How To Choose the Best PPC Agency (And What to Ask Before You Sign)

PPC stands for pay-per-click, which is a key part of digital marketing strategy.

In a nutshell, companies pay a fee each time someone clicks on one of their ads and a higher budget generally makes the end result both faster and superior.

The aim of PPC is to gain brand awareness whilst your SEO strategy works on organically raising your website ranking.

Chances are you already know this much, that’s why you’re here.

Year on year global ad spend across every major PPC channel is growing even higher. Why? Because more and more data and reporting are showing that PPC really works.

But do you know just how important it is to get your PPC strategy right? Here are some key facts to give you a better idea.

  • 50% of people arriving at a retailers site from paid ads are more likely to buy than those who came from an organic link.
  • 74% of brands say PPC is a huge driver for their business
  • Companies spent $106.5 billion on search advertising globally in 2019, with 2020 set to be much the same – despite Covid.
  • 89% of the traffic generated by Google Ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused.
  • Search ads increase brand awareness by as much as 80%.
  • It is predicted that Facebook’s US ad revenues will move ahead of the print industry this year.

Whether you want to just drive more people to your site, get your brand out there, receive more phone calls or add customers to your mailing list – PPC is the strategy for you.

PPC can even feed into the improvement of organic results as time goes on.

As they say, “you have to spend money to make money”, and PPC is the perfect example. From social media to paid search, results are almost tangible – particularly with the right agency on board.

As we collectively navigate the murky waters of Covid-19 and its impact on the budgets of companies big and small, getting the most out of marketing spend has never been more important.

Smaller teams in particular may find themselves needing specialist agency support.

The good thing about working with an agency is that they have the existing experience, tried and tested campaigns and can spend countless hours experimenting and learning everything there is to know so you don’t have to.

When purse strings are pulled tight, it’s important that each and every penny gets a return on investment.

So if you’re looking to hire an outstanding agency to create and manage your PPC campaigns but aren’t sure where to start, don’t panic.

In this article we’ll help you out by discussing:

  • things to consider before employing an agency
  • how to get the most out of your PPC agency relationship
  • getting started on the path to PPC super-stardom

65% of brands are planning to increase their PPC budget in the next 12 months, so don’t get left behind!

Invest a bit of time and effort in learning more about your various options and use the below advice to figure out which is likely to be the best fit for you.

Before You Start Your Agency Search

Know your goals and desired outcomes and set some targets to work towards.

What exactly are you looking to achieve? The clearer you are about your objectives, the higher your chances of PPC success.

Without this essential set of information, you’ll have a hard time making an educated decision.

Whether it’s building brand awareness, launching a new product or service, pushing leads further down the sales funnel or driving sales and revenue, you want to set some measurable targets.

At the same time, you’ll need to determine how much you can spend on your ads with an absolute maximum that you can’t go over. You might even want to start small and increase your spend once you’ve done some testing and reporting.

Once you have specific goals, you can figure out which agencies are in a position to help you achieve them and communicate your needs to them.

Consider different pricing structures

The smaller your business, the more important your budget is when outsourcing work. Your PPC spend needs to be cost effective and the pricing structure can impact on this.

Fee types are usually split into two categories:

  1. ad spend + a monthly management fee – separated out
  2. a fixed price plan

Most PPC management agencies charge a monthly fee aside from your ad spend. This way you know how much you’re spending on your ads themselves and then a flat rate for the campaign management.

A fixed price plan is often better for smaller businesses and individuals with reduced budgets.

You know that your costs won’t rise above a certain level but because the price incorporates the ad spend and a management fee, you won’t necessarily know how much you’re paying for each.

On the whole, PPC agencies shouldn’t increase their prices to compensate for increased ad spend unless other factors come into play.

Other pricing types or terms you may stumble across include:

  • Performance-based pricing – which sounds like a win-win situation but often leads to higher numbers of low-quality leads.
  • Percentage of monthly ad spend.
  • Flat monthly rates – as referred to above where you pay a retainer fee alongside your ad spend
  • Hybrid pricing – where you pay a base fee plus a percentage of ad spend, with the idea that if you’re paying more for a certain month, it’s because the agency is doing more for you.

Be realistic with your expectations around what PPC agencies can and cannot do or achieve

Before we dive in, we think it’s worth remembering that whilst PPC is an effective tool to reaching your awareness and revenue goals, it’s no silver bullet.

PPC agencies cannot be held accountable for achieving unrealistic marketing targets or reviving a weak digital strategy, acquiring hundreds of new customers within weeks, getting you rich quick or delivering the perfect campaign every time (particularly not at the beginning).

It can take time before campaigns start yielding results. Testing is important and will continue to fortify your campaigns.

Much like SEO and other digital strategies, PPC can be a slow-burner and you may even see a slight decrease as the changes take effect and you re-rank for better searches.

You should also consider your level of participation in the campaigns – i.e. will your team be hands-on or do you need the agency to completely take over?

To find out more about how to get the most out of your agency relationship, read the segment further below.

Things to Consider Before Employing an Agency

Although finding the best PPC management company can be a time-consuming task, the below pointers and guide will help get things underway.

  • Are they are data-driven?
  • What kind of strategy will they implement?
  • Do they have demonstrable experience?
  • Are they experts in your niche?
  • Will they utilise strategic partnerships?
  • Are they local search savvy?
  • Have they got the right certifications?
  • Can they provide evidence of their mobile optimisation capabilities?
  • Do they know their various PPC channels inside out?
  • Will they employ impeccable keyword research?
  • Does their knowledge encompass all things digital marketing?
  • Does their working style match your requirements?

Not all PPC agencies were created equal. Some excel in certain areas but may lack in others.

One won’t necessarily be better than the other, but their suitability depends on your requirements.

So let’s take a closer look at agency characteristics and their importance to you.

Are they are data-driven?

Good PPC agencies value data, analytics and results.

They start by using what they already know about your target market to develop high-yield campaigns from the outset.

From there, they use numbers from your own ongoing campaigns to strategise new ideas and tweak their approach.

If you can’t get proper reporting from campaign performance then you can’t directly tie revenue generated to ad spend.

And in such uncertain times, every penny from your marketing budget needs to be justifiable.

If an agency’s main metric to measure success is clicks, then it’s time to cut and run.

You pay for clicks but they don’t necessarily earn you any money or win any customers.

The focus should instead be on converting clicks at the highest rate possible. Further action after the first click from search is where clicks turn into clients.

The agency might secure conversions using engaging landing pages, customised pop ups or other creative assets.

In a nutshell, clicks cost you money, conversions make you money.

The agency will then need the analytics in place to analyse and report on different sections of your campaigns, all the way back to the keyword level.

As well as clicks/click-through rates and average cost-per-click (CPC), reporting should cover the number of impressions, leads/ cost-per-lead, keyword and ad performance, and conversions/cost-per-conversion.

And these are just the fundamentals. Many agencies will go above and beyond this to provide total transparency on every aspect of your campaign.

When you’re first starting out with the agency they should provide as standard:

  • Suggested PPC channels to target and why they’re important for your company/industry
  • Competitor analysis
  • Keyword research, with input from you when required
  • PPC monitoring
  • Ongoing campaign optimisation (based on their analysis)
  • Split testing (A/B) to figure out what works best
  • Ad scheduling

Depending on your digital knowledge and team size it is worth asking to maintain complete administrative ownership over your account, so you can access all of this information with ease and without going via third parties.

In your preliminary discussions you could ask what tools they use to measure PPC metrics (like those listed above), how often and in what format they’ll share data with you, and even whether you can have independent access to reporting dashboards.

What kind of strategy will they implement?

Identifying an agency’s strategic abilities is near impossible from their website alone.

As such you’ll need to ask the right questions. After all, the PPC campaign will only be as successful as the strategy behind it.

PPC management has become a commodity and you need to make sure you’re not just ending up with a half-qualified account manager who has been stretched too thin.

Apollo, for example, ensure that any account manager is by nature also an account strategist and will take the time to learn your business and goals inside out.

Strategy is what sustains performance and leads to continued improvement and efficiency within your campaigns.

Ask the agency which platforms would be most likely to drive the results based on your vertical and target audience.

If you’ve already done some PPC work on your own or with a previous agency, ask them why it hasn’t achieved the results you hoped and what changes they can make.

Check that they will also be able to intertwine your PPC and SEO strategies rather than running them in parallel.

Choosing an agency that is familiar with your existing digital marketing strategy or at least your niche can enhance your PPC efforts and make sure your budget goes as far as possible.

Do they have demonstrable experience?

This is usually an easy one to find online.

Search the agency’s website for information that proves they have knowledge and historical experience in your industry.

One way of surveying their subject knowledge is to have a read of their blog. It should be extensive and include everything from how-to guides, comments on latest trends or digital news, to original research and agency awards.

If they’ve got all of this, chances are they’re authoritative enough to help you climb up the SERPs and reach maximum customer numbers.

Another important thing to look out for is PPC case studies.

If you find that the best case studies, or those with cold hard facts on them, are trapped behind paywalls or require a sign up, then just get in touch with the agency’s business development team.

The more closely that the case study client profile matches your own, the better. It will serve as an indication that the agency has expertise in your area and previous campaigns can serve as a foundation to build your own.

Make sure that case studies demonstrate clear end results, but also how the campaigns were originally set up, the timeline of ROI and how PPC campaigns were optimised along the way.

Are they experts in your niche?

Finding an agency that has hundreds of case studies is well and good, but if all of their existing clients are from a sector far-removed from your own then you may be no better off.

Although setting up and monitoring PPC campaigns is somewhat uniform across sectors, each vertical has its own nuances.

For example, if you’re a travel company and the agency focusses primarily on tech or FMCG, they won’t have the subject knowledge to get the most out of your spend.

Instead, opting for a travel-marketing specialist will improve the setting up and outcomes of the campaign process.

Choosing an agency with experience in your niche, allows them to be more effective and efficient in their keywords, copy creation, targeting, etc.

In 2020 an impressive 61% of millennials purchased something due to an online or social media ad.

Working on a travel-based PPC strategy now for campaigns over the next six to 12 months is the perfect use of budget, as borders start to open and people start to move around freely once more.

With a considerable amount of uncertainty regarding travel safety and contradictory information rife online, travellers will look towards experts when it comes to planning their trips in 2021 more than ever before.

Travel will become increasingly complex, meaning that customers need to engage with agents and tour operators to help them manage complicated arrangements.

Having an industry-savvy agency will help you to accrue brand awareness, align your travel brand as a trustworthy thought leader and put you in good stead to attract customers when travel resumes.

As such, be on the lookout for case studies and testimonials from other businesses in your space.

Will they utilise strategic partnerships?

Smart agencies that have been around for a while will have strategic partnerships with various search and social media platforms.

From Twitter and Instagram, right through to Google or Amazon, they’ll get the inside scoop and be the first to know about new changes and updates.

The reason this is so important is because in digital marketing, things are constantly changing.

We’re referring to product and service tweaks, pricing changes and biggest of all – those pesky algorithms. To give you an idea – Google’s search algorithm changes around 600 times a year. Hard to keep up with? We agree.

They’ll also use first-party data gathered from previous campaigns about your specific audience and how they behave.

If they’ve got good working relationships with other first-party data sources, they can connect with them regularly to seek additional info that will help them to predict buying behaviours in your space.

Are they local search savvy?

Recent research found that 76% of people who search for something nearby on a smartphone will visit the business within one day.

As such, you need to ensure your agency know how to run locally targeted ads as well as nationwide campaigns. This will be of heightened importance if you have a physical store or run tours or activities in specific locations.

Over the last two years, searches for local places with the qualifier “near me” have grown 150% faster than comparable searches without such terms.

Finding out whether your agency of choice has a strong knowledge of local search (both paid and organic) may not be that easy from their website or sales pack alone.

So give them a call and ask how they approach local paid search objectives and how they can help you engage with your local community.

Do they measure the success of location-based keywords or use bid modifiers for location-specific queries?

Remember, it’s better to ask now than to find out halfway into your first campaign.

Do they have the right certifications?

There are all sorts of certifications that agencies might have but the key ones are

  • Google Ads Certification (formerly Google AdWords)
  • Facebook Blueprint Certification
  • Bing Ads Accreditation
  • Amazon Advertising Accreditation
  • YouTube Ads Certification

Although the last few may not be relevant to your business right now, Google Ads is a must and you may find that the others come in useful down the line.

If they’re Google Ads/ AdWords certified then you are assured that they’ve taken the time to understand PPC advertising and are willing to prove it by passing Google’s unique programme.

Going above and beyond your standard certifications, some PPC agencies work to secure strategic platform partnerships (like those that we mentioned above).

For example, a Facebook Marketing Partner will have experience providing custom-tailored Facebook marketing strategies and know how to leverage Facebook advertising to drive results.

You can either ask the agency which of the above they’ve got under their belt or look for the corresponding badges on their website.

Certifications from industry giants prove that they take keeping up with digital advertising trends seriously.

PPC agencies are required to update their certificates every year due to regular industry updates, meaning that they’re more likely to be on top of changes than you will be.

However, don’t let accreditation in all of these platforms be the make or break of your agency partnership decision. PPC specialists have to take exams and accreditation can cost a lot of money depending on ad spend.

You can always ask why they don’t yet have these certifications and other ways they upskill or stay on top of trends

Can they provide evidence of their mobile optimisation capabilities?

In an age where people are short on time and always on the move, on-the-go browsing is a trend that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Search advertising on mobile is expected to reach $22.8 billion by the end of 2020 and mobile devices account for over half of all clicks on search ads. Desktop is still important but it’s no longer king.

As such, PPC ads need to be easily accessible on devices of all sizes or your money is going to waste.

People may often see a travel advert in print whilst on public transport or flicking through a magazine, so you need to make sure your paid ads are coming up once they revert to online search.

As with so many of the above requirements, you may not be able to glean the information from an agency’s website so be sure to ask.

Of all the PPC agency characteristics, this is up there as one of the most important.

Ask to see mobile-specific results from previous campaigns alongside desktop reports, as well as reviewing mobile-optimised copy and display ads before your campaign gets underway.

Do they know their various PPC channels inside out?

There’s no right or wrong marketing channel and the decision will centre around your end goal.

Some of the most popular networks are:

  • Google Ads
  • Microsoft Ads (Bing Ads)
  • Facebook Ads
  • Instagram Ads
  • Linkedin Ads
  • AdRoll
  • Taboola/Outbrain
  • Twitter

We would always recommend selecting a few PPC platforms and running some tests to see works best for you.

Whilst there is no blueprint that can be applied to all businesses, we know what works well for travel and tour agencies from experience and ongoing research.

Some agencies may only manage search campaigns while others may design and manage multi-channel search and social media campaigns.

Once again, defining clear goals and required outcomes (as well as sharing as much information around your target audience as possible) will help your agency make the best decisions around which PPC networks should be employed.

Will they employ impeccable keyword research?

Keyword research involces finding words and phrases that users are searching for on Google and other search engines.

These terms are related to the products and services on your site and the most popular ones are typically the most expensive.

Google pretty much always gets it right – serving up ads for things we want, when we want them. 33% of people click on a paid search ad because it directly answers their search query.

But if you choose the wrong keyword, you’ll be paying a lot of money advertising to someone who wants something like your product/service, but not quite.

The fastest way to see a return on your investment is by targeting keywords based on intent, for example “buy cheap flights to France” or “package trip to India 2021”. This indicates they’re ready (or almost ready) to get their wallet out.

PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors. But if you’re not using the right keywords, then those visitors will bounce right off the landing page without taking any further actions.

Even if your goal is brand awareness rather than sales, getting the right keywords will help you to connect with your customers and show them relevant messaging that matches their level of intent.

Ask the agency which keyword research tools they use, keyword strategies and metrics, and various testing they can run throughout the campaign (for example A/B testing).

Does their knowledge encompass all things digital marketing?

PPC advertising (when done well) is a truly outstanding tool, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

If the rest of your digital marketing strategy is flawed then you can’t expect to achieve your goals. Strong keywords and superior algorithm knowledge simply won’t be enough to prop up your business.

As such, great agencies can look at the bigger picture and pinpoint some things that aren’t working, along with making suggestions for things that you can tweak.

That’s why going for an integrated agency is your best bet – one that can work across a combined SEO and PPC strategy, social media, website, content marketing and more.

Does their working style match your requirements?

A PPC agency can have all the technical know-how in the world but if they’re a nightmare to work with then it’s going to be a trying journey.

Ask the agency about their communication process, including whether you’ll have an account manager, director or entire team. On top of that you need to establish how they work and what level of involvement from you they need or encourage.

To minimise any miscommunication down the line, you should set expectations in your very first meeting and check that everyone is on the same page.

If they’re a bigger agency with lots of clients on board, find out how long it will take for them to implement requested changes.

Make sure you’ve met the team you’ll be working with before locking things in to see how well you get along. Are they able to explain things at the right level and do they make you feel comfortable with the potential plan of action?

It’s not unusual for agencies and clients (you) to work together for several years, so it’s important that the collaboration goes well from day one.

If your agency is not fun to work with, don’t work with them. If they’re switched on, easy to get hold of and put you at ease, great. If they’ve got a jazzy office with a ping pong table and beer fridge to boot? Even better!

How to Get the Most Our of Your PPC Agency, Relationship and Campaigns

Set clear goals and communicate your expectations

 

Like we mentioned at the start, you can’t undertake this journey until you know what you want to get out of it.

Once you have measurable goals and objectives, you can communicate them clearly to your agency of choice.

If you’re unsure of what exactly it is that you’re after, sit down with your own company’s marketing, sales and management team to seek clarity. After that you can sit down with the agency to communicate what you want.

It will be helpful to give them as much information as possible including data from previous campaigns you’ve run and digital marketing reports.

Hard data is the fastest way for them to build a complete picture about your target audience’s behaviours, as well as what has or hasn’t worked in the past.

Ensure that the ownership of content, collateral and creative assets is 100% yours.

From ad copy and landing pages, to keywords lists and and AdWords accounts, it’s important that it belongs to you in case you should ever need to change agency. That way you can take it with you rather than starting from scratch again.

On top of that, if you maintain ownership of your AdWords account, the information accumulated can’t be handed off to, or used to on the account of, a competitor – now or in the future.

Have one main point of contact, regardless of your dedicated team size

It’s important to have one primary point-of-contact with whom you can discuss any questions, concerns and strategic changes.

Having a whole team is great but being bounced around between individuals can really slow decisions down.

If your main contact is a senior team member, check that you will be able to reach them with ease rather than your questions getting lost in a daily barrage of emails.

Have regular check ins (but don’t micromanage)

PPC strategies need to be continuously tweaked, based on changes from the online platforms and networks and also ongoing reporting.

Set up regular meetings for the agency to share data from campaigns and discuss changes they’d like to make.

Here you’ll be able to ask any questions about what the reports are showing. Be sure to analyse everything before making any changes to your spending.

Don’t forget that they’ll need your input too, so don’t skip out on scheduled check-ins.

It might even be worth occasionally bringing along someone from your management team to get the occasional update on how well things are going or if your goals have shifted.

On the flipside, don’t bombard your agency with emails or constantly request updates. Let them do their thing and trust the process.

Be prepared to take on their advice and suggestions

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Whilst it’s great to be hands on and have regular check-ins, try to remember that you’ve hired a PPC agency for a reason.

They’re the professionals and once they’ve got all of the key information and targets from you, you should trust them to make the right decisions for you brand.

After all, there’s no point going through this painstaking process to find the perfect agency if you don’t intend to loosen up on the reins.

Getting Started

Now you’ve got all the information you need to make the best choices for your brand or company, it’s time to get started.

Make a list of your expectations and requirements.

We know we’ve covered this one numerous times above but we can’t emphasise it enough. Clearly laying our your goals and requirements is the building block for this entire process.

It will also make it much easier to start the search process. There are literally hundreds of PPC agencies to choose from.

Each will have their own nuances and specialise in certain industries or campaigns.

Come up with a list of agency options

Now comes the time to start researching. You can either google PPC agency and your locale or your industry type (e.g PPC agency London or PPC agency travel).

Alternatively you could use an agency directory or look specifically for those who are Google partners, use Google Marketing Platform Partners’ search tool instead.

Your final option is to talk to people in your professional network and ask for referrals. Whether that’s ex-marketing colleagues, previous employers or other businesses in your industry/vertical.

Once you’ve built a sizeable list, make sure they meet all of your key requirements listed above or scratch them off and you’ll soon find yourself with a shortlist.

Take a deeper dive

This is the part that takes a bit of time. So roll up your sleeves, open up your laptop and head online.

Check out each agency’s case studies and how they work. Do they have any customer testimonials from businesses like yours?

Peruse their specifications, how long they’ve been around, team size and structures, etc.

If you’ve got offices abroad then see if the agency also has a global presence. Never underestimate how useful it is to have teams in all the right time zones.

Learn about each agency’s methodology and ask questions

Get in touch with your shortlisted agencies and set up a meeting.

They will likely pitch you with a presentation around their bidding strategies, keyword research, data collection, reporting and campaign management.

They’ll also put together a personalised proposal or quote.

There are plenty of agencies that offer free consultations to give you an insight into their level of expertise or will show you example dashboards for previous/existing campaigns and clients.

Sign on the dotted line

You’ve made it all the way to the finish line and this is the scary/exciting part. Just be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions before you sign the contract.

Some things you want to hone in on will be definitions of services they’re providing you, who will have ownership of which assets, what is expected from both parties, pricing structure and retainer fees, confidentiality agreements, length of contract and terms of termination.

When looking at how long to sign yourself in for bear a couple of things in mind.

With the rise of AI technology it could be argued that PPC management companies may eventually become obsolete. Google has improved its automation technology with features like smart bidding.

As such, you may not want to lock yourself in for years to come as technology coninutes to develop as rapidly as a runaway train.

However, there’s a reason that most agencies require some degree of commitment.

Building your PPC strategy and campaigns from scratch takes a real investment of time and money from them, with a lot of hands-on work to tweak and refine campaigns until they are working well. In fact, most agencies don’t actually make any money on an account until they are several months in.

This is why it’s important to look at case studies and testimonials to check the agency is a forward-thinking enterprise with their finger on the digital pulse. If you’re signing up for a year or two, you want to continue getting great results.

Agencies can prove their commitment by offering minimal contracts and discussing what they do to make sure they’re always on top of changing trends.

So all we’d say is take the time to review the stipulations and make sure you’re comfortable with the T’s and C’s before you sign on the dotted line.

How to Compete with Big Brands on AdWords in 2020-21

Over 95% of Google’s $60 billion income comes from Google AdWords and over 1 million big or small businesses use it.

How can someone avoid being eaten by the bigger fish when swimming in the same pond?

Well the following tips will give you that extra something.

The strategic use of keywords in your campaigns will help you compete against companies that spend millions in marketing.

Using Long-Tail Keywords

What is a long-tail keyword? When three or more words are used in a search phrase.

‘PPC’ for example, is a short-tail keyword. “ppc management for travel” on the other hand is a long-tail keyword.

Long-tail keywords in Adwords
img src: ppchero.com

Due to being less competitive, long-tail keywords will receive less traffic.

That is why doing research on the right keywords is very important.

Other thoughts include advertising on different platforms, using ad extensions and re- evaluating your ad copy.

Using Ad Extensions

When using ad extensions a person is given more info about your business and this can increase your click rate and attract a future customer.

Information like locations, reviews, phone numbers and more can be included. When you’re on a tight budget, they can be a real help.

Re-evaluating your Ad Copy

Re-evaluating your ad copy, helps you to stand out concerning deals you are you offering, discounts, free shipping or any promotions.

Create ads that stand out from the rest by including keywords in the headline and putting the search phrase in bold.

Break Down Bidding with Localization

A geo-report allows you to adjust bids based on a shopper’s location. When the dimensions tab in AdWords is used, you can choose geo’s which are worth biding.

Geo-Targeting in Google Adwords

Larger names may use one entire area as a target, this can be used to your advantage. You can target regions based on your site, customers, and goals you’ve set.

Emphasise Your Competitive Edge

For lower-cost products, emphasis must be placed on low prices or sales while with costly products, a lifetime guarantee or good return policy could be stressed.

Recognise, where you might not be able to compete with a bigger brand such as shipping time and price. Nevertheless, if you are a speciality retailer, such as an online Handball store for example, due to this expertise a major brand can be outrivaled.

You can also, state that you always have new equipment in stock due to connections in industry and you also have live chat standing by for any help needed.

Manage the Cost-per-Click Effectively

Budgets and CPCs that are not managed to an optimal level by adjusting your bids and daily spend can ruin you financially.

When checking a budget-capped campaign, first see the time of day it goes offline – accelerated delivery is required in the campaign settings.

Adwords Budgeting
img src: whitesharkmedia.com

When in your budget-capped campaign go to the dimensions tab and then choose hour of day under time to see the information you’re interested in.

Take Advantage of Star Ratings

Big brands have their seller ratings on the side their ads.

These are taken from various review sites by Google at intervals and are automatically placed next to your domain’s ads.

For this to occur the domain being reviewed must match up.

These Seller Rating Extensions, are usually missed out on by small businesses, which is damaging for them since these reviews are extremely useful in building trust.

To get ratings, you only have to pick a few perhaps 1 or 2 review sites you already have a profile on, and direct the buyers there for a small time period, after a purchase has been made.

Talk To Us

Whilst Google AdWords PPC management requires a hands-on approach, the best approach is to talk to the experts.

Advice tailored to your website, and your resources is crucial to achieving the best possible ROI from Google AdWords.

Get in touch with us today for a FREE, no-obligation PPC Audit.

Is Adwords Really Worth it? Yes… But Why?

Whenever we want to search for a product, a service or anything else, nowadays you’re most likely to use Google.

That is where Google AdWords comes in. AdWords is the paid-for element of Google’s search results which helps a customer find a product, and retailers and service providers to effectively market and sell.

There are a number of reasons why a business can benefit from AdWords, and get the most out of its budget as long as you pay attention to details and do your research.

Key Facts About Google AdWords

  • 40.000 searches per second
  • 3.5 billion searches per day
  • 1.2 trillion searcher per year

1. Reach Your Customer Searching for Your Product or Service

Everything begins here:

No matter the size of your business, you want to be on the first page of Google.

Google homepage

When a customer notices your business as and when they are searching for information concerning your products, services, location or deals; this translates to very profitable intent marketing (marketing focused on persons intent to find your products).

Whether you are a small or large company, with Google AdWords you can compete on a level playing field, with experienced PPC management able to get your message seen by those searching for your product or service.

2. Reach Your Local Customer

This is done through location targeting options.

Whether you’re a local business, a regional company, or even an e-commerce website, you can use geo-targeting to get seen by your customer without wasting money on those who aren’t in your specific location.

Geo-Targeting in Google Adwords

AdWords lets you target or exclude countries, areas within a country, and radius targeting easily – so that ads can be seen within a certain distance from your business.

This is especially useful for retailers of larger products or those wishing to attracts visitors and users to a specific location.

Geo-targeting increases your ROI and lowers costs by allowing you to target users more precisely.

Additionally you can target specific income earners through geo-based demographics, based on income levels, and depending on the goods being sold e.g. luxury or exclusive goods.

3. Lets your Searchers Find Your Location

When one uses Google Business together with AdWords a map of your shop can be seen together with your ad, making it easier for customers to find you.

4. Show Your Contact Information

What Ad extensions do is that they let a business supplement its Google AdWords with phone numbers, site landing page links, addresses, app downloads, reviews, previous page visits, to mention just a few.

Ad extentions

They appear in blue just below your ad description.

By doing this, it is easier for a prospective customer to connect with you.

It should be noted that although extensions don’t cost extra to be included in your ad, you have to pay the same for a click on them as for your headline.

If for example, someone clicks on your phone number to contact you directly from your ad extension, you’ll be charged for this paid conversion – which Google can track.

5. Target Highly Specific Searches

If you use optimised, highly-targeted keywords for your ad groups, you’ll reach many more consumers, and at the same time Google will rank your ad better.

Target keywords that you would search for to find your product or service, putting yourself in the place of your customer and keep in mind that these words can be changed any time you wish.

6. Follow Your Customer with Re-targeting

What is re-targeting?  Re-targeting allows companies to display ads or product page to users who have visited our website, long after you left the site.                                                                 .

When a customer visits your website, a ‘cookie’ is placed on their machine from code that is placed on the back-end of your site. When the prospective customer leaves your site, your ads can be targeted to trail them on Google search or the Google Display Networks.

Retargeting in Paid Search
https://retargeter.com/what-is-retargeting-and-how-does-it-work

Let’s say you have a shop with computer products, and someone who is searching for a laptop clicks on your ad and visits your landing page for computers.

Their browser picks up your Google AdWords cookie and even after they leave, to do more shopping around, whatever site they visit which has to do with this search, including YouTube, your ad is there for them to see.

Just the fact that they continually see your brand name or label means extra sales and brand awareness, with no additional cost (unless they click)

7. Reach Your Mobile Customer Wherever They Are

Google AdWords offers you a variety of mobile optimisation options which allows you to target both text ads and image ads, making it easier for customers to find you.

For example a customer may be looking for a place to get some coffee in your area and be near your coffee shop, right outside your door, if your mobile optimised ad shows up first, you’ve got new customer.

Take note that in your campaign Settings, Devices should be on the default of “All”. This way all types of devices are targeted.

8. Choose, and Optimise, Where your Advert is seen

Google has an incredible amount of ad partners.

You might have read a blog, or ads specific to your marketing niche. Most likely that blog is part of the Google Display network and serving ads using Google Adsense platform.

Being part of the Google Display network is positive, because it will be easier for you to advertise on popular with your customers niche sites – You can also follow your results and even exclude sites that aren’t doing as well as you’d like.

One suggestion when starting out on Google AdWords, is to use the Search and Display option, since it gives you a wider reach.

The more you get used to how Google AdWords works, the more you’ll narrow an ad campaign to the Display Network only. This will result in improved ads as you go.

9. Deliver Measured Results

Google AdWords gives you a huge amount of personalised options to track and asses all of your work in one dashboard.

For example, you can place and track your own goals for:

  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Traffic to your website
  • Brand-awareness
  • Sales and conversions

The results of each of your Google AdWord campaigns can also be measured within your ad groups. Metrics allow you to review which keywords are performing the best, the ads that get the best click-through-rate, what time of the day your ads are best performing etc.

You can also connect to Google Analytics so as to be informed about pages your ad traffic is visiting, within your site.

10.  Control Your Budget

Small businesses are usually more familiar with offline advertising methods, where you pay a specific fee for each ad you run. That equates to  a certain amount of ads to a certain amount of money.

The difference with Google AdWords is that you can set and change your budget for each ad you run.

Budgeting and Ad Spend

If an ad is doing well you can increase your ad spend. If it’s under-performing, you can decrease ad spend or pause it.

11. Run Numerous Campaigns for Your Marketing Needs

What is great about Google Ads is that you can run just as many ad campaigns as for your marketing goals.

campaign-structure

If for example, you have an event planning business that markets services for – Wedding planning, Fundraisers, or Corporate events – You could set up one marketing campaign for each of your targeted services, and then set up a variety of ad groups for each campaign, that can be targeted with various but specific keywords.

E.g. -“Wedding Planning” campaign, targets three groups: Wedding dresses, Wedding invitations and Honeymoon destinations. Don’t forget to add related keywords for each group.

Two ads can be prepared for each ad group so that you can A/B test to detect which ad runs best.

12. Continuously Improve Your Results

Compared to offline advertising, it’s very easy to monitor your real ROI on Google AdWords, and simple to adjust your ad copy to get better results and increased profits.

In conjunction with the above mentioned reasons there are also certain strategies that will help you get your money’s worth from Google AdWords.

Talk To Us

Whilst Google AdWords PPC management requires a hands-on approach, the best approach is to talk to the experts.

Advice tailored to your website, and your resources is crucial to achieving the best possible ROI from Google AdWords.

Get in touch with us today for a FREE, no-obligation PPC Audit.

CRO and PPC – The Perfect Companions in 2020

As a business advertising online, the greatest measure of the success of your Google AdWords campaign is not simply the number of people who will see and click on your pay-per-click (PPC) ads, but the number of people who will actually convert.

Your conversions may be in the form of online bookings, calls, emails; whatever is important to you.

For this to happen, you must have a combination of both compelling text on your PPC ad creative, combined with a welcoming landing page and clear calls-to-action (CTA).

In this article, we discuss what it takes to improve the conversion rate of your PPC advertising.

We will tackle some hints and techniques for developing highly effective PPC ads, and how to improve conversion rates once users reach your site.

You’ll see why pay-per-click advertising and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) really are the perfect companions!

Conversion Rate Optimisation

What is CRO?

Conversion rate optimisation is the process of optimising your sponsored search ads, landing pages, and overall website design to improve your conversion rate.

This means that you are aiming to entice the highest possible percentage of visitors on your site, to complete your desired action.

CRO
Conversion rate optimisation process

If your landing page appeals to your target audience, who are enticed by your ad creative, the higher the conversion rate is likely to be.

Don’t be fooled, improving conversion rates requires time, resources, and testing.

However, if you can spare some time to work to improve your site, there are a few key tasks to focus on…

Create User-Friendly Landing Pages

Your page has a purpose. Define what that is.

There are a lot of factors that come to mind when we talk about landing pages which appeal to visitors and to search engines.

The first and the most important of which is content.

The content of your landing page must meet your audience’s expectations, which have been set from the creative used in your PPC ads.

If you’ve promised an offer, show them the offer.

If you’ve mentioned a particular service, ensure that their landing page is related to the specific service.

For starters, here are some things that your page must have:

  • Compelling headline
  • Clear and concise content
  • Eye-catching call-to-action

When writing landing page content, explain in detail with as many specifics as possible. You need to leave your reader with as few queries as possible, enabling them to make a quick purchasing decision (or sign-up, or request brochure etc).

It’s a fine line, but try not to overwhelm.

CRO

You must ensure that your landing page does not sound as if you are selling too hard either. This does not mean giving little information; but ensure content used is what your user needs to read.

This might require some practice but it’s an invaluable skill to learn.

You want to give users enough information to make an informed and (importantly) quick decision about whether what you offer is right for them.

Usability

Your page needs to be clean and simple, with a clear CTA.

Usability is another crucial aspect of the landing page. The easier you can make your page to use, the more likely that you will generate higher engagement with visitors.

There will be people who, even though they really like what you offer, will not respond to your call-to-action simply because they cannot find the registration form or understand the layout of your site.

These people get bored and leave.

Don’t make them think. Make it clear and simple.

Look at this example of a well-optimised layout with a clear call-to-action. The site is designed to generate leads, and that’s exactly what it focusses on doing, well above the fold.

Clear call-to-action
Clear call-to-action

Your call-to-action is the most important part of your page and should be allowed sufficient exposure to the reader to ensure that it is not missed.

You need to ensure that the content leads onto an action. Make the next step obvious.

Make your landing page visually pleasing. Avoid too much clutter, and use clear space to define sections.

‘Don’t make me think’ by Steve Krug is a great book to read on improving the user-experience through simplifying your site.

Finally, ensure your site works well on mobile devices!

This is ever more important for both for users and search engines to ensure your key message is clear across all possible platforms.

A/B Testing

Use data to inform your decisions

An important step in effectively optimising for conversions is to work out what delivers the best results.

The most effective way to do this is to serve two versions of the same page independently to users hitting your landing page; performing a split test with the results.

This will allow you to see which performs better in terms of key site metrics:

  • Time on site
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversion rate
AB Testing
AB Testing

A/B testing allows you to tweak the best performing creative and provides a tool to reduce your cost-per-conversion considerably.

This form of testing should be an ongoing journey.

Keyword Targeting

Use keywords that are most appropriate for your product or service

Much like how you use keywords in your PPC ads, your landing page must also have those same keywords to reinforce that the user has reached a related destination.

Google also uses this information to determine your quality score.

This allows for, not just more traffic, but better quality web traffic which is engaged with the product or service on offer.

Use research tools such as Google Keyword Planner to identify appropriate keywords and ensure that variances are used within your landing pages where applicable.

PPC Adverts

With almost 2/3 of all clicks now going to sponsored results, it’s never been more important to get your message right.

Here are a few simple tips that can help you to create compelling PPC ads.

Related Keywords

With such a limited amount of characters used in PPC ads, it is important to include the more relevant keywords in the advert creative. This helps to improve both click-through and conversion rates.

It ensures that once a user lands on your website they already have a clear idea of what your business offers; therefore it’s important to ensure that you have landing pages setup for the most appropriate keywords.

Keywords should be grouped into SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Groups) to allow you to manage your landing pages, ads and bid-levels easily.

Be Clear & Concise

In a World of high information consumption, it is important to be clear when writing. Not everyone will have the time to decipher your message if you put too much clutter in the text.

Users look for quick content which engages and inspires.

Make sure you follow best practices:

Ad Creative Best Practices
Ad Creative Best Practices

And look to achieve the most you can with every word.

This may be explained best in the words of William Strunk in the book Elements of Style:

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tells.”

This is never more important than the limited space available in PPC advertising.

Be Consistent

Being consistent in writing a PPC advert allows you to test and optimise to focus on the best-performing creative.

Effective account management involves using data to inform decisions regarding effective messaging.

Once a format is seen to perform, it is important to convert this

Conclusion

Advertising online is difficult, especially with so many businesses competing in a crowded marketplace offering the same kind of products or service.

To stand out you need to combine effective messaging with well-ordered and concise landing pages, which are setup to convert.

If you can master conversion-rate-optimisation, combined with compelling adcopy, then you give your business a great chance to stand out!

Talk To Us

Whilst Google AdWords PPC management requires a hands-on approach, the best approach is to talk to the experts.

Advice tailored to your website, and your resources is crucial to achieving the best possible ROI from Google AdWords.

Get in touch with us today for a FREE, no-obligation PPC Audit.