Stay Ahead Of The Competition With These Advanced PPC Tactics

By Diane Anselmo | @diane_anselmo | Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing

In the early days of PPC, things were pretty straightforward. You ran your campaigns on Google and Overture and you were pretty much done. Perhaps you found a few tier two engines to try, but that was all that you had to keep your eye on. Fast forward to where we are today and it’s an entirely different world that we have to navigate our advertising efforts through.

 

With so many different options, it’s sometimes hard to stay ahead of the curve, but it can be done. In this post, I’ll talk about some of the advanced tactics that I’m using to help my clients maintain their visibility in the ever-changing world of paid search.

 

YouTube

 

Though you don’t always think about it in these terms, YouTube is actually the second largest search engine with over 1 billion users. That’s an incredible number of people to be able to expose your message to. It sometimes goes overlooked because advertisers know that the user intent on YouTube is not the same as with traditional search, leaving them apprehensive to test it. At the same time, many advertisers have great video content that they aren’t leveraging to the fullest extent. That’s where YouTube comes in.

 

Though the performance metrics are completely different than those of traditional search, YouTube gives advertisers the opportunity to:

 

  • Reach people higher up in the funnel
  • Expose them to their brand
  • Convert them into customers further down the funnel

 

Data shows us that though we may not see as many conversions from YouTube that we do with traditional search, it has been proven to provide assisted conversions that aid the overall marketing effort.

 

It’s important to set expectations upfront that YouTube performance isn’t going to mirror search performance, but rather that it will add a new element of exposure to the marketing mix. Before you launch your campaign, take a moment and make sure that the video content you have is compelling. As you know, advertisers only have a few seconds to captivate a user’s attention and get them to watch the video to completion.

 

Equally important is to make sure that your call to action is expressed within the first five seconds of the video. Once you feel that you’re putting your best foot forward, launch your campaign and see how well it resonates with your audience. You might just find out that you’re gaining a whole new audience that wasn’t previously available to you.

 

Native Ads

 

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about native advertising. If the concept is new to you, native advertising is when your ads flow seamlessly within the content of the page. While native ads aren’t meant to appear as ads to our audience, the goal is for them to draw users in with compelling content and then get them to convert further down in the funnel.

 

My first go with native ads was a bit of a challenge, as I struggled to create messaging that wasn’t as sales-oriented as my PPC ads. Once I tested a few variations, I started to learn what best practices were for this type of advertising and how to create ads that really drew in a targeted audience. Once I did that, I was able to employ a native strategy that exposed the brand to a whole new audience in a different way.

 

Yahoo recently made native video ads available as well, which is yet another way that advertisers can leverage their video content and present it to an audience in an engaging way. With native video, you can target specific audiences, which can also help ensure that your video is delivered to an audience who is potentially interested in your content.

 

Image of Yahoo search results
Native ads in Yahoo

 

Gmail Ads

 

Though this feature has been around for awhile, advertisers are still looking for the most effective way to use Gmail Ads to meet their goals. Though it lives within the AdWords interface, performance will most likely not be the same. Therefore, it’s important to brainstorm first and decide the best way to make your Gmail campaign an effective part of your marketing.

 

One of the biggest elements to Gmail Ads is the targeting. You’ll want to make sure that it’s not too broad and you’ll also want to make sure that there is a strategy tied to it. For example, I’ve found great success when I create an ad with a special promotion and then use competitor names in my targeting. I’ve seen CTRs over 30% and CPCs that are a fraction of the cost of my other PPC campaigns. And, since the targeting is so specific, it usually results in conversions at a low CPA.

 

Image of Gmail Ads
Gmail Ad formats

 

Final Thoughts

 

The platforms above are only a few of the advanced PPC tactics that you can take advantage of. There are certainly others that would be great to test, but these can potentially be a good starting point for taking your online marketing efforts to the next level.