Is your PPC campaign draining your marketing budget without generating revenue? Too many business let a PPC campaign stand pat on the grounds that “it worked last year” or “it’s been profitable before.” Past strategies don’t necessarily guarantee present or future success — so let’s look at three things you can do to breathe new life into your dying PPC campaign.
1. Isolate the Problem(s)
If your PPC campaign has lost ground, where exactly did it lose that ground? The first step in treating any ailment is an accurate diagnosis, which is why you need to (a) have analytic tools in place, and (b) monitor those analytics periodically to identify meaningful drop-offs in performance. Pay particular attention to impressions, clicks, CTR (click-through rate), CPC (cost per click), and of course those all-important conversions.
Bear in mind, however, that numbers can be deceiving until they’re placed in context. For example, you might be alarmed to see a slip in your CTR, but if your impressions and clicks have soared through the roof lately, then that slip might not be impacting the overall success of your PPC campaign significantly.
2. Cull Your Keywords
Your keyword choices may have done a magnificent job for you last year, or last month, or last week — but that doesn’t mean they’ll continue to perform, nor should you show undying loyalty to them. Keywords fade in and out of popularity in response to the dynamic, fickle world of online search trends and algorithm adjustments, so you have to roll with the punches. Keywords that no longer deliver the desired results need to be dumped in favor of more popular and/or relevant ones.
The same goes for negative keywords. If you’ve allowed some irrelevant keywords into your ads, you’re probably getting false clicks. Make sure the negative keywords added to your AdWords Keywords tab are up to date.
When did you last check your negative keywords in AdWords?
3. Fix Your Ad Content
If your ads are failing you, then it doesn’t really matter how “hot” your keywords are. Google assigns an Ad Rank based partly on the cost per click and partly on your ad’s “Quality Score.” The Quality Score is a direct reflection on the relevance of an ad’s content. Low ad quality means low performance — it’s as simple as that.
How do you fix an ad to boost its Quality Score? First of all, make sure the keywords you’re using are genuinely meaningful and attractive to your target market; if they aren’t driving searches, replace them with stronger choices. Wrap your keywords compellingly around a central theme, compose a strong call to action, and include extensions such as links to well-written landing pages.
4. Break Out the A/B Testing
Don’t forget that call to action!
Did you originally use split testing to see which of your page text or layout choices produced stronger PPC results? If those results have wilted, then it may be time to go back to this particular drawing board. If you’ve never used this method, then it’s time to start. By experimenting with specific variations on your pages, you can come up with the most successful combination of elements for your PPC campaign.
A/B testing can show you a lot, as long as you know what you’re looking for. Watch closely for differences in the bounce rates, number of unique visitors, time spent per page, and conversion rates that occur with each test. This controlled method of trial and error works something like the optometry test where you’re asked “Better like this, or better like this?” by helping you zero in on the most potent combinations.
Maintaining an effective PPC campaign is like maintaining a high-performance sports car — it requires knowledge, time, patience and effort. It’s not surprising that many businesses choose to leave this critical task to an expert “mechanic.” If you’d like your PPC campaign to enjoy a professional overhaul as well, contact us to request a quote.
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