I’ve just set up a pay-per-click campaign (ppc campaign) with Google Adwords for a client, and it got me thinking about the 6 years I ran my online press agency business, during which time I spent up to £3000 per month on PPC, which was responsible for bringing in around 30% of our total site traffic. My client wanted to know when he will get his first sale from his ads, and when he can consider his PPC ‘finished’.
Oh how I chuckled inside!!
Now, I love a PPC campaign – but here is what I learned about them over the years.
You can’t NOT look at your PPC campaign
Between April 2008 and May 2014 (the months in which I started and sold my online news business), I don’t think a day passed when I DIDN’T look at my PPC campaign! Every day I’d monitor the campaign, how much I was paying per click and what my conversation rate was like. And then every day I’d try to improve things both in terms of improving specifics keywords, ad quality score and on site conversions, and general trends such as learning about new developments (at the time, remarketing was a major new development). Think of PPC as you might The Never Ending Story. It never ends!
PPC is brilliant at bringing traffic – but traffic doesn’t necessarily mean conversions and sales
Thanks to PPC, you can bring targeted traffic to your website immediately. BUT that doesn’t mean they will buy! Oh no, a PPC campaign is just the start of that process. Once traffic hits your site, all sorts of other factors come into play which either result in a conversion, including
- How good your site is, including responsiveness, content, photography and usability.
- Whether it looks the part/official enough for whatever it is your customers are looking for.
- Whether it’s easy to use.
AND even when your site is the best in the world, that doesn’t mean people are necessarily going to buy. Just ask yourself this: Do you always buy something the moment you see a thing you’ve been looking up, or do you look and then decide not to buy, get distracted, think you’ll come back to it later? Exactly! There are a million and one reasons why someone doesn’t buy at the moment they might do, including perfectly innocent things such as their children fighting downstairs, as mine are right now. That’s when tactics like remarketing on Google or FB can be extremely useful as they give you a second chance to convert those people who have already visited your site.
The search term, your ad and the landing page have to match
Most people are pretty unimaginative and just want to find what they are looking for. They don’t want to wade through loads of stuff to get to what they need. Say for instance I’m searching for a waterproof cycling pannier. I don’t necessarily want to arrive at a bike shop home page and then wade through all their products to cycling panniers and then find the waterproof pannier #toomucheffort. Just take me straight to the waterproof bike pannier.
A PPC campaign isn’t just about you
Oh, if only it were that easy! No, it’s about all the others in that market too. It’s about what every other website that appears for that search time does as well. If they all increase their bids, you’ll suddenly find your ads aren’t showing and you have to increase yours. If they all revamp and improve their sites, you’ll suddenly find their quality score improves, their conversion improves and people won’t even make it to their ad! Get to know EVERY OTHER SINGLE site that appears for the search terms you are appearing for like the back of your hand. Watch them like a hawk for updates, tweaks and changes that could improve their conversions at the expense of yours.
PPC data is overwhelming
Just as it does with analytics data, Google will give you a lot of information about your ads. Don’t get overwhelm. Just focus on the key metrics, ie number of visitors compared to sales. I’ve lost many an evening getting sucked into the rabbit hole of adwords data and I’m not sure I’m a better person as a result!
Got any thoughts about PPC campaigns? Leave a comment below!