How to Improve Your PPC Campaigns' Performance
If your online ads are underperforming, first ask yourself: are you sabotaging yourself? Many business owners know they should be advertising online so they hurl unpolished ads into the void, and then are surprised when they don't get any activity.
Before you build a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, let's go back to basics to make sure you're setting your ads up for success by placing them in front of the best people.
1. Choose the Right Platform
Sometimes it really is them, not you. Your ads may be underperforming because they're not optimized for where you're placing them, or they may be wrong for that platform altogether. There are two primary websites to run ads online - Facebook and Google. We have a full guide on both if you really want to dive into it, but here's the top-level on what works on each platform:
Facebook is a social media platform that uses user interests to show ads. Instead of typing in a specific keyword, Facebook analyzes a user’s demographic information, their likes and their online activity to decide the relevant ads to show them. An advertiser selects the type of person they want to show their ads to (for example, women in their 20s who live near a metro area and like to shop online) and Facebook matches the ad to the user.
Google AdWords is a paid search platform, which means it relies on user intent to show ads. When a user types something into Google, ads appears above and below the search results that are related to that keyword. An advertiser selects the keywords they want to run ads for.
Other Ad Platforms
Twitter Ads - Choose this if your audience is active on Twitter. Keep ads simple and short, or use a GIF to capture attention.
Instagram Ads - Works best for eCommerce or B2C. Great for visual ads.
LinkedIn Ads - Better for B2B businesses or highly technical products.
YouTube Ads - Best for video advertising, allows you to spread your message broadly or narrow in on niche topics.
Twitch Ads - Video or banner advertising that works best for B2C products for specialized interests.
2. Choose Your Fighter
Whatever platform you choose, you'll have a variety of different ad types to select from. Your options will vary depending on the platform, but generally speaking these are the most common types of ads:
Display or Banner Ads - These are image-based ads that typically appear on the top, bottom or sides of pages alongside content. On social media, these appear within a user's feed as they scroll through content.
Search Ads - These are unique to Google and other search engines, but are what most people think of when they hear "PPC." They are hyperlinked text ads that appear alongside organic search results.
Video Ads - These are found most often on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch. These are short videos that usually play before a video.
3. Set the Right Budget
This step is easier said than done, and is highly dependent on your industry, your keywords and where you're advertising. On platforms like Google, you sent a daily budget and pay per click. Meaning on Google, if your budget is $10 a day and each click costs $5, your ad will stop displaying once you hit 2 clicks a day.
However, on most social media sites, you set a total budget that runs in increments. You can choose a daily budget or a lifetime budget. So if your total budget is $100, you can run an ad $10 a day for 10 days or $100 a day for 1 day.
Both Google and Facebook have forecasting features in place to help you know what to expect in terms of results for your budget. On Google, what keywords you choose will drastically impact your budget. Some keywords cost as little as 2 cents per click while some can cost as much as $50! This is where keyword research comes into play.
4. Know Your Audience
It's important not to waste money on the wrong fit. Before you ever build your PPC campaigns, you should have a clear persona in mind for your business. If you don't have a persona set, now's the time to make one.
Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your prospective customers better and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors and concerns of different groups. The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.).
Once you've identified your persona, you'll want to set that person as your target audience. On any PPC platform, you'll have the option to narrow in on who sees your ads. On social media, this gets as detailed as their likes and interests. In Google, you can define location, interest, apps they use and searches they perform.
Before writing off online ads altogether, make sure you're following best practices for online ads. Knowing who you want to target, where to reach them and what content speaks to them will allow you to create the best PPC campaigns you can.
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