How to Optimize a “Limited by Budget” Campaign

Whether you have been running AdWords campaigns for a while or you are new to PPC, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve seen that bright orange “limited by budget” notification on your AdWords dashboard. But what you might not realize is that you can use these budget notifications to your advantage to keep your PPC campaigns running smoothly. Here’s what you need to know about “limited by budget” campaigns and how you can adjust them to maximize their performance and optimize your ad spend.

What does “Limited by Budget” Mean?

Google AdWords campaigns may receive “limited by budget” designation whenever your budget is lower than Google’s recommended budget daily budget for a given set of keywords. This could mean that your budget is too low to serve your ads at all, or that it is too low to serve your ads more than a few times per day. While it’s easy to assume that Google is simply trying to convince advertisers to spend more money on advertising, these notifications can be a helpful performance indicator for your campaigns. For instance, if you’ve set your budget for a campaign to $200 per day and the CPC for one of the most popular keywords in that campaign is $50, you might be maxing out your budget each day after only four clicks. And unless your conversion rate is incredibly high, you probably won’t see great results from that campaign.

Optimizing Your “Limited By Budget” Campaigns

You can still run successful campaigns that are technically limited by budget. However, using these built-in notifications can be a useful technique in your advertising toolbox. By using “limited by budget” notifications as indicators of campaigns that need may need some tweaking, you can optimize your ad spend and improve your campaigns overall.

In some cases, the quickest and easiest fix for “limited by budget” campaigns is simply to increase your budget allocation for that campaign. However, most of us don’t have an unlimited ad spend, so making the most of our budgets is a priority. Here’s how to optimize your campaigns to ensure you’re getting great results within your existing budget.

Use Metrics to Cultivate Your Keyword Strategy

One of the first things you should do with “limited by budget” campaigns is to investigate why your campaigns are hitting budget limitations. Determine if there are a few keywords that are sucking up most of your budget. Some industries — especially the legal and insurance industries — can have extremely expensive keywords that might be eating up your entire daily budget after just a few clicks.

Once you’ve found the keyword culprits, you can take action to keep them from derailing your PPC campaigns. If they aren’t performing up to par, determine why; are they so expensive that you max out your budget after just a few clicks? Or are you getting plenty of clicks, but for keywords that aren’t relevant enough to your services to lead to a conversion? You may want to adjust your bid or pause keywords that take up a lot of impressions, especially if they aren’t converting well.

Break Budget-Hogging Keywords Out of Campaigns

Sometimes budget limitations are caused by poorly segmented campaigns. High-ticket keywords can bring your business valuable potential customers, but oftentimes they take attention away from cheaper keywords with relatively lower traffic, such as long-tail keywords, that might be just as important for driving a healthy lead flow. Consider creating separate campaigns for these “budget hogs.” This also helps to ensure that your ads also get some airtime for less expensive keywords that may be a better fit for your advertising goals.

Build and Manage Your Negative Keyword List

Building a healthy negative keyword list is another important aspect of optimizing “limited by budget” campaigns. By cultivating a list of keywords that you don’t want to target, you can ensure that when your ads are served, they’re reaching the right audience. Making sure that your ads are a good fit for the viewers that AdWords serves them to can help decrease your average CPC and improve your conversion rate overall.

Be sure to revisit your negative keyword list on a regular basis to make sure that it is comprehensive and accurate. Consumer search behaviors can change over time, so you may need to add or remove negative keywords from your list over time.

Use Ad Scheduling to Stretch Your Budget

Another data set to examine on your “limited by budget” campaigns is when you are maxing out your daily budget. For some high-traffic keywords, you may be hitting your budget limit early in the morning. This may negatively impact your campaign’s efficacy because in some cases PPC ads demonstrate better performance at specific times of the day. Additionally certain times of day may be more competitive, driving up the cost of ads. By scheduling your ads to run during time periods that are less expensive, you can stretch your existing budget further. This can be a useful tactic if you are running call only ad campaigns, especially if you have a specific time range in which you would like prospects to call your business.

Optimizing Your PPC Campaigns with Webrageous

Managing successful PPC campaigns isn’t always a quick and easy process, but it can bring great returns if you can devote time and resources to running your campaigns well. Whether you have limited time or a limited budget, effective, affordable PPC campaigns do not have to be out of reach for your business. Webrageous can help optimize your campaigns to perform well with the budget that you have, and ensure that you’re getting the best results possible from your PPC efforts. Contact us today to learn more about how our experience and expertise can help you reach your PPC advertising goals.

How to Prevent Overbidding on PPC Keywords

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Keeping your PPC ads in the top position can have a huge impact on the success of your PPC campaigns overall. The average CTR for PPC ads drops significantly between the first three positions, so to make sure you’re getting the best results from your ad spend, it’s important to aim high by bidding enough to ensure that your ads win the best positions.

However, there is such a thing as bidding too high, and overbidding can be a major drain on your advertising budget. By taking steps to ensure that your bidding strategy is aggressive enough to keep your ads in high-performing positions, but not so aggressive that it eats up your budget too quickly, you can help stretch your ad spend and improve the performance of your campaigns in the long run. Here are a few tips to avoid overbidding for your PPC keywords.

Improve Quality Score to Lower CPC

In order to ensure that viewers find their ads valuable, Google doesn’t always simply give the top ad positions to the highest bidder — Google also takes into account Quality Score, or how relevant the content of the ad and landing page is to its corresponding keyword. Your Quality Score can impact the amount you spend on your campaigns, as advertisers with higher Quality Scores can pay less for a bid and still have their ads show up in a higher position than advertisers with low Quality Scores.

There are a number of ways to improve your Quality Score, from optimizing your ad and landing page copy to target specific keywords to restructuring your campaigns into smaller, more focused segments. Ultimately, understanding the factors that Google takes into account when calculating your Quality Score and continuously working to improve the quality of your campaigns is the best strategy for improving your Quality Score and lowering your CPC.

Set Your AdWords Budget Under Your Actual Budget

Did you know that AdWords campaigns can cost more than your set daily budget? In order to increase ROI of campaigns, Google allows daily budgets to be exceeded by up to 20% of your set budget. And while Google has some safeguards in place to keep this from adding up to a huge overspending in the long run, if you’re making changes to your campaigns frequently, such as turning them on and off, you’re likely to overspend. If you’re worried about overbidding, lowering your budget for high-cost campaigns can help keep your ad spend in check.

Focus on PPC Keywords that Actually Convert

One of the biggest budget drains on your PPC campaigns is paying for ads that don’t convert. In many highly competitive industries, scoring top ad positions for lucrative keywords can cost tens or hundreds of dollars. But the highest-cost keywords won’t always be the best match for your business, and oftentimes more targeted keywords will garner higher CTR and conversion rates.

Instead of bloating your bids to chase those high-cost keywords, dive into your AdWords dashboard and determine which keywords have performed best for you historically. Focus your bidding strategy on scoring the first position for keywords that you have had a good conversion rate for to make sure that your ad spend is ultimately doing what you want it to do — bring in new customers.

Understand How Bid Stacking Can Affect Your Campaigns

AdWords’ Enhanced Campaigns feature allows advertisers to use bid modifiers to adjust their bids based on time of day, location and other factors. While this feature can be a powerful tool to help you control your ad spend at a more granular level, it can also lead to overbidding if you aren’t careful. If a search matches several criteria that you have set, the bid modifiers will “stack up” and might end up costing you far more than necessary. For instance, if you have a modifier set to bid 100% more than usual for searches on mobile devices and 50% more than your base bid for searches after 9pm, then a search conducted on an iPhone at 10pm might end up costing you 150% more than your base bid.

Bid stacking can be a useful technique for scoring competitive spots without setting your baseline campaign budget too high, but it’s important to monitor how these bid modifiers are working for your campaigns very closely to ensure that they’re not wasting valuable advertising resources.

Don’t Rely on Automatic Bidding

Automatic bidding can seem like a tantalizing option, promising moderately good PPC results with a minimal amount of time and energy investment. Automatic bidding can be an effective tool for managing campaigns, but when advertisers rely on it too heavily it can lead to overspending on underperforming campaigns. Manual bidding takes more work to manage effectively, but gives you more control over how and where your advertising dollars are spent. As a result, you can avoid overbidding and ensure that your ad spend is allocated effectively.

Manual bid management can be a daunting task, especially for inexperienced PPC advertisers, or small business owners who don’t have much time to manage their advertising campaigns. Fortunately, by leveraging the experience and expertise of dedicated PPC managers such as Webrageous, manual bidding can be a manageable practice even for organizations with limited time or budgets.

Leverage Webrageous’ Experience to Decrease Overbidding and Optimize Your Campaign Results

Want to get your bidding strategy into better shape? The PPC experts at Webrageous have years of experience managing AdWords campaigns and helping our clients realize better results from their PPC advertising efforts. We can give you more control over your ad spend by managing your campaigns for you and honing in on the best strategies for keeping your ads in high-performing positions. If you’re ready to stop overbidding and start getting more out of your PPC campaigns, contact Webrageous today.

Best Practices of Placing Your Call To Action on Your Mobile Landing Page

No matter what industry you’re in, mobile advertising is most likely becoming one of the best ways to reach the optimal audience for your business. According to Google, as many as 93% of consumers use mobile devices to research or make purchases. If you’re not running mobile PPC campaigns, you’re probably not reaching your advertising dollar’s potential. But for those mobile PPC ads to perform well you have to have a strong, well-placed call to action.

Your call to action, or CTA, represents the “Do or Die” moment for your advertising campaigns. A well-written, well-placed CTA can help spur conversions and improve ad performance. However, a poorly executed CTA can deter otherwise willing prospects from converting when they reach your landing page. Here are 5 best practices for making sure that your mobile landing pages are optimized for conversion.

Make Your Ads Thumb-Friendly

A significant but often overlooked aspect of mobile marketing is recognizing that your audience is viewing ads in a different format than desktop browsers. Text sizes and links that fit just fine on desktop screens can be frustratingly tiny on mobile screens. Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines recommend touchscreen targets, such as CTA buttons, of at least 44×44 pixels, although a study at MIT found that the average mobile device user needs at least 45-57 pixel-wide targets to comfortable click buttons on touch screens.

Whether you measure your CTA buttons down to the last pixel or not, optimizing your CTA buttons for mobile users is critical to their performance. One of the easiest ways to gauge how user-friendly your ads are is to pull them up on a smartphone and test them yourself; if you have trouble pressing your call to action button, you can be sure that at least a portion of your target audience will have trouble as well.

Design Your Landing Page Around Your CTA

Your call to action has no business being shy — it is the focal point of a well-designed landing page, and it should be as easy to find and as clear as possible. On mobile ads, this often means big, bold text or a button, and (usually) above-the-fold placement. Test your page to make sure that it loads correctly and quickly. Over half of mobile users will abandon web pages that take longer than 3 seconds to load, so ensuring that your landing page isn’t cluttered up with slow-loading or visually distracting elements can help keep your audience’s focus where you want it to be. And remember: stick to only one call to action per landing page. A single, easy-to-recognize CTA that draws the eye should be effective enough on its own. Multiple CTAs will only distract and decrease the chances of a viewer taking action overall.

Keep Your Copy Short, Simple, and Specific

Small screens also mean you need to get your message across faster and more concisely than ever. Short, pithy copy is a must-have for your mobile call to action. Most consumers have seen generic CTAs thousands of times over, and these uninspired CTAs don’t provide any real incentive for readers to act. Focus on crafting your call to actions to be dynamic and action-focused to help boost your CTR. Alternatives to the tired “Click Here” and “Download” include phrases like “Shop Our Collection Now,” “Start Your Free Trial” or “Download Your Coupon Here.” If you cut down your text to the minimum needed to get your message across while keeping your language specific, you can make your intent clear to your audience.

Stay Above the Fold…Probably

When they first load your landing pages, what do your viewers see? Is there a clear focus and intention to the page, and an easy-to-find call to action? If your CTA isn’t visible from the moment your landing page loads, you might want to consider redesigning it. Users spend as much as 80% of their on-page time above the fold. If you want to guarantee that your call to action will have maximum viewing time, placing it above the fold is a fairly safe bet. However, although conventional wisdom holds that CTAs should be above the fold, many companies are finding that that isn’t always the case. As mobile device users become more accustomed to seeing long, scrolling web pages, the fold becomes a less significant barrier. The best way to find the best placement for your CTA is to test variations. Which leads us to the next best practice for placing CTAs…

Test, Test, Test!

We’ve discussed in previous posts how A/B testing is one of the best ways to improve your ad conversion rates. Everything from the color of your text to placement to buttons and links can impact how well your landing page performs overall. Testing variations of copy, layout, and other aspects of your landing page can help you hone in on what style, messaging, and CTA placement will resonate most with your customers. Advertisers who used a large number of landing pages variations generated as many as 12 times more leads than those who maintained only a few landing pages. And you don’t have to start churning out dozens of new landing pages to reap the benefits of A/B testing. Testing how simple changes to the placement of your CTA can have a big impact in the overall quality of your campaigns and can help boost your conversion rate significantly.

Make Your Call to Action Click with Webrageous

Mobile PPC advertising is still a young and evolving segment of online advertising, and it’s not uncommon for advertisers to make mistakes with their mobile campaigns as they venture into this lucrative space. Webrageous has been managing mobile PPC results since mobile advertising became available to marketers, and we’ve been honing our digitical advertising strategies over the years to help our clients get the best possible results from their campaigns. If you’re interested in learning how Webrageous can help you improve and maintain your mobile PPC campaigns and boost your business, contact us today for a consultation.

Ad Blocking Software is on the Rise– Here’s What Advertisers Need to Know

You’ve identified your audience, researched keywords and written great ad copy — but are your PPC ads really reaching your audience? As advertising space takes up a larger and larger chunk of online real estate, software such as AdBlock and AdBlock Plus, which are designed to block display and search ads from displaying in browsers, is becoming increasingly popular among consumers.

But as you might have guessed, ad blocking comes at a steep price for advertisers. Ad blocking software costs companies that run PPC advertising campaigns up to $21.8 billion a year. With new mobile ad blocking applications on the horizon as well, it’s absolutely critical for advertisers to understand why ad blocking software is becoming so pervasive, how it affects their campaigns and what they can do to minimize its impact on their ad spend.

Why Ad Blocking is Bad for PPC Campaigns

The negative impact of ad blocking software on PPC campaigns is self-evident: if people aren’t seeing your ads, your ads can’t bring you any business. Ad blocking software renders PPC campaigns ineffective because browsers never see you ads.

Fortunately for advertisers, there is a bright side; since ad blocking software prevents the ads from ever being downloaded at all, rather than simply hiding them, advertisers generally do not pay for impressions. Additionally, as of late 2014 only about 5% of all Internet users were using ad blocking software on a regular basis. While this number has continued to grow, the majority of people still see PPC ads regularly. While the popularity of ad blocking should be a serious concern for advertisers, PPC advertising is still a viable and effective way to reach most consumers.

Low-Quality Ad Practices: The Root of the Problem

To understand why ad blocking has become such a popular practice, let’s look at why ad blocking software exists. Consumers opt to block advertisements for a number of reasons. Some simply aren’t interested in the ads they are served and find cluttered, flashy and sometimes noisy ads annoying. In other cases, consumers fear being tracked and targeted by advertisers, and try to find ways to prevent advertisers from following them online. Many consumers also find that web pages load significantly faster when they use ad blocking software, especially on sites glutted with advertisements.

Ultimately, consumers are reacting to a culture of bad advertising practices. They are getting fed up with the low quality of ads they see on many sites, and they’re taking action. In a recent TechCrunch article on the impact and future of ad blocking, CEO Harry Kargman of mobile ad company Kargo, discussed how advertising metrics need to be updated to reflect the reality of how advertisers and consumers behave:

“[How we measure PPC campaigns] really should reflect the quality of the environment the ad runs in, how brand safe it is, the quality of the content on the page, how well the ad is integrated onto the page and, obviously, how much the consumer engages with the ad.”

By making a more concerted effort to serve high-quality, relevant ads, rather than simply trying to optimize for impressions and clicks, advertisers are less likely to experience a backlash from consumers. As an added benefit, consumer-conscious ad display methods are more likely to garner the returns that advertisers are really interested in, such as conversions and sales.

Working with Ad Blocking Software Providers to Find a Solution

Unfortunately, there’s no magic button to unblock your ads for viewers. However, some ad blocking software providers have recognized the fact that advertising is an important part of the digital economy and are working to provide a solution. AdBlock Plus, one of the most popular ad blocking applications, introduced an “Acceptable Ads” program in 2011 for advertisers. By meeting specific criteria for quality with their ads, advertisers can have some of their ads whitelisted so that they will still be displayed to viewers who opt into the Acceptable Ads program.

AdWords users also have some good news — Google is one of the major advertisers working with AdBlock Plus to allow Google search ads to be displayed through this Acceptable Ads program. While it’s not a perfect solution, and browsers who use different ad blocking software are still out of reach for many advertisers, the concessions made by AdBlock Plus in favor of advertisers show that the relationship between consumers and online advertisers is still evolving.

What PPC Advertisers Can Do to Combat Ad Blocking

In truth, there’s not much you can do to reach consumers who are using ad blocking software. In many cases, the best defense against the growing popularity of ad blocking software is a good offense. Committing to high-quality, well-targeted advertising materials isn’t just best practices for PPC advertisers — it’s also an effective way to show consumers that advertising can be interesting, relevant, and relatively unobtrusive. Advertisers need to ensure that they’re doing all they can to provide ads that are useful and relevant, without being annoying to consumers. By sticking to less disruptive ad formats, such as text ads, advertisers can help combat conceptions that ads are annoying, malicious and detrimental to the browsing experience.

Remarketing is another area where advertisers can control audience perceptions of advertising. If you adhere to best practices for remarketing, you’re less likely to come across as annoying or invasive. For example, putting frequency caps on your remarketing campaigns is an important practice that will help keep your campaigns from flooding your viewers with your ads.

Developing High-Quality PPC Campaigns with Webrageous

It can take a good amount of experience and knowledge to develop PPC campaigns that consumers respond well to. By partnering with Webrageous, you’ll be able to leverage our years of PPC advertising expertise to create more nuanced, effective advertising campaigns. While ad blocking software isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, by running high-quality PPC campaigns, you can still see great results from your online advertising endeavors. Contact Webrageous today and we’ll show you how we can help you improve your PPC campaign performance.

What To Do When Your PPC Campaigns Stop Getting Results

Love it or hate it, PPC advertising is a continuously changing landscape. Ads that converted well last month might flop this month, and it isn’t uncommon for previously successful campaigns to start to degrade as time goes on. Active maintenance is your best bet against poor PPC performance. If your PPC campaigns have stopped getting results, there are several strategies you can use to boost your conversion rate and revitalize your campaigns.

Strengthen Your CTAs

A common problem with underperforming ads is that they don’t include a strong call to action. Make sure that your CTA is strong, clear and specific. Getting specific with your CTAs is can make a huge difference; ad viewers are used to seeing (and ignoring) the same generic ads over and over again, so your ads must provide something unique to get attention.

For example, simple CTAs such as “Click Here” and “Download” are short and concise, but they don’t compel readers to take action. The best CTAs help the reader understand what they’re getting when they click. “Download Free Whitepaper” or “Sign Up Now” are examples of stronger CTAs that that will resonate with readers.

Test New Ad Copy Regularly

Even ad copy that once performed well can lose its luster over time. It’s a good idea to keep testing new ads continuously, even if your existing ads are performing well. Studies have shown that companies with many different landing page versions generate up to 12 times more leads than their competitors with only a few landing pages. The reason? More personalized landing pages have greater appeal to viewers across a wide audience, and allow businesses to test many different messages to find the ones that work the best.

To capture this high conversion rate, try diversifying your ad copy and testing new versions on a regular basis. You’ll be able to target your campaigns for a wider audience, and get a better idea of what messaging works best overall.

Run or Optimize Your Mobile PPC Campaigns

In the past, we’ve advocated for mobile PPC campaigns as an effective way to get the best performance out of your PPC ad spend. As mobile devices take up a larger market share and buyers make the shift from desktop to mobile browsing, it’s more important than ever to activate and optimize your mobile PPC campaigns. If your PPC campaigns are starting to lag, turning on mobile can help you reach a larger audience and connect with prospects that you might have been missing out on.

If you are already running mobile PPC campaigns and aren’t seeing the results you want, you might want to check to make sure that your campaigns are optimized for mobile performance. From writing mobile-specific ad copy to leveraging mobile ad extensions for better conversion rates, learning the nuances of mobile PPC management ensures that your campaigns yield the best results possible.

Adjust Your Keyword Match Strategy

Broad keyword match can be a great tool for reaching a wide audience, but that wide audience can also encompass viewers who aren’t a good fit for your business. If you’re relying heavily on broad keyword match but don’t have a high CTR, explore other keyword match options to help you hone in on a more precise audience.

Using broad keyword modifier match and leveraging negative keyword lists are two ways to make broad keyword match campaigns work more efficiently. These keyword match methods help your ads reach a more tailored set of viewers. As a result, you’ll waste less of your ad spend on viewers that aren’t interested in your business at all.

Optimize Your Ad Positions

Research has shown that the drop-off between the top three ad positions on Google AdWords is significant. In many cases, the conversion rate below the third position can drop to nearly 0%. If you’re not monitoring your average ad ranking closely, you might be paying for ad positions that don’t get any play. Because the performance of lower ranking spots can be dramatically less than the performance of top spots, ensuring that your average ad position stays in the top three positions is critical to having a high CTR.

Make sure that you adjust your bids to keep your ads in the highest positions possible, without overreaching your budget. Finding a balance between the right price point and the right amount of exposure can take some practice, but it pays off in the long run.

Review Google SEO Updates

Algorithm updates from Google can have a huge impact on the performance of your AdWords campaigns. Keeping up with Google’s near-constant updates to how their algorithm measures the overall quality of web pages can be a frustrating challenge when it comes to perfecting your SEO strategy, but it can also influence PPC ad campaigns since those algorithm changes can affect your Quality Score.

If you’ve experienced a sudden drop in PPC performance and a decrease in SEO ranking, it might be worthwhile to check to see if you’ve missed a recent Google update and adjust your SEO and PPC strategies accordingly. As a general rule, keeping tabs on what changes Google is making to their search network can help you stay ahead of the game.

Partner with Webrageous to Keep PPC Campaigns Active and Stay Ahead

Ultimately, strong, healthy PPC campaigns require regular maintenance to keep them performing at their peak. By keeping a watchful eye on your campaigns, you’ll be able to learn the signs of a lagging campaign and make adjustments to bring your conversion rates back up to the levels you want.

The PPC management experts at Webrageous have years of experience working with successful PPC campaigns. We dedicate time and resources to our clients campaigns to give them great advertising results without having to spend hours managing their own campaigns. If you’re still stumped on how you can jumpstart your PPC campaigns, call us for a consultation — we can show you how our PPC campaign management services can help you achieve optimal results for your advertising efforts.