Monthly Archives: July 2011

PPC Optimisation – Optimising Keywords, Bids and Ads for Increased ROI

The topic of the week is the ever on going task of optimisation!

In order to increase overall ROI of any particular campaign, optimisation is the key. The term optimisation can refer to a number of regular steps taken in order to increase overall volume (sales, leads, sign ups, etc) while also reducing the cost per acquisition/sale (CPA). Below is a brief outline of what is involved in optimising keywords and ads.

Optimising keywords, bid management and ads to increase ROI

Optimising Keywords – this involves pausing keywords that have reached a certain threshold (eg: 100clicks/£30 but NO conversions), adding new relevant keywords (derived via a search query reports OR external keyword research). As well as bid optimisation (explained further below). And analysing when to use; broad, phrase or exact match based keywords. Click Here for more details on match types – as well as the new +(plus) broad match modifier.

Screen shot of keyword/bid optimisation in action via the Google AdWords editor tool.

Bid Management – this is very important and must be done correctly in order to yield the best results for any given campaign. It involves increasing or decreasing bids of particular ad groups or keywords depending on performance with the objective of increasing overall ROI. By changing the bid of a particular keyword you will be directly affecting two variables: number of impressions AND position of ad in the SERP’s (search engine results pages). You have to strike a balance when setting a bid of an adgroup or keyword so that your ad appears in the most profitable position (may take some testing). This will vary depending on the type of product/service being advertised. As a general rule of thumb positions 3-6 will work best for direct response. Positions 1-2 will be good for branded terms and positions 6 – 11 will be good when you want to aggressively reduce CPA (though you will sacrifice traffic volumes). Doing this manually can be a time consuming process and needs to be done on a minute level every few days (depending on traffic/spend levels). There are paid for tools that automate bid optimization based on rules that you set – eg: DC Storm, Acquisio, kenshoo, etc. Google AdWords also has an in built auto bid management system.

Optimising ads – This involves working on the actual consumer facing adverts. When looking to optimise ads, it is important to do so based on relevant KPI’s depending on business/campaign objectives. Examples of the key performance indicators are CTR (click through rate), CPA (or cost per conversion/sale), conversion rate, etc. In most case, the primary one will be CPA: therefore it is always good to test at least 2 different ad variations running per ad group for A-B/split testing (it is best practice), and after a pre defined number of clicks go in and see which one has a statistically significant lower CPA. You should then keep that one live and pause the worse performing ad and create a new one that is very similar to the top performer (with a few minor changes). And this process needs to be repeated on a regular basis. Note: Google AdWords has two options that auto rotate your ads and show the better performing one (based on lower CPA or higher CTR).  The above is also applicable to banner creatives for display and retargeting campaigns.

Screen shot showing ad optimisation. Graph detailing the CPA in green and the number of lciks in blue.