5 Questions To Identify Missed Opportunities In Your PPC Account

You’ve heard of the phrase, “You have to spend money to make money,” right? In PPC, this is true — but spending money doesn’t mean wasting money, of course. What it means is setting a budget that allows you to compete and using that budget to try new online advertising channels you may not have thought of.

Tips that show how to save money in PPC are quite popular; but today, I’m going to argue for the spending side of things. So, why spend more? Spending more usually means expanding your possibilities — when done well.

In this post, I’ll take you through a series of questions that will help you examine the current state of your PPC accounts to see if there may be any missed opportunities.

If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, you may want to explore opening up your budget and trying something new to experience the possibility of more ROI.

1. Have You Exhausted All Possible Keyword Angles For The Search Network?

No matter how diligent we are on the outset of a campaign, there are times we discover profitable keyword trends months or even years after a program launch. There will always be new ways people are searching for our products and services.

Case in point: We have one client who has been with us for years, and we recently identified a keyword trend that was bringing in traffic. When we discussed it with the client, they mentioned they never told us about the possibility of that keyword because they didn’t like that word associated with their product, but they were open to trying it out. Sure enough, when we built that keyword into the program, we saw positive ROI.

To stay on top of new keywords, you’ll not only want to look at the data regularly in AdWords, but also have brainstorming sessions every so often with internal folks.

In a recent campaign we launched for preschool classes, we created ad groups for morning and afternoon classes – but after the launch of the program, we had to regroup.

We discussed more possibilities with the client and found out that when people called to inquire about the classes, they were using terminology like “a.m.” and “p.m.” classes, not just morning or afternoon. So we built that language into AdWords and it really improved the performance of the campaign.

We never regret exploring and testing other keyword avenues. Expand your reach, expand your budget and enjoy the possibility of more sales and conversions.

2. Do You Have A Remarketing Strategy?

AdWords launched the remarketing feature in 2010, and while some may still view it as the “cool, shiny new toy,” in my opinion, it’s no longer an option. We used to launch it as a Phase 2 initiative, but today, we always include it as part of Phase 1 for our clients.

Research shows its effectiveness, and in some industries, I’ve seen remarketing as the top-performing strategy; when it’s not, it can perform as a close second to branded campaigns.

Remarketing targets both Google’s Search Network — with remarketing lists for search ads — and its Display Network. Test it out for yourself and see.

3. As A Retailer, Do You Have A Google Shopping Strategy?

Big and small retailers alike should consider Google Shopping campaigns with Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Even if you only have a few products, it’s worth vying for a spot in the sponsored search results. (We typically see anywhere from four to eight listings in the search results.)

Screenshot

Recent research coming from Searchmetrics shows that the portion of keywords featuring at least one Google Shopping PLA in the search results doubled in 2014 to about 16 percent; overall, PLAs in Google Shopping accounted for 44 percent of all integrations in Universal Search – more than any other type.

If you’re going to go this route, my fellow columnist Mark Ballard wrote an interesting article on separating out branded and non-branded traffic in Google Shopping that you should check out.

And of course, there’s a whole bunch of info in the AdWords help files, here.

4. Are You Advertising Via The Google Display Network (GDN)?

There are more than 2 million sites included in the Google Display Network that reach more than 90 percent of Internet users worldwide. Display ads on the GDN can also be used in your remarketing strategy. And if you’re already remarketing, you can use those same assets (ads) on the GDN.

You can target your campaign to websites by topic (if you add keyword targeting, even better), and the choices are endless — everything from beauty pageants to personal injury to the Olympic Games. Here’s a screenshot from the help files at AdWords that shows just a sample of topics:

Topics List

I’ve often been pleasantly surprised at the results on the GDN. Even when we don’t see direct results, we normally see a lift in the entire PPC account in general when adding GDN to the mix. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

For more on why you should love the GDN, check out this post I wrote last month for Search Engine Land.

5. Have You Tried Video Ads?

You can use video ads in a variety of ways via AdWords, including on the GDN and on YouTube. Stand-out videos can really catch a prospect’s eye.

For inspiration, you can browse case studies over at Think with Google.

ROI In Action: An Example

I wouldn’t be telling you to try all these things if I haven’t been able to uncover ROI in doing so myself.

In the following example, we can see this account improved through our efforts in opening up budget and trying new avenues. Ultimately, we boosted the conversions with a better cost per acquisition.

Chart

In this, case, we tested several new areas for advertising, and the GDN proved to be the one that lifted the account the most. In February, March and April, we experienced three solid months of higher spend and more leads and at lower cost (keeping in mind that for this client, a lead could turn into a six-figure deal).

Ultimately, if you never open up your PPC budget, you may be limiting leads and sales. Be open to exploring and testing new ways to get ROI from your paid search accounts. There seems to always be something more we can do with our PPC, and that usually means spending more money.

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