A few months ago, I was tasked with ramping up one of our flagship client’s PPC program by driving as much volume as possible on a month over month spend increase of $90K.
I was both excited and terrified at the prospects of what the potential consequences could be. Driving client spend is always exciting for an agency as it creates additional revenue. A spend increase of 90K could be the equivalent of landing at least one new enterprise level client.
On the other hand, I was very worried that our sudden spend ramp up would fall flat on its face in terms of performance. The thought of driving spend without increasing business nearly made me break out in a cold sweat. Explaining to the client’s leadership team how a large spend increase failed to grow business terrified me.
Fortunately, this scenario did not happen. Every important goal the client laid out was achieved. Today I’m going to share advanced strategies for achieving increased growth within your paid search program.
Google Display Network
One of the fastest ways to ramp up a paid search program is focusing additional attention on the Google Display Network.
Plenty of additional growth can be found within GDN, even if you’ve already developed a strong presence by doing the following:
- Implementing Similar Audience Campaigns: Simply stated, similar audiences are users that most closely resemble past users who have already converted. The benefits of similar audiences are that it’s a highly qualified traffic pool and it’s also an underlying pool of traffic that can’t be tapped through conventional contextual targeting tactics.
- In-Market Buyers: Adwords has an option that allows advertisers to target users specifically in the buying cycle. Although details of how this targeting method works is kept to themselves, AdWords is essentially observing user history and has developed markers that distinguish researchers from buyers.
- Opting GDN into Mobile: I consider mobile GDN traffic to be the equivalent of an untapped oil field. Many advertisers have not increased their mobile bid modifiers and are missing out on potentially thousands of click and conversion opportunities. Opt into mobile now and grab the benefits before the competition does but be sure to test bid modifiers diligently and perform site exclusions regularly to prevent runaway, non-converting spend.
Ramping up the Google Display Network quickly increases traffic in the short term by exposing your brand to a wider user base. However, the benefits can reach beyond short-term gain by the increased exposure influencing long-term search traffic. What better way to grow traffic than influencing search volume for your brand terms.
Bing Ads is no longer the red headed stepchild of paid search. Many positive revisions have been made to their platform and traffic quality has improved greatly.
Listed below are some tasks that can be done within Bing Ads to ramp up traffic and conversions:
- Create Search Partner Campaigns: Unlike AdWords, Bing Ads provides the flexibility to create campaigns that can solely target their vast search network. Great effort has been put into improving the quality of search partner traffic. I have personally experienced traffic and conversion growth at cheap prices. Overall conversion quality in accounts I manage has improved greatly over the past few years.
- Google Import Tool: Bing makes it very easy to import your Google campaigns. Now that keyword and ad limits have been raised to 1MM, your chances for increasing traffic have greatly improved. For instance, within the past three months of importing my best performing ads and keywords to Bing, I have seen a spend increase of 75% with great results to boot.
- Search Remarketing: Finally, this feature is coming to Bing. While still in beta, I’m sure it will be rolled out universally soon enough. Just as in Google, search remarketing provides the ability to specifically target users who have visited your site but haven’t previously converted. Where else will you find a more qualified source of traffic?
I expect Bing to continue improving its product and finding new partnerships to increase traffic along the lines of what they’ve done with Firefox. Start treating Bing Ads campaigns with the care and urgency it deserves, as I believe this platform will continue to grow in size and improve in quality.
Diversification is key to ramping up a PPC account and gaining competitive advantage. Expanding you PPC footprint will ensure you will reach an ever growing and diverse marketplace.
Let’s look at some platforms outside Google and Bing that can be used to accelerate growth in your PPC business.
- Facebook provides enormous reach opportunities, as its user base is greater than 1 billion. In addition to serving ads on the side of profiles and news feeds, custom audiences can be defined that allow similar audience targeting. In many instances, advertisers using custom and similar audience targeting are seeing 40-70% lower cost per action compared to AdWords.
- Twitter currently has 288 Million monthly active users, with 500 million tweets per day. Twitter can be an excellent source for expanding reach and driving direct conversions using promoted tweets. Competition on Twitter is low compared to other PPC engines and allows for lower costs per clicks and conversions.
- Yahoo Stream Ads (Native Advertising) is a pay per click method of advertising within the context of the user experience. For example, in Yahoo’s content feed, article #3 and #13 are sponsored ads. The ads are designed to have the look and feel of the other content feed articles.
The examples above are but a few of the many platforms available beyond Google and Bing to expand your paid search program.
Some Final Thoughts
Suddenly ramping up an account brings both plusses and minuses. For example, our client hit their spend goal and drove a year over year growth of 1K leads. However, lead costs increased sharply. Make sure boundaries are established in terms of what the maximum cost per acquisition costs should be. Growth without profit is reckless and can lead to damaging results for both your clients and your reputation.