PPC has many components, constantly evolving with new technologies, feature enhancements, and tactical tips.
Today, our recommendations focus on the following key concepts for a fresh perspective or next-level optimizations.
- Measurement: Conversion goals and analytics tracking.
- Automation: Managing smart settings.
- Ad types: Ideas to try or optimize.
- Targeting: Using your first-party data.
Whether you are looking for optimizations to refresh your existing strategy or searching for entirely new ways to reach your audience, these PPC account areas are fantastic to explore and focus on now.
1. Conversion Actions
Measuring current goals and core initiatives is a baseline for your PPC strategy.
As the tracking in the ad platforms and analytics platforms gets more sophisticated, so do the number and type of actions that advertisers can track.
Typically, advertisers track several conversion actions per account.
For example, common PPC conversion goals include:
- Online contact forms.
- Request a demo or estimate.
- Phone calls: first time/repeat.
- Chat conversions.
- Website engagement.
- Local actions: directions.
- Offline conversions: matched with an ad click.
- Custom goals.
Are you measuring everything you could be measuring?
Often times we forget to reevaluate our goals, especially when we are set in our ways; the best time to start is now.
If you are using Google Ads and importing goals from Google Analytics and migrating to GA4, read on to find your homework for the first half of the year.
2. PPC Ads And GA4
Regardless of where you are on your migration journey to GA4, there are some planning and set-up questions to address:
- Determine what goals are in use.
- Are the goals tracking correctly?
- Do you want to use that same goal or adjust it?
If you are using Google Analytics and importing into Google Ads, you must recreate these in GA4, then import the goal again.
A new conversion action should be created, then select import data from Google Analytics.
It is necessary to select Google Analytics 4 properties for this new conversion.
For other ad platforms, it will be necessary to create custom URLs by adding tracking parameters to the destination URL you use for ads.
Many marketers are big fans of this easy tool by Google to help create custom URLs.
Here are a few winning pointers on this:
- Check to ensure all of the other ad platforms’ destination URLs have the extra tracking code, so you do not miss data.
- Create a standard template use/name for each parameter for each platform to keep data consistent.
- Integrate into reporting using this powerful data.
3. Man Your Automation
While the ad platforms continue to roll out automation options to simplify ad management, it is not as easy as flipping a switch.
Human PPC managers must guide and monitor automation to make the most of it.
For example, campaigns using smart bidding strategies that consider conversions need to be monitored and adjusted from time to time to adjust Target CPA or Target ROAS.
Smart Creatives, such as responsive search ads and responsive display ads, should be reviewed for performance on individual assets, which we will cover later in this post.
As part of your PPC strategy, determine which components of your account can be automated, from bidding to creative to using scripts. Then evaluate and monitor the results.
You may want to compare previous “manual” campaigns on various data points.
4. Video Ads
We have seen amazing growth in video ads in the last few years, yet it is still an area most advertisers have yet to jump into.
Let’s look at two ways to test video using similar video assets and strategies.
YouTube video ads are easier than ever to start testing. My beginner’s guide will hold your hand step-by-step on this journey.
This is also a great opportunity to gather data at scale on the targeting and creative that is successful in rolling out to other paid video ad platforms, like the newly released Microsoft video ads feature.
Microsoft video ads are now widely available and are served on the Microsoft Audience Network.
What a great way to reach out past YouTube, as Microsoft has shared compelling video statistics that 39% of users watch videos on MSN but not on YouTube.
5. Responsive Display Ads
Some advertisers have used image display ads as a core part of their strategy in the PPC platforms, either out of habit or the desire to control brand messaging.
Responsive display ads can give a better reach while simplifying the creation process and still getting the branding messages advertisers want.
Besides simplifying the creative process, responsive display ads open up more inventory opportunities on the display network.
This is because they dynamically combine headlines, descriptions, and images to “fit” into any space on the web where your audience is present.
In comparison, static image display ads can only be served in the exact ad space dimensions for which they are created.
Another advantage of responsive display ads is that they allow you to use Google Ads performance feedback to optimize the ad assets.
Responsive display ads can be run alongside any image display ads, which gives you an opportunity to test and compare reach and results.
6. Customer Match
Finding the right audience at the right time has been a mantra for many years, long before PPC ad platforms improved targeting on display networks.
With a crackdown on cookies, first-party data is critical to advertisers. Enter this much-underrated targeting strategy: customer match.
Using your own in-house data (that customers have shared with you) enables you to reach them again – or target look-a-likes with your ads.
Upload a customer list to the ad platform, and it will attempt to match those customers with known users.
The concept of customer match is available on almost all platforms, so your new strategies on how you slice and dice it and target messages can be repeated.
One point to keep in mind is that the match rate on the ad platforms will vary from about 30% to 60%, so keep expectations realistic.
The ad platform will not be able to match every user on your list.
In addition, 9 Ways To Improve PPC Campaigns With Customer Information would be a great complement to this targeting strategy.
The PPC strategies here have been inspired by recent ad technologies and some overlooked oldies not to be missed:
- Measurement: Check in with your current conversion goals and ensure it is upgraded to GA4 if you use Google Analytics tracking.
- Automation: Determine which components of your account can be automated, from bidding to creative to using scripts and monitor the results.
- Ad types: Try our suggested ad types to pump up performance for video and display networks you may not be reaching now.
- Targeting: Use your first-party data to make up for the possible loss from the cookie restrictions.
Take a look at this comprehensive summary of PPC features and enhancements.
Another great search engine marketing (SEM) planning piece, containing my favorite tip, “Assessing What You Didn’t Do,” could keep all of us busy for a year.
Featured Image: oatawa/Shutterstock