16 August, 2016
“What is it that I am doing wrong” You whisper to yourself seeing the monthly Adwords report.
You have done everything as told by the ‘experts’, read the golden guide for Adwords, changed your ad copy, did split testing, followed all the best practices and even stretched your budget to get that dream conversion rate, but it just didn’t work out.
Why me? You ask this to yourself. (Just the way Ross does it)
There are a lot of factors affecting the conversion rate and you cannot change it drastically after reading a blog on ‘best practices’ and implementing it into your account. Larry Kim, in his blog 3 Crazy PPC CRO Hacks To Boost Conversion Rates Right Now makes it clear that most PPC ad copy optimizations have absolutely NO impact on conversion rates.
You might have heard the fairy tale about how a PPC expert replaced some word and punctuations in the ad copy and saw a 5% increase in conversion rate. It doesn’t work like that, you have tried it and you saw the results.
It does not mean that you have to stop testing the ad copies, it does bring and micro conversions which can help you hit the big jackpot. Micro-conversions are valuable actions (e.g., click, comment, email list opt-in, product preview) that your target audience takes when they visit your website. These actions lead to macro-conversions (e.g., sales). So yes, it is helpful but you cannot expect a high amount of increase in conversions by just changing the ad copy.
In this article, I am going to talk about the practices on which you really need to spend your time on and the ones you can ignore to get more conversions from the same ad spend and make your adwords account into a money making machine. This is not the ‘Ultimate guide to Adwords best practices’ but the practices which have worked for me and my clients who are into eCommerce business.
Well, this is a no-brainer. Every ad you create on Adwords should have a strategy behind it. Remember, just sending traffic to a particular page should not be your goal, you must have a clearly defined path of actions a visitor should be taking after visiting your website to convert them. The best way to do this is to reverse engineer the path of purchase.
To make the most out of your adwords spend, you should be able to understand each and every aspect of adwords and the purchase path taken by the customer. Knowing how your customers are shopping on your website will give you an edge while creating a campaign. Reverse engineering a purchase path is simple; you start with the end goal, make changes to the landing page, select your keywords and make your ads.
There are normally 5 phases in a customer purchase journey. During each phase, a customer is going to ask different questions about your business and if they don’t get the answer, they are going to drop off from the sales funnel.
If you are a relatively new business, it makes sense to include information about your business on the landing page so that people can know what you do. Reverse engineering the purchase path helps to place important elements on each step in the sales funnel so that it help visitors answer the questions they have.
Determine Your Optimum Ad Position
It is not always necessary to have your ad on top of the search results, especially if you are running on a limited budget. Let me show that to you with some numbers.
Campaign Daily Budget: 50$
Conversion Rate: 2%
CPC for position 1: 0.22$
CPC for position 2: 0.20$
If we bid for position 1 we get approximately 227 (50/0.22) clicks per day and if we bid on position 2 we get 250 (50/0.20) clicks per day.
- Monthly conversions on position 1: 227*30*2/100 = 136 Conversions
- Monthly conversions on position 2: 250*30*2/100 = 150 Conversions
A massive increase of 14 conversions when you lower the bids and the ad position. This is possible when you have a limited budget and you are sure it runs out every day. If your keyword has a low search amount and you want more and more traffic, the scenario will be different as your goal will be to bring more traffic to the website and that is only possible by having a high CTR.
There is a misconception among some advertisers that High CTR = Massive difference in conversion rates. Most of us have faced this situation where we have a high CTR but low conversion rate and average CTR with good conversion rate. I agree that a very low CTR (<1% CTR) means low conversion or no conversion at all, and higher the CTR means high conversion rate. Having a high CTR will only increase your conversion rate by a very small amount and will not double it. If you are operating on a low budget, it is not worth to bid more to get the 1st position thinking High CTR will get you higher conversions.
If you are one of those advertisers who consider high CTR as a success metric, there are ways you can get a high CTR even when you are having a lower ad position. All you need to do is get a little creative with your advertising copy, use emotional triggers and make it more relevant.
Below are the ads for the keyword ‘Financial advice Boston’
Which one looks more appealing? Obviously, the 3rd one because it uses an emotional trigger and has a better headline than others. Even though it is in the 3rd position, there are chances of getting high CTR because of a unique headline. The rest of the ads have a generic headline with keyword stuffed into them which is not appealing. As a result, the ad in the 3rd position will have a good CTR even when it is in 3rd position. You can even experiment with Exact and phrase match keywords which can bring high CTR with low cost.
Determining the optimum ad position takes a good amount of time and tests. It might not even work as described above, but you cannot say that until you test it. The success of this method will be different from business to business and even keyword to keyword. What has worked for me might not work for others. The only key here is to keep testing and improving.
Spend More On Profitable Keywords And Weed Out Under-Performing Keywords.
Again, this is a no-brainer. We all have keywords in our campaigns which are performing extremely well and some keywords which are giving poor results. It is important to conduct regular audits of the keywords to find out which are profitable and which are not. Once we find them out, we should pause the underperforming ones and spend more on the performing ones. Doing this will help in lowering down the CPA’s and get more conversions in the same budget.
If your profitable keyword is getting a high amount of searches, you can even consider increasing your budget and spending more on that single keyword to get more sales. It is important to keep in mind that if you increase your budget on a single keyword, your CPA might increase because of the Law of Diminishing Returns but it will always be better than spending on underperforming keywords. Your CPA’s might rise a bit, but it will also bring a higher amount of sales.
It is also important to focus on reports of the keywords rather than the whole campaign. Don’t stop the whole campaign because it is not performing as expected, dig into its keywords to see the real result. It might happen that there is one keyword which is performing really well, but the whole budget is eaten up by the keywords that are not performing well. In this case, you want to remove the underperforming keywords and not the whole campaign.
Each time you run an Ad on Google search network, you will find out that there are a lot of search queries not relevant to your ads. Adding negative keywords is equally important in the optimization process. A regular Audit of the search terms reports should be carried out and negative keywords should be added to the campaign so that the ads only appear on the relevant terms.
Aligning Ad and Landing Page
If you want your Google ad copy to generate the most clicks possible, you have to align it with your landing page. When your ad copy aligns with your landing page, you get more conversions. The quality score measures the relevancy of the ad to the landing page, it is one of the metrics to predict the future performance of the campaigns. A high quality score can help you in decreasing advertising costs, better exposure and ad positions. Getting high quality score should be on the priority list of a PPC marketer. The copy of your landing page should be relevant to the copy of your ad.
Optimizely conducted an interesting experiment to find out whether aligning the ad copy with the landing page helps in improving conversions.
Control: In the control, they used the same landing page for 3 different ads with Headline on landing page “Test it out for free”
Variation: In the variation, they used different landing page headlines which aligned with the headlines of the ad.
The variation version which had the same headline of ad and landing page got 39% higher conversion rate. Another reason you should align ad and the landing page is to reduce the bounce rate and engagement on the site.
If you are an eCommerce store and having ads for a particular product or a category of products, it is a good practice to include the price or price range in the ad. Price is the most influential factor affecting a purchase decision. It happens a lot of time that we clicked on an ad, but the prices we saw on the landing page are way higher than we expected. If we include the price in the ad, we filter out leads that are not looking to buy in that particular price range. So, this way we get more qualified leads and a better conversion rate.
Adwords is still one of the most effective ways to give a boost to your online store. All you need to do is understand the platform completely and keep testing. I would love to read your views on this blog post. Do comment below if these strategies have worked for you or if you use any other creative strategy to boost conversion rate on Adwords.