More return from a good SEA campaign
Jim Collins described it fine in his book “Good to Great”. Some companies are more successful than others and made that extra step. SEA campaigns aren’t that different. Most accounts are performing decently and sometimes even good, but how to get even more return out of a SEA account like that?
To create a good SEA account you need to match certain basic conditions. A good product, good ads, keywords, CPC’s and surely also a good landing page. Having that figured out most likely gets you conversions at your target CPA.
However, leaning backwards now and watching the conversions coming in isn’t the way to g now! A campaign like that offers much data which can be used perfectly (and not specifically in that order), such as:
- seasonal trends;
- negative keywords;
- Ad Extensions;
- increase ad position;
- best ads;
- display network;
- increase CTR;
- remove poorly performing keywords;
- hourly reports;
- best performing subjects/words;
- Search Query reports.
By far the easiest way to improve the number of conversions is increasing budget from campaigns that have insufficient budget. I’ve many accounts that perform within the goals, but are limited by budget. So, make sure enough budget is allocated to campaigns that perform well!
Seasonal trends have a huge impact on on- and offline marketing campaigns. If you are active in a branch that is influenced by seasonal trends, make sure you are informed about when what happens! People tend to orientate online, before purchasing (on- or offline). Therefore you would not only want to be visible when people are in the purchasing fase, but also in the orientating fase. Make sure you don’t spend all your budget on the orientating audience though. Find the best way to spend your budget. A good travel example is the booking of flights. People tend to search for flights already in december, but mainly book in january or even february. Having a good visiblity in december will increase sales in the following months.
Adding the correct negatives can have a big positive impact on both CTR as CPA. Adding negatives to an adgroup or campaign prevent ads from being displayed when a search query include an added negative word. Negatives therefor prevent ads from being displayed when the search query isn’t relevant. For example, if you’re selling premium watches you might want to negatively include the word “cheap”.
You don’t have ad extensions? Change that. Now. Adding Sitelinks or Product Extensions have a positive influence on the CTR. In many occasions it increases the CTR by 15% to 20%. For Sitelinks it is important to note that they will only be shown when the Quality Score is good and the ads are placed on the first three positions.
Increase ad position
The ad positions in search have an enormous impact on the number of clicks. Top 3 ads above the organic results receive many more clicks than the ads located on the right of the organic results. If the CPA of a keyword is good it should always trigger a top 3 ad.
A simple optimization method is to increase the CPC of the keywords that trigger an ad that has an average ad position of more than 3. This while the CPA of the keyword that triggers the ad is lower than the goal.
Paid Search campaigns that are well set-up have multiple ads that are all triggered. Mostly there is a best or worst performing ad. Of course you would want to pause the worst performing ad (and add a new ad). Try to make it look more like the best performing ad, but be sure to have it different. By this you can test and optimize your ad texts.
Also you can choose to have ads shown based on their conversion ration instead of shown more evenly of based on the highest CTR (standard).
If the results in paid search are good, try the display network. Despite it being harder to steer on ROI it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Also a good display campaign supports the SEA campaign.
A higher CTR means your account quality score will increase and has more sitelinks shown. Besides adding negatives, for a more effective broad match, you could also decide to pause or delete keywords with a very low CTR. Only if there are no conversions or with a high CPA.
Remove poorly performing keywords
It’s a risky business to remove keywords, because possibly conversions will come. At first it’s better to just lower the CPC bid from those keywords. If that doesn’t do the trick you could decide to delete keywords. To do that, take a long period of time (depending on search volume and clicks from weeks to months) and remove keywords that have burned more budget than your target CPA while had no conversions as a result.
Be sure to check that these keywords had no part in other conversions though!
Google AdWords offers the possibility of hourly reports. These reports show stats per hour of a certain day. This might give very insightful information and gives reason to increase (or decrease) the CPC bid during office hours.
Search Query report
One of my favourites. A Search Query report offers lots of interesting data. Most importantly it shows the words typed exactly by the people that were shown one of your ads. This gives many opportunities, such as choosing more than one match type for the same keyword and might want you to add misspellings to your campaign (and not use keyword insertion!).
The way I like to use a Search Query report most is for finding negatives. It shows which search queries are broadly matched to your keywords and gives you plenty information of which word to add negatively. This proves to be a real cost-saver, every time!
The optimization tips mentioned above are mainly focussed on preventing irrelevant traffic and therefore decrease costs and improve the CPA.
More conversions mainly come from optimizing your ads, adding sitelinks and increase your ad position.
The biggest performance increase however can be found in the lower CPA. If a CPA drops from €5 to €3 there is plenty space for new keywords. Also poorly performing words could be activated, because it fits in the overall CPA and increase the number of conversions.