How to Track Call Conversions from Websites with AdWords

call conversions

For many businesses, PPC campaigns are designed to drive not just web traffic, but generate calls. Seventy percent of mobile browsers have called a business directly from an ad. When done correctly, taking advantage of this high-converting market segment can have a huge impact on the success of your PPC campaigns.

However, capturing information about these callers can be tricky. Many organizations advertise their business’ phone number in multiple locations. Perhaps the same number that you use for PPC ads also appears on your business cards, on your web page, or in print ads. If you were to simply put your business’ phone number into your ads, your ability to track conversions from your PPC campaigns would be somewhat limited. You wouldn’t be able to differentiate between callers who convert from your PPC ads and those who convert other sources.

Ensuring that you can track your calls as conversions is an important part of managing any campaign for which phone calls are a potential conversion action. Fortunately, Google has call conversions tracking tools at the ready to help you track the performance of your ads with call extensions and call-only campaigns

How Call Conversion Tracking Works

The mechanism behind call conversions tracking is fairly simple. Advertisers place a snippet of code in their ads, which inserts a Google forwarding number into the ad. This unique number ensures that whether the person viewing the ad clicks on the ad from their mobile device, or copies the number onto their phone, advertisers will be able to trace it back to a specific ad location. While setting up and using these forwarding numbers is free, you’ll be charged your normal CPC rate when someone clicks or calls the number.

This can be an especially powerful tool for advertisers running multiple campaigns. Since you can create multiple forwarding numbers with Google, you’ll be able to easily differentiate between calls coming from different sources, whether those are discrete landing pages or different campaigns. When used in conjunction with target CPA and target ROI flexible bid strategies, you can track the efficacy of various keywords in driving call conversions.

What You Need to Know Before You Start

Before you dive into call conversions tracking, there are a few things you’ll need to know about the limitations of this powerful AdWords feature. While these caveats shouldn’t discourage you from tracking call conversions, they are important to take into consideration from the start.

Call Forwarding Won’t Work Everywhere

One major caveat is that that Google does not support call forwarding numbers in all countries. For most businesses in the United States, Canada and Europe this isn’t necessarily problematic. However, if your business is located outside of North America or Europe, or if you frequently use PPC ads to drive international traffic, your ability to leverage Google forwarding numbers may be limited. Want to learn more? You can find a complete list of supported countries here.

Forwarding Numbers Expire

The unique forwarding numbers created by Google for ad campaigns will expire after 90 days. As a result, any instance where that number has been used must be changed or updated after the numbers expire (fortunately, this can be done dynamically on web pages). Google does not recommend using your call forwarding numbers outside of PPC campaign materials to ensure that they perform effectively.

No Support for No Caller ID

Additionally, Google does not currently support caller ID, so advertisers aren’t able to track or record who calls are coming from automatically. However, AdWords does record the area code of incoming calls, so advertisers won’t be left entirely in the dark as to where their calls are coming from. Another significantly missing feature is call recording, which must be supplemented by a third party provider.

Tips on Optimizing Call Conversions Tracking Performance

Format Phone Numbers Correctly

Putting your forwarding number on a landing page or website? Make sure the number is in HTML text form — rather than as part of a static image — so it can be changed dynamically. Since your forwarding numbers will expire after 90 days, it’s important to format your web pages so that the phone numbers you list can be changed dynamically. Additionally, make sure that your number is formatted exactly the same way across the page if it appears in multiple locations.

Want a deeper look at how you can optimize your page for call conversions tracking? SearchEngineLand has an excellent article on formatting pages that drive call conversions, which is a good starting point for any advertiser just getting into this space.

Test, Test, Test!

Above all else key to getting the most out of your call conversions tracking lies in ensuring that it’s actually working. Make sure that you test out your call forwarding number — both by clicking through from a mobile browser and by typing it into your phone’s keypad. Since call conversions often require tracking prospects across multiple devices or formats, testing the flow of their interaction is a critical step in ensuring that your call-only and call extension-based campaigns perform correctly.

Better AdWords Insights in Webrageous

Whether you’re tracking calls or measuring CTR, leveraging analytics information from AdWords helps advertisers run data-driven PPC campaigns. By relying on data to make decisions about how you should adjust and maintain your ad campaigns, you’ll be able to stretch your ad spend further and gain better results from your ads.

The PPC campaign managers at Webrageous have a wealth of knowledge understanding and interpreting AdWords data and applying it to successful campaigns. We can share our expertise to boost your PPC performance and help you get the most out of your digital ads. Contact Webrageous today for more information about how we can optimize your advertising campaigns and improve your conversion rate.

 

Yahoo Gemini Isn’t a PPC Gamechanger. Here’s Why.

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In February 2014, Yahoo launched Gemini, a marketplace for mobile and native advertising on the Yahoo network. But while Yahoo has been a big name in tech for years, since its launch two years ago Gemini hasn’t exactly been making waves in the digital advertising industry. Here’s why Yahoo Gemini hasn’t been a game changer to PPC space, and what you should know if you’re considering launching ad campaigns via Gemini.

Yahoo Gemini: What is It?

Gemini is Yahoo’s mobile and search advertising marketplace. It allows advertisers to put brand-sponsored content in front of viewers in a way that’s optimized for mobile devices. Gemini’s focus is on native mobile advertising. Gemini display ads in a format that is more or less seamless with the look and feel of the site the ads appear on. As a result, Gemini isn’t quite a direct competitor with AdWords. Yahoo Gemini doesn’t replicate all of AdWords’ functionality. Instead, it realizes Yahoo’s new mobile-first strategy.

With around 550 million monthly users, Yahoo is an often overlooked advertising platform for reaching prospective customers. And since Yahoo’s advertising partnership with Microsoft (via Bing Ads) has been faltering in the past few years, it would seem that this segment of online traffic is wide open for advertisers. So why hasn’t Yahoo Gemini changed the digital advertising game?

Gemini is Not Integrated with Other Yahoo Advertising Products

While Tumblr and Flurry are somewhat integrated with Gemini, not all of Yahoo’s advertising offerings are accessible through Gemini.  As a result, Gemini doesn’t provide a strong, centralized portal for accessing Yahoo’s overall user base in a variety of formats. This decentralization can pose a problem for smaller businesses with more limited resources for digital ad management, since it requires them to manage ads on the Yahoo network from multiple places. For business owners and smaller companies who don’t have dedicated PPC managers, dedicating extra time to managing multiple advertising channels — especially less sure-fire ones like Gemini — can be a dealbreaker.

Yahoo Has Less Traffic Than Google

At the end of 2014, Google had a whopping 67% of all US web traffic, while Yahoo garnered only about 10%. Lower overall traffic means that Yahoo simply has a smaller audience to offer advertisers. Oftentimes, PPC advertising ends up being a numbers game; serve your ads to a large enough relevant audience, and you’re sure to get a few bites. Unfortunately for Yahoo, their lower traffic translates to a less lucrative advertising space. However, for those advertisers who do end up running ad campaigns on Gemini, the less-competitive space can lead to lower CPCs as well.

Want to Give Gemini a Try Anyway?

Still want to give Yahoo Gemini a shot? We recommend copying existing ad campaign details from an existing AdWords campaign, instead of building them out from scratch in Gemini. You’ll also want to adjust your bids for Gemini, as the platform tends to have a lower average CPC than AdWords. Ultimately, giving Gemini a test drive won’t do any harm, but if you’re working with a tight budget, the biggest risk will be in taking away critical resources from AdWords campaigns that are likely to perform much better.

Diversify Your PPC Campaigns with Webrageous

When all else is said and done, experimenting with different platforms such as Gemini and Bing Ads can be a good way to find untapped audiences and diversify your advertising strategy. But since there’s no centralized ad management platform or service to help you manage all your digital ads from one place, adding a new ad service like Gemini to the mix can be a time-consuming endeavor without a guaranteed payoff. For many companies, the potential for the small bump in business that might be gained from managing Gemini campaigns is likely not worth the effort, especially if they’re managing their own PPC campaigns.

Webrageous has the dedicated resources and the experience needed to run campaigns across multiple advertising platforms. We can run PPC campaigns more efficiently than any individual business could on their own. As a result, we can manage campaigns across multiple outlets for you to ensure that you’re getting the optimal results from your PPC campaigns. With Webrageous, you can explore and experiment with innovative and potentially lucrative PPC channels without feeling like you’re wasting your time. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you optimize your PPC campaigns now.

Conversion Optimizer: Weighing the Pros and Cons

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With all the data you can track with Google AdWords, it can be easy to get sidetracked by relatively short-term metrics, such as CPC and CTR. But for most businesses, the ultimate goal of PPC campaigns is leveraging that data to give your ads a high conversion rate. Google’s Conversion Optimizer feature is designed to help advertisers hone in on the metrics that matter in order to optimize the conversion rates of their campaigns, and it can be a very effective tool for improving the performance of your PPC campaigns.

But the Conversion Optimizer isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that will make all your lead flow woes disappear overnight. Before you put all your faith in this powerful feature, it’s important to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of Conversion Optimizer. Here are some of the pros and cons of using Conversion Optimizer to help you decide what role it might play in your PPC campaigns.

Pros of Conversion Optimizer

Focus on Getting New Business

Google AdWords gives advertisers the option to track two kinds of conversions: conversions, which are simply the total number of conversions for the campaign, and converted clicks, which are unique clicks that lead to a conversion within a 30-day period. Being able to track and optimize for the latter can be a very effective campaign optimization technique. By using the Conversion Optimizer feature to focus on increasing “converted clicks,” advertisers can increase the flow of new prospects and leads coming into their funnel. This is especially important for companies where a steady flow of new business is important, such as in the legal industry.

Optimize Budget for Conversions

For advertisers with a limited budget, Conversion Optimizer can be an effective tool for getting the most conversions for your ad spend. The tool allows you to set either a maximum or target CPA (cost per acquisition), ensuring that your lead flow goals and your budget are well-aligned. Compared to manual bid management techniques, Conversion Optimizer can yield much more cost-effective results for your campaigns, without the extensive time commitment to making manual bid adjustments.

“Smart Management” Without the Expertise

The upside of Conversion Optimizer can be boiled down to a simple benefit: it helps advertisers with limited experience or knowledge of PPC improve their campaigns more effectively. Poorly run campaigns can waste advertising dollars and other resources. Conversion Optimizer provides a relatively easy way to capture more leads and waste less of your budget. Additionally, Conversion Optimizer is a free tool, making it a much more budget-friendly alternative to bid management and PPC management services. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that Conversion Optimizer completely replaces the knowledge of a true PPC expert. There’s no substitute for experience.

Cons of Conversion Optimizer

Less Control Over Campaigns

By its nature, Conversion Optimizer gives you less granular control over your bidding strategy. When you use the tool, you’ll only be able to make bids at the ad group level. Because the feature optimizes your bids automatically, you won’t be able to make keyword level adjustments to your bidding strategy. While this isn’t always a problem, it can spell disaster if your ad groups aren’t well organized.

You’ll also have less transparency into why decisions are being made. Conversion Optimizer makes decisions based on a complex algorithm and doesn’t provide an explanation for why it makes changes when it does. Ultimately, using Conversion Optimizer requires advertisers to have complete trust in Google’s management of their campaigns.  

Your Conversion Rate Must Already Be High

Another downside of Conversion Optimizer is that your campaigns already need to be high-performing to use your existing campaigns as a baseline for performance, so you must already be receiving conversions from your campaign for Conversion Optimizer to work. Google recommends at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days to give Conversion Optimizer enough data to work effectively.

Unfortunately, this means that for campaigns with very low existing conversion rates, Conversion Optimizer may not be a viable option until you’ve already invested time and resources in manually improving your conversion rate. Conversion Optimizer won’t magically fix a bad AdWords campaign. If you do plan to use it, try to use it to improve campaigns that are already doing fairly well, but could do better with a little extra push.

Automated Bid Management Won’t Give Innovative Results

One quirk of automated management tools is that they tend to give relatively predictable results. If you use Conversion Optimizer to run your campaigns, AdWords will focus on keywords that seem like a sure thing to make sure that you hit your conversion goals.  While this can be a good thing — taking advantage of “low-hanging fruit” is always a solid strategy — it probably won’t give you any interesting insights into how to manage your campaigns. Once again, it’s important to remember that while Conversion Optimizer is a powerful tool, but when it comes to creative problem solving, it can’t beat a human bid manager.

Optimizing Ad Results with Webrageous

Conversion Optimizer can be a highly effective tool for advertisers who are looking to get better results from lackluster campaigns. But the bottom line is that the performance of any automated PPC tool will only be as good as the work you put into it. In many cases, a combination of sophisticated tools like Conversion Optimizer and a solid foundation of PPC knowledge will be the best way to ensure that you get the best possible results from your campaigns.

The nuances of how AdWords functions, and best practices for running high-converting PPC campaigns, change constantly. Busy advertisers often don’t have time to run their campaigns themselves often turn to automation tools to help them manage their campaigns more effectively. Webrageous’ team of PPC experts can guide your digital advertising strategy and help you transform your campaigns into high-converting lead sources. Contact us today to learn how Webrageous can boost your PPC conversions and help you develop a more competitive bidding strategy.

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“Near Me”: How to Optimize Your PPC Campaigns for Local Search

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While the Internet is a powerful tool for reaching a worldwide audience, one of the best ways for businesses to leverage digital advertising is to think locally. As the use of mobile devices becomes more prevalent, the ability to serve location-specific PPC ads is more relevant and beneficial to your business than ever. Google searches that include the phrase“near me” has nearly doubled since last year, and increased 34 times over since 2011. Most of these location-focused searches for goods and services come from mobile devices, making locally-focused, mobile-optimized PPC ad campaigns a great bet for businesses looking to grow their lead pool and reach a more focused audience. Whether you’re looking to boost business in a specific geographic area, or you simply want to take advantage of the browsing habits that many mobile searchers have adopted, running local search campaigns can be an effective way to increase your lead funnel.

The Benefits of Optimizing for Local Search

By optimizing your ads for “near me” searches, you’ll be able to improve the overall performance of your PPC ad campaigns. As many as 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase. By focusing in on this highly active segment of PPC traffic, you’ll be able to decrease your wasted ad spend by reaching searchers who are primed for a purchase, and increase your CTR and conversion rate significantly. You’ll also be able to gauge where your business is most in-demand based on ad performance. This information allows you to hone in on specific markets and optimize your advertising efforts to where they’ll make the most significant impact. Convinced that it’s time to start honing in on local searches with your PPC campaigns? Here are some of our top tips for optimizing your PPC ads for local search.

How to Optimize Ads for Local Search

Use a Custom Blend of Localized and Nationwide Campaigns

If you’re using AdWords, setting up ad campaigns to target specific geographic locations is a relatively quick and simple process. However, the exact techniques you use to set up your campaigns may differ depending on your goals and how you want to manage your campaigns. The simplest way is to set up straightforward location-based ad campaigns. This type of campaign allows you to pinpoint very specific locations — such as neighborhoods and zip codes– but their granularity also requires a larger time investment and more careful maintenance. For businesses who are targeting a single location or small set of locations, this can be a very effective method. But if you want to cast a larger geographic net, managing a multitude of local campaigns may be overwhelming, especially if you’re managing your own campaigns. Another option is running nationwide ad campaigns and using location-based bid modifiers to adjust when and where your ads show up. However, this method gives advertisers far less specific control over their campaigns overall. For some businesses, a combination of both techniques can provide a good mix of granular and more generalized ad campaigns.

Be Precise with Location-Based Keywords

Your keywords should reflect the location you want to target, which can be as specific as you like. For instance, “Manhattan legal services” will help you hone in on an even more targeted audience and “New York legal services” would. Experiment with city and neighborhood names (and variations) to find what searchers are looking for. Additionally, make sure that your location information is correct and consistent. One study showed that having mismatched or incorrect location information for your business online can negatively affect the performance of your campaign overall.

Leverage Multiple Landing Pages for Multiple Locations

If you’re focusing in on more than one location, make sure that your landing pages are customized for the correct location. Customizing your landing pages by location helps to reinforce and confirm your brand’s relevance people searching for local businesses. Even simply swapping out bits of landing page copy to reflect the viewer’s location can have a big impact on your conversion rate — and going the extra mile and offering even more geographically specialized content can help improve ad performance even further.

Optimize Your Advertising Assets for Mobile Search

With over three-fourths of all location-based searches being conducted on mobile devices, optimizing your landing pages to be mobile-friendly is a critical part of ensuring that you don’t just get clicks, but conversions. Up to 40% of mobile browsers are likely to bounce if they land on pages that take more than just a few seconds to load, so your assets absolutely must be mobile-ready if you want them to perform well. Take the time to mobile-optimize your ads, landing pages, and any other assets that are a part of your digital marketing funnel to help keep prospects interested and moving towards a conversion.

Take Advantage of Location-Based AdWords Extensions

Be sure to take advantage of mobile ad extensions for AdWords — Google’s locationbased ad extensions allow you to display your business’s address, phone number, and map location and lets viewers see how close your business is to their location. Google reports that these extensions can give your ads as much as a 10% boost in CTR.

Getting from “Near Me” Searches to Conversion with Webrageous

Maintaining local search ad campaigns can be time-intensive, but running effective location-based PPC campaigns will help you attract more local business and take advantage of the growing trends in the mobile search habits of consumers. Webrageous can help you get the best results from your local search campaigns by setting up and maintaining your geotargeted campaigns. Our team of PPC experts has years of experience optimizing digital ad campaigns across a variety of industries and can help you hone in on potential customers that are searching for businesses like yours online. Contact us for a PPC consultation and we’ll get you started on the path to better advertising results today.

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.