As a digital marketer, I understand how important it is to make the most of an advertising budget. I’ve worked with budgets from as little as $200 to as much as $30,000+ a month; no matter how big or how small a budget, we needed to make every dollar count. The bottom line is…well… the bottom line. You need to make money off of these clicks and, if you’re not, you seriously need to reevaluate your PPC strategy. In this article we will talk about how to make the most of your online advertising budgets.
Negative Keyword Targeting
A great way to weed out unwanted clicks is with negative keywords Do not even launch a PPC account without doing some major negative keyword research first. The best way to do this is to take a broad version of what you are targeting and plug it into the Google keyword tool. For example, if you are running the keyword “Piano Stores Portland Oregon” – put in “piano” and “pianos’ into the keyword tool and go through the 700-800 keyword suggestions; find the keywords that are irrelevant to your services and use them as negative keywords. Staying with our example – if you sell pianos but not “toddler pianos,” then you would want to negative match keywords like “toddler” and “child.” However, you need to be careful with negative keywords, since you could end up preventing your ad from showing on relevant keywords. If you sell baby grand pianos, then you obviously would not want to negative match the broad word “baby” but you could exact match [baby pianos] or [piano for baby].
Make Sure You’re Using the Right Keywords
Whether it is you or someone else that is running your PPC accounts, you need to make sure that each keyword is worth the cost. Too often we see businesses that put all their trust into digital marketing company without really knowing how their dollars are being spent. Then, when they take a look at their keyword report, they see several keywords that simply are not relevant to their business. Some of which may be very expensive, especially if they are keywords in Google AdWords (the most expensive, yet effective PPC platform in the world).
It is up to you to be the master of your own destiny in this situation. Make sure you are able to make each click profitable. Of course no one is going to have a 100% conversion rate, but the keywords you are bidding on must always give the opportunity to make a sale. Personally, I’ve always been an advocate of long tail keywords. These are very specific phrases that are usually 3-4 (or more) words long. They typically have a higher cost per click than the broader keywords but for good reason: they are targeting users who know exactly what they want, are passed the research phase and are ready to make a decision and/or purchase.
Keywords with low quality score can hurt you. Ad rank is a calculation that determines where you are going to appear on search engine results page (SERP) and how much you are going to pay-per-click. When your keywords have low CTR or are not relevant enough to your ads and website, you can end up pay quite a bit more than you should. When I encounter keywords that have a PQS, I don’t waste the time or money it takes to get the quality score back up, so I eliminate them. Don’t grow too attached to keywords. If they are costing a lot of money without showing a positive ROI, ditch them! Trust me, you’ll be better off without them. And you’ll end up saving a lot of money.
Separate the Winners from the Losers
Let’s say you cannot let go of those keywords, because you know they are eventually going to pay off! Well, if you insist, you can move the underperforming keywords to their own campaign and allocate a smaller budget to them. This way you can ensure the majority of your budget is being spent on your “power keywords” – aka keywords that are converting. Just make sure to use cross campaign/ad group negative keywords so your ads aren’t competing against one another.
Maximize your ad space
One way to ensure a good quality score is to make sure all your ads and keywords have a decent click-through rate. Depending on your match type, a good click-through rate can range anywhere from 2%(broad) to 7%(Exact). Anything beyond those numbers is excellent. A great way to increase your CTR is to utilize your ad extensions. Both Google and Bing have ad extensions, but Google’s tends to be the most robust. This includes:
- Sitelinks – Additional links into the website that are shown below your ads
- Location extensions – shows your address next to the ad, from which people can get directions to your location
- Call extensions – shows a phone number next to your ad and assigns a tracking phone number that records call duration and area codes
- Review extensions – shows reviews from clients next to your ad
- Social extensions – your Google plus page appears below the ad
All PPC accounts are unique, there will never be a one size fits all solution to any problem. But hopefully with these tips you can make the most of your 2014 budgets. Happy New Year everyone!