy and the selected keywords.

However, traffic-focused metrics are just the tip of the iceberg, and can be misleading - one needs to explore what happens next after the ad has been clicked.

This brings us to conversion tracking. Leads and sales are not always consistent throughout all of your marketing networks. Luckily, AdWords offers the feature for multiple advertising channels to be compared side by side, and one can thus see where conversions are happening across different campaigns, ads, keywords, and other segments (such as the time when the ads are most effective, or the devices used most often to complete conversions).

Finally, a metric that cannot be left ignored is ROI (return on investment). Measuring your campaign's ROI means tracking leads and measuring the revenue per-lead. As the previous point that we discussed was all about calculations concerning how much you pay per conversion, this one actually reveals the value of these conversions and the profit they bring to your business. Essentially, it sometimes can be the case that the most expensive leads generate the largest amount of revenue.

What to focus on when optimizing

To make the cost of PPC more rewarding in the long-run, it is vital to optimize your ads and your landing page - they need to entice the user to complete the conversion, for each click that does not convert leads to money loss, and it goes without saying that we need to minimize that. So, what should you pay special attention to?

First, implement strategies that would lower the cost per click of your ads. That involves targeting less competitive keywords, as well as monitoring and improving your quality score on the sites that track it. For example, AdWords allows its users to check ratings for expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Overall, this is how you may see whether or not your ads are relevant to the users that have seen them and, consequently, whether you should keep running it on the specific platform.

Second, make your ads compelling, so that they would generate more clicks, yet also be relevant - so that these clicks would not come from a place of shallow curiosity, but rather genuine interest in your product or service. Here one needs to delve into the murky yet exciting waters of psychology, while also doing some simple research into advertising trends and the specifics of your target audience.

Start simple and look into what appeals to people of certain age, gender, culture, and other categories.

And last but not least, work on you landing page. It has to be compelling and easy-to-use so that users who click can easily convert. This point suggests not only conversion rate optimization (with which Google bids on your behalf based on where you are likely to get the best cost per conversion) but also the possibilities of retargeting your ads by tracking the users that did not go through with the conversion after the click. Another opportunity or a great new deal might just be what prompts the user to respond to your call to action, so remarketing is a great way how to get profit from the clicks that previously resulted in losses.

To sum all of this up, there are various approaches to paid ad optimization, and the right one usually depends on the aims and goals that you have set at the beginning of your PPC marketing campaign. Additionally, the metrics discussed in this article are some of the essential points to look at in order to evaluate your campaign's performance as well as to discover possible improvements. Which is something one should remember - there can always be made more improvements.

About the Author: Dita is from Northern Europe. She's a Digital Marketing junky and is obsessed with helping businesses grow through internet marketing. She is also SEM Manager at by day & blogger by night.

Photo credit:

unsplash-logoAndrew Neel

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