Paying for traffic, or Pay Per Click as it is more commonly known, can be a very cost effective way of driving highly targeted visitors through to your website, which hopefully then converts into sales or enquiries. Of course, just getting a load of people onto your website does not guarantee you will be rolling around in £10 notes anytime soon, but if used correctly, Adwords and Bing Ads can really help to drive increased conversions.

Quite often, advertisers will walk away from Adwords or Bing Ads, frustrated at what they feel is a system that might not be performing for them, or maybe they do not feel they need to pay for traffic, but generally, Pay Per Click can work for any company, service or product, but it takes time to develop the perfect campaign which is where many people tend to struggle. You wouldn’t knock up a ten page glossy brochure that will cost you £2000 to get printed in 20 minutes, so therefore you shouldn’t and cannot just chuck up a quick campaign and demand / expect success.

Pay Per Click needs a good solid base and then lots of TLC to nurture it through the growing process, making tweaks and changes, improvements and enhancements as time goes on, which is why you need to work, and work hard, to get your campaign to really perform, as it generally just does not happen for you. Because Adwords and more so lately Bing Ads are being used by more and more people, getting results is no longer easy and quick, as the more competitors out there the smarter you have to be to get ahead of them without spending the earth.

Below, we take a look at ten of the most common (in our experience anyway) ways that you can adjust your campaign and therefore improve it, which can often mean cutting spend and increasing conversions just by making some very simple adjustments and changes.

Conversion Tracking

We are going to start with this for one reason …. It is so important that you have conversion tracking on your site, as not only does it tell you what works, it also tells you what does not work, two vital elements for any successful marketing campaign going forward. Without conversion tracking you simply have no real idea about where your leads are coming from, especially if you are running many different aspects like Adwords, Bing, Email and various other sources of traffic. Any decent platform will offer conversion tracking and even then, you should always try to make sure you have some way of knowing what click (or type / source) lead to that conversion, as this will allow you spend more in the areas that produce results and eventually drop or optimise areas that currently hammer your marketing spend with no real returns.

It is vital to make sure you are tracking conversions, which is why this is our number one point and if you decide not to read any further but do go ahead and implement it, it will be one of the best things you can do for your whole online marketing campaign, we promise!

Negative Keyword List

Often overlooked but critically important when it comes to removing irrelevant traffic is making sure that your campaigns have a negative keyword list associated with them. Negative keywords are a trigger that will stop your advert showing if they are used in the search term. For example, if you had a property site selling property in Spain and you only offered sales and not rentals, your negative keyword list would feature – “rent” “rentals” “lease” etc, so that if someone types in “property to rent in Spain”, your advert does not get shown.

This is really important when using Broad or Phrase match, because if people type in something that is close to your keyword list then your advert will get shown, which is why it is so important to make sure that you tell the system when not to show your advert via a sound list of negative keywords that you build up over time. You can view the exact search term people click through to your site by clicking on the campaign, Keywords and then click on the drop down Details and select all under the Search Terms section. When you see something in this list that you really do not want your adverts to show for, add the word or search term to your negative list to stop it happening again in the future.

Exclude Placements

When it comes to Display Advertising and Remarketing Advertising, getting to grips with your placements can be vital to make the campaign a success, or at least improve how successful the campaign could potentially be. With these two forms of PPC advertising, placements are the websites that your adverts will be placed on to, which is why it is important that you monitor where the traffic is coming from and start building up a list of placement exclusions, as this will get rid of the sites that cost a lot of money but do not convert and allow new sites to come through and improve your chances of increasing your ROI on these campaigns.

After a few days have passed, click on your campaign, then on the Display tab at the top and then Placements underneath, which will give you a list of placements (websites) where your advert has appeared. You can then either one by one exclude them, or you can create a master placement exclusion list under your shared library and then use this list across all of your campaigns, which is a time saver if you have multiple aspects running. Excluding placements takes some time to go through and sort, but in the long run you can cut back wasting money on poor placements and let the good ones start to shine through.

Enhanced Bidding

Enhanced bidding or enhanced cost per click (ECPC) is a really neat and often underused aspect of Adwords and basically lets Google (Adwords) decide where it thinks you have the most chance of getting a conversion from and then increasing the bid by around 30%. Although many people might be sceptical of this, I have used it and I have made it work, but like anything where you spend money, you need to monitor and compare the results to see if it is right for you. It uses existing data to try and work out where you get success and then it chases those or similar areas even harder, which means you do not have to manually go and look through reports and identify specific aspects you want to chase, as the platform will do it all for you.

Bid Adjustments

Bid adjustments can be an excellent method of increasing spend on areas, keywords or placements that you know are delivering results (another good reason to get conversion tracking working!!!). Once you know a keyword or placement is hitting the home runs and getting you the money, you can go in and increase by a percentage on that particular keyword or placement. For example, if one of your keywords or placements had delivered three conversions, you can tell Adwords to increase bids by 30% in future, which means that you are simply putting your best performing aspects forward, as it makes sense to work with success and get rid of failure.

Likewise you can do the same for things that might not be performing so well, which is ideal if you have some keywords or placements that have done poorly but not badly enough to remove altogether. In this case, you would reverse the above steps and decrease the bid amount by a certain percentage, which means you will still get some traffic but nowhere near the levels that might have been hammering your ROI on that campaign.

Device Exclusions

It is important to make sure that your website works on all kinds of devices, from laptops through to smart phones, but if this is not the case and your site is not really going to deliver on a certain device, then you should be excluding these areas from your PPC campaign. Within both Adwords and Bing ads you can either fully exclude or pay less for bids from people on Computers, Tablets or Smart phones, allowing you to have full control over where your visitors come from in terms of technology. This is also useful if you find one area more successful than another, because you can increase and decrease bids per device, allowing you to spend more on what converts and of course spend far less on what does not!

Location Targeting

When you initially set up your campaign, you are asked to either include or exclude countries to target, or set up specific areas via radius or post code that you want to target. Many people just opt for a country to target, which in most cases is fine, but if you are a local business you probably only want people in a certain area or location which is where you should be utilising location targeting more thoroughly as this can really help to increase relevant traffic and therefore cut the wasted spend of poor traffic.

If you are an online department store that ships anywhere in the UK, then targeting people in the UK is fine, but if you are a local butcher who only wants people in the local area, then you should be narrowing down on these people as this will help to cut back the traffic from visitors who do not want your butchers, but might want a butcher 200 miles away in a different town. Think about radius targeting if you are a local business as this can be set to capture anyone looking for something in the vicinity of your business, and if you are not sure about this then try running a static campaign that features Keyword + Location but also a radius campaign that just has Keyword but targeted to X amount of miles and simply compare the results to which performs the best.

Match Types

With Adwords and a few other systems, they tend to offer match types for keywords, including broad, exact and phrase, plus the latest aspects like modified broad match as well. Rather than going into massive detail as to what they all do, as there are plenty of articles out there to cover that, it is important to remember that by trying different matches you can actually have an influence on your campaign. If you are using exact match, then you may find your advert is not being shown as often as using phrase, which might not be as precise but could open your audience up. As we have talked about before, you can combine match types and negative keyword lists to get the best of both worlds, but it is well worth looking at match types and seeing if changing them around can produce better results for your campaign.

Landing (Specific) Pages

There are times when your adverts, keywords, placements and bids can be perfect and you are left wondering why you have not had the response in terms of sales or enquiries that you thought you would, which is where you need to look at the final end point – where the customer lands after clicking on the advert. If your site is packed full of products or services, try creating specific landing pages for your campaign, which solely focus on the type of aspect you are advertising via PPC. For example, if you were a holiday rental firm and you were advertising a villa to rent in Marbella, try to direct not only the visitor directly to that page, but try creating different versions and variations of that listing page to see what works.

PPC can offer you an almost instant check of what works and what doesn’t, so be creative and try different things. Once you are happy with your adverts on the PPC platform, never forget to also make sure you are happy with the landing page, as quite often when we look at campaigns, the final destination can be a major issue when it comes to preventing enquiries and sales.

Adverts

Your PPC adverts need to be catchy, short, informative and very much to the point and at the same time tell the visitor exactly what they are going to see when they click on the advert and progress through to your site. Do not try and mislead them or point them to the wrong section of your site, as this is just going to cost you a load of money and upset a lot of people. Your advert should take the user directly to the best and most relevant point or the last point before they need to make an action, so if it’s a product, take them to that product, if it’s a service then take them to a page about the service.

Once again, Adwords and Bing Ads offers you the chance to try different things. So try 3 – 6 adverts per campaign, and then monitor what works and what does not. You might find tweaking the text or adding some images will have more of an impact than you ever really thought possible, so never be afraid of trying new adverts, as the worst case scenario is that they do not perform and you just turn them off. Never get complacent and always be willing to try new things, because as we say, if it doesn’t work, turn them off and either rely on the ones that do perform or try again until you get it just right.

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