Six PPC advertising fixes you need to action right now


Date: 24 March 2020

A stylish man makes a purchase after seeing a PPC ad on his phone

PPC (pay-per-click) advertising can be extremely effective if you get it right.

First, you need to find the right platform - Google is the obvious one, but there’s also Microsoft, Facebook and plenty more besides. Then, all you have to do is create ads to sell your product or service. When a customer clicks through, you pay a small fee. Sounds simple, but it’s a puzzle that’s only complete when every piece has slotted into place: you can’t bake a perfect cake without mixing the batter.

PPC visitors are 50% more likely to make a purchase than organic ones, so the process is worth getting right.

To make your PPC journey quicker, easier, and simpler to manage, we’ve created a list of the six main elements you need to tackle right now.

1. Create measurable goals

This could be anything from:

  • lowering the cost of each lead by a set amount
  • improving your conversion rate from 1% to 5%
  • boosting your sales by £5,000 over the next three months 

The goals should be challenging and innovative, but also achievable within a relatively short amount of time. Don’t set goals with the aim of accomplishing them in three years – if there's a need for your product or service, customers will be searching for your business now.

The best results come from analysing your data. You can make more informed decisions and assess whether your goals are realistic. You can also use the data you collect to create realistic benchmarks.

If you’re just starting out in PPC, you can create goals in line with your competitors and monitor how well this works for you.

For example, if their ads are more descriptive and informative, adding a bit of extra detail in your campaigns might boost your performance too.

2. Knuckle down on your targeting

Making sure your campaign targeting is set up correctly is essential: if your ads are being shown to people who aren’t interested in your brand, you’re never going to make any money.

For instance, if your local campaign is performing well on mobile but not on desktop, it’s worth focusing more on mobile as that’s where most of your customers are. Businesses such as fast food restaurants and local cafes might expect results like this, as people are likely to search for these services on the go.

You should also make sure you’re only targeting the areas where your most profitable customers are – which you can do using geographical targeting.

If people in Newcastle love the products you’re selling, but they are less popular elsewhere, you can change your geo-targeting to Newcastle only. Just make sure you regularly review your results and make changes if necessary. After all, trends change, and you don’t want to miss out on new leads.

Another point to remember is that most campaigns have time periods when they perform better than others. This is different for each business and product, but once you’ve found your peak selling time, it can make selling your products or services a whole lot easier.

Bear in mind you don’t want to over-target.

If most of your customers buy around 12-2pm on a Thursday afternoon, it doesn’t mean that’s the only time you should run your ads. Keep testing and comparing metrics, and you’ll find other optimal times where you can utilise your PPC budget.

3. Master your negative keywords

According to Google, 98% of top-spending accounts have more than 250 negative keywords. There’s a reason for this.

Negative keywords pick up on your visitors’ intent and ensure you only attract those who are interested in your product or service.

For example, if your ad for luxury wine glasses says “Beautiful glasses to suit every occasion”, people who search for “Beautiful glasses” who are actually looking for reading glasses are also likely to see your ad. Adding “reading glasses” as a negative keyword will stop your ads from appearing in these searches.

They’re useful in many instances. For example:

  • If you want to minimise customers searching for free products, add the word ‘Free’ to your list.
  • If you sell running shoes for men but not women, add 'women’s sports shoes'.
  • If you sell laptops, but not desktop computers add 'desktop' and 'desktop computer’ so you don’t come up in those searches.

Ads which are targeted to the right audience will increase relevant clicks, which in turn minimises wasted spend.

4. Reduce your wasted spend

The average Google Ads account wastes 76% of its budget on the wrong search terms. How? Because they only analyse certain parts of data.

Just because you’re looking at conversions, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it effectively or in a way that will improve your performance. In fact, of the 2,000 PPC accounts that were analysed in the study above, only half of them were tracking most or all of their conversions.

You can avoid this by auditing the keywords you’re bidding on. These are the search terms people use to find you, so if they’re wrong or inaccurate, you’ll be wasting your money.

When analysing this data, you also want to see how your best performing campaigns compare against the ones that aren’t performing to identify what sets them apart to optimise further.

An easy way to do this is using Adzooma’s free Best and Worst Performers Report: a comparative analysis included in their free reporting suite. This will show you which campaigns are giving you the best return, in terms of clicks, conversions, impressions, and more, and which ones you should axe or adjust to reduce your wasted spend.

5. Use ad extensions

Ad extensions are known to increase click-through rates by 10-15% making them a worthwhile tool to ramp up your PPC advertising.

They allow you to add information to your adverts that you might not have been able to fit in the description. This is perfect for getting more eyes and attention on your ads – which can lead to more clicks and a higher conversion rate.

They are 100% free, and include things like:

  • Sitelink extensions. This adds up to 6 site links to your ad, perfect for driving traffic to multiple pages on your website.
  • Call extensions. This adds your phone number to the advert, so your customers can call you directly from the search results.
  • Promotion extensions. This allows you to highlight a new sale or limited offer on your products or services, urging people to click through.
  • Location extensions. This lets your customers know exactly where you’re based, improving clarity and increasing foot traffic to your store.

However, adding an extension doesn’t guarantee it will show on the ad. Your ad must meet certain criteria and provide value to the viewer.

6. Rotate your ads

Testing different ad variations against one another is a great way to improve your PPC marketing results: in other words, A/B split testing.

You can decide how you do this, but you might change:

  • the headline
  • the description (or body copy)
  • the main keywords
  • the ad extensions

Or, you can create an ad rotation from one of four optimisation choices:

  • Optimise for clicks: show ads expected to gain more clicks.
  • Optimise for conversions: show ads more likely to convert.
  • Rotate evenly: show ads more evenly for at least 90 days, then optimise.
  • Rotate indefinitely: show lower-performing ads more evenly with higher-performing ads, and do not optimise.

Make sure you’re only rotating your ads if necessary. If an ad group is performing well, there’s no need to change it. Only swap out elements and introduce new ones if you’re trying to achieve better results.

Copyright 2020. Post by Jess Kirkbride, Copywriter at Adzooma – the simple, quick & easy way to manage your online advertising.

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.