My Experience With An Adult PPC Client

By Nate Hollander | @HeroConf | Senior Event Producer at Hanapin Marketing

Editor’s Note: This article is a part of our Hero Conf Guest Post Giveaway. Based on a combination of pageviews, shares and editorial review from the PPC Hero writing staff, a winner will be chosen from the 4 finalists we post throughout the week. Today’s post comes to us from Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC), Search Marketing Specialist at Top Floor.


At the agency I work for, I deal with B2B clients whose target keywords include “continuous cast iron” and “metal stamping.” So when an ecommerce business selling adult clothing and accessories reached out to me to do some freelance work, I wasn’t sure if I should take them on just due to my comfort level. When emotions were pushed aside, I realized it was a great opportunity to expand my PPC knowledge. Here’s some feedback for anyone considering taking on clients with adult content.


Go International Immediately


Assuming you can still maintain a profit by shipping overseas, the adult industry is big worldwide.






Our international traffic isn’t as big as our domestic traffic, but that’s because we are only targeting English speaking users due to not having a translated site. Our profitability, on the other hand, is much better internationally. Our CPCs are lower due to far less competition on English terms, while having a higher conversion rate. Once proper shipping amounts were figured out, our ROI was better for every international country over the United States.


Segmenting by Match Type Was a Lifesaver


In my day-to-day industrial, B2B space I frequently see search terms come in that make me giggle. So you can imagine what search query gems I read on a monthly basis when I initially took this adult account over. Tons of junk. PPC Hero had a blog last year that talked about segmenting ad groups by match types. I never considered it with my usual list of low budget clients because it wouldn’t be worth the time. With this new client, however, it was a game changer. That is because all of the keywords I inherited were broad match…not modified broad. Ouch.


I broke out my campaigns by main product categories and split my ad groups in three (modified broad, phrase and exact). After putting the proper ad group negatives in place to prevent search query duplication, I pushed my changes live. To be honest, we didn’t see a big increase in our revenue and conversion metrics. The biggest benefits we saw were major increases in quality score and click-through-rates, much more control in our keyword bidding, and tons of time saved by not doing negative keyword research. If you have a site with lots of traffic and not much time to manage go with this route. Our account is now very organized and saves me tons of time when researching ways to optimize it even further.


Focus on Emotions and Demographic Targeting to Show Your Voice


If your Google Analytics tracking code is up to date, Google gives you a snapshot of your users’ personal statistics. Notice how the information shown in Google Analytics is only a small percentage of my total sessions. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.




Even though the numbers are smaller, we can look at trends over time to give ourselves confidence in knowing who our prime demographics are. This information helped us write new ads (with landing pages that connected the message) to strike a chord with our target audience. Since 35-44 has been our best age demographic, we could write ads with headlines like this…




Knowing that we have a strong, female audience for certain categories allows us to talk to directly to “her” in our ads.




Besides the demographics data in Google Analytics, we were able to utilize social media to add more data to our “user-voice” research. I highly recommend checking out Twitter Analytics. It’s another fantastic channel to find out gender and related interest stats. We used Twitter Analytics to better relate to our customers and their likes. The impact of talking to the user, instead of talking about the merchandise, had a huge increase in account performance. Personally related messages will work for any industry and has proven to be a lifesaver for this particular client.


There Is a Limit


The main setback on working with an adult client is the policy Google has for this industry. (And I will never criticize Google for this). Roadblocks can occur very easily. Examples I’ve run into include:


  • Ads getting rejected that don’t appear to be in violation.
  • Much longer processes in getting Google to review your ads/content if you feel you haven’t violated any rules.
  • Different countries have different Google policies on what’s allowed. Mass changes in AdWords Editor might not work all the time if you are targeting a lot of countries.
  • “Non-family safe” and “adult” categorized ads are not allowed in image, video and other non-text ad formats.
  • Much more


Review Google’s entire policy on adult content. I found it to be a challenging industry to work in initially, but this experience has given me some good practice on having a completely different mindset when taking on a new PPC account.