Posts for digitaladvertising Category

How to conjure big PPC profits with a few hundred dollars

advertising, digitaladvertising, digitalmarketing, ppc - admin - December 5, 2018

Many PPC marketers are frustrated. Why? Because they feel like AdWords is no longer an option.

Over the past few years, CPCs have increased by 3X in some verticals — that’s even with a Quality Score of 9 or 10. According to WordStream data, the average cost per click in AdWords across all industries is $2.32 on the search network.

Meanwhile, the average cost per action (CPA) is $59.18 on the search network. But if you’re in an industry where it takes multiple clicks before someone purchases, you easily could be burning through hundreds or thousands of dollars on paid search advertising.

And conversion rates? Those haven’t changed much in 15 years. The average conversion rate is about 2.5 percent.

Some PPC marketers honestly believe there’s no way to make money with Google AdWords anymore. They think that Google AdWords is too expensive, and the competition in their vertical is downright scary.

Game over?

Actually, no. There is a way forward.

If you’re marketing in an insanely competitive vertical with outrageously high CPCs where conversion rates are challenging, this post is for you.

Are you ready to increase conversions by 10X at half the cost per click and a quarter of the cost per conversion?

I thought that’d get your attention.

RLSA will save the day

With RLSA — or remarketing lists for search ads — you tailor your paid search campaigns based on whether users have previously visited your website (or app) and which pages they viewed.

So will RLSA save the day? Let’s look at some data.

These two campaigns have the exact same keywords, but one targets returning visitors (RLSA) while the other targets new visitors.

The RLSA campaign results in a:

  • higher CTR (4.8 percent vs. 2.2 percent);
  • lower average CPC ($1.45 vs. $2.80); and
  • lower CPA ($36 vs. $140).

The nightmare is over, right?


Some frightful news about RLSA

RLSA doesn’t create new volume. It actually slashes volume substantially. You’re only getting about a tenth of the volume.

And consider this dismaying observation: If you look at the previous month, RLSA added nothing in terms of total conversions (245 this month vs. 250 last month).

RLSA is merely cherry-picking the 10 percent of cheap conversions out of a pile that used to include both cheap and expensive conversions. You would have gotten those conversions anyway!

If the circle represents your entire potential customer base, you’ll notice that people who are already familiar with your brand make up just a small portion of your audience.

The problem with RLSA is that it only targets people familiar with your brand — it doesn’t target people unfamiliar with your brand (Well, duh!).

Yes, RLSA delivers on cost savings, but the number of conversions is scarily low.

But there is a solution to this dilemma.

A solution to die for!

You want to use RLSA to get more quantity at lower costs, right? Well, here’s how you make money with AdWords in an insanely competitive vertical with super-expensive CPCs:

Only do RLSA! Don’t do any unbranded vanilla search ads at all. None. Zero.

Instead, use the power of social media ads to dramatically — I’m talking 10x to 100x — increase the size of your cookie pools.

If you can increase the size of your remarketing pool by 10X (making that tiny circle bigger for cheap), then it stands to reason that you’ll get 10X more conversions!

If you shift or totally eliminate the budget for non-RLSA campaigns and put them toward social media feeder campaigns for your RLSA audiences, then you actually get the best of both worlds. You’re going to have:

  • a higher number of conversions;
  • higher click-through and conversion rates; and
  • lower costs per click and costs per action.

How to scare up more cheap conversions

It all starts by promoting inspirational or memorable content about your brand to your target audience with social media ads. People will see your ad, but won’t necessarily take action right away. But you will start the process of biasing them.

And when I say promote amazing content, of course, that means promoting your unicorns: the content that has outperformed all your other content. Content that has received the most social shares, page views or opens. Your one percent.

This is critical because when you promote a unicorn, you’ll get a really low CPC and high number of free clicks. You can actually get hundreds, thousands, or even millions of clicks, engagement and visits by investing $500 or $1,000.

People didn’t know about your brand before. Now they do. Continue to bias them with RLSA.

Later, when the need arises, people will either do a branded search for your stuff, in which case you win, or they’ll do a non-branded search, but they’ll be more likely to click on your result because they’ve visited your site, which is how you truly reap the benefits of RLSA.

Shift your budget from unbranded search campaigns to social campaigns. This will let you build the audiences you need to drive cheap RLSA campaigns through search.

The end of horrific ROI

Some marketers do Google Display Network advertising exclusively using remarketing. Why? Because the ROI for remarketing-targeted ads is so much higher than interest- and demographic-based targeting alone.

So all I’m suggesting is that you do the same thing with search!

Interest targeting and managed placements (i.e., where you specify certain websites you want to target) are such weak signals of intent. Remarketing is so much more awesome. All you have to do is focus on your target audience (e.g., people who live in Miami, Florida, make more than $500,000, own a boat and are conservative ­– or whoever you want to reach).

Target your target audience with social ads. Bias them so they’ll search for your stuff. You’ll still be one of the companies in the list competing for that search, but now you’ll have a HUGE advantage.

Start conjuring up PPC profits!

Despite all the obvious challenges posed by crazy high CPCs, conversion challenges and inventory concerns, you can still make money with Google AdWords by investing just a few hundred dollars.

Let’s be honest. Targeting unbranded search is a suicide mission in a lot of industries. Vanilla unbranded search is a rat race. You have no competitive edge. You’re just one of seven companies on Google’s SERP.

Marketing is all about finding and exploiting a ridiculously unfair advantage. With the ridiculously awesome new way forward I’ve laid out in this article, RLSA will be like printing money!

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The 10 Best & Biggest New PPC Features of the Year

advertising, digitaladvertising, ppc - admin - December 5, 2018

Another crazy year is almost behind us. The year 2016 will be remembered for some huge and unexpected changes, some awesome new PPC features, and welcome changes to both the Google AdWords and Bing Ads platforms.

But some new PPC features stuck out more than the rest this year. This article will separate the unicorns from the donkeys!

Here are my picks for the top 10 new PPC features of 2016.

1. No More Right-Side Ads

In February, Google killed off right-side text ads on desktop results, bringing the SERPs more in line with Google’s mobile experience. In addition, Google added a fourth ad spot above organic search results for “highly commercial queries.”

This massive change was a shocker to pretty much every PPC marketer.

When people woke up and discovered they were now living in a world in which desktop search results didn’t have text ads where they were supposed to be, many people freaked out. They predicted that PPC would never be the same again. (Spoiler alert: very little has changed.)

As I pointed out at the time, most paid clicks (about 85 percent) came from the top ads, based on WordStream data for 2,000 accounts:

In a follow-up post by Mark Irvine, The New Google SERP: 3 Changes & 3 Things That Haven’t Changed… Yet, we discovered that paid traffic and CPCs remained consistent after the change, CTRs were up, and impressions were down. Surprisingly, we discovered Position 3 was the biggest winner for advertisers, as CTRs doubled after the change:

This change failed to wipe out advertisers in lower positions. In fact, as I detailed in Google’s Right-Side Adpocalypse: Anatomy of a Loser [New Data], one advertiser lost desktop impressions and saw CPC increase, but also saw their CTR double and average position increase!

2. AdWords Expanded Text Ads

After we lost right-side ads, Google announced some big changes to AdWords. One of those huge changes was Expanded Text Ads.

Google called this the biggest change to text ads since AdWords launched 15 years agoAdWords will phase out the old text ad format as of Jan. 31.

Designed for today’s “mobile-first” world, Expanded Text Ads are twice the size of the text ads we’ve known and loved for so long. We now have two 30-character headlines and one 80-character description line.

Google told us that in early testing advertisers saw CTRs increase by as much as 20 percent. Well, after transitioning to the new AdWords ETAs, many of WordStream’s clients saw their CTR double!

Note: We created a FREE guide and cheat sheet that has everything you need to know about creating Expanded Text Ads.

3. Bing Expanded Text Ads

In an effort to keep pace with AdWords, Bing Ads also introduced Expanded Text Ads. However, unlike Google, it seems like Bing won’t be retiring standard text ads.

ETAs on Google and Bing are pretty much identical, with the same character limits and formatting (but fewer truncation issues, thankfully). You can either create ETAs within the Bing Ads platform, or import your existing ETAs from Google AdWords.

But hold your unicorns! There’s some great news for advertisers. WordStream data indicates that Bing’s Expanded Text Ads outperform Google. Check out this great CTR data:

If you haven’t yet tested out Bing Expanded Text Ads, make sure to put it on your to-do list in 2017!

4. Local Search Ads, Responsive Display Ads, and In-Store Conversions

In addition to Google expanded text ads, Google unveiled more exciting new features at the Google Performance Summit in May:

  • Responsive Display Ads: With this new type of ad, you provide a URL, headline, description, and image, and Google creates responsive display ads for you. These ads adapt to the content of the websites they’re on and apps in the GDN.
  • Better In-Store Conversion Measurement: OK, this feature isn’t new. But it is new to many types of businesses that gained access to this feature for the first time this year. How it works: Google looks at phone location history to figure out whether someone who clicked on your ad ended up walking into the store.

5. New AdWords Interface

Speaking of the AdWords Performance Summit, something else notable happened. We got a preview of the new AdWords interface, which rolled out more widely in August (and we can expect more design changes heading into 2017).

The new interface is sleeker, but still pretty familiar. It’s easy enough to figure out where to find the things I was looking for.

Nothing here changed how AdWords works. All these changes were cosmetic and aimed at smartly reorganizing all the AdWords features and functions you know and love.

6. Demographic Targeting for Search Campaigns

Targeting age and gender demographics within your search campaigns? Yes, please!

Google gave advertisers the awesome demographic targeting for search campaigns feature in September.

Now you can see the performance data on how ages and genders within ad groups. Based on this data, you can either create bid adjustments for different demographics or exclude people of a certain age or gender from seeing your paid search ads.

Demographic targeting worked ridiculously well for our clients, as Mark Irvine detailed in these AdWords demographic targeting case studies.

7. AdWords Message Extensions

AdWords introduced a new and exciting type of mobile ad extension in October: message extensions.

These extensions let users tap to start texting a business directly from the search results. Advertisers can write a pre-written text message to start the conversion.

In early testing, message extensions boosted mobile CTR by an average of 50 percent for some WordStream clients who got early access to the ad extension.

There is one downside of message extensions, however: no conversion tracking. Hopefully this is in the works!

8. Google Display Keywords Targeting Settings

In October Google quietly introduced some new display keyword targeting settings that give you more control over how your display ad campaigns are targeted.

Google now gives you the choice to target either:

  • Audience: This is the default option. You can serve display ads to anyone potentially interested in your keywords, regardless of what type of site they’re currently on.
  • Content: Your ads will only be served on websites, apps, and videos that are contextually relevant to your keywords.

9. The AdWords iPhone App

This year got off to a ridiculously awesome start when @adwords tweeted me to let me know about the release of a new AdWords app for iOS. This app is super-impressive!

The AdWords app is great for managing and monitoring AdWords campaigns when I’m on the go (which is a lot!). It’s beautiful, ridiculously fast, and simple to use.

If you haven’t already, you should download it and try it out.

10. The Return of Device-Level Bidding

In 2013, AdWords introduced enhanced campaigns. But one huge side effect of enhanced campaigns was our loss of device-level bidding. Marketers mourned, loudly and at length.

Well, this year Google gave us all reason to celebrate: device-level bidding is back! You can now set mobile bids, desktop bids, and tablet bids independently or make them dependent on each other.

What’s Next?

Whew! 2016 was a heck of a year, huh? So what does the future hold for PPC? Stay tuned. Whatever happens, WordStream will be here to keep you up to date on all the latest developments!

What’s your favorite new PPC feature of this year? And what PPC features would you like to see added to AdWords and Bing Ads in 2017?

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