Ryan Mull, Partner and Director of Internet Marketing at Imavex, starts off the discussion on why companies should invest in pay-per-click campaigns. Steve Hill, Digital Marketing Director at Imavex, dives deeper into pay-per-click marketing and offers five strategies to maximize your campaigns. Listen to the conversation or read it below. If you haven’t joined Smartups sign up here and come out every third Tuesday to the Speak Easy to grow your marketing knowledge and connections.
Thanks for coming out and listen to us speak tonight. We’re going to try and make you guys drink from a fire hose here. We’ve got two parts to this and it’s a lot of information. So we hope we can share this to make it valuable for your time.
Knowing that we have a startup audience here, there’s not many people that are afraid of taking risk. So one of the things that I wanted to start with here, and let me make sure I’ve got this right here on how to advance this, there we go. So which one of these is more exciting? This is pretty funny to me too in doing some searches for images as well.
We’re looking at Wall Street or Vegas or being a person that’s working within the space or gambling. So it’s pretty obvious here which one is more exciting and which one is going to get your attention a little bit more and be something that you’re interested in. But when we look at this, investing is the action and this is just basic definitions of investing. It’s the action or process of expending money for profit or a material result; whereas gambling is taking a risky action and hoping for a desired result.
I’m going to circle back to this again at the very end of this, but one of the things to look at too is what’s the difference really with these? The investing side of this, there are rules to this game and they’re all set up so that everybody will profit. The business, the public company, the people that are buying the stocks are trying to generate a return on their investment.
So there is a major difference with this, whereas with gambling both of these are trying to make money, but with the gambling side of things the rules of the game are set up so really the house wins, and no matter how much you have friends that come back from Vegas and say they won, you’re losing. They all lose. Everybody loses in gambling if you do it long enough.
So we’ll come back to that. So as we look at this – so let’s do a little brief history, and I’m going to use Goog instead of Google, and again, this is a for-profit company. So we’re going to focus on that side of things. So ’96 this started with Larry and Sergey. You’ve got ’98 the launch of the search engine. ‘04 the IPO comes out and they become a publically traded company.
Now one of the things you’ll notice when we go to the next slide is their missions statements and their goals are still the exact same as they really were at the beginning, but not really though, and that’s the reason why. In’04 they become a publicly traded company. They had stock struggles because they weren’t meeting the street’s goals for them and what they wanted them to do.
And then at 2014 they’re at about $550-plus now. So obviously they’re doing well, but they have had some bumps in the road. Obviously one of the things too is you’ll see how it’s evolved. We’ve all seen these, maybe not seen this one. I’m going to go through this a number of times. You’re going to see SERP and it’s just to save me some space that’s search engine results page. So you’ll see that coming up a number of times here.
So understanding Google, Google’s mission and with slides you’re never just supposed to put stuff up for people to read, but this is one where I just pulled it right off their site and I wanted you guys to basically read this. Their mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Then the next thing is their number one focus really comes down to the user.
They want to make sure that they’re providing the best user experience and they’re really taking care and ensuring that ultimately they’re serving the end user and not focusing so much on the bottom line. They’re a public company so they have to focus on the bottom line, and there’s a history of this as well. And I think one of the things of why I’m focusing on this is Google is somewhere where people are trying to generate revenue and using Google to drive traffic and drive awareness.
They’re a behemoth in everything they own. So we’re going to come back to this, but one of the things to understand is 95 percent of Google’s revenue comes from their ad clicks. So everything that Google is about – they’re a publicly traded company; they have to make sure that they’re meeting and beating the street’s estimates – revolves around ad clicks. As much as they care about user experiences and so forth and their search results, it really comes down to something pretty clear.
How do they generate more ad clicks? So knowing that and I just find this really a fascinating piece here. So this is when the stock really kind of hit here. I think this happened really where I think a lot of Internet companies get a little bit of time where they get to say we’re an Internet company and we’ve got values on what’s cool or what they think the potential is. Then at some point they start realizing are they going to make money? How successful are they going to be?
At this point I think when they stopped hitting their results, and they were down 20 percent in their revenues, what are they going to do? And at that point I think things changed a lot, and I think there’s some proof in that. So Google now needs to give Goog, their publicly traded company, more clicks. So how are they going to do that?
They must continue to gain clicks, market share, within the search engine results page. So out of each search that each person does and when you see the results, they need to get more clicks out of that. They must expand the ad click. So they must be able to have more opportunities to get their ads clicked. At the same time though, to get clicks and to keep people engaged they still must keep the user happy.
So it is kind of a perfect business model in the fact that the more they make their users happy the more money they make, but what they’re selling is not search engine results. They’re selling ads, and that’s all they’re focused on. So back to that slide there with the stock price, but one of the things though, if you look at a trend, and this is from Moz, this is the number of updates that they made to their algorithm and their search results and so forth.
If you see this, about the same time that their stock hit that big drop right here is when things really started ramping up for their changes. And I think we’re all pretty familiar with SEO firms and different firms here in town that have done really well and they’re very small people and they’ve done people but things have got hurt when Google stirred that pot and they started making these changes.
One of the things that paid search is all I’ve ever done, essentially, and I’ve always known, I worked for a company called Citysearch which was the local guides for Microsoft and Yahoo! and they were a part of Ticketmaster. They had a great opportunity and they blew it, but I was a part of the first local search with them and I got to see a lot of things and they were always like, “Oh, it’s about the content. People come for the content.”
Things always got changed because of the dollars, and it was an eye-opening experience for me. And then for me, when I’ve been selling this for years, I’m sitting with people and they’re like, “I don’t want to do paid search. I want to get the free. I want this. How do I do that? How do I get free?” And I say to them, “They’re a business. They’re going to continue to do things to generate more clicks. They need their ads to get more.”
And I’ve almost seen it kind of like the drug dealer or the pharmaceutical companies. “Here’s your free sample. Here’s your free sample,” and then they pull it on you. “Now you’ve got to pay this. Now you’ve got to pay this.” And they’ve got you hooked, and once these companies are getting this and then it disappears, what do you go to do? You’ve got to start paying.
So this is search engine results from ’07 for iPhone. Google’s newsfeed right here, organic. Paid ads right here, and this is an eye tracking study to see where people were looking. So nobody’s looking at the ads here, and we all know it. Most people don’t click on the ads. They click more on the organic, but still nobody was even looking at them.
Now we fast forward a little bit here to now for an iPhone the news is now down here. The ads are up here, and you can barely tell they’re even ads. It’s almost hidden. This is from their shopping, again, which is going to generate them more revenue, and these are ads as well. Plus, not to mention, these have images which are going to get higher clickthrough rate as well.
Things are changing so quickly. They’ve pushed the organic down the page, and the ads are more prevalent, and this is only the beginning. I’ve been predicting this for years. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first page or two within the next four or five years is all ads, but you’re going to be okay with it because some of the stuff we’re going to talk about they’re giving you more and more tools to make the ads better, to make the advertisers do a better job.
Users are unaware of it, and are happy with it. So, again, this is a heat map here. So you can see ads are actually getting seen. They’re actually really being seen by the users. So let’s go back to this real quick. They must continue to gain clicks, market share. So how are they going to do that? They’re going to change the rules on the algorithms with SEO.
They’re going to constantly stir the pot and make you guess. It’s a gambling game then at that point. You don’t know the rules. They’re changing them on you, and they have it against you. They’re going to increase or change the retail or the real estate space on the actual search engine results page.
So, again, that’s going to get the more market share, more clicks. They’re going to increase their own content, the shopping, the news, the things that is their stuff that they control. They’re going to increase that on the page. They’re going to change things within the ads themselves to make you not even realize you’re clicking on the ads or make the ads look more enticing like putting the pictures of the iPhone on there.
They’re going to improve the tools within AdWords to make our ads more effective. They’re going to give us more data, the people managing the campaigns, so that not only is the ad there and it looks better and it’s got more exposure, but if we’re using the data properly and managing a campaign the ad should perform better and do better in making the users happy. So if the users are happier they’re coming back to the site.
They’re clicking more ads. Google keeps making more and more money. Analytics, that’s a perfect example. You all have seen the no results on Analytics. Now you can’t get the results. They’re hiding data from you. Why? Because the only way you’re going to get data is if you’re using AdWords.
So it’s pretty obvious what they’re doing here, and this is just the beginning I think, too. How are they going to expand the ad market place? They’re going to have the Chrome browser. They’re going to buy YouTube. They’re going to do Android. They’re going to control more of your online experience, but also they’re going to be changing things too with wearables, with Glass and watches.
They’re going to be doing things with Google TV and Android TV. They have Nest and Dropcam now which I find that kind of – they’re getting into the home now. So we’re just scratching the surface on how big Google is and what they’re going to do. But they need to still keep the users happy, and I think they’re doing that. I think this just basically shows that they’re doing that.
If the users weren’t happy, people are pretty fickle nowadays online. If they were not doing well this would drop. So I think they’re doing that, keeping users happy. So why is this important? Thinking that I’m speaking to a number of startups and small businesses and people in this space, I’ve always thought this and it was one of my first sales that I ever did was to a bike dealership – and I’m going to make it real short.
Basically I sold something to him and it didn’t work, but I’m like it did work. [Audio drops off] So now I can track things, and it became important to me to realize that early on that this guy owned a business. He had a mortgage. He had a lease to it. He had employees. They got paid. From their pay they fed their kids.
It was a small business – you can sell something to a big company and it doesn’t hurt them if it doesn’t work. You do something to a small guy or a startup and it doesn’t work, you’re in trouble. You’re in big trouble. So this is really, really important, and it was funny. Mark Cuban actually, I’m paraphrasing what he said though was, and he said this on Shark Tank because I like that show and I just thought it was funny. I was like that’s it. You have to operate efficiently because you’re cash strapped, and marketing is one of those things.
So in looking at this, to grow your business you must gain customers efficiently. To gain customers efficiently you have to market effectively. You can’t be spending money on things that aren’t working for your business. To market effectively you should optimize your online presence and make sure your digital marketing efforts are done in its most optimal manner. And then to do that you need to be able to basically do that online you have to drive prequalified traffic, so people that are already kind of showing interest, and you have to be able to convert them to get them into a high profit ROI.
So let’s come to the acceptance here that they own the Internet. They really do. They own a big chunk of the Internet right now. They have two out of the top three sites, 65 percent of the traffic, and 80 percent of the ad revenue is coming through Google. So in understanding Google’s history and the desire to want to keep the users happy but then really becoming a public company and that’s what’s driving the engine.
It’s about dollars. They’re for profit. So the whole idea of getting things free or being angry with them. “I should be able to get my results in there. I’ve seen everything. I want free. I’m going to game the system. Why aren’t my results in there?” Play their game. You need to embrace that they have a business model. Embrace it and the rules are there. Play the game.
Now one of the things Steve is going to bring up is sometimes the rules change, and you can adjust, but at least you know, sometimes it may be a little bit too late, but you know the rules and it’s not completely an unknown. So you can kind of read between the lines and hear that in selling paid search a lot of times I’m going up against, “I want organic,” or, “I’m going to do content marketing and that can do a lot for us.”
And people think it’s an either or thing. It’s not. The problem is a lot of times, in my opinion, the paid gets put on the backburner. “Let’s get organic first. Let’s try and do that.” And my thinking is it’s not an either or. It’s not a versus. It really comes down to we think that you should have a paid search strategy first and then use that information and that data to then more effectively do your content marketing and your SEO because you have data on what works.
You know what words are working, what’s converting. And then instead of wasting time on things that don’t know if they’re going to work, you’ve done that effectively. The other thing is once you get ranked well in organic don’t just turn off. We hear this and I have a feeling a lot of you wouldn’t think this way, but you’d be surprised how often we hear it that, “Oh, now I’m ranking number one in a word. So I don’t need paid search anymore.”
No. You just keep doing both. If one is getting a return on investment you keep doing both. This comes back to this. It really comes down to the prioritizing and timing of your search efforts. We’re going to do this. Let’s invest first. Let’s do the paid search, the thing that kind of has a predictable model, something where you put your money into this and you know that it’s going to work.
Then if you want to take your chances because we all know this organic and the content marketing can really do a lot. It can get a much higher ROI even from paid search, but it’s not a guarantee because you don’t own a plan of attack that’s consistent. The rules are going to change. Things are going to change for you in the marketplace. So to the next side of this, really one of the things we wanted to do was kind of give you a story behind understanding Google and why it’s important to keep paying attention to paid search, and then the next side of it is really let you walk away with some things that you can use in marketing your own startups and your own small business as well.
The last thing I wanted to touch on, too, Google is no different than what’s going to happen with Facebook, what’s going to happen with Twitter and whatever else comes down the pipeline. It might be free. You might like it at first, but at some point the pressures of the street are going to keep pushing them to want to generate more revenue. It’s a media and media makes money off of advertising.
So they’re going to do things to maximize their revenues. So play the game, whichever Google, Facebook, whichever one. Play their advertising game. Learn from it so that as they continue to push their ads you’re not in a situation where I need to now get into this and cost per click has gone up and your competition has been doing it a couple years.
Get into it early. Learn from it, and get a plan that works, and maximize that. So now let’s take it from here.
I think that’s a good segue. My name is Steve Hill. I’m the Digital Marketing Director at Imavex. Some days I wake up in the morning and I’m not really sure what digital marketing means anymore. This space changes so fast, but basically what we do at Imavex with digital marketing is we run AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns.
We do some search engine optimization, some social media marketing, and YouTube advertising as well. So we do a wide array of things in the digital marketing space, but what I want to talk today about is basically five key things that you can do with your pay-per-click campaigns, specifically focused with Google, to really maximize the return on investment you get.
Now we have to keep in mind that the greater narrative here is that Google has structured AdWords in such a way to first and foremost maximize their own revenue. Ryan did a great job of touching on all of the different nuances to that, but it’s important to keep in mind. And I think secondary to that, still important and still important to Google, is maximizing the ROI that its advertisers receive.
So we can remember first and foremost it’s about revenue for Google. Second, it’s about the experience of the advertiser. So I think what smart marketers can do is they can learn how to really maximize the ROI, look and pay attention to what their campaigns are doing so they can kind of flip the script on Google a little bit and really focus on maximizing their ROI before Google just makes a ton of money off them.
So I’m going to give you five things that you can do to really help achieve that. So the first one I want to talk about is the match types, specifically abandoning broad match keywords. Now, I kind of have on here the four different match types, and really what you can think of is it’s almost like looking at a cross section of planet Earth when you’re in geology class or science class or whatever.
You have a smaller core and then a greater outside of that and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. That’s kind of what these different match types do starting with exact match. You’re going to get a very small portion, but what I want to talk about is the two bigger portions. We have modified broad match keywords and broad match keywords. Now, starting with broad match, these keywords were at one time all you had to put in a campaign to attract traffic.
So if I put in, in this case, “women’s hats” I would get searches for women’s hats, women’s hats for sale. Anybody typing anything related to women’s hats I would get, but now it’s kind of it’s more of targeting a theme. I can get women’s hats. I can get men’s hats. I can get women’s visors. I can get women’s hair bows, whatever.
They’ve really kind of broadened it up to make it so that Google is getting more clicks, but the advertiser’s traffic is really not as relevant as it should be. The solution to that, however, is modified broad match and they have little plus signs in front of them, but essentially what you’re saying to Google is I need to have those words in somebody’s search query before my ad can show up so that I’m not paying money for things that people – for people who are just totally unrelated to what I’m targeting.
You’ve got to keep in mind that these broad match keywords nowadays really don’t generate the relevant traffic that they used to. So, for example, let’s say I have broad match “blue tennis shoes” in my campaign. You used to be able to just get pretty much those search queries, but now I’m getting things like Nike running shoes or Blue Chip Tennis Academy, things that are totally unrelated to what I need for my business, and I end up spending money on these searches that really have no value at all.
So the bottom line is is that Google is basically turning broad match into something that’s a money generator for them. So the solution for that is to used modified broad match instead. So we’re adding plus signs to each of our words in our query. In this case I have Indianapolis web designer, but I’m basically saying to Google I need all those words in somebody’s search before my ad can show up.
That way I’m not spending money on something like Indianapolis interior designer. The good thing about this is it still allows you to capture long-tail traffic. So you don’t have to have a really extensive list of keywords in your campaign. You don’t have to come up with all the different iterations that somebody could be searching for. It does eliminate a lot of the low value searchers you would get with broad match, and it really makes it easier to match relevant ad text with what somebody is searching for so they don’t see an ad that’s totally unrelated to their search.
They only see what makes sense to them. My next point or tip is to consider landing pages. Obviously these are really, really important for any kind of campaign. You have to have somewhere for people to go when they click on an ad, and the key point here is you need to have landing pages that are optimized for all different kinds of devices. You see the different pictures I have here, different versions – so desktop versions, tablets, smartphones.
Now that people are using all of these different devices when they’re making purchasing decisions or researching decisions it’s really important to have them. Typically, with a desktop landing page, you’re going to have full-blown content, conversion elements. A tablet one is going to be a little bit watered down, and then a smartphone you’re going to have something that’s a lot shorter in nature.
Why do you have to have this? Well, the biggest reason obviously, and we talk about this all the time in technology, is the user experience. It’s really important to have landing pages that suit the user’s needs. We’ve all pulled up sites on our smartphones that just don’t work with smartphones and they’re a pain to click on links. You end up loading something that you never wanted to look at.
You have to wait for it to refresh or you’re typing in some kind of e-mail address or something like that and it can just be a pain. That’s not good for business and it’s not good for a user at all. You want to make it easy for somebody to get in touch with you. So that’s why we have optimized landing pages.
The other reason is that about a year ago Google rolled out what’s called enhanced campaigns, and they essentially said you can no longer just run a campaign for mobile. You have to combine all your desktop traffic, all your tablet traffic, all your mobile traffic into one campaign. So that basically forced you to have landing pages that worked for all different devices.
So it’s not so much an option anymore. It’s more of a necessity. Now, how you achieve that is entirely up to you. If you have the ability or the finances to put together a responsive version of a landing page, that’s great. If not, you can still come up with a mobile version as well. Now, I want to touch on conversions a little bit because these are going to differ from the different types of devices. So you’re going to have phone calls, form submissions, and sales as your main conversion types.
With phone calls, you’re always going to want to have a big phone number on every single landing page that you do, unless you can’t handle calls, of course. This needs to be something that on a smartphone in particular people can click on and call right away, but it’s absolutely essential because people need to have that touch point.
As far as form submissions are concerned, the general rule of thumb is to have a shorter form to boost your conversion rates. I would say that with desktop traffic you can get away with five to ten fields, but when you start getting onto a smartphone or a tablet you really want to reduce those fields. Maybe just ask for a name and phone number or name and e-mail address. And then finally with purchase conversions, you really want to try to make that process of purchasing something as short and as straightforward as possible.
You’ve got to eliminate the extra steps. As far as other best practices are concerned, we’re going to look at two examples here in a second, but I would say that these are kind of general governing rules for landing pages. You always want to make them visually appealing. You want to have the right conversion types depending on your customer.
You want to have a clear call to action. You really want to help people understand what they’re supposed to do. You want to match your landing pages with your ad text. So let’s say you have an offer on your ad that says, “get ten percent off a black dress.” You want to have that on your landing page as well. Otherwise, people get confused. I don’t get it, but it happens.
You also want to keep the content pretty minimal, enough to whet their palettes. What that means is you really just want to draw them in with just enough to convert. Giving them too much information sometimes scares people away and you end up losing them as a customer. Finally, you really want to force people to convert, that being the only action that they can take.
Strip out the navigation. Take out all the external links because if you have those in there you could lose tracking ability and you could lose a customer. So here’s an example of a bad landing page. As you can see here, you don’t have any visual appeal. There’s no contact form or anything like that. The outside links will take you off to the site and lose tracking of this page.
The information is minimal, which is good, but it really doesn’t interest people that much. Comparing that to something that’s a little more up to date. We have some visual appeal here. We have conversion elements that are fairly clear. Contact us. Call us today. And you can’t see it on here, but there’s information below the fold here that has enough to really kind of draw people in, and there’s no external links. People can’t really leave this and go onto some other part of the website.
A few more ideas. It’s always good to try to use a microsite if you can. That way you can take advantage of some other features in AdWords. It also helps you organize your content a little bit easier. You can use bid adjustments to save money. It allows you to bid down on mobile devices a little bit so you don’t have to pay as much per click on an ad with a mobile device. So it’s a little bit easier to save money that way.
And you can even use different URLs for mobile ads if you need to. So if you have a mobile-optimized page but not a responsive design, Google will work with that. My third tip here is to utilize remarketing. Remarketing in the pay-per-click sense is you’re basically hitting people who’ve been to your website before with a text ad or a banner ad.
Essentially the way this works is somebody goes onto the site. They look at a couple of pages. They get a cookie put into their browser. They leave, and then go on to YouTube or a sports page or something like that and see your ads. Example of this. I went to Zappos, looked at Star Wars Vans slip-on shoes because I’m a complete nerd, and then I get even more nerded out, leave, and go to The Indy Channel’s site and read an article about salamanders and there’s ads for the shoes that I looked at.
That’s remarketing in action. Yeah, salamanders. So the key components here. You have to have a remarketing code in place on every page. Google makes it pretty easy to do this. You have other have high quality animated banner ads. They don’t have to be animated, but you have to have high quality ads. I recommend them being animated as well as text ads.
With these ads you want to make sure the imagery and layout kind of matches your site. You can see this ad here. This one matches the site that it goes to. It’s got a good call to action. It’s just kind of a good overall ad to bring people back onto the site for something, for a product like a round of golf that they would buy multiple times in a year.
But you want to typically have a compelling marketing message that you can bring somebody back onto the site for. Obviously you also need a landing page and then you need an audience list. Now, with the audience list, these are basically all of the users that have the remarketing cookie. And you can segment them up and chop them up as much as you need to to get the right users in front of your ads or get the right ads in front of your users.
Essentially the principle here is that not every visitor is going to be relevant to your advertising efforts. Some people maybe they’ve already converted or they just really aren’t relevant to you. You can cut some of those out by applying different settings to these audiences. You can customize the timeframe. An example I would give of this is a couple of weeks ago I went onto Seasons 52’s website, the restaurant up in Keystone, and looked at their menu and some stuff like that before I went out to dinner there.
About four weeks later I saw remarketing ads for Seasons 52. Their thinking is that I’m going to go to their restaurant once a month or somebody is going to go to their restaurant once a month. So in a month’s time I’m going to start showing ads to people who’ve been to my website before. That’s exactly what remarketing is doing.
And the amount of times people see an ad or the perception that they’re being followed around can be tweaked a little bit. You don’t have to show ads to somebody all day long. You can say I just want to hit this person with an ad twice a day, something like that. And finally, keep in mind remarketing does help boost conversion rates. We had a client, a golf course in North Carolina, who added remarketing to their marketing efforts and they increased their conversion rate by almost three percentage points just by adding this in there.
So it was really good for them to reengage their users and get them back onto the site. So the fourth tip I would say is utilizing the enhanced ad extensions. Typically ads used to just be a headline. You had a display URL, and you had some text. Well, Google wanted to make more money. So they added some new features and tried to make these ads bigger in nature. What this allows you to do is increase your clickthrough rates.
So it’s kind of a win-win for advertisers. They can capture more people and Google can generate more clicks by allowing the ads to take up more space on a page. Now, the basic principle here is the more space you take up the more attention you get and the higher your clickthrough rate will be. Now, if you compare these two ads, typically you’re going to ask yourself which one of these ads am I going to be more drawn to?
Is it the one that takes up more space, that has an address a phone number and some links? Or is it just going to be the one that has the headline, the URL, and the description? Typically speaking it’s going to be that one. Now, I realize the trademark thing, that’s going to bring you eye in a little bit, but for the most part you’re going to be drawn to that.
There are three ad extensions that I recommend using on any AdWords campaign. The first is the site links. Those are the links that you can click on. You can add a description to them. Basically just linking people to different parts of your microsite, even your website if you have to. It just kind of helps you expand and take up some more room on the search page.
I would also use review extensions. These are brand new. This is what allows you to kind of promote what somebody has said about you online. So if you get a great article written about you in a local newspaper or Mashable features your startup or something like that you can use that here. Now I would say you can’t use user-generated content. So Yelp or Yellow Pages won’t work for review, but it’s a good place to get some more third party information going up about you.
Then finally, Google My Business. It’s also known as location extensions. Google changes the name of it all the time. They’ve never really been able to make up their minds as to what they want to call where your business is located. It happens, but essentially you’re tying your information on your Google+ page to your ads, and the cool thing about this is it won’t always just show your address.
It can an also show the reviews or the star rating that your business gets on your Google+ page. That can be really valuable, especially when you start getting more and more reviews. It demonstrates that you have more credibility than your competing advertisers. So my fifth thing, and final point, is talking specifically about location settings and using bid adjustments on these different locations to really hone in, geographically speaking, on the right customer base for you.
Now I’m going to play a scenario for you. Let’s say you’re a farm equipment dealer located in Castleton. Not a great location for farm equipment, but a lot of people go by there, and you have the rights to sell a brand-new piece of equipment in the surrounding counties around Indianapolis. Typically speaking you’re just going to start by targeting those counties that you can sell in, but that’s not always the most efficient way of doing it.
Obviously you’re reaching a big area where there are not a whole lot of farms. I didn’t see any farms coming down here from Noblesville. I think the last one we saw was probably up on 146th Street. So not a whole lot coming in here, but it gives you an opportunity now with how Google is structured to save some money, and I’ll show you how to do this. So what we do is we select these different areas that may be less valuable customers live in, so Indianapolis and Lawrence and maybe Carmel as well.
We bid down on those areas and say I’m not going to be willing to spend as much money for people in that area because I know I don’t have very many customers there. Then I’m going to bid up in areas where I do think I have a lot of customers say like Danville, Indiana or Shelby County. I can spend more money in those areas, concentrate it, and really try to increase my ROI.
Google wants you to target as many areas as possible, and they don’t necessarily want you to just cut out other areas, but you can. It’s just one of those things that people don’t typically pay a whole lot of attention to. They’re thinking I’m just going to reach this huge area, but in reality you can save a lot of money by doing something like this.
The way it boils down is you basically are eliminating or at least cutting down on low-value traffic and really oftentimes eliminating bad leads. We do this a lot with our clients is we try to cut out customers that just don’t make sense for a business. We work with a lot of hair salons, for example, and these hair salons they may cover a big area of people but 80 percent of their business comes from within a five or ten-mile radius.
Anything beyond that is somewhat low value. So we really try to concentrate on the areas surrounding their business. That’s why I recommend starting with something like that based on a radius. So if you’re setting up a campaign and you do a lot of brick and mortar type of business or you’re a service or something that deals with a local customer base this can be really good in targeting a certain radius of a given pinpoint. I would also say keep it simple.
You can get carried away with targeting a whole bunch of different areas on a map. Google lets you target congressional districts, zip codes, counties, Nielsen Media markets. There’s a whole host of options that you can do here, but I would keep it simple. I wouldn’t make drastic adjustments either. Typically keep your bid adjustments in between that 5 to 50 percent range.
Anything beyond that you’re just kind of killing off the traffic, and you don’t necessarily want to do that at the beginning. And I would say also to stick with the adjustments that you do make for an extended period of time. That actually applies to just about anything you do with AdWords, unless you have to make an immediate change and immediate impact, but stick with the changes you make.
Get some good data, and then make an educated decision on that. So to kind of recap, the five things to do to really help your ROI on a pay-per-click campaign. One is remember use those modified broad match terms instead of broad match. Save money. Don’t spend money on people who aren’t relevant. Two, build landing pages that work for all devices. This is absolutely critical for 2014.
Three, use remarketing to reengage those users. Four, use ad extensions to take up more space and boost your clickthrough rates, and, five, use those bid adjustments so you can save money on the most relevant traffic. So that’s all I have. I know that was really specific in nature, so if you have any specific questions and want to hit me one on one with something, that’s fine. I can take questions now as well. That’s it.
I’ve heard of establishing yourself to get a feel for what people are searching for to develop a negative keyword list. I didn’t really talk about that too much and I didn’t talk about negative keyword lists at all in my presentation, but that type of strategy is good for figuring out what you don’t want to show up for and adding those negative keywords to sort of filter that out. But in terms of just trying to gain some traction, I think the thing to keep in mind is that an ad position is dependent on a few different factors.
It’s dependent on the relevance your keyword and your ad is to the end user. Typically that’s reflected in the clickthrough rate. It factors in the landing pages and how relevant they are to somebody, and then it factors in the historical performance of that keyword by other advertisers. So sometimes what happens is is if you’re in an industry where a keyword has performed fairly poorly for most advertisers, you’re going to face an uphill battle.
So that may be your only option is to bid up really high and try to capture as much traffic as you can, but oftentimes what we find is if you have some relevant ad text, relevant keywords, and a relevant landing page and you just bid the baseline amount, you’re golden. So that would be my answer.
I don’t know off the top of my head what the latest has been because it’s changed a lot. It used to be that you could just do GIF files to load in there and there are a few different formats as well that were compatible. There are a couple of cool tools to use. Google provides a very basic animated banner ad creator. I don’t typically recommend using it just because it’s very rudimentary in nature.
If that’s all you’ve got, great. The best case scenario is you have a graphic designer that can put something like that together, but I also realize that from a cost standpoint that can be an issue and it’s not always practical. There’s a service called Banner Snack that I’ve used a couple times. That’s a really good resource as well for creating some animated banners. There’s a lot more customization that you can do there.
If you don’t have any design skills, it’s great. I like using it. I would recommend that.
No, absolutely. I think the biggest thing with ads that should dictate your strategy is matching up the most relevant ad copy with your keywords. So if you can do that at the most granular level possible, that’s awesome because I think that that resonates the best with people. So if you have a very specific keyword and a very specific ad for that that’s great. But sometimes what happens is that’s not always practical from a time standpoint, and if it’s a keyword that has a very low search volume Google may not let you show ads on it at all.
So what you have to do there is kind of figure out how can I generalize my products to the extent that they’re still relevant with people but I’m not just dumping money into something. That can be a challenge. A lot of companies just go with an agency to figure that type of thing out. From a do it yourself standpoint I would say that the best advice I would give there is to try to set something up that’s very granular in nature and if it doesn’t work try to expand it out. Add a few more keywords around that main core keyword.
Keep the ad text the same, and then see what happens there because what happens is if you have – a text ad will manage somebody’s expectations better than a keyword will. So if you have a very generic ad, that’s going to get more people onto your site but they’re not always relevant. If you have a very specific ad at least you can say you’re going to filter out people who aren’t interested in what that ad says at all.
So you can set up destinations in one of two ways. If you have a specific keyword you can tie a specific destination to that keyword. So you may have one categories page with five or six black dresses but there are certain keywords that describe specific ones. So you could send those keywords to different product pages and then for the more generic keywords you can just send them to that main category page through the ad itself.
You can do it all over the world. The U.S., because that’s what Google has invested the most money into, you’re going to have the most options there. But I would say that Canada, Mexico, you can still choose states or provinces, cities, metro areas, but the U.S. by far there’s a lot you can do there. That’s all I have so thank you.