Advanced PPC Training:
Learn Advanced PPC Strategies With the Brains
Introduction: Maximising performance with advanced PPC tactics
If you’re reading this guide, you’ll have probably already made it through our beginner and intermediate guides. So, before you do anything else, give yourself a huge pat on the back! Don’t worry if you’re jumping straight into advanced, though – that’s fine too. Just make sure you have a notepad ready, because this guide is all about adding those (slightly more technical) final little touches to optimise your campaigns, with the aim of making them as valuable as they can possibly be.
At The Brains, our PPC specialists are equipped with all the knowledge and insider tricks you need to seriously boost your campaigns, and by reading our advanced guide, you’re looking at a world of opportunities for boosted ROI! So, let’s get stuck in and teach you everything you need to know about advanced PPC.
Fold Microsoft Ads into your pay per click advertising strategy
While Google Ads is by far the biggest show in town when it comes to PPC, Microsoft Advertising is also a cost-effective way to build reach and increase your paid search ROI. Microsoft Advertising is often less competitive than Google Ads, which can mean lower CPCs & better return on investment.
However, rather than just porting over your Google Ads campaigns to the Microsoft Advertising platform, we recommend looking into the specific, bespoke features Microsoft Advertising has to offer and using them to your advantage. This includes Action extensions (CTA buttons near your ad that link to your landing page), Review extensions (allows you to feature reviews from third-party sites below your ad) and LinkedIn targeting that allows you to tweak ads for optimal performance on LinkedIn.
There are so many ways you can optimise your Microsoft Ads, and doing so will give you yet another, potentially large stream of new leads. Plus, having your ads running on another platform means you have larger pools of data to work with when the time comes for testing and optimisation. As you will probably know, PPC is all about consistently monitoring campaign performance and making tweaks, so being able to do this on two separate levels will no doubt benefit you.
How to Implement a multichannel strategy that boosts PPC
The Brains is a full service marketing agency that prides itself on crafting cross-channel campaigns to provide optimum ROI. Our teams love working together to create results-driving strategies that intertwine and can support one another, and we strongly believe that by leveraging a range of channels in this way, our clients can fully optimise their PPC campaigns – and ensure they are securing as many views, visits, clicks and conversions as possible.
With this in mind, it’s important to consider the natural partner for PPC, which is SEO. Securing a strong presence on both organic search and paid search channels gives you dominance over the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) and can help to propel your business ahead of the competition. Trust us – we’ve seen it happen!
Other sympathetic channels you should think about folding into your multichannel marketing strategy include email nurturing and paid social advertising. Both of these channels can complement PPC in a number of ways, however it’s important to also remember that each channel has different strengths and weaknesses.
But, part of being a fantastic PPC specialist is using these differing strengths and weaknesses to your campaign’s advantage! Having multiple channels on the go can support you in achieving far better results than simply using one or two channels independently. Let’s explore the potential benefits of adding email nurturing and paid social:
- Email nurturing is a great way to build relationships with customers who have already expressed interest in your business. It’s also an opportunity to earn trust and loyalty by providing them with helpful information before they buy from you. With carefully crafted emails, you can keep users coming back to your site and engaging with your brand over time – it helps to capture engaged users who may have otherwise slipped away.
- Paid social advertising is a natural partner for paid search advertising. If you’re looking to get your brand in front of people who are already looking for what you’re selling (and who isn’t?) then it certainly has potential. You can target potential customers based on their interests, location or demographics in addition to other more specific metrics. Using paid social also means you can create ads that are more engaging than typical banner ads, which will help you stand out among other advertisers.
While it can be tempting to stick to one channel with one, clear-cut budget, the likelihood of your campaigns seeing better success with a multichannel strategy is not to be ignored. At The Brains, we can support you in crafting campaigns that easily integrate with other channels, ensuring your messaging is consistent and that we always have your goals in mind. Speak to our experts today if you’re keen to bolster your strategy by capturing the benefits of other channels.
Consider having a slush fund to bump up budgets
A slush fund is essentially an additional budget you set aside for later use. When it comes to PPC, slush funds are not commonplace, but can be a great way to further optimise your PPC ads if you are seeing successes – particularly if these are unexpected.
While it’s good practice to have an optimised monthly PPC budget allocated for your ads, advanced PPC specialists will also have a slush fund that gives them the opportunity to boost ads when results are strong and searches are high. The PPC space is fast-moving, competition is frequently changing and certain costs won’t stay the same for long. With this in mind, it can be extremely helpful to keep some money aside for an additional boost when you need it.
Having a slush fund stops your success from being limited by budget, and makes it easier to be reactive to industry trends – if your ads are working well, reap the rewards. If seasonality is a key issue that you face in your sector, dial things down in the lower volume months. It sounds simple, but having an additional budget can be difficult to manage and requires a firm hand! It’s important to understand and monitor your trends first so that you can have a clear picture of where you need to increase or reduce your spend.
Having this financial leeway will make all the difference when optimising PPC budgets and allow you to fully maximise the results of your campaigns. We would always recommend this to our clients, whether they’re new on the PPC scene or have hundreds of campaigns running at once. Why not try this tactic yourself and watch your results skyrocket?
Fully optimise your conversion funnel
The best way to maximise the performance of your PPC campaigns is to fully examine your conversion funnel and identify every opportunity to speed up conversions and remove barriers on the prospect’s decision path. Even the slightest of changes could make the biggest difference!
Reverse-engineering each step of the funnel, from initial search ad to landing page, to conversion point and beyond, will help you identify ways to speed things up and improve conversion rates. It can help to involve other marketing specialists here – for example, if you’re looking specifically at your landing pages, a conversion rate optimisation (CRO) expert can support you in ensuring the structure and content of each page is doing its job and isn’t letting prospects drop out of the funnel.
There are a number of different options you can think about improving, but as you analyse your conversion funnel, remember that best practice rules still apply. It’s all well and good making regular tweaks to different areas of your funnel, but marketers should try to keep within the good practice boundaries, and also remind themselves of their prospective audiences so not to fall too far off piste.
If you’ve noticed particular dips in your metrics where it seems users disengage with your content, the likelihood is that you’ll need to focus your efforts on optimising just one area and testing the results. Remember, A/B testing is your friend here; the more you test, the more you learn – and improve. You might start by looking at:
- Ad optimisations: The tweaks you can make to your ads are practically limitless, but beware – getting carried away is easy, and you might encounter difficulties with reporting if you make changes too frequently. You may decide to optimise your ads by adjusting the targeting, changing the tone of the copy or simply amending the main CTA. Try to choose a singular element and record the results over a set time frame. Then, you can test another variation.
- Landing page tweaks: As mentioned, making changes to the landing pages you are sending users to will probably require some CRO expertise, but you don’t have to do a complete overhaul. It might be a case of amending your CTA messaging, or the position of the button itself. You may also consider adding additional trust signals to your page, or simplifying your sign up form if you have one. Again, try to gradually make tweaks so that you can easily see the impact on your results.
- Optimising email nurturing: If you’re using email nurturing to keep your prospects engaged, there are ways you can optimise this stage of the funnel, too. Email open rates rely heavily on powerful subject lines, so making small tweaks here can make a significant difference. You may also wish to update the style of content you are choosing to share, or shorten your emails to make them easier to read.
- Adding in extra content steps: Content can play a vital role in the success of a PPC campaign, and not just because of the ad copy you use in the initial stages. Adding additional content steps, such as linking to blogs and lead magnets that you can share, is a great way to keep engagement rates high and give your brand a more authoritative presence.
All of the above could help you improve conversion rates, but to ensure the changes you are making are actually going to be valuable, you need to have proper reporting put in place to analyse the effectiveness of each stage of the funnel.
For support with conversion funnel optimisation, reporting or PPC content, speak to our Brains.
An extra Brainy tip, just for you
Optimisation is also accommodation. For many businesses, seasonality can have a significant impact on ad performance. For example, if you’re selling garden furniture, you may have less overall interest in your products during the winter months. In these cases, adjusting your budget, overall strategy and ad copy to accommodate for these seasonal fluctuations is vital. To do this, you’ll first need to gain insight into which months are highly profitable versus which months are slower. Then, from this data, you can look at adjusting your campaigns to help you see better ROI and campaign longevity.
Using Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs)
Using Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) is a fantastic way to further enhance your campaign targeting and generate more valuable leads. It is quite an advanced strategy, so don’t be alarmed if you feel you might have been missing this opportunity all this time – not all PPC campaigns will be making the most of RLSAs.
So, what exactly is the RLSA concept and how does it work? Well, you may be familiar with standard remarketing (sometimes used for display ads), but the RLSA Google Ads feature is entirely different. Lucky you – something else to learn! It is essentially a way for marketers to tailor their campaigns based on a user’s previous actions. In the majority of cases, for example, we would retarget our remarketing lists (users) with image ads that have been uniquely designed to re-engage the user. Since the list would be generated based on previous behaviours and interactions with the website, we can rely on the fact that these lists of users are already aware of the product or service. This has a knock-on effect on how the copywriting and visuals are approached, meaning there is more opportunity for more advanced targeting.
To start using RLSAs, the first thing you’ll need is a running campaign or two – ideally with some data that you can use to assess how well your RLSAs perform against your original targeting lists. From there, you can use Google’s features to set up search ad groups to only be triggered if a user is already on your remarketing list (e.g. if that user has previously visited the website). You can also make adjustments to these lists depending on the specific pages the user has already viewed, if you’re feeling really clever.
Another way to use RLSAs is to make bid adjustments in line with your remarketing lists. For example, you might want to adjust bids only on the keywords your remarketing lists are actively searching for. This can help you to build a better picture of which keywords are better suited to different stages of the funnel, which then may inform some other optimisation tweaks you want to make.
If you’re wondering what makes RLSAs so different from traditional display remarketing, you wouldn’t be the first. While the remarketing aspect is a similar concept (in that you’re targeting a list of users that have technically already been targeted), the way RLSAs work is not the same. You might expect your retargeting ads to be shown to the whole list of retargeted prospects, but in fact, these users need to be actively searching for the keywords you are bidding on in order to be targeted with your ads for a second time.
Here are some ways you can implement RLSAs into your advanced PPC strategy:
- Increase or decrease bids: This simple technique can help you attract the right kinds of users as you will have more visibility in terms of who is and isn’t valuable to your business. For example, if you have a group of users who have viewed your contact page but failed to submit an enquiry, you may want to increase bids for that audience to give you a better chance of securing the lead.
In a similar way, you may wish to decrease bids for a specific audience (rather than excluding them completely) if you don’t think they are as likely to convert.
- Use upsell strategies: Having control over the audiences that will see your ads after already having purchased from you is a fantastic opportunity for an upsell. You will be able to directly target lists of already qualified leads, meaning you can advertise more specific products without having to focus much of your ad content on brand USPs and other top level knowledge.
- Drive new visitors with brand campaigns: If you’re keen to set up a campaign with a particular focus on generating new visitors to your website, RLSAs can help here, too. You can use them to create ad groups that only target users who have not previously visited your website, meaning you can measure brand campaigns in two different ways.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to use RLSAs to your advantage. Using them effectively will of course need to involve intensive ad spend management, A/B testing and data analysis, but for the kinds of results that these retargeting strategies can bring, we can safely say that all the effort is worth it!
Experiment with Amazon Ads
Enhancing your PPC strategy is all about making the most of the channels and the tools that are available to you – and with almost 200 million people using Amazon every month, there are some serious opportunities on this channel that many PPC specialists are yet to take advantage of.
The best part is, you don’t need to sell products on Amazon in order to utilise Amazon Ads! It’s an advertising option that is suitable for all, and once you have the setup and best practices nailed down, you’re sure to start seeing some results.
Amazon Advertising is a great way to access audiences that are closer to the bottom of the sales funnel. Amazon visitors are usually in-market for a particular product and are open to seeing offers, so your ads are primed to convert. Types of Amazon Ads include:
- Sponsored product ads: Similar to Google Shopping ads, sponsored product ads appear within the search results for selected keywords and will link to the product detail page on Amazon. Like with Google, you will be able to select exact, phrase and broad match keywords.
- Headline search ads: These ads use keyword targeting, and will appear in the results pages as headline banner ads above the first listing. Typically, the ad will link to a branded product page.
- Product display ads: These ads are targeted by interest or product rather than the keywords that the user types in. They will appear as sponsored ads on pages of similar products.
If you have the budget and capacity, try out a variety of sponsored Amazon ad types to see which work best for your business and product. Optimising your campaigns can be done in a similar way to how you would approach your optimisations for Google Ads.
PPC glossary & next steps
Wow, congratulations and making it all the way to the end of the Advanced PPC Guide! Now you can confidently refer to yourself as a PPC expert, and impress all your fellow marketing whizzes with your impressive techniques and optimisation knowledge!
But, if this wasn’t enough and you’re looking to bust even more jargon and get to grips with some of the finer details, we recommend picking up the PPC Glossary. We cover all the extras in there, from ad extensions to bidding strategies. All that knowledge is right at your fingertips.
Thanks again for reading our Brainy guides, and we really hope they’ve been useful to you and your team. Now, get out there and start putting together powerful PPC campaigns that are really going to make a difference to your revenue stream!
If you ever need additional support, or your campaigns aren’t performing in the way you hoped, please don’t hesitate to contact our PPC specialists for guidance.