2016 saw huge growth in the world of pay-per-click (PPC), with the Bing Network increasing its UK market share to 20% and Google responding by giving AdWords a makeover, moving to a mobile-first layout, introducing green ‘Ad’ labels and practically doubling the word power with Expanded Text Ads.
Bing may be gradually eating away at Google’s dominance but, for now, AdWords remains dominant in PPC, visible for around 80% of all UK searches. Google’s Q3 report for 2016 revealed that, worldwide, paid clicks have risen 33% year-on-year.
With global e-commerce sales set to double in the next few years as mobile search continues to rise, if AdWords forms part of your marketing plans it’s worth doing all you can to optimise campaigns and make the most of every click.
Optimise website design and content
There’s very little point in chasing targeted traffic if your click-throughs are compromised by a poor website. The first step in optimal AdWords management isn’t to conduct keyword research or undertake competitor analysis, but to scrutinise every aspect of your website, ensuring it delivers an uncomplicated customer journey, giving you the very best chance of converting PPC leads.
It’s imperative that your website must be mobile-friendly. Google now makes more money via mobile ads than desktop, which is in line with the global trend for smartphones becoming the primary access point for the Web. Thus, if you don’t have a responsive site that adapts to mobile devices, you’ll be severely penalised and won’t rank anywhere near the top of search results, paid or otherwise.
Ultimately, Google puts the user experience above all else and they don’t want to jeopardise their reputation by sending people to underperforming websites that don’t function across the board, no matter how much you may be willing to pay to rise above competitors in the PPC rankings.
The fundamentals of good web design will also go a long way to ensuring you achieve a high-Quality Score – the AdWords metric that determines your cost-per-click – so every possible effort should be taken to get your site working at its best.
Direct traffic appropriately
In addition to being mobile-friendly another key issue that boosts bounce rates is slow loading times, so conduct a website speed test to check if the performance is good. Mobile users especially don’t wait around for sites to load, so being quick is essential for capitalising on those visits.
Once the structure of the site has taken shape, you need to focus on content and look at it subjectively. Walk through your landing page from the customer’s perspective and look for any stumbling blocks that may prevent engagement.
A common problem is a lack of bespoke landing pages for each ad group. Searching for a specific service or product, finding decent ad copy and then clicking-through, only to be taken to a generic home page and having to navigate the site to find your desired item is very frustrating for the potential customer. It’s important to bridge the gap between prospect and sale and not putting obstacles in the way.
Quality beats quantity, but your landing pages should contain a decent amount of text, giving plenty of room to accurately describe your service or product while also allowing scope to connect with your audience.
Great copy is essential but video is fast becoming the medium of choice, with Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicting that 82% of all consumer Internet traffic will be video content by the end of the decade. video allows you to showcase your offering in action and we are hardwired to respond to movement, which makes video marketing so effective.
A video is highly likely to get clicked, which means visitors will spend more time on your site, leading to a lower bounce rate and, subsequently, a lower cost-per-click and higher Quality Score. Thus, there are compelling reasons to consider implementing a video strategy.
Test and refine
While there is a skill to writing good ad copy, AdWords also depends on split-testing, and it’s crucial to consistently rotate and refine different versions of each ad until they deliver optimal returns.
Search engine marketing is poised for rapid growth as sales exponentially move online and on the surface, pay-per-click marketing sounds simple enough; it does what it says. However, there are multiple factors to consider when optimising ads and its always worth focussing on the bigger picture, carrying out the fundamentals to give you the very best opportunity of long-term success.Share this