Up until I started working at HubShout, the only thing I knew about PPC was that I didn’t want to click on the ads that showed up on my Google searches. When I got hired at HubShout as a writer, I learned a little bit more about PPC (back then known as Google AdWords); however, the extent of my knowledge was still very limited.
Recently, we have decided to put much more of an Account Management focus on our PPC campaigns. So, the Account Management team has started attending training, learning about managing pay-per-click accounts within Google Ads. Since this training, I have learned a tremendous about about PPC. Here are some of the top things I learned in training for paid advertising.
Google Ads Is Specific to its AudienceWhen you own a business, you know that advertising is essential. If you could display ads to a group of people who know are looking to purchase your product or service, wouldn’t you? Google ads lets you do that, and it’s pretty much the only platform in which that’s really possible at a big scale.
With pay-per-click advertising, you can choose to only show your ads to consumers who are searching for specific keywords that you’re targeting. That makes this type of marketing a much more efficient way to spend your advertising budget than simply sticking a billboard up over a major highway, for example. Manual Bid Strategies Are Better Than Automated Bid Ones When you tell Google to display an ad, you can choose how much you’re willing to pay when someone clicks on it, or you can let Google choose for you. While Google Ads is an incredibly useful tool, it’s not always wise to put your PPC account on autopilot and walk away. That’s another valuable lesson I have learned about PPC management services.
When you choose to utilize manual bidding, you remain in control over your account. You’re not allowing Google to spend your money without your oversight. Manually bidding let’s you see the direct impact bids have on impression share, and that’s valuable information to have.
Quality Score Greatly Affects Impression ShareThere are many factors that affect the way your ad shows in any given search. Before this training, I had assumed that it only had to do with how much the company was paying for that position. That is not the case, and Quality Score is one of the major factors that affects where and how often your ads shows in a search.
Quality Score is a numeric value out of 10. It evaluates the landing page your ads takes the user to, the relevance of your ad and the keyword, the quality of the ad itself, and more. If you can increase your Quality Score, you have a chance of increase how often your ad shows and how high of a position you can get your ad to appear in.
Unexplained Slow Months Can HappenFinally, one of the more eye-opening things I learned about PPC management is that slower months can happen. Sometimes, when leads aren’t coming in, or it seems that the campaign is dropping off, there is an identifiable reason. It could be that the forms aren’t working, or maybe the phone script tracking got turned off. It’s possible that there’s even a new competitor in town that’s taking all the clicks.
There are other times, however, when the industry is experiencing a lull. Maybe it’s winter time, and no one is buying pool supplies. Just like with SEO, sometimes you have to have patience.
After learning so much valuable information about Google Ads and pay-per-click advertising, I feel confident in helping to manage campaigns. I have also learned that PPC is not for every industry or every type of client, but it can be very successful when done correctly. I am excited to see how my knowledge grows going forward.
PPC can be one of the most effective ways of marketing. Per WordStream, “PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked.” Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. Although, we are known for our SEO, we are actually also an excellent PPC management agency.
As marketing products, SEO and PPC are complimentary. We believe a multifaceted approach to be the best option. The goal of marketing is to increase visitors to your place of business or website. “Google has concluded that even when advertisers are showing up as the first organic result for a keyword, 50% of clicks they get on ads were not replaced by clicks on organic results when the ads were not present.” The advantage of combining the two kinds of marketing is to increase your coverage of the first page.
For those who like the idea of pay-per-click advertising there are many ways in which you can get started. It’s important to have a bit of knowledge about the product if you intend to manage your own advertising campaigns. If you choose to hire someone, having at least a small knowledge base is still wise. The struggle in making this decision often lies with budget. Some rationalize the idea of doing it themselves as preferable because of the “savings.” However, you get what you pay for. PPC isn’t a realm in which you want a novice at the wheel.
As a reseller of digital marketing, including Google Adwords management services, we know that a large majority of first-time visitors to a website leave without completing a conversion. We believe that an effective SEO campaign, in addition to a PPC campaign, including retargeting to remind those visitors to come back to the site, is a great way to maximize your budget.
Recently, we have re-launched our PPC product. We ran experiments internally using theLean Startup method to improve client satisfaction as well as campaign performance. What we learned was that the first month of the PPC campaign was incredibly important to establishing a successful campaign as well as a trusting relationship with the client. PPC can be expensive.
Again, from Wordstream:
“Revenues generated on Google Adwords accounted for 97% of Google’s overall income in 2015. In total, 72 billion dollars worth of PPC advertisements were purchased in 2015 by a wide range of international companies aiming to drive more paid traffic to their websites. Having initially launched with 350 selected partners, Google Adwords is now used by over 1.2 million advertisers and the company’s recent domination of the mobile search advertising market points to continued success for years to come.”
The fact is that PPC advertising is a powerful marketing option. It is not for everyone or every industry, and, if you have a significant ad budget, you want to know that you have a professional at the helm.
PPC training has taught me that Google has truckloads of information about products and services and buyer behavior. How you choose to analyse this information could help you bring in more business. The Ggoogle Adwords platform can seem quite daunting at first. The more time you spend in Google Ads, the more comfortable you will feel. When purposefully and properly set up, a PPC campaign can be scaled to grow with you as your business grows.
Towards the end of 2018, HubShout revamped its PPC program. New monthly analysis tasks are designed to help us glean insights from the data accruing in accounts and use that insight to optimize the Google Ads campaigns.
Now, your Account Manager will be more involved in these tasks. We have done group training on these new deliverables, and on AdWords, to ensure the program’s success.
Although there were many exciting, new things we learned, there were certain items that stood out. In particular, I learned a lot about Quality Score. Let me take you through what I learned.
What Is a Quality Score?Quality Score is, as its name implies, a rating of the quality of your PPC ads. Google judges the quality based on your keywords, your landing page relevance, and (of course) your ad copy. Google uses multiple factors to determine your Quality Score.
These factors include:
- How relevant your keywords are to the ad group they’re in
- How relevant your landing page is to the keywords and ad (as well as the landing page’s quality)
- How relevant your ad text is to the keywords and the landing page
- Your click-through-rate (CTR)
- The historical performance of your AdWords account
How Do You Improve Your Quality Score?The best way to improve your Quality Score is -- you guessed -- to make your campaign more relevant.
First, start with your keywords. You want to make your ad groups as specific as possible. Say for example that Captain Pie’s Pizzeria is your client. The Google Ads campaign you’ve built has a core campaign and a menu campaign. In the menu campaign, you have one ad group for subs, calzones, and pizza. Break each of those out into their own, separate ad groups with their own keywords.
Second, review your ad copy. Do they have the keywords in there? Adding them in will make your ads more relevant. You also want to make sure your ad copy is targeting the proper, individual group. Returning to our hypothetical client -- Captain Pie’s Pizzeria -- the new ads you’re writing for your new ad groups should target people who are looking for subs, calzones, and pizzas. The ads you previously had may have been written for people who were looking for fast, Italian food.
Third, take a look at the landing pages. Are they really the most relevant page for the ads? Could you create an even better, more specific, more relevant landing page? You need to create a complete, cohesive experience that takes the customer from the keyword to a conversion.
What’s So Important About Quality Score, Anyways?Improving your Quality Score may sound like a lot of work -- and believe me, it can be -- but if you put the work in, it will pay off. Your Quality Score directly impacts your campaign’s success. A great Quality Score means your campaign will get a lower cost-per-conversion, which means an even better return on investment for your customer.
Google Ads management is a little bit art and a little bit science. I learned that it is not always necessary to make a ton of changes to an account, and that you shouldn’t make changes just for the sake of making changes.
It’s really important to do an analysis of many factors because you can have instances where a client is getting a lot of conversions on a keyword but the cost is very high. I also learned that it is good to systematically review keywords and ad groups when optimizing PPC campaigns.
It is also very important to spend enough money so that the campaign is better able to be optimized. AdWords is not a platform that you can spend a small budget to test and expect amazing results -- this of course depends on your vertical and location. You need to spend money to make money and be competitive. A minimum number of clicks per day is required to have enough data to make meaningful conclusions about what ad copy is performing best -- when A/B testing two ads in the same ad group, for example.
The Google Ads Insights tool can be very helpful in determining why a campaign may be performing the way that it is. It can help you see if a new competitor has entered the marketplace and how competitive your ads are against them.
I’ve also learned that it is important to make sure the keyword budgets are high enough so that they can at least appear on page one. If they are not, that keyword is really adding little benefit to the campaign. Every client and ad campaign is different; it is not one size fits all.
How the campaign is set up in the beginning is critical. That is where you want to spend the most time and attention. If the campaign is set up properly in the beginning, the monitoring of the campaign as it runs will be much easier. You will rarely implement perfectly with PPC right off the bat, which is why it is important to try a few things and see how they work for a few days and then make additional changes. Enlisting Google AdWords management services makes sense for this because most people want to focus on their business, not take the significant time and effort it takes to become experts in Google Ads.
A final item that is very important is to check whether or not your conversion tracking is set up properly. You want to make sure that the phone and form tracking are both set up and working, so you can correctly attribute leads. This is crucial in order to show ROI. As with all aspects of PPC management services, making informed decisions based on data is the key to success.
One of the best parts of learning the process for Google Ads management services has been expanding my knowledge of the services that HubShout provides. It helps cut down on time needed to get questions answered, and makes me a more confident and capable Account Manager.
It has almost been like learning a new language. I have to learn technical terms and the abbreviations, the slang terms, and colloquialisms of pay-per-click campaigns and how to manage them.
It’s been really interesting to see how even small changes, like changing the match type of a keyword can impact the whole campaign. It’s like the butterfly effect. I like looking at the granular changes that can be made to increase conversions or click-through-rate. It feels more impactful managing PPC campaigns instead of SEO campaigns, because the effects of what we change are so immediate.
Quality Score is one of those things that we learned about that doesn’t get a lot of focus until it’s low. When there are so many things that affect Quality Score, there are so many different ways to improve it. It reminds me of so many different video games I’ve played that employ mini-games to help players improve their scores.
When it comes to Quality Score, there are so many things to test and try to improve, and you never know what exactly will be the thing to improve it. That’s why it’s critical to test different elements in an organized manner.
Things that we can handle ourselves first are things that tend to flow in a natural order. That order is primarily focused around organization and relevance. Those are two things that fall very naturally into how I already think. I’m a big believer in the importance of organization, and getting rid of things that aren’t relevant or distract from the goal that is being worked toward.
Keyword OrganizationHow are your keywords organized? Are there keywords in your ad group that don’t belong? Could you make a completely different ad group for those keywords? Are your keywords too granular and specific? Could some of the keyword match types be broadened? Could they be restricted?
Making sure the ads are relevantThere are so many questions you can ask yourself to see if your ads are relevant. Do the ads have your keywords in them? Where do they appear? How often? How targeted are your ads?
Landing page relevanceWhere do your ads lead? Are the keywords in the ad also on the landing page? How do people contact you from there? Is there any content on the landing page?
When it comes to changes on the landing pages, that is usually where we want to collaborate with the client most, to get input on how we can make changes to the landing page, that still stays in line with what the client is looking for.
This is where being an Account Manager who can also manage AdWords campaigns is really effective. I don’t need to consult with anyone to ensure that a landing page is relevant, and the client and I can have a quick conversation to lay out a plan to update the landing page if needed. In the past, consulting with the PPC analyst on everything added a layer to the process that increased the time it took to act.
I didn’t think that I would like PPC. It seemed so foreign to me a few weeks ago, with all these words and numbers and actual money that I was spending on behalf of someone else. The more I tried it and thought about it, the more that it came into better focus and clarity for me. It’s like being a scientist, or a gamer. You have to try different combinations and test different ideas in order to get a result or beat the boss.