Mike Essex

14 PPC Professionals Discuss Their Number One Tactics

5th Jun 2013 PPC Blog 8 minutes to read

2-business-peopleDuring our PPC week we asked 12 industry experts for their number one Paid Search tip and the results were fascinating. This led to a discussion internally about what we felt the most important factor was and below you can see the result of that debate with 14 members of the Koozai team debating which tactic they feel works best.

Samantha NobleSamantha Noble (@SamJaneNoble)

Add Negative Keywords: Google AdWords allows you to add 10,000 negative keywords per campaign but the number of campaigns running with no negative keywords continues to surprise me. They give you the ability to add 10,000 for a reason so my biggest PPC tip for advertisers is to use them. Additionally, it is important to consider match types when you are adding negative keywords to ensure your campaigns are running as efficiently as possible.


Graeme BengeGraeme Benge (@GraemeBenge)

Dynamic Search Ad Campaigns: It’s early days but I would allocate a small budget for a Dynamic Search Campaign. Here, using a specified URL or Page Title or even the content of a page, Google AdWords will build your ads for you. This is an interesting way to see if AdWords can do better than what you have managed off the back of the extensive keyword research and Ad testing you’ve done!


Mike EssexMike Essex (@Koozai_Mike)

As much as I love AdWords I think it’s important that people appreciate that there are other platforms and that AdWords isn’t always the right platform for each scenario. So my main tip is to use the right channel for your goals. So if you want to promote content Zemanta and Outbrain are perfect. Likewise if you want to gain brand awareness use Facebook or Twitter advertising.

Even within Google’s platform it’s important to remember that the display network is better for branding, remarketing is great for sales and the search network is great for lead gen if used on commercial terms. Consider what you want to achieve and test the platforms to see which work best for you.


Chris SimmanceChris Simmance (@Koozai_Chris)

Layering of Location Targeting With Bid Adjustments: With the new functionality afforded by enhanced campaigns it makes it so much easier for a business with local branches or offices to target their audience. I think that layering the location targeting on an area is great. You can set bid adjustments depending on how close or far away from the pre-defined area the user is. This can be done at country, county/state, region and radius level in the same way as the original targeting and then you can manually adjust the bids in the Locations tab of your campaign settings.

Layering Extensions


Laura PhillipsLaura Phillips (@Koozai_Laura)

Maximise Conversions: Don’t get obsessed with CTR, investigate how much of that traffic is actually converting and cut out the dross so your budget can be spent on the converting keywords. Of course you want a high level of traffic to your site, but if you are paying for every click you need to look to maximise conversions and keep cost per conversion down. Concentrate on organic traffic for building traffic, and conversions for your pay per click model.


Dean MarsdenDean Marsden (@DeanMarsden22)

Link accounts: My number one PPC tip would be to make sure your AdWords account is linked to your Analytics account then you can review each landing page’s bounce rate (with the average time on page) against the ad group and keyword. From here you optimise landing page content around high performing keywords, or do the opposite and edit the keyword targeting for a specific landing page.


GemmaGemma Holloway (@Koozai_Gemma)

Commercial Intent: It is important to remember that quality overrides quantity when it comes to the number of clicks on your ad. You need to consider the commercial intent of a keyword rather than how many clicks that keyword will get – will that keyword convert rather than just sending irrelevant traffic to your website that will then immediately bounce? Otherwise you’re simply wasting your budget on clicks coming to your site which have no value.


Ali Moghadam  (@AlMoghadam)Ali

Bidding on brand terms: This might seem like a waste of time because you’d expect to rank top in organic results – but your competitors are likely to be trying to capitalise on your brand searches with ads. Yes it seems a little sneaky but it’s within the rules (unless you own a Trademark) and can divert traffic away from you. It can’t be stopped, but it can be helped, so keep an eye on your brand terms. Branded ads can quickly put you back in control over a competitor and deter others from bidding. Hopefully, they’ll be focusing their spend on themselves and not just piggybacking off the competition!


EmmaEmma North (@MorphNorth)

Get Top Three Placements: My top tip would be to regularly review your keywords and ads and take action against any with an average position worse than 3. This is easy enough to check by applying a filter to your keywords to show only those with an average position worse than 3:

Top 3 Filter

If a keyword or ad is not consistently in the top 3 then it is not being shown at the top of the page and is instead spending at least some of its exposure time on the right of the page or even at the bottom. Ads in these regions are proven to receive less clicks than those in the top positions, negatively affecting your Click-through Rate.

If you have ads or keywords with an average position worse than 3, start by increasing your maximum bid if possible and monitor performance. If you are not prepared to increase your bid, you can try to improve the keyword’s Quality Score by increasing the relevancy of your landing page which can in turn reduce the required Actual Cost-per-Click. If you are unable to do either of these things then you might want to consider pausing the ad or keyword altogether as it is unlikely to get you good results.


Oliver EwbankOliver Ewbank (@OliverEwbank)

Landing Page Selection: My number one tip would be to select the most appropriate landing page for your ad. Landing on a Home page (or category page) can be frustrating for the user and lead to a poor bounce rate. This will have a negative impact on your conversions and quality score. The destination URL should be the page that is most relevant to the search query. It should be quick to load and have informative text with a good call to action. A well optimised landing page will increase your conversion rate and reduce your cost per click.


Tara WestTara West (@Koozai_Tara)

Use Ad Extensions: My PPC tip would be to take advantage of all the ad extensions available. Google reported that ad extensions can improve your Click through Rate by 7% on average, with call extensions improving it by between 5% and 30%, site-links by 20%, and social extensions by between 5-10% (Source), and my personal experience supports this too. Improving your CTR will help your Quality Score and Ad rank, which will ultimately result in a lower Cost per Click. This will make your campaigns more cost effective and you’ll be getting more out of your ad spend.

All ad extensions cost the same as standard clicks, but in many cases the engagement they bring is worth more than a click so they are well worth investing in. For example if someone downloads your app via an extension, their engagement is more valuable than a simple visit to your website. Ad Extensions also allow you to take up more ad space on the page for the same price. It’s important to be aware that your ads will need to be in the top three positions in order to make your ads eligible for ad extensions. You should apply your extensions at ad group level if they would benefit from being tailored to the ad group content, or if they are more generic extensions you can put them at campaign level.

The ad extensions you should be using as a priority are: call extensions, location extensions, sitelinks, offer extensions, seller ratings, ap extensions, and social extensions (G+). Although Product Listing ads aren’t strictly an ad extension they are replacing Product Extensions and are worth investing in if you are an ecommerce website. You can learn more about ad extensions here.


Tom HowlettTom Howlett (@Koozai_Tom)

Focus On Key Products First: Quite often, an advertiser on PPC will have a limited budget. To get the most out of the budget they do have available, it pays to plan effectively. Start with targeted Ad Groups and set these up to reflect the site structure, this will ensure the campaigns and Ad Groups remain highly targeted. Start by targeting the most popular products/services rather than trying to create an Ad for everything at first, to preserve budget. It is also suggested that negatives are assigned to the various Ad Groups and campaigns to immediately prevent Ads showing for irrelevant searches.


LenkaLenka Istvanova (@Koozai_Lenka)

Watch out for CTRL+Z: My top PPC is to be extremely careful when using shortcuts in Adwords Editor. Never hit Ctrl+Z on things that haven’t been posted yet as you will completely lose all the changes. Therefore, remember that hitting Ctrl+Z won’t just undo your last adjustment as in Word.


Anna LewisAnna Lewis (@Koozai_Anna)

Context is key: My biggest tip for PPC is to always use context. By this I mean don’t make decisions based on just one statistic, always get the full picture through multiple statistics for the same aspect and use this to build a picture of the situation to help you understand whether or not you should take a specific action.

For example, if you’re reviewing keyword performance and think that all keywords with a Click through Rate (CTR) less than 1% should be paused you might accidentally pause a keyword that is very important to the campaign, has a good conversion rate but is just too expensive to be able to get top positions meaning a CTR of less than one is acceptable in this case.


What do you think?

What is your number one PPC tip and how has it changed the way you work?

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Business people standing on ladders via BigStock

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