Today we have a guest post from one of our PPC Hero allies! Nate Turner (@npturner) is the Online Marketing Director for Sprout Social, a social media management tool for business, based out of Chicago, IL.


When you are paying for traffic, it is important that you consistently work to understand the user intent and expectations, so that you can tailor your message to clearly satisfy their needs. It doesn’t matter whether you are running PPC for e-commerce, lead generation or SaaS, your ultimate goal is to gain quality customers in a cost-effective manner. As your account and campaigns grow and age, it can be easy to let things become stagnant.

In order to combat stagnation and ensure that your keywords, ad groups, ad copy and landing pages are working effectively, I have created a short list of ideas to discover how people outside your marketing team describe your product or service. You can use the results to create new ad groups, expand keyword buckets or modify landing pages for better click through and conversion rates.

1) Create tag clouds

Probably one of the easiest ways to check your PPC alignment is to compare the terms and phrases you use in ads, keyword lists and landing pages and then compare them to the terms and phrases your target customers are using.

Start by a list of the phrases you have and make sure to include every instance of the word. For example, if the phrase “social media” appears 10 times on a page, include “social media” 10 times on the list so that it will appear larger in the tag cloud than other phrases with less instances on the page.

Next, create another list with all the phrases your customers use to describe your product. Examples of places to get these phrases are your Facebook page, Twitter search, LinkedIn groups, Quora, blog comments, support emails and anywhere else that customers are talking about similar products or services.

Once you have your two lists, visit TagCrowd to make a tag cloud from each list and then observe the similarities and differences.

2) Surveys

Gaining qualitative data from both customers and non-customers can give tremendous insight to what people expect from your industry, company or product. If you have the ability, create a brief qualitative survey (3-5 questions) and distribute it to your existing customers and/or places like Facebook or Twitter where you can get targeted non- customers to complete your survey.

Reading through the survey results may surprise you how others describe your products, services, features, etc. Use this information to understand what people are expecting from you and adjust accordingly.

3) Competition

Possibly one of the more obvious methods, but insight can also be gained from looking through your competitors PPC ads and landing pages. It’s an easy way to find new keyword phrases and strategies to better compete.

You can also go to Google and/or Yahoo and type in -”” to see all links into your competitor’s website, excluding links from within their own site. Once you get the results, read through some of the blog posts written about their product/service/features and document anything that you aren’t already using in your campaigns. Blog posts and reviews are perfect examples of people using their own terminology to describe another company’s product/service.

Once you have done steps 1-3, you will have several new concepts to try and it will be important to do A/B testing to see what actually resonates with your audience. Rather than pulling a 180 on your campaigns, I would recommend testing the new concepts against the current to make sure that it does lead to better conversions. I hope you find this helpful and discover many new ways to approach your audience and convert them through paid search.