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Pay Per Click Experts

October 28th, 2014 Posted by Pay Per Click Articles No Comment yet

There are many reasons why you need a Pay Per Click Expert! Not only is Pay Per Click (or PPC) advertising effective, it also doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. If you are serious about building a profitable online business and don’t want to get weighed down in these complex and ever changing platforms, you need a PPC Expert. Not just to help you build more traffic, but to make better sales conversions. […]

What Makes A PPC Expert?

October 27th, 2014 Posted by Pay Per Click Articles No Comment yet

PPC Experts

While the definition of a PPC expert may differ depending on who you ask, there are some basic characteristics that most everyone can agree upon.

What makes someone a PPC expert? It’s a question I’ve asked myself multiple times over the course of my career and each time my answer has been different. I suspect many people’s answers would change depending on where they are in their career. To someone just starting out, an expert might be classified as someone who knows all the ins and outs of the interfaces and targeting options. To someone who’s been around for a while, an expert might be someone who can educate others on how to effectively manage campaigns to your end goals.

In the last few days, I’ve tried to narrow down what I think a PPC expert is. What makes them unique? What criteria do they have to meet? Is it nuts and bolts knowledge? Is it the ability to focus on the abstract? I think it’s a bit of both. Here’s why I think someone must have a firm grip on both the art and science of PPC before being labeled an expert.

The Art

Most PPC pros will tell you that being effective takes a certain level of creativity. It’s not all about adjusting bids by $0.02 one day and $0.03 the next. (Actually, it’s rarely about that.) It’s about being able to see the forest for the trees, or the trees for the forest is that’s what the situation calls for, and determine a strategy to move forward.

Translating a Business’s Capabilities Into a Campaign Strategy

Each business is unique and has its own goals and capabilities to translate to PPC campaigns. For my money, a PPC expert is someone who can look at individual pieces of your business and put them in play in an account. Have a multi-step lead process? Let’s retarget people for each step of the way and create custom conversion actions for each. Sell to customers around the world but only have free shipping within the continental U.S.? Let’s segment campaigns for easy ad copy management based on geography.

Effectively Communicating With Clients (Non-PPC Pros)

Let’s face it, PPC is a jargon-filled industry. We’re constantly talking in three-letter increments and differentiating between words that are synonyms to most people. We can get confusing. An expert is someone who knows how to effectively communicate a PPC strategy to their clients in a way that relates to their business without being patronizing. This skill requires experience, a decent vocabulary, use of imagery, and patience.

Knowing When to Not Make Changes

Every account has natural fluctuations between good and bad performance. In many situations, changes are required to ride those successes or curb the failures, but not always. The challenge is both of these sayings are true: “averages lie” and “one day does not make a trend.” An expert can balance between the two to know when they do and when they don’t have enough data to make a decision and change things up.

Delivering Comprehensive, Yet Clear Reporting

Similar to clear client communication, reporting is about taking a world full of numbers and telling a story with it. Experts know what’s important to their clients and how they digest information. Armed with this knowledge, experts can create reports that clearly outline the important areas of accounts performance without overloading clients with information. A perfect balance.

Knowing Where to Look for Answers

The PPC industry is ever changing, it’s impossible for a PPC pro to know everything. A true expert can tell when they don’t know something and knows where to look to find the answers they need.

The Science

While the artful aspects of PPC are certainly crucial, they alone won’t move the needle on your account’s performance. For that, you’ll have to turn to the nuts and bolts, cause and effect science of PPC.

Ability to Use the Interface Effectively

Kind of a no-brainer here. To be an expert, you have to be able to use the system. You can’t just be a strategic thinker. You’ve got to be able to get the information needed and make the changes yourself.

Understand How Changes Should Affect Your Account

When you raise a bid on a keyword, that doesn’t only effect its average position. It can (and probably will) raise the average cost per click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR), maybe cost per action (CPA), and might have a positive impact on your Quality Score. In my book, a PPC expert should know all the ramifications of their changes on an account from obvious to obscure. You might not actively think about them every time you raise a bid or add a new keyword, but being able to trace back to the root cause of a problem is something I consider a critical piece of expertise.

Testing Practices

What could be more scientific than testing? I mean, for the most part, what you’re doing when you A/B test is actually called the “Scientific Method.” Determine what you want to improve, create and run a test to prove your new solution is better, analyze your data, then draw conclusions. Sound familiar? An expert can design, implement, and analyze tests effectively and accurately.

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Some Best Tips For Using PPC

October 26th, 2014 Posted by Pay Per Click Articles No Comment yet

The Best Tips

  • Go local! Searchers like to see their geography in the ad and on the landing page for most lead gen type companies. There are some exceptions, such as education when the person is often trying to leave the state. However, no one buys ‘national insurance’; they buy Seattle or Washington insurance. In addition, your campaigns often convert differently by location, so when you go local, its easier to work with local based bidding or exclude areas. Going local can also help you engage users by other factors, such as income levels, the type of residence commonly bought in the area, and a host of other census type data.
  • Biggest Mistake – Using a single landing page for all your keywords. I can’t count the number of times that a company might have 100 campaigns and 100,000 keywords and a single destination URL. I often see these pages or templates tested over and over again and can become exceptionally fine tuned; however, by just connecting to the user at a keyword, industry, or geographic level, it can significantly increase the conversion rates.
  • Focus on the various micro-conversion rates beyond the initial click and final conversion. Bidding and ad testing can make a big difference but they are not a panacea for the other PPC problems that can only be solved by maintaining accountability beyond the click. Examples: Find the bottleneck buried in fallout analysis. It is fine to have a top priority KPI like CPA that you respond to first, but when a keyword or ad has no conversions to calculate conversion efficiency, fall back to the other micro-conversion rates to find other optimizations worth spending time on.
  • When conversion signals dry up, filter for zero and find more opportunities by sorting the next metric closest to the bottom line. Invest a little extra work to estimate revenue from leads based on their type and close rates. Moving beyond CPA to estimated ROAS can improve the data-driven nature of advertising investment. Then fall back to close rates, completion rates, bounce rates, and finally CTR. Examples: What is the conversion rate from landing page to lead started? (Refine ad copy to qualify visitors before they click). What is the conversion rate from lead started to lead completed? (Simplify the form to balance detail with speed). What is the conversion rate from lead completed to sale closed? (Coordinate efforts between advertising and sales teams).
  • Biggest Mistake Avoid blindly accepting whatever landing pages that the client already has. Don’t just try to squeeze profitability out of an inefficient conversion process that was doomed from the start. Never underestimate how a little time spent on testing designs up front can save countless hours on SEM optimization later. The only lead gen campaigns that can sustain success are the ones that combine relevant ads with data-driven bids before the click and solid business plans with an aligned site after the click.
  • Biggest Mistake 2 – Adobe Target and Optimizely are my 2 favorite tools for this job, but there are many others. The cost and learning curves of these tools pay for themselves quickly. During the early phases of any client engagement, discuss how much time and money clients are willing to invest in the essential first step of design testing. Some retailers might complain that testing tools only demonstrate a small part of the larger site redesigns that need to be funded in the long term. Smaller lead gen campaigns can avoid those excuses for caving in to inertia of the current site. Lead gen can be much more agile with even the simplest of testing tools
  • For effective lead generation campaigns I recommend telling people exactly what you want them to do in your ad text or on your banners. Frequently people you’re targeting with lead gen campaigns are in information gathering mode. You need to get them to click on your ad by offering them the information they are looking for, but once they get to your site you need them to take action rather than just reading the information and leaving. So you want to specifically tell people to use the contact form or enter their email address in your ads. By setting the stage in your ad with a call to action and an offer to provide information, you will get a strong CTR but people will be more likely to do what you want them to on your landing page.
  • Biggest Mistake – The biggest mistake I see is not testing landing pages or testing too many landing page changes at once. Simply moving a contact form or reducing the number of required fields on a form can dramatically increase conversion rate. When you start testing, focus on finding the layout that converts the best. Once you get the layout optimized, test the language you use and the offer you provide. For instance, does your page convert better when you offer a whitepaper or infographic in exchange for users submitting their information?
  • Start with a wide search funnel, then refine and target. Begin by capturing (and most importantly TRACKING) a large audience and observe their search behavior. Once significant data has accrued, analyze search queries, refine campaigns with negative keywords and pause/remove under-performing keywords and ad text. Segment ad groups, write more targeted ad text and test variations of lead capture specific landing pages. Extra credit: Give visitors who didn’t complete the form on your initial landing page the one-two punch by remarketing to them on the display network and their Facebook feed.
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We look forward to providing you with more tips and suggestions in future posts!