Maximising Your Return from Paid Search

With digital spend in the UK topping £8billion in 2015 and the IAB reporting 51% of that being represented by paid search, it’s clear Pay-per-click advertising has lost no momentum in recent years. Advertisers are heavily focused in that direction, due in part to the continued progression and rising effectiveness of social media advertising.

While the ROI performance capability of PPC is in no doubt, a firm reality check is needed – search marketing is one of the most competitive channels you’re likely to invest in. With the real time bidding mechanic, it’s also one of the most directly competitive in the sense that costs are directly impacted by the number of competitors in any one space using the same keywords at any one time.

As a modern day business, particularly if you trade online, you can’t afford not to take advantage of the nation’s biggest spending digital channel, but you also can’t afford to take it on casually and expect to see a return. Here’s some of our top tips for ensuring you’re maximising your return potential from paid search.

Keyword Research is a Year Round Activity

Keyword selection is a pivotal part of paid search and for many the very first step when setting up a campaign is conducting keyword research. This helps you to discover a set of niche keywords to bid on. The issue is that so often this process is conducted as a one off right at the start of the advertising journey and is seldom, if ever, repeated to the same degree.

In the modern online marketplace, it’s highly unlikely that search query trends will remain consistent month on month. The speed at which tech savvy consumers change their approach to online behaviour and search needs is quite exceptional and if your business isn’t monitoring these changes, it’s likely you’re missing out on some potentially highly cost effective keywords and high converting keywords.

Make keyword research a weekly activity and track changes in the market to help you stay one step ahead of competitors and in sync with consumer demand.

Don’t Neglect Your Ad Copy

With the many complexities that exist within managing a paid search account, particularly larger keyword volume accounts, it’s easy to neglect some of the basics and one that we see more often than not is ad-copy neglect. This comes in two distinct forms:

Generic low variety ad-copy – Larger accounts tend to be guilty of this but essentially it’s a case of using similar or identical ad-copy across a large variety of ad groups and keywords. Search marketing is all about relevancy, it’s the basic principle that has led to the success of search in the eyes of consumers. Your ad-copy is your hook to generate clicks and traffic from your appearance in the rankings which you are bidding for. The more relevant and direct your ad-copy is vs the search conducted by the user, the more likely you are to beat your competitors to earning that click.

Letting ad copy get stagnant – We get it, it can be time consuming but given the spend you’re likely putting through the channel, it’s well worth investing the time to regularly update your ad copy. The old saying stands true, “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it”.  While  we’re not suggesting you should swap out your top performing ad copy for the sake of it, but what we would suggest is regularly adding new ad copy in to your ad rotation to see if you can improve on your current top performers.

Use Negatives to Your Advantage

It’s vital to create a negative keyword list early on in the account set up process but the power of negatives doesn’t end there. Using negative locations for small and local businesses can be a huge advantage. It can help you bid with confidence knowing you’re only targeting clicks from consumers within an acceptable geographical range to your business.

It’s one thing refining your keyword selection to include local terms, but many consumers will still make generic searches and expect Google and other engines to return location relevant results. Using negative geo targeting, you can set up broad generic search term campaigns excluding areas your business doesn’t support or you’re unlikely to generate customers from.

Your Homepage is Almost Never a Suitable Landing Page

Landing page selection is crucial to paid search success and critical to generating a return from your activity. It plays virtually no part in the acquisition of clicks from a search engine but landing page choice is a huge factor when it comes to the conversion potential of the paid traffic you generate.

Much the same as we mentioned earlier with regard to having highly relevant ad copy vs your keyword selection, so the case should also be for your landing pages. Modern day consumers expect a slick, effortless user journey from the search engine through to the action they’re looking to complete, be that an enquiry or a sale. Make it easy – your aim is to convert them in 3 clicks! An easy example would be any search query involving a particular product or service. Don’t send these visitors via your homepage or even a sub level page.

So there you have it – keep those keywords relevant, ad copy fresh, targeting up to scratch and hone those landing pages! If you run into trouble with the nitty gritty (…RLSA, Remarketing, Shopping Ad feeds, Rules-based bidding etc) then please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We love a challenge!