Would you like to double your Google AdWords PPC conversion rate? That’s probably a silly question – of course you would. Most smart AdWords advertisers are concerned about two things:
- Increasing the conversion rate
- Reducing the cost per conversion
Everything else is secondary to these two main goals. And until they’re met, nothing else really matters to the marketer.
To avoid wasting your time and money on AdWords, pay attention to the factors that determine long-term success.
According to Sitewit, spending on PPC ads increased by 12% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2014, and businesses make an average of $2 for every $1 they spend on AdWords.
Yet investing your money without appropriate results hurts your business’s bottom line. That’s why you’ve got to be smarter with your campaigns. Smart PPC marketers get the best results.
Download this cheat sheet of 8 google adwords hacks that’ll double your conversion rate.
If you’ve been skeptical about AdWords because you’re scared of losing money, you can take solace in this fact: Based on the major marketing key performance indicators (KPIs), AdWords still generates the highest ROI.
In this article, you’ll learn the best ways to improve your AdWords conversion rate. The checklist below are proven to work. Let’s get started:
#1: Reverse-Engineer the Path of Purchase
Reverse engineering, also known as back engineering, is the process of extracting knowledge or design information from anything man-made and re-producing it or reproducing anything based on the extracted information. The process often involves disassembling something (a mechanical device, electronic component, computer program, or biological, chemical, or organic matter) and analyzing its components and workings in detail. – DEXA Engineering
As a beginner, when you find a particular concept, method or strategy that seems to be working, don’t just get excited about the end result. Instead, study the process so you can implement it yourself.
Keep in mind that there is a shifting concern of needs for online consumers.
For example, when you understand how to build a list of 1,000 email subscribers in 30 days, it doesn’t matter what market you’re in – you can simply replicate what you already know and get the same results.
To be a smart PPC advertiser, you have to truly understand what you’re getting yourself involved with. Any marketing channel that involves spending significant amounts of time or money before results can be achieved needs to be studied, dissected, and analyzed.
A good place to start is by reverse-engineering the path of purchase. This simply means that you consider your desired end result, then choose your keywords, write your ad copy, and tweak your landing page to achieve the end goal.
Being able to understand how your customers are shopping will give you an edge in your AdWords campaigns. For instance, what happens when a customer visits your site or store for the first time? Do you have a clear path for them to follow?
There are five general phases of your funnel or customer buying cycle. In each stage, your customer is asking different questions. So every search ad or display ad should contain elements that appeal to customers in each stage of the cycle.
So, for example, if your customers don’t yet know which product would help them “establish a great customer support effectively,” it’d be ineffective – if not outright self-defeating – to include your product name in your ad copy title.
On the other hand, if your brand is popular or your target audience already knows how a help desk system works, then it’s fine to use your product name in the ad title.
In order to motivate new customers and users to try your new software, don’t assume they know what your product does. You could offer them a discount or explain the benefit of your service, as in the example below:
The purpose of using the reverse-engineer method is to convert your visitors into email subscribers, leads, and customers – even if that’s not their main purpose in clicking your ad.
If your customers are already aware of the solution that they want, but are still too skeptical to buy, HubSpot recommends that you use product webinars, swipe files, case studies, FAQs, data sheets, demo videos, and free trials to persuade people to sign up for your list and get to know your brand.
In your Google Analytics dashboard, you can use the “Behaviors” tab, acquisition and conversion flow to better understand how your prospect’s needs can change when they visit your site.
In the screenshot above, you can see that the number of new visitors exceeds the number of returning visitors. If your audience behavior follows a similar trend, it simply suggests that the majority of your visitors don’t know your brand or product before coming to your site. So, you’ve got to educate them.
So how do you ensure that your funnel caters to these people? Will you send them the same email that every other subscriber receives? A better solution is to segment your list, and only deliver targeted emails.
#2: Use Remarketing as a CRO Tool
According to AdReady, retargeting is the most effective ad display strategy of all. Remarketing is an effective way to improve your CRO and helps you persuade indecisive visitors to go back to your site.
Many PPC advertisers have never considered using remarketing as a conversion rate optimization tool. But it’s going to save you time and money as well. After all, most people don’t convert on their first visit to your site. In fact, according to Baymard, “70% of buyers will abandon a shopping cart.”
When you employ remarketing, you’re simply showing the same ads that people viewed earlier to them several times. That way, you can bring them back to your site and increase the odds that they’ll click your display ads and buy your product.
According to Larry Kim of WordStream, conversion is usually high when you’re consistent with retargeting. They advise you to be aggressive, since the people you’re targeting have already shown interest in your ad or have at least visited your site before.
Retargeting your lost visitors cuts across many platforms, not just Google AdWords. For example, email retargeting helped KLM Royal Dutch Airlines get a 34% open rate and 94% higher click-through rate for their targeted messages.
In another example, Add3 increased their client’s revenue through retargeting by 200%. Retargeting works, plain and simple.
#3: Test Your Landing Page Design
44% of companies use split testing. It should be 100%.
Your ad copy controls your click-through rate, while your landing page influences your conversion rate. The design of your landing page will make all the difference in your campaign’s conversion rate.
You’ve got to decide what lead magnet you’re going to use. Many marketers believe webinars generate the most leads, but testing might show you that ebooks would yield more leads for you.
When your landing page is high-converting, you can maximize your clicks and traffic. Instead of wasting money on Google AdWords, you’ll see continual improvement.
Many organizations have benefitted from their landing pages. According to Event 360, President Obama raised an additional $60 million using A/B testing on his landing page and other related elements.
Every element on your landing page can and should be tested. For example, you could test the CTA placement, shape, and color.
Each of the changes you make will either lead to an improved conversion rate like the example above, or a reduced one. So there’s no one right or wrong color, and definitely no universal rules to follow. Instead, test it out and go with what works best for you.
#4: Align Ad Copy With Landing Pages
This is a no-brainer. If you want your Google ad copy to generate the most clicks possible, you have to align it with your landing page.
In her book, Unleash the Power of Paid Search, author Melanie Mitchell says that when your ad copy aligns with your landing pages, your clicks will make a meaningful impact on, and improve, your quality score. Six elements in particular help raise your quality score. See the chart below:
Quality score is important, not only because it’s a key indicator of your past PPC campaign performance, but also because it’s a great way to predict the performance of your future campaigns.
Your quality score is what Google uses to measure how effective and efficient your PPC campaigns are. A high quality score means that your ad copy is relevant and compelling.
More importantly, a higher quality score will reduce your advertising costs, give your ads increased exposure, and lead to better ad positioning in both search and display networks.
Your job is to create a clear path to the sale. The copy on your landing page should mirror the copy in your ads.
For instance, if you’re selling a physical product, you could simply send click traffic to the product page so they can buy it. See how 6pm does it for Nine West Shoes:
The headline “Nine West Closeout – Save up to 75% on Nine West Shoes” is highly relevant to the landing page.
The URL in the ad also contains the keyword “Nine West,” which is great for improving click-through rate. When the search ad above is clicked, the user is taken directly to the Nine West Store where they can easily purchase the product.
Another aspect of alignment is your keyword theme. For example, if you’re advertising in AdWords for “social media tracking tool,” then your landing page should be “social media tracking” or similar landing page.
If you send clicks to a landing page on “social media marketing tips,” there’s no alignment. Your CPC will keep increasing because the click traffic (potential leads) doesn’t land on a page that’s aligned with the ad.
Look beyond keywords, though, because in today’s search marketing, user optimization is the focus. You’ve got to give it adequate attention, because quality score measures user experience on the landing page.
Optimizely conducted an experiment to find out whether and to what extent aligning the copy of landing page and ad helps improve conversion rate.
Control: In the control, they used the same headline on the landing page: “Test it out for free.” No matter which ad the user clicked on, they were sent to the same landing page.
Variation: Three separate landing pages were created. Each landing page headline mirrored the ad copy. The aim was to find out which ad copy performed well as a result of the landing page.
So, for example, if the Google search ad read “#1 Split Testing Tool” then its corresponding landing page headline also read “#1 Split Testing Tool.” If the search ad read “Optimizely split test tool,” then so did the headline on the landing page.
What was the impact on the funnel? Well, at the end of the experiment, the search ad that had the same headline and copy as the landing page outperformed those without that alignment. In fact, the Optimizely team saw a 39.1% increase in conversions from visitors to leads in the variation with the same message.
Another important reason why you need to always align the ad copy with its corresponding landing page is the fact that it reduces bounce rate.
Consider this example: In the ad copy below, the target keyword is “visual no-code app builder.” So we expect to see the same headline when we click the ad link:
But here’s the landing page that you’d be sent to:
The landing page and ad copy/headline aren’t aligned. The headlines are quite different. One says “visual noCode mobile app builder, while the landing page says “Lianja App builder.” Users might even think they somehow got sent to the wrong page.
Let’s look at a second example. The ad copy below is targeting “Mobile Game Development”:
When the ad is clicked, the user gets sent to the landing page below:
The headline’s the same (mobile game development) for both the search ad and the landing page. You also see a relevant image of a smartphone, which also aligns with “mobile.”
Keep in mind everything you do to optimize your ad copy to align with your landing page is for the benefit of your users. Creating a great user experience for them while they’re on your web page will increase your quality score, lower your cost per conversion, and increase your revenue.
#5: Implement Click-Through Rate Best Practices
According to Google, “click-through rate is a ratio that shows how often people see and click your ads.” The more people who click your ad and visit your landing page, the more people you’ll (hopefully) convert to purchasers. Therefore, improving your AdWords click-through rate is more important than setting up multiple ads.
There are certain things that you’ve to do if you want your ads to be clicked. We’ll review some of them in a second.
First, let’s look at some statistics. WordStream recently published some useful research for benchmarking paid search marketing. They found that the average conversion rate for search networks in the third quarter of 2012 was 5.63%.
According to Larry Kim, for competitive industries like internet marketing or weight loss, the average click-through rate is 5%+, especially when ads appear in the top positions. Here are the click rate statistics for four different competitive industries:
According to the Google Economic Impact Report, “businesses generate an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they invest in AdWords.” But how can you get this kind of result, if your click rate is low?
You can make more money through advertising on Google AdWords if you know what you’re doing, but you also have to distinguish between Google search ads and display networks. A solid understanding of that distinction will help you align your ads and create more compelling and clickable copy for your target audience.
“Search network” refers to Google’s ad platform that displays text-based ads above and to the right of organic results on search engine results pages (SERPs). The display network, on the other hand, delivers image-based ads, such as banners, to users.
It’s important to understand what differentiates search and display networks, because click-through rates vary widely from one network to the other.
A few of the click-through rate best practices that you can implement today to lower your cost per conversion and boost your sales are:
i). Use title capitalization in your ad copy: Instead of using all lowercase letters, capitalize your title and your click-through rate will improve. See how title capitalization has been applied to the second of these AdWords ads:
ii). Consider the marketing funnel: You have to target the right keywords to see the best results. You’ve got to ask yourself questions such as “where are my target audience members in the buying cycle?”
If your target audience already knows about your product, there’s no need to target generic headline keywords that give an overview or introduction. It’s better for you to target keywords that’ll generate income.
For example, if your target audience consists of photographers looking for new gear, you could target keywords that have “commercial intent,” such as “buy digital cameras” or “where to buy camcorder digital camera.”
Lime Ricki Swimwear increased its AdWords click-through rate by over 23x, and quadrupled its conversion rate.
You can achieve this level of result by adopting click-through rate (CTR) conversion best practices, such as bidding on brand keywords that show commercial intent and targeting the right audience.
Your CTR can be improved by tweaking your ad copy, headline, and placement. In a nutshell, the things that affect CTR are directly connected to the ad copy, while conversions are linked to the landing page.
iii). Be mindful of your ad placement: People click Google ads no matter where they’re positioned. But when your ad is placed in a vantage position, you’ll get a higher CTR on your ads.
For keywords with high commercial intent, almost ⅔ of clicks go to sponsored results.
If your brand keywords have decent search volumes, you may want to set up an AdWords campaign for them as well.
According to Optify, the first search ads will generate a CTR up to 36.40%, while a search ad above the fold will yield a 19.50% CTR.
Naturally, people who are searching for your brand keywords (e.g., “moz seo tool”) are ready to buy or at least try your software. Non-brand keywords will also yield higher click-through rate as long as they’re highly targeted.
And sponsored results account for 64.6% of clicks, according to Larry Kim of WordStream, for high commercial intent keyword searches.
Don’t rely on intuition or assumptions when it comes to the right position for your ads. You have to test it out. Spend some time evaluating your ROI for your campaigns.
The frequency of the ads also matters. The more often people see the ads, the likelier they are to click them. A recent Casale Media study on “The Link Between Ad Placement & Performance” reports that ads shown five times or more are 12 – 14x more effective than ads shown less frequently
iv). Test different match types: It’s easier to improve your ad CTR when you test different keyword match types. For example, exact and phrase match keywords gives you a head up on the position that your ads will rank.
With broad match keywords types, you’ll reach more people than with the phrase and exact match keyword types. However,your click-through rate will be lower, because the quality of the ads (as it pertains to the keywords) are not closely-tied with the exact intent of the user.
So the best approach is to test different match types for your keywords. Strike a balance for these match types in your ad campaigns. It’s a good way to go about increasing revenue, says Avinash Kaushik.
#6: Effectively Group and Organize Your Keywords
It may seem like a difficult task to get your Google AdWords PPC campaigns organized. But it’s a necessity if you want to increase your chances of getting a better conversion rate.
Likewise, grouping keywords is an important task for many reasons:
Here are some of the things you can do to effectively group and organize your keywords:
i). Effective structure: Think of an effective structure when organizing your PPC campaigns. First and foremost, your campaigns have certain characteristics, like the budget and bidding strategy (e.g. cost per conversion), by which you can sort them.
The campaign can also be tracked by whether your ads will run on the display or search networks.
So what about your ad groups? Think of them as containers for your campaigns. In other words, your campaigns should be organized and stored in groups ready to be launched. Your ad group manages your ads and related keywords.
The keywords that are organized in each ad group should all be relevant to each other, and the ads should also be closely related to the keywords. Finally, there should be some congruence between the landing page and both the ads and the keywords that you’re targeting.
However, in order to effectively track your results, it’s better to organize your accounts into separate campaigns. This is especially useful for beginners to Google AdWords advertising.
ii). Aim for small ad groups: Ensure that your ad groups are small and focused.
Each of your ad groups should be focused on a particular product, offer, model, or service – e.g., an ad group for your webinar training. Simply Business UK provides a proven system for choosing a new ad group or a new campaign:
Smaller ad groups will likely result in a more relevant keyword list for each ad group.
This in turn makes it easier to develop the right ads for each ad group. It’s easier to track results for a small ad group, than a large one. However, make sure that you’ve got at least 4 ads in each ad group:
And that’s why it’s important to create ad groups that are tightly focused on a particular product or keyword list – it increases CTR, and you can easily track keyword performance and other metrics.
Here’s an example of a small ad group that’s focused on keywords that are closely related.
iii). Experiment with different ad variations: It’s important to create different ad variations during setup.
These variations will ultimately reveal the best approach for your ad placement and conversion tracking.
Of course, if you want to view your conversions, you can simply click the conversions tab under the “tools and analysis” tab on your Google AdWords dashboard.
#7: Integrate Negative Keywords
Each time you’re running a Google ad for the search network, you’ve got to recognize that most search queries will not be relevant to your offer. Negative keywords, which exclude certain search terms from triggering the display of your ad, are a smart way to boost your ad conversion rate and help overcome this challenge.
Emergency Restoration Specialists (ERS) integrated negative keywords into their AdWords campaigns and within 3 months, they had generated more leads than they could handle. They even had to pause the ads from running, because they had their hands full with new business from targeted customers.
According to Techwyse, these are some of the negative keywords to include in your campaign:
For example, if you’re selling Nike running shoes, you’d want visitors to click your ad, visit your landing page or store, and – most of all – to purchase a pair.
You certainly don’t want people who are searching for “free Nike shoes” to visit your store – because it’s obvious they don’t want to buy from you.
So, when integrating keywords, add negative keywords to prevent your search ad from showing to users who aren’t likely to convert. To do this, follow the simple steps below:
Step one: Log in to your Google AdWords account. Click the “Campaigns” tab then click the [+] sign next to the “New negative keywords list” tab.
Step two: Add your negative keywords to the space provided.
Going back to the earlier example, if you add “free” as a negative keyword to your Ad Group or Campaign for Nike running shoes, your search ads won’t appear when people search for your product/target keyword with the word “free.”
But negative keywords don’t only apply to search network ads. They also apply to ads on display networks.
If you include “free” to your negative keyword list, your ad on display networks is less likely to appear on a site where the content matches the negative keyword. For example, if a blog post headline is “3 Simple Ways Get Nike Running Shoes For Free” your ad won’t show up on that page.
Many companies, marketers, and digital marketers are benefiting from using negative keywords. For example, recently, Eureka SEM helped a health-product business integrate negative keywords into its campaign, increasing the click-through rate 0.97% to 1.33% and the conversion rate from 1.12% to 1.53%.
So basically, you benefit from negative keywords in three ways:
- Increased CTR
- Reduce CPC
- Boost ROI
Davek NY, a company that sells high-end designer umbrellas, had a challenge with converting people who visit its site into customers. It needed to improve ROI, because people were coming to the site but not buying anything.
Davek integrated negative keywords into its campaigns and decreased ad spends, while simultaneously increasing ROI.
It also reduced the number of visitors to the site, because quantity doesn’t necessarily matter when you’re running a paid ad campaign. Quality of targeted traffic should always be your main focus.
#8: Use a Customer-Focused Approach
In the Google Display Networks, you can easily add audiences to your ad groups. You shouldn’t target everyone.
Recent statistics found that Google Display Networks reach over 80% of internet users. Imagine getting a tiny percentage of this huge traffic to your site, especially when they’re your ideal customers.
In content marketing, the #1 rule is to know your ideal customers and create content around their desires, needs, and challenges.
Think With Google recently shared a case study on how AirBnB used Google display networks to expand its reach, becoming an international brand and growing its listings to 80,000. They aimed at customers who travel for business and pleasure.
Before launching the ad campaign, it also implemented negative keywords to steer people who aren’t interested in the service. This is a great way to boost conversion rate on the display networks.
Marketing Land advises that you should target an audience based on their top interests and demographics. These two factors define who someone is and their worldview.
If you’re going to be running ads on the Google Display Networks, understand that you need 3 elements to ensure your success. Your ads need to have the right message, and reach the right person at the right time.
Rocket Clicks, a digital marketing company, has always been on the forefront helping its clients expand PPC ads to the display networks. After achieving tremendous success for several clients, here’s the takeaway:
Google AdWords is an effective way to get traffic to your site faster. If you don’t have a thick skin to wait for your web pages to pick up organic leads, you can set up an AdWords PPC ad and use it to generate quality leads for your business.
Although there are many metrics that you can monitor to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns, conversion rate remains the most important. It affects not only the ad copy, but the landing page as well.
Remember that creating ads for both search and display networks is important, because both serve different purposes. One is not better than the other. Your goals should define which method is likelier to yield the result you want.
The search networks are for direct response results, whereas the display network ads are more or less for brand building. When you use display networks, you need to locate in-market buyers, as this will lead to a higher click-through rate for your ads.
How long have you been using Google AdWords to generate leads for your business? Share your experiences so far.