Online Advertising: How your peers optimize PPC ads


The thing about pay-per-click ads is … well, you’re paying for every click.

So how do you maximize the value you get out of this online advertising?

In this Wednesday’s Web clinic – Online Advertising Forensics: We investigate how and why a text-based PPC ad produced 47% more conversions – MECLABS Managing Director Flint McGlaughlin will share our top discoveries on increasing the ROI of your PPC ads.

First, let’s look at some top advice we received from your peers …


Always run two ads

Whenever I create a new campaign or a single group, I always run with two ads. I run with words that I think will generate interest and flow into the landing page that I create. I generally start with two similar ads but, every now and again, I will try an ad that is not similar at all just to see what the market likes and dislikes.

Sometimes I look at the competitive nature of the keyword in the search results, and then look at who is in first place, then try to match my words to the similar ones.

This all depends on if I have worked in this area or not … if I know the targeted niche, I stick with what I know has worked in the past.

When creating the ad groups, I will use a small number of keywords and nine out of 10 times use these keywords in the title of the AdWords ad itself. Now that Google doesn’t allow capitals in the URLs, I have started using the URLs with capitals in the body content on the AdWords ad, this has definitely helped keep the CTRs higher.

Say, for example, I am selling Organic Cat Food … and own the URL … I will paste this URL with caps between the words in the second line of the AdWords ad …

For example:

Your Cat Loves This?
Freshly Made & Delivered For Free

You also must consider not just clicks but conversions.

As I said, always have two ads running for the same ad group.

Set the account to rotate your ads evenly so that you can see what ad converts higher or has higher clickthrough.

You may have an ad that has high clicks but small conversions compared with an ad that has lower clicks but higher conversions. This is important to measure. It may mean that your ad, even though it is generating great clicks, is not returning the conversions. So instead of just changing your ad content, have another look at what keywords are converting and refine if necessary to ensure your quality of visitor is high.

After you have made these tweaks, test again for another period and then measure the success of the two ads running for this group.

Having the correct keywords is as important as having the two sample ads running. Keep testing and adjusting to fine-tune your account.

– Dave Lemmon, Director, Redcow Marketing Limited


3 key factors to PPC success

1. As far as performance of ads is concerned, A/B tests are the best way to check and optimize. Run different variations of images, text and calls-to-action to zero in on what is getting the best response. Study the ad analytics well because optimizing ads is a continuous process as long as your campaign is running.

2. Targeting is the key to PPC Campaigns. Have a clearly defined audience, and design ads according to their preferences. Engage directly with your prospects – don’t show your ad to people who don’t need to see it. Online advertising has this huge advantage over traditional print and TV – so make use of it.

3. Never forget the bigger picture – landing pages and conversions. The objective of an ad campaign is not to just “drive traffic” to a particular webpage but to secure business from it. To assure you are getting value or a good ROI out of online advertising, have a well-designed landing page to make sure that a decent conversion rate is in place, or else, the campaign is just wasting dollars.

Nivesh Jain, Senior Marketing Executive, Invensis Technologies Pvt Ltd


Get everyone involved

Here’s sort of a “different” answer …

I have my co-workers write ads to test. I give them the parameters and the ammunition (landing pages, features, benefits and other good stuff for ads) and run a little contest with a prize for the winner.

What’s the point? Many times “professionals” and those closely associated with marketing can get too “markety.” We start using fancy words and lose sight that there’s a real person searching with questions they want answered.

Getting others involved that don’t know so much about the campaign can lead to some great ads as they use different language and come at the problem and solution from different angles. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

Don’t get caught thinking that these ads can’t be winners. You might be surprised!

– Mike Fleming, PPC and Analytics Manager, Pole Position Marketing


Great minds think alike, Mike! Right now, we’re running our own PPC ad writing contest right here on the blog, because, as you suggest, we too think it is critical to case a wide net. The winner receives a free PDF copy of MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – PPC Edition (a $397 value).


Related Resources:

Online Advertising Forensics: We investigate how and why a text-based PPC ad produced 47% more conversions – Free Web clinic, Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST

PPC Ad Writing Contest: Win a $397 Benchmark Report while building your optimization peer group

This Just Tested: How PPC specificity drove 21% more clicks and cut costs 66%

Converting PPC Traffic: How clarifying value generated 99.4% more conversions on a PPC landing page

PPC Advertising: 5 winning display ad tactics that increased paying customers by 2,900% and dropped cost-per-lead 37%

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  1. John Hyde says

    I love Mike’s idea of getting ordinary people to write the ads in ordinary language.

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