My dear marketer, I don’t want to be the one to tell you this (actually, I do), but you’ve been led astray. The cold, hard truth about conversion rate optimization (CRO) in PPC just isn’t what you think.
Here it is — are you ready for it?
The truth about PPC ads and conversion is that, on average, most PPC ad copy optimizations have absolutely NO impact on conversion rates.
Blasphemy! I know, this isn’t what you’re conditioned to think. The Ad Text Optimization Fairy Tale goes something like this:
Once upon a time, the diligent little PPC marketer wanted to improve her conversion rates, so she tested various combinations of punctuation, capitalization, etc. She saw a 5% improvement in her conversion rates and lived happily ever after!
It just doesn’t happen that way. You still need to make these tiny changes, and occasionally you may hit the jackpot, but they’ll have little impact for the most part.
Another misconception is that there’s this massive difference in conversion between high click-through rate (CTR) ads and low CTR ads. What’s the actual impact of CTRs on conversion? Check this out:
See how the low CTR ads (<1% CTR) have low conversion? Those ads are terrible and should be shot. Google generally doesn’t even bother running ads with such low CTR, so let’s not focus our attention there.
Now, look at the higher CTR ads (between CTR 2-8%). Notice how the higher CTR ads tend to convert higher than the lower CTR ads, though it’s not a huge difference.
What does this mean?
It means that, while you definitely want ads with high relevance and high CTRs, this isn’t going to double or triple your conversion rates.
Here’s another way you’re being led astray: this magical loophole for bidding yourself into the position you want to boost conversion. You have to bid higher to get a higher position, because they convert better, right?
In truth, ads in different positions convert at about the same rate. A higher ad position may bring you more clicks and even more conversions overall, sure. But a higher ad position won’t inherently improve your actual rate of conversion — and those clicks in the higher position are going to be more expensive.
When we’re talking about improving conversion rates, the small optimizations only bring small results.
So, what should you be focusing on?
One of the easiest ways to see big changes is to differentiate your ads from your competitors’ ads. Sounds simple, yet most advertisers suck at this!
Think about what you see for most queries. It’s a total snoozefest. Everyone’s using the same keywords, the same offers. The ads all look the same, so they’re really just fighting for position and hoping to soak up the most (more expensive) clicks.
You know what these are?
AdWords Jackpots! But, unlike in Las Vegas, this kind of jackpot doesn’t win you any money — though avoiding one might. When everyone else is doing the same thing, there’s a real opportunity for you to stand out in a big way by being different.
How do you do it?
Create click-bait ads with emotional triggers that showcase your unique selling proposition. Perry Marshall is an expert at this and uses what he calls the Swiss Army Knife method of copywriting to find just the right trigger that converts like crazy. Here’s an example of an ad that converts at three times the average conversion rate for “divorce lawyers.”
See how that works?
The best way to improve your PPC conversion rate is to leverage new ad innovations that actually bias people towards converting prior to clicking on your ads. How do you do it? Here are four things you can do today to create higher converting PPC ads:
A lot of PPC marketers don’t consider remarketing to be a CRO tool, which is pretty crazy considering it can help you reconnect with and convert the site visitors who leave without converting (which is a vast majority of them).
Even people engaged and committed enough to put items in a cart can bounce — in fact, approximately 70% of shoppers will abandon their cart. Remarketing is an opportunity to turn those abandoners back into leads and make a second (or third, or tenth, or twentieth) impression.
You can do remarketing on Facebook and Twitter now, too, even using your own customer lists. Of course, the Google Display Network is prime remarketing ground as well, as it reaches 92% of all internet users in the US.
How can you make your remarketing campaigns more effective? Don’t be afraid to be super aggressive. Conversion rates actually increase over time with remarketing ads, as shown here:
Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) are another easy hack to double your conversion rates. On average, they have higher click-through rates and lower cost-per-click (CPC) than regular search ads. Just be careful to set up your RLSA campaigns in such a way that it’s not merely “stealing” conversions from your existing campaigns.
Want to learn more? I know you do. Check out this information-packed webinar I hosted with the inimitable Oli Gardner from Unbounce, where we show marketers how to:
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