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Knowledge Base – 3 killer tips to boost your paid search (PPC) campaign performance

Paid search (PPC) has come a long way since Google Adwords (now Google Ads) was launched 20 years ago. For many online businesses, it’s a key marketing channel that can deliver almost immediate results – especially important in the strange and unpredictable marketing environment we currently find ourselves in – but not one that you can simply set up and leave to tick over if you want to see real results. Here are some tips that will help you to see results straight away


1. Use bid modifiers (or review any you’re currently using)

Bid modifiers allow you to adjust bids for a specific criterion without changing the targeting of your campaign or ad group (they can be applied at both campaign level and ad group level). By setting bid modifiers, you can increase or decrease your bids to gain more control over when and where your ad is shown. They can be applied at both campaign level and ad group level and you can ‘stack’ them to create highly targeted bids in real time.

Day parting bid adjustments. These allow you to set up progressive bid adjustments on exceptionally good or poor performing days of the week and hours of each day to increase overall performance of the account.

Device bid adjustments. Set up progressive bid adjustments for devices depending on the deviation of performance from computer, mobile and tablet traffic. Also consider assist value, and lead quality per device in these calculations. These bid adjustments will need regular reviewing and updating.

Location modifiers. If you know that locations perform differently in terms of CPCs, CTRs, conversion rates and ROI, you should review each campaign and set up the appropriate location bid modifiers.

Search remarketing. Using Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) allows you to bid separately for people who have previously visited your site. Analysing new vs returning reports in Google Analytics will enable you to set bid adjustments for returning customers based on how their conversion rates differ from new visitors. Search remarketing also allows you to expand profitably. As conversion rates tend to be higher for returning visitors, you can build in more generic terms that will only show to returning customers. The lower conversion rates inherent in generic terms are offset by the higher conversion rates for returning customers.

Demographics for search. This feature gives you the opportunity to bid separately for different ages and genders, and further increase efficiency for the
account. Set this up and review regularly.

Make sure you perform analysis on each bid adjustment to make sure it is at the optimum level, and to see where additional bid adjustments to areas could benefit your campaign.

2. Weed out low quality leads

Yes, you’ll be sacrificing volume and lowering CTR – but you’ll help to ensure you’re budget is being concentrated on the clicks that matter most to your business.

Be more specific with your keyword targeting

Concentrate on long tail keywords (very specific search phrases that are more specific – and usually longer – than more commonly searched for keywords) that have less volume, but may
bring more targeted visitors to your site. Long tail keywords reveal more than shorter ones about user intent. For example “buy black leather sofa” shows a much greater intent than the shorter keyword “leather sofa”; they’re much clearer about what they’re looking to purchase, which indicates they’re out of the research phase. Ask them if you can lengthen your keywords by adding a modifier to make them more specific.

Don’t set too many keywords to broad match

If most of your leads are coming from broad match, this could be causing the issue. We recommend that less than 1% of your keywords should be broad match because Google often uses broad match to appear for less relevant terms, giving you less control over your targeting and your budget. We recommend having as many exact match keywords as possible as your highest spending, this allows for tighter control of budget.

Use ad customisers

These are a powerful feature that enables greater personalisation and customisation of ads dynamically, based on real time signals. They allow you to create personalised text which changes based on signals such as location, time of day, device and audience, without changing the base ad. This will allow the ads to be as relevant as possible, whilst improving Quality Score and CTR. Added personalisation can see up to 150% increases in CTR, particularly when relating to delivery. This can be used to insert postcodes, towns, or counties.

google ad customiser

Day scheduling allows you to dynamically change your ads depending on the time of the day or the day of the week. This can be used to create compelling ads, for example, ads that only show on hours when next day delivery is still available.

Audience customisers allow ad text to be personalised based on a visitor’s previous interaction with the site, which optimises relevancy as it reflects their interest in your business, even if they return through a generic search query. Mobile specific ad copy in its old format is no longer compatible with the new expanded text ads. However, it is still possible to create ads specific to mobile users by using device ad customisers which allows you to create a mobile-optimised ad with tailored CTAs and extensions.

google ad customiser example 2

3. Get your head around Google Ads’ impression-based metrics

First of all, you need to make sure you’re interpreting what your data is telling you to inform any tweaks you make to your campaigns. Luckily, Google Ads supply you with detailed data, and one of the most important is impressions (any time your ad is shown on a search result page via Google or the Google Network counts as one ‘impression’).

Note that different impression share metrics are more important to different keyword match types; for example, ‘absolute top’ is more important to exact match than it is to broad terms.

  • Top impression rate tells you the percentage of your total impressions that are coming from the top of the SERP (above the organic results). Top impression rate = Top impressions / Total impressions.
  • Absolute top impression rate tells you the percentage of your total impressions that are coming from the very top of the SERP. Absolute top impression rate = Absolute top impressions / Total impressions.
  • Top impression share tells you the rate at which you’re turning opportunities to appear at the top of the SERP into actual impressions at the top of the SERP. Top impression share = Top impressions / Eligible top impressions.
  • Absolute top impression share tells you the rate at which you’re turning opportunities to appear at the very top of the SERP into actual impressions at the very top of the SERP. Absolute top impression share = Absolute top impressions / Eligible absolute top impressions.
absolute top impressions demonstrated on Google SERPs

Source: Google

Beware of ambiguity when interpreting these metrics: Top impression share and Top impression rate may sound very similar but give wildly different results. The denominator difference means that sometimes one will be bigger than another (eligible impressions are bigger than impressions, and top impressions are smaller as a set than impressions, therefore eligible top impressions can be either bigger or smaller than total impressions).

It’s important not to overlook the difference between these two metrics which, interpreted accurately, can provide a dual perspective on bidding and offer scope for a more sophisticated bidding strategy.


Learn more about our paid media services – we’re one of the most experienced agencies in the country and experts at helping brands in all industries drive up leads, increase conversion rates and make more money.



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