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Three Steps You Can Take Today to Optimize Your PPC Ad Performance

Optimize PPC performance

There is perhaps no better way to quickly drive traffic to your website than using PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads. With pay-per-click, you can turn on a campaign, set your budget for the ads, and watch people start to land on your website almost immediately. It’s a wonderful tactic to have available within your digital marketing strategy and it’s useful for nearly every business. 

With that said, it’s also easy to burn through a large budget very quickly when using PPC. These types of ads can get expensive and the competition can be fierce. If you don’t watch your campaigns carefully, and you don’t put in the effort to optimize the ads to get the best possible results, you’ll wind up with a disappointing return on your investment. At a minimum, you could have received more for your money. 

This article is going to break down three steps you can take to optimize your PPC ads in the quest for better and better results. By applying some hard work, attention to detail, and a little bit of strategy, your PPC efforts might soon be more profitable than ever before. 

Step #1 – Experiment with Various Platforms

From a big-picture perspective, perhaps the best thing you can do for your PPC ad performance is to make sure you are using the right platform to serve your ads to your audience. There are a variety of places you can run PPC ads on the web today, and some of them will work better than others for your needs. Instead of just picking one and going with it for every ad campaign, it’s a good idea to get familiar with a variety of options so you can pick and choose based on the goals that you have at any given time. 

Experimenting with different ad platforms is pretty easy and not as time-consuming as it might sound. While they all have their own unique features and interfaces, most PPC ad services work in pretty much the same way. In other words, once you know how to use one, the learning curve for the others should be pretty short. 

Experiment with various platforms

Two of the biggest players in this space are Google Ads and Facebook Ads. You might have already tried out one or both of these platforms, but it will be helpful to go over a quick review of what each has to offer and when you might want to turn to one over the other. Let’s look at some key points on that topic –

  • Facebook drives awareness. If you are a relatively young brand hoping to put your name out into the market and get some attention from potential customers, Facebook Ads are a great place to start. The nature of the Facebook platform makes it great for connecting with the people that you want to reach, and the cost of PPC ads on Facebook tends to be slightly lower than with Google (although that will vary depending on your niche). If you have a new business and have never before run a single PPC ad, consider heading over to the Facebook platform to get your feet wet without breaking the bank. 
  • Turn to Google for sales. When it is time to run an ad campaign that is laser-focused on converting sales, Google Ads is likely to be your go-to option. This is due to the nature of Google and how it works. When people head to Google, they intend to perform a search to find something specific that they want on the internet. Whatever it is that you sell, chances are at least a few people are searching the web for it – through Google Ads, you can pay for the right to have your website appear near the top of the search results for relevant queries. People using Facebook don’t tend to have the same type of focused goal in mind as do users of Google, so conversion-focused PPC campaigns are often (but not always) better off here. 
  • Try small tests on both. One thing that is the same between Google Ads and Facebook Ads is the ease with which you can control your spending and limit the amount of money you put into your campaigns. So, rather than just guessing which platform is going to give you better results, you can simply give each a try with a modest budget and evaluate the results as they roll in. There is nothing like real-world feedback to help you make confident decisions. It should only take a short time and a minimal amount of money to determine which of these platforms is going to work best for your current campaign. 

While we’ve focused on Google and Facebook in this section, the reality is that many other platforms are available to consider, so you might want to try some of them out as well. You can get started with Google Ads, or there are other contenders that include Microsoft Ads, Instagram Ads, Reddit Ads, and many more. 

Step #2 – Dial in Your Targeting

In the world of PPC, targeting refers to the practice of refining your audience to make sure the right people see your ads. If you don’t dial in your targeting just right, there are a couple of problems that can pop up. First, without targeting the right people, you’ll have a hard time drawing clicks, because the people who see the ads simply won’t be interested. Also, if they do click, most of the money you spend on those clicks will be wasted, as the visitors are likely to find that they don’t want to buy what you are selling. 

Good targeting turns both of these issues around. You’ll get plenty of clicks when you aim at the right demographic, and among those clicks, you should be able to convert at a solid rate (as long as everything else needed for conversions is in place). It’s common for digital marketers to obsess over the copy they use in their ads, and while that is important, don’t allow a focus on copy to cause you to lose track of the value of targeting. You could even argue that targeting is the more important of these two, as presenting even the best ad copy to a group of uninterested people will still lead to disappointing results. 

Continuing our discussion of Google Ads and Facebook Ads, we can see a key difference here in how you are going to do your targeting. On Google Ads, targeting is first and foremost about the keywords that users search. It’s also possible to filter your audience in other ways – such as by their location or stated interests – but the name of the game here is targeting the right keywords. You probably already know what your audience is likely to be searching for based on your SEO work, so you can utilize a lot of that data in this application. 

With Facebook Ads, you are going to lean on demographics more than anything else. Facebook has tons of information available about its users, so you can rely on those profiles to break down your target audience and make sure you are only showing PPC ads to people who might be interested. For example, if you sell a product for women, targeting females only is an obvious starting point. That’s just a basic filter, however, and you can do a lot more based on age, location, hobbies, interests, and on and on. 

DIal in targeting

As a general rule of thumb, you want to err on the side of having your targeting be too narrow rather than too wide. If you cast a wide net, you are inevitably going to be paying for clicks that weren’t really a good match for your products or services. It’s better to start with tight targeting and gradually open it up as you start to see some results come in and gain a better understanding of who is actually buying from you. 

Step #3 – Think About the Landing

While it’s exciting to have someone click on one of your PPC ads, that’s really only the start of the process. After they click – and you pay for the click – that user is going to arrive at a landing page on your website. If they don’t like what they see, they’ll quickly click or tap on the “Back” button and the money you spent on that click will have been wasted. 

To extract maximum value out of the clicks you purchase, it’s important to have great landing pages in place for your PPC campaigns. The page that you point the visitor toward should have been designed specifically for the ad in question. That way, the page will line up nicely with the expectations of the visitor and they won’t be thrown off by any disconnect between your ad and your site. Trust is a big part of making a sale and the first step in building trust is to deliver what the user is expecting and not have anything seem out of place. 

If it seems like a lot of work to build a landing page for all of your different ads, well, it can be. However, this process can usually be streamlined through the use of templates. Once you nail down a design for your landing pages, you can repurpose that design over and over while simply changing the content to align with the expectations of the visitor. With a bit of practice and a good template in place, you can quickly turn out a fresh landing page to go along with any new ads/campaigns you launch. 

Think about the landing

When building your landing pages for PPC ads, remember that simplicity is the key. You don’t want to give the user too many options – instead, you want to present them with the single action that you’d like them to take. This is a case where too many choices can be a bad thing and will leave your visitor distracted and possibly unable to make a selection. Keep your landing pages simple and to the point, and make it clear what action you’d like the user to take. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that running PPC ad campaigns will ever be easy. Digital advertising can be powerfully effective, to be sure, but running such campaigns requires hard work, a process that follows accepted best practices, and an ongoing focus on improvement and innovation to achieve success.

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Kate Falconer
About Kate Falconer:

For over a decade in the digital marketing industry, Kate Falconer’s primary focus has been on PPC while also learning the basics of SEO. Kate manages PPC execution and informs PPC strategy, which involves display, remarketing, video and shopping campaigns on Google Ads and Bing Ads.

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