January 17, 2018 / Featured, PPC 101

2017 yielded paid search innovations from machine learning to better targeting to attribution. As we kick off 2018, here are five easy tips to get the most bang for your buck out of PPC:

1. Get to Know Your Market

All too often, SEM professionals forget that they are marketers first. They forget to do their homework.

Before you even think of sitting down to write an ad, you need to do your research on the market in which you or your client plan to operate.

What are the key pain points in your market? What problem or which set of problems are your potential customers looking to resolve? What types of messages have historically appealed to them? Without this knowledge, you’ll be going up against competitors who did their homework and will reap the boosted CTR, QS, and conversion rates.

I recommend that you create a grid like this (for this example, assume that our client operates in the tax preparation industry):




Your potential customer’s problem –  what are they looking to resolve?

What feature of your product or service can help to resolve this problem?

How do you translate the feature into a benefit that emotionally resonates with your potential customer?

A small business owner has no time to do their taxes. The IRS is auditing them and they need help fast.

Your client offers an audit defense service where an experienced CPA carefully pores over every single financial statement.

The business owner saves money, rests assured that their taxes are in good hands, and can focus on running their business.

See how your ads can basically write themselves at this point? Here’s an example of an ad for this fictional service:


IRS Auditing You? We Can Help.


Leave The Hard Work To Us


  Trust ACME to resolve your audit so you can get back to work. Contact us today!

In short: Do your homework! You’ll be rewarded with skyrocketing CTR and CVR.

2. Try Out Ad Variations in the New AdWords Web Interface

In the AdWords interface, you’ll find a great new feature: Ad Variations. Instead of writing new ads for each ad group individually, this feature allows you to test a copy change across entire campaigns or even the whole account.

You’ll be able to view your ad variation metrics and apply changes permanently only if they make sense from a performance standpoint. I bet you can imagine how powerful this new feature can be in conjunction with the advice above.

3. Consider Implementing Single Keyword Ad Groups

Google’s advice over the years tended to boil down to adding 10 to 15 keywords into an ad group at most. I can’t agree with this advice.

Single keyword ad groups offer a way for you to boost quality scores and drive up CTR and CVR by mapping a keyword’s intent to your ad and landing page.

When combined with the copy exercise I previously mentioned, you can precisely map an ad and landing page to a keyword. For example, for the hypothetical tax client, you could create a single keyword ad group like this:

Ad Group Name: Tax Audit Help


[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  •  [tax audit help]
  •  “tax audit help”
  • +tax +audit +help


These are the only three keywords in this ad group. Your ad (and hopefully your landing page) would then have the exact keyword in the headline, thereby boosting quality score and driving up your CTR and CVR. You could have another ad group for a different intent:

Ad Group Name: IRS Audit Triggers


[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • [irs audit triggers]
  • “irs audit triggers”
  • +irs +audit +triggers


Your ad and landing page could then focus on identifying the most prevalent IRS audit triggers.

Important: You’ll need to add negative keywords to make sure your traffic goes to the right ad group. The Tax Audit Help ad group should have a negative keyword like “irs audit triggers.” In this case it’s probably not as important, but when you get down to one- or two-word keywords, you can run into problems if your negatives aren’t set up properly.

4. Use Audiences and IF Functions to Craft Custom Messages in Your Ads

In 2017, AdWords started catching up to other channels’ audience-targeting capabilities. Keywords often have ambiguous intent. Layering on audience targeting can help advertisers use the appropriate copy and attract the searcher at their own stage in their search journey – whether that’s research or purchase decision.

In keeping with our tax client theme, take a keyword like “IRS Audit.” Is the searcher being audited by the IRS, or are they just looking for some information about potential audit triggers? It’s hard to say from just the keyword alone.

As more audience features become available for search campaigns, you can imagine a scenario where you have a keyword like “IRS Audit” with an audience layered onto the campaign that contains a pool of similar searchers to converters. This audience contains potential prospects for this service.

When combined with IF functions, you can craft a more general, informational message for searchers not in the audience, and a more transactional message for those that are. You can see how this combination could be very powerful in driving up CVR.

5. Compare Your Performance Across Many Attribution Models with the Search Attribution Tool

In AdWords, you’re probably accustomed to analyzing conversion performance through a last-click attribution model. But that’s not good enough. You may be leaving money on the table!

Some campaigns may not appear profitable from a last-click perspective. But, these campaigns may be contributing conversions to other campaigns further down the funnel.

In the new AdWords interface, you can access the search attribution tool by clicking the wrench in the top-right. You’ll find the menu item under the Measurement sub-menu.

On the left-hand side menu, you’ll find “Attribution Modeling.” Click it, and AdWords will present you with a grid containing campaigns and two sections for you to compare attribution models.

Be sure to try them all to see how your campaigns perform when they’re given credit for assisting in other campaigns’ conversions.

Related Posts

Type a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *