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.

“Always Be Testing” An A/B Testing Rule To Improve Conversion Rate

There’s an often quoted saying in the advertising world, coined by John Wanamaker, a famed early 20th-century advertising tycoon: “I know that half my ad dollars are wasted, I just don’t know which half.” Wanamaker’s words still ring true for PPC advertisers today. Developing high-converting PPC campaigns can seem like guesswork, and sometimes advertisers can feel like there’s no guarantee that their ads will perform well until after the fact.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic button on AdWords to optimize your ads and boost your conversion rate overnight. Nevertheless, improving conversion rates is a priority for many search marketers. And while there’s no secret formula to that will guarantee a high conversion rate, improving ad performance can often be achieved with A/B testing practices that follow the simple rule of “always be testing.” If you can commit to making A/B testing a regular part of your PPC campaign management, you’ll be rewarded with better CTR and conversion rates.

Why A/B Testing is Important

It can be hard to know how your audience will respond to your brand before you serve them any ads, and what you think will work best might not actually give you the best results when your ads are in action. Only about 22% of companies are satisfied with their conversion rate, meaning that nearly 3 out of every 4 marketer’s PPC campaigns are regularly failing to resonate with their audience. Fortunately, the digital nature of PPC ads gives marketers the ability to tweak and test new versions of their ads in an instant, and to run different versions of their ad simultaneously. By serving different ad variations to segments of your customers, you can find out which variations your prospects will respond to, and you can hone your message and presentation to better fit with their needs and expectations.

Oftentimes advertisers are obligated to make decisions about their PPC campaigns without having a strong foundation of evidence to support those decisions. What color should your “Download” button be? How do you select search ad copy that will garner the highest CTR? Every aspect of your campaigns has a wide range of variations from which you must make a selection. A/B testing allows you to make decisions about your PPC campaigns based on data gathered from real reactions from your prospective customers. When the results of A/B tests control the flow of your ad campaigns, you’ll be able to make better decisions based on the data you’ve collected, rather than subjective feelings and opinions.

How A/B Testing Can Improve PPC Campaigns

A/B tests can improve your CTR and conversion rate significantly, and savvy companies are wising up to the benefits  Both large and small companies can benefit from A/B testing; for example Google ran 7,000 A/B tests in 2011. It should come as no surprise that companies that are serious about advertising invest heavily in A/B testing. By leveraging A/B testing strategies to gain better insight into the preferences of your audience, you can hone in what converts best, from ad copy and messaging to landing page layout and design.

Well-tested campaigns can lead to measurably better advertising initiatives than their un-tested counterparts. In one instance, SAP was able to boost their conversion rate by over 32% by changing the color of their CTA button. Businesses with over 40 landing pages converted up to 12 times more leads than those with only 1-5 landing pages, and that’s no coincidence — testing multiple variations of your advertising and marketing materials allows you to see what works best and invest more of your ad spend in materials with a proven track record.

A Good Testing Strategy is a Continuous One

A common mistake made by novice search marketers is that they treat A/B testing as a one-time event. They run tests briefly, take a look at their results, then run their campaigns indefinitely based on those assumptions. But testing once isn’t enough. High-performing PPC campaigns are those that are carefully and actively managed. Consequently, A/B tests must evolve with your campaigns. And even if your campaigns are doing well right now, constantly testing and experimenting with your ad campaigns can keep you ahead of the curve in the long run.

Another important aspect of A/B testing is to make sure you let your tests run long enough. If you run A/B tests for a day or two and make assumptions based off the results of those flash-in-the-pan tests, you aren’t likely to see a big difference in your conversion rate. You need a larger data set to really understand which advertising materials perform the best. Marketing experts suggest running A/B tests for at least a week to ensure that you have enough information to make informed decisions about your campaigns. Your ideal test runtime may vary but, as a general rule, the longer you’re able to run tests, the better results you’ll see.

Always Be Testing with Webrageous for Better PPC Conversion

As the PPC advertising field gets more and more competitive, marketers are developing more sophisticated strategies than ever to stay ahead. 85% of search marketing professionals focused on improving their conversion rate with A/B testing this year. If you’re not using it as a tool to improve your campaigns you’re not being competitive enough.

Managing high-performing PPC campaigns and effective A/B testing strategies can be time and resource-intensive. Here at Webrageous we have a dedicated team of PPC campaign managers who can identify and manage your highest-converting AdWords materials to help you improve your conversion rate. Contact us today so we can help you achieve better results from your PPC campaigns.

How To Use Adwords Ad Extensions To Increase Profitability

Why Are Adwords Ad Extensions So Important?

We know that the more Adwords ad extensions we use with our campaigns the higher or even cheaper an ad’s position can be. If you weren’t aware of this yet, in October of 2013 Adwords adjusted its method of calculating ad rank by adding in ad extensions as a factor. Prior to this change it worked so that ad rank was calculated by max. cost/click times quality score. Now it is calculated by max cpc. times quality score times the quality and usage of ad extensions.

For more info on this. http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/10/improving-ad-rank.html

Adwords ad extensions are important for reasons other than just getting a better CPC or higher ad rank. Ad extensions increase the real estate you contain the above the fold. The more real estate you hold the higher your chances of getting your ad seen, clicked on and converted through.

What Adwords Ad Extensions Are Available & How To Use Them

Location Extensions:
If you are a local business, location extensions are going to be a critical factor to your campaigns by showing your potential customers that you are in their area and not just a national company trying to get their business. This Adwords ad extension tells people how close you are to them and give them a chance to learn more about your business.

To add Location Extensions, you must have a Google Places account setup under the same email that you use to access your Adwords account. From there just go into the Ad Extensions tab, choose Location Extensions from the dropdown box and click +Location Extension and connect to your Google Places account.
Adwords Ad Extensions Location Extensions

When you have location extensions setup in your campaigns/adgroups, you can go into the dimensions tab, select Distance from the dropdown menu and see how far away from your location your ads are being seen, clicked on or converted from. With this insight you can optimize your ads to show within the distance that works best for your business by increasing/lowering your radius around your location that ads are being targeted to.

Sitelink Extensions
Sitelink extensions give more information to the potential customer about your business and website. If you have multiple categories that are associated to different adgroups or campaigns it is best practice to setup sitelinks that are specific to those adgroups and/or campaigns. This increases your relevance of the adgroup and/or campaign and helps the potential customer understand what variations or choices within that category you have available to them.

Using sitelink descriptions isn’t a bad idea either. This can increase the real estate of your ad above the fold if shown which is always great. These are not always shown and it is dependent on whether Google’s algorithm displays them or not, but it doesn’t ever hurt to have them just in case.
Adwords Ad Extensions Sitelink Extensions

Call Extensions
If phone calls are important to your business then setting up call extensions are a must. This gives a person a chance, if they are on a device able to make calls to click the number or call button and call you right away rather than visit the website and dial the number from there.
Adwords Ad Extensions Call Extensions

With call extensions setup it is important to setup conversion tracking for click to calls from ads so you can see which call conversions came in on specific campaigns, adgroups and keywords. Also with call extensions setup you can go into the dimensions tab and select call details. This will give you insight into where the call came from by area code, the time of the phone call and what day/time the call came in. With this information you can better optimize your advertising by day of the week, time and location to increase your calls and lower your costs per conversion.

App Extensions
If you business has an app in the Google Play store why not market this alongside your other search marketing efforts. You first must connect your Google Play Store Console account with your Adwords account which you can do by clicking on the gear icon in the top right hand corner and then click Linked Accounts. From there just link Google Play. Similar to location extensions, your Google Developer Console (where your app is held) must be the same login as your Google Adwords account.

Adwords Ad Extensions App Extensions
By marketing an app along with your search ads you can increase engagement with customers or potential customers and build a credibility with your audience. Soon you will see them searching for your brand and not just your products/services which results in a lower cost/click and potentially higher conversion rates.

Review Extensions
Review extensions are great to have but not always able to be used by the regular joe. These extensions are only available to you if there is a third party review of your business or services on a different website. If you have a third party review, it is a good place to use this extension and let your potential customers know how reputable your business is.
Adwords Ad Extensions Review Extensions

Call Out Extensions
These are some of the best extensions to have. You must use a minimum of 2 in your campaigns/adgroups. It allows you to extend the length of your ad copy and highlight important areas of your business. Use call out extensions to say more about your business, services and/or products. Use callouts like you would sitelinks and setup individual sets of call out extensions per ad group and campaign if you can. This will help increase the relevance of your ads. With an increase in relevance comes an increase in quality score and in turn a decrease in cost/click for a specific position you are targeting.
Adwords ad Extensions Callout Extensions

Structured Snippets
This is the newest addition to the ad extension family. Structured Snippets are similar to Callout Extensions but there is a key difference. Adwords tells us that Callout Extensions are used to highlight what makes your business, services, products unique. Structured Snippets are used to highlight a specific aspect of the products/services your offer.
Adwords Ad Extensions Structured Snippets
With Structured Snippets you can only choose from the following categories:

  • Amenities
  • Brands
  • Degrees
  • Destinations
  • Course Programs
  • Featured Hotels
  • Insurance
  • Neighborhoods
  • Service Catalogs
  • Shows
  • Styles
  • Types

For an example let’s use an Atlanta based realtor that has an Adwords account and wants to expand his ads for a campaign that focuses on high end real estate. This realtor would set his structured snippets to neighborhoods and for value 1 use Buckhead, value 2 use Ansley, value 3 use Druid Hills. These Structured Snippets can also show at the same time as the Callout Extensions thereby increasing your ad real estate and highlighting key information a person searching for your business’ products/services would want to know more about.

In Conclusion
We can see that using ad extensions correctly not only increases our ad real estate but increases the relevance of our ads to the searches done that show it. This helps us get more conversions by displaying the more in-depth information needed for the question (search query) at hand. When we use these ad extensions in combination with each other we see a lower cost/click to obtain our given position, a possible lower cost/conversion and in turn higher profits for the business.

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.