“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain
...And the difference between throwing money blindly into ads vs knowing where your money is going means having an effective pay-per-click advertising (PPC) strategy.
A well-designed PPC strategy involves setting goals, collecting data, setting up campaigns, and testing. It’s often frustrating when you don’t have the recipe, but today we’re giving you all the goodies.
So, let’s get into the nitty gritty about what PPC campaign management actually entails.
What is PPC campaign management?
We’ll start with the basics: PPC is a type of advertising where a business pays each time a consumer clicks on their ad. It’s a way for businesses to pay for website visitors. Search engine advertising is one of the most popular advertisement methods out there and can be extremely effective - when you develop a good strategic foundation and optimize over time.
When to consider eCommerce PPC management
While PPC is an advertising method that works for all businesses, it’s especially useful for the eCommerce industry. eCommerce businesses of every size and at every stage should consider PPC management, because advertising is the heartbeat of a business. PPC is hugely data-driven, with lots of room for optimization, testing, and scaling, which complements an eCommerce business model.
You should especially consider finding someone to handle eCommerce PPC management if you:
- Are new to online advertising and PPC methods in general
- Have no in-house advertising team
- Run a small but quickly growing eCommerce business that is better off allocating resources to new business development rather than learning PPC campaign management from scratch
Whichever category you fall into, you need to develop a strategy that doesn’t blow through your budget with zero results.
Need help with setting up or optimizing your eCommerce PPC campaigns? Contact us for expert eCommerce growth support
How to manage PPC campaigns
Strategy takes a ton of time and effort, which is why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. First off, you need to set goals that clearly describe your business. These goals will be your North Star - keep them close and look at them often.
Step 1: Clearly define your business goals and understand your buyer persona
There are certain elements to your goals that need to be included. Deeply understanding your buyer persona and aligning goals accordingly is critical. To clarify, a buyer persona is a compilation of traits your ideal customer has based on research and data.
Be sure to include customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs while drawing up your goals.
Step 2: Set up your campaigns effectively
Now that you have a clear understanding of your business goals let’s chat about setting up your campaigns for success.
Set max target CPA
CPA or cost per action is simply how much your company will pay for a conversion. Not every lead that clicks on your PPC ad will convert so usually the CPA will be higher than the cost per click.
Make sure you set a target maximum CPA to prevent Google (or whatever search engine you’re using) from bidding larger than the given limit.
Determine the best target keywords
You can find the best target keywords by:
- Checking out your competitors
- Using keywords that match search intent
- Researching keywords for or directly related to your brand
- Are the most closely related to your particular campaign and the conversion you’d like to incentivize
We suggest using tools like Spyfu or Google keyword planner to better assist you with keyword research and data analysis.
Quick yet super important tip: don’t forget about negative keywords, too! You wouldn’t want all your hard work to go down the drain by showing up in irrelevant searches.
Imagine this scenario: you bid on the key-phrase “The Beatles” to advertise your old Beatles album collection. You then click on the phrase, “match option” but you don’t want people searching for The Beatles CD’s to click your ad. The solution is to add CD or even cassette as a negative keyword to rule out those folks from wasting your ad spend.
Fine tune your targeting
Think about where your leads are in the buyers’ journey. Are they product-aware? Are they ready to make a purchase? And again, continue to collect data on what’s working for your competitors to stay in the loop. This will help you to adjust your targets accordingly and optimize until you find your conversion sweet spot.
Select the right landing pages
Some of the most effective landing pages are the simplest ones. It’s an oldie but a goodie: follow the rule of KISS (Keep It Short and Simple). This can be used to your advantage when you add the following:
- Short, concise, clear copy
- Headlines and subheadlines that break up the page and summarize your messaging
- Attention-grabbing image(s) or video that offer alternative or complementary forms of content consumption
- A short 3-5 word Call to action (CTA) that promotes the behavior you’d like to incentivize (the conversion)
- Social proof such as reviews or even user-generated content
Furthermore, be sure to always include the keyword(s) from the ad in the copy of the landing page and keep the overall experience cohesive with your brand.
Now for the fun part, data tracking.
Step 3: Track conversions on your campaigns
The most successful businesses are the ones that track their data and use it to drive their decisions moving forward. Something that works for a different eCommerce brand might not work for you. The only way to figure this out is to have a data management system.
There are plenty of tools out there for you to consider that’ll make your life a heck of a lot easier.
We highly recommend Supermetrics, AnyTrack, and OWOX BI. Supermetrics gathers all your data, even from outside sources, and compiles it into visuals, while AnyTrack’s tracking feature attaches to your site to start seeing conversions real time.
Not only should you be tracking your campaigns to optimize future one’s, but understanding your data also helps you solve problems quicker, and improve your overall processes.
Step 4: Optimize your campaigns and your landing pages
Use the data to optimize your campaigns by adjusting your keywords, your targeting, and your bids. We recommend optimizing your landing pages too by doing A/B split tests. You should test out headlines, your direct-response copy, and your call to action (CTA) in order to determine which one gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
Ask yourself these questions to guide your optimization decisions:
- Am I using too much technical jargon?
- Is there a better image I could use?
- Are my competitors showcasing more intriguing offers?
- Can I incorporate more emotional triggers into my copy?
A/B testing is vital if you want conversions. How else will you know if there’s a better, more enticing way you can attract your customers? Using split testing helps you not only learn more about your customers, but also get more engagement and sales.
Ready to dive into the world of PPC? We’ve got you covered.
image credit: Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash