Let’s take a moment out of our day and share a dream.
In this dream, your company is run by eccentric millionaires.
Millionaires who love marketing.
Millionaires with a curious penchant for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisement.
These fictional figureheads would be open to experimentation and would give your team free reign to dump as much money as you could spend into your PPC AdWords campaign. What you do wouldn’t matter. You could brute force your way through your PPC strategy, buying keywords like a digital drunken sailor without a care in the world.
In the words of Eminem: “Snap back to reality. Oh, there goes gravity.”
You have to optimize your AdWords campaign
We’d love to live in a world where we had unlimited marketing spend to devote to PPC management, but real life doesn’t work that way. Businesses hoping to actually achieve a sustainable ROI can’t afford to approach their AdWords campaign like drunken millionaire sailors.
Knowing how to optimize your AdWords budget means understanding (as far as any of us can, given Google’s algorithmic secrecy) where the budget actually goes.
Understand Cost per Click
One of the central strategies of optimizing AdWords spend involves understanding your Cost-Per-Click (CPC), or how much you’ll be shelling out for each click you receive. Broadly, it’s a measure of how much your AdWords campaign will cost and ultimately your ROI.
While the exact formula for determining CPC is a closely guarded secret that Google isn’t sharing, it involves these factors:
- Your keyword selection
- Your maximum bid
- Your Quality Score
- The competitione’s ad ranking, bids, and Quality Score
And while we could talk all day about any one of these factors, start the process by using Google’s bid simulators to estimate conversion potential of various bid campaigns. These testing tools let you measure campaign performance and simulate different ways you can stretch your limited dollars.
Bid smart on keywords
Keyword bidding is simple. High-ranking keywords are expensive. Low-ranking keywords are cheap. It’s your job to research your market and find a middle ground that works for your budget.
This is where many marketers fail, throwing too many dollars at expensive keywords with too much competition or aiming too low with obscure keywords that never get clicked. Do your homework, use keyword grouping tools, and pair your research with your Google Analytics to identify focused, long-tail keywords that your market will be searching for.
The nature of PPC advertisement means you don’t pay unless users click, but what about clicks coming from users in regions you don’t serve? If there are any geographic regions or countries that you don’t provide services to (or have historically shown low conversions such that advertising there is a waste of time), set up AdWords filters to block by region or even block specific IP addresses.
Just as you keep your website and marketing strategies updated, don’t forget to update your PPC campaign with the changing seasons. Different keywords may become more/less relevant depending on the time of year or current market conditions. Plus, PPC ad copy can go out of fashion in a flash. Don’t neglect your ads when you update.
More bang for your PPC buck
Consider these strategies as a starting point for getting the most out of your PPC campaign. As you develop your strategy, you’ll find specific nuances in the PPC marketing structure that’ll work for your unique business.
Unless, you know, your company is powered by insane marketing tycoons with more dollars than sense. In which case, carry on. The rest of us will be back here using our brains.