Best Practices for PPC Advertising by Channel
In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Control Alt Digital is featured as one of the Top PPC Agencies in the United States. Check out their profile here.
PPC advertising can be a very robust solution to get potential customers to your website. It’s a fast way to make sure your website shows up when people are searching for your goods or services. With the many platforms you can advertise on, we’ll go through the best practices for running PPC campaigns on different channels or search engines.
Best Pay-Per-Click Practices On Google
When running paid advertising in Google Ads, you want to make sure you are following the best digital marketing strategies to attract the right people to your website. Many features go into building the optimal ads for your business.
Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is known for its automation techniques that help marketers manage their campaigns with ease. When setting up your campaign, you can pick from several campaign optimization strategies that use smart-bidding from Google’s algorithm to help your campaign achieve maximal performance based on your goals.
For the best performance of your Google Ads campaign, it’s best to choose your smart-bidding strategy based on whether you’re trying to get conversions, keep the highest ROI, or build brand awareness for your business.
For most campaigns that are trying to build up lead volume, it’s recommended to start your campaign using the Max Clicks strategy. Google offers this strategy to allow your ads to show more often so they can collect data on which people are likely to click on your ad, and determine which clicks end up leading to conversions. Once you implement this strategy for a few weeks, or whenever Google has enough conversion data, you’ll want to switch your campaigns’ smart-bidding strategy to Max Conversions so that Google will focus on showing your ads to the right people who are more likely to contact you to become new customers.
Recommendations When Using Google’s Max Clicks Strategy
When using an automated bidding strategy, Google is in charge of setting your bids for each click. To ensure that you don’t pay more for clicks than your budget allows for, the Max Clicks strategy comes with an option to set a max CPC limit. This feature can help make sure you’re optimizing your bids while still not overspending. You can set different max CPCs for each campaign to make sure your bids and ad spend stay in the right price range for each category of services that you offer.
Recommendations When Using Google’s Max Conversions Strategy
Once you switch your campaign optimization strategy to Max Conversions, Google will use their machine-learning to show your ads more often to people who are likely to take action after clicking on your PPC ad. When using this strategy, it’s best to keep an eye on your cost-per-conversion (CPC) to make sure your stats stay in line with your goals. Since you cannot set a max CPC, Google sets your bids. If your cost-per-conversion rises above what you would like to pay, you have the option of setting up a Target CPA (TCPA). This feature is recommended because it lets Google know what range to keep your CPA in, and therefore helps them determine how to bid on each keyword to make sure your costs don’t rise above the level you’re willing to spend for a lead.
Ad Creation For Google Paid Search
When it comes to creating ads for search campaigns, there are different types of PPC ads you can choose from. Each ad group should receive a few different ads to make sure you can capture the right traffic. Marketers recommend having three to four ads per ad group and typically like to see one responsive search ad (RSA) and two to three Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) in each group. When creating these ads, make sure your landing pages reflect the target keywords in each ad group so you can maintain a high-quality score on each ad, helping Google trust that your ads are relevant and show them more often.
Responsive Search Ads
RSAs are one of Google’s newer forms of ads, which launched in 2018. The idea behind RSAs is to have several headlines and descriptions so that Google can determine the best combination to show a user based on their search query. Responsive Search Ads allow you to come up with up to 15 headlines and four descriptions and then Google can do the rest. When an RSA is displayed online, only three headlines and two descriptions will show, which allows Google’s machine learning technology to decide which options of ad text they can show to get the best results for your campaign.
Since Google’s automation and machine learning can pick the best headlines and descriptions for each ad that is displayed, it’s best to make sure your headlines and descriptions vary so that Google has different options to choose from. By using different keywords and selling points, Google can select the options that best match the user’s search intent.
If you’re not sure if your ad copy has enough keyword variation, Google provides you with the Ad Strength of each Responsive Search Ad. Google uses a scale to rate each RSA, so you’ll want to make sure each ad has an ad strength of “Excellent” or “Good” while creating or editing your ads.
Expanded Text Ads
Expanded Text Ads are a variation of Standard Text Ads that allow larger character counts as well as a 3rd headline to be displayed in your ads. It’s recommended to have two to three of these in each ads group to run alongside your RSAs. Google has announced they will be sunsetting the creation of this type of ad in June 2022, but if you already are running ETAs they will be able to continue running.
The benefit of using ETAs over standard text ads is the ability to take up more space on the SERP. You have more ad copy that can be displayed, giving you more room for Calls To Action to try to convince someone why they should click on your website versus a competitor site.
Ad Features: Extensions and Settings for Optimal Performance
After setting up your ad groups and ads, there are several features to help you improve your click-through rates, conversion rates, and more.
Ad Extensions such as Sitelinks, Callouts, Call Extensions, Location Extensions, and Structured Snippets all help add value to your ad campaign. These extensions help searchers easily distinguish what services or products you offer, show reasons for them to click on your ad versus your competitor, and give them an easy way of contacting you.
Showing your phone number on the ad itself removes the step of having to visit your website first, which can help improve your conversion rates. The additional CTAs in your Callout Extensions help improve CTRs by giving users reasons to visit your site. You can even add location extensions and connect them to your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB) so that your ads show in the map section of search as well.
Features and Settings
Once your ads are set up, it’s important to make sure you update settings like ad schedules and negative keyword lists. These can be updated based on performance so your ads are only running during the times of day when people are likely to contact you, and so that your ads don’t show up for irrelevant searches.
As your paid ads continue to run, you can update your settings to maintain optimal performance. Regularly monitoring your search term report will show you what people have typed into Google that triggered your ads. Anything that doesn’t apply to your business can be added to your negative keyword list so that moving forward your ads will only show to the right people who would be interested in your service or products.
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Bing/Microsoft Pay-Per-Click Strategies
As a search engine, Bing/Microsoft’s PPC platform follows similar rules to Google. When putting together your marketing strategy, optimizing for Google can also help you succeed on Bing. The main difference with Bing compared to Google is that Bing typically has a smaller audience and an older demographic, which can cause a shift in your metrics. Because the audience is smaller, there is less competition when running PPC ads against your competitors.
This reduction in companies bidding for certain keywords means you can get clicks for a lower CPC, which can help improve your cost-per-conversion, making Bing a valuable addition to your PPC marketing efforts.
When setting up your Bing PPC campaign, you can keep the same structure that you set up for your Google PPC campaign, but decrease your bids so that you get clicks at a lower cost to your business.
Depending on your target audience, you can determine if adding Bing to your PPC strategy is best for your business. With more PCs making Bing the default search engine on their browsers, Bing/Microsoft continues to grow in popularity, especially with those who don’t manually change their settings to default to Google.
Facebook Ads and Social Media Marketing Strategies
Social Media PPC campaigns are a great way to target specific demographics. Rather than targeting keywords, you can target people who are likely to be interested in your company or brand.
When advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn, you target people based on interests, age, gender, income levels, education, and more. Since social media doesn’t target people searching for specific keywords, your PPC ads need to be able to quickly capture the user’s attention. It’s best to keep your text short and to the point, with a strong call to action.
On top of targeting specific users and their interests, Facebook/Instagram also can target users by email address. This is a helpful remarketing/retargeting strategy so that you can stay in front of people who have already purchased from you, and reinforce your brand to retain them.
On top of targeting your current customers, Facebook also allows you to create lookalike audiences where they target profiles similar to those who have purchased from you in the past. By targeting these specific people, you can help increase conversion rates and engagement on your Facebook ads.
Facebook Ad Creative
When trying to capture an audience on Facebook, it’s best to include an image, video, or gif in your ad. Video ads and gifs typically result in more engagement from your audience. If using a photo, the less text the better. If using a video, a vertical orientation is preferred so that it can easily be formatted for stories and used on both Facebook and Instagram.
Until recently, Facebook had a rule that text overlays could not take up more than 20% of an image. Despite this regulation going away, it’s still recommended to keep your text limited. Photos with fewer text overlays have been proven to perform better, as people immediately associate photos with a lot of text with ads, and are more likely to skip right over them.
Keeping it simple is better for retention, so adding your logo is recommended, but other text should not be added to a photo before running your ad.
Getting The Most Out Of Your SEM Campaigns
No matter which advertising platform you decide to use, it’s important to know the differences so you can design the PPC strategy that will benefit your business the most. Whether people are searching for your services or just browsing social media, you want your business to stay in front of your potential customers.
Using paid advertising across all platforms helps ensure that your brand will be seen, and complement your marketing by gaining trust with your audience.
About the author
Morgan has been working in the digital marketing space for over 7 years in a variety of operational and client-facing roles. She has worked with a variety of industries, including aesthetics, senior home care, lawn and pest control, sports programs, auto, restaurants, and more. Her clients have consisted of companies of all sizes, from small businesses to national franchise brands.
Morgan’s experience in social media, PPC, SEO, email marketing, display advertising, and franchise development has helped her build campaigns from scratch to ensure her clients achieve their goals. When Morgan isn’t working, you can usually find her outdoors, either bike riding, playing volleyball or at the beach.