A core component of our work as a media buying agency is the auditing of PPC accounts and the overall digital media buying plan of clients and prospective clients of all sizes. And the number of missed opportunities and misguided investment we uncover is frankly staggering.
Even more astounding, perhaps, is that we see many of these missed opportunities within the accounts of large advertisers. That means that while many of these missteps are relatively small in isolation, the act of remedying them can deliver huge performance improvements once extrapolated across massive accounts.
That said, while the opportunities below are written with large advertisers in mind, they all contain learnings and best-practice advice for advertisers of all sizes, data and resource permitting. And for a little further reading, don’t miss our post about the most common PPC mistakes, as well as how to avoid making them.
5 Most Commonly Missed PPC Opportunities
1. Keyword Strengthening
The accounts of larger advertisers often contain keywords in their tens of thousands. While this sounds impressive, when 60% have little to no impression volume and a further 20% deliver poor ROI, it’s important to ensure ineffective activity is quickly identified and eliminated.
When auditing an account, use filters to determine the all-time top 100 or 1000 performing search terms. The traditional approach is to review existing keyword performance, but then you are somewhat locked into the pre-existing style of management structure, which may be inadequate.
By reviewing the search terms, you are crafting a new campaign structure based on user-intent, data that has been created by tens of thousands as opposed to the handful that created the historic structure. Through consolidation of activity, it allows you to work smarter and accelerate your efforts to enhance the activity that has the most potential to yield great returns.
2. Intelligent Data-Driven Labelling
While labels such as ‘Ad 1’, ‘Ad 2’ and ‘Ad 3’ are useful for evaluating ad variant performance there is so much more value to be had from adding intelligent data-driven labels.
Labels can be matched to the KPIs of the business in question and to the level of insight and historical data available. After you’ve completed the keyword strengthening exercise above you can use this data to support the new campaign series.
Ideas for labels:
- All-time Search Query Volume Rank (e.g. ‘Vol 01’)
- All-time Cost Per Acquisition (e.g. ‘£29.84’)
- All-time ROI (e.g. ‘3.2’)
- All-time Impression Share (e.g. ‘78%’)
While this data won’t feed the bidding algorithms, it will inform and support manual bidding/budget setting. It will also assist in early trend identification across the account and knowing where to place more investment on implementing a budget increase.
3. Feed Development
When talking about feeds, many advertisers would be forgiven for thinking about shopping campaigns. But search campaigns should also be supported by feeds to unlock higher CTR and conversion rates when compared to standard static ad creative.
Developing your feed gives you the ability to change ad messaging dependent on:
- Hour of day
- Day of week
- User’s physical location
- User’s searched location
- Campaign, Ad Group or Keyword
Additionally, it’s also possible to dynamically include product attributes or a price within search ad copy. While items product attributes can be crafted within your standard ad copy, these are more susceptible to becoming out of date overtime, particularly if you have a large inventory of products.
4. Ad Variant Utilisation
With AI playing a greater role in the digital marketing mix for many advertisers, it’s important to do everything possible to feed the machine with useful data to help you better utilise the media budget being invested.
Here’s an example structure per single ad group:
- 1 Responsive Search Ad (Standard) with 100% utilisation of headlines & descriptions
- 1 Responsive Search Ad (With Dynamic Keyword Insertion) with 100% utilisation of headlines and descriptions
- 1 Expanded Text Ad (Standard)
- 1 Expanded Text Ad (With Dynamic Keyword Insertion)
- 1 Expanded Text Ad (Location Inclusive Ad)
- 1 Expanded Text Ad (Day Of Week Inclusive Ad)
- 1 Expanded Text Ad (Month Inclusive Ad)
- 1 Expanded Text Ad (Price Inclusive Ad)
Of course, the structure above would be tailored to your business model. By crafting a killer ad variant test, you’ll be able to determine quickly which ad variants are the most compelling for users with a higher tendency to convert before homing in on these top performing variants in subsequent strengthening split tests.
Before implementing the above ad variant test structure, it is crucial you have enough budget and conversion data going through the campaign to prove statistically significant.
5. Advanced Audience Artistry
While Google’s AI is awesome, it feeds on data. The more data, the better its bidding and ROI will be. It’s essential that your Google Analytics audience strategy aligns with I) your KPIs II) website design III) inventory IV) typical path to purchase length.
Additionally, it’s sensible that further audiences are crafted dependent on user behaviour such as: demographic, age, browser choice, device, channel type, page depth and number of visits.
With the above, in addition to the use of Google Ads audience types such as In Affinity, Customer List and In-Market audience, considered audiences can run into the hundreds.
As we use the above audience strategy with an ‘observation’ campaign association (as opposed to ‘targeting’) there is nothing to lose with an increase in audience segmentation, but more than a lot to be gained.
At the end of the day, PPC is one of - if not the - most effective advertising channel. But that potential success brings with it an equally large potential for mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities.
Many of the problems you're likely to encounter on your journey with Google Ads are easily and, mostly, quickly remedied with a little thought. But until you're aware of what you're doing incorrectly or missing out on many of the issues can go unnoticed. That's why it's important to spend some time, relatively regularly, auditing your account and campaigns, and continually seeking out and rolling out incremental improvements.