Modern digital advertising tools have forever changed advertising. Targeting and reporting have never been easier, and thanks to the rapid evolution of automation tools, you no longer need a specialized marketing degree or a team of marketing gurus to get products and services in front of potential customers and see an instant return on investment (ROI).
In today’s crowded advertising landscape, even well-established agencies face increased competition, not just in pay-per-click (PPC) bidding, but also in attracting new clients, retaining existing customers, and getting the most out of every dollar spent out of your clients’ budgets.
So how do you set your agency apart from others and demonstrate that you know PPC optimization and digital advertising success is much more than just choosing a few keywords, setting a budget, and patiently waiting while machine algorithms do the rest?
True PPC success is supported by multi-channel strategies and budget optimization that ensures you’re always spending the right amount of your client’s budget in the right places with the right messaging for the right audience, never going over budget, and demonstrating you know how to get real results that contribute to your clients’ bottom lines.
Not sure how to cut through all the noise? Here are 6 ways to get the most out of your PPC campaigns.
Choosing the Right Platform
When it comes to choosing the right digital platform for your marketing objectives, where do you begin? Do you choose Google Ads? Facebook? Twitter? YouTube? LinkedIn? What about Instagram? Snapchat? TikTok? Amazon Advertising?
Are you better served to put a lot of money into the largest platforms or spread your budget over several? Start small and work your way up? Go all in and hope for the best?
These are the types of questions many agencies ask when they’re just getting started with PPC advertising. But PPC is not like a giant bowl of spaghetti. You don’t throw it all on the wall and hope some of it will stick. Instead, there are several key things you should take into consideration when choosing which platforms are right for your investments.
Obviously, platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads have massive audience reach, but because so many agencies and individuals use their services, keyword bidding is competitive—and sometimes the average cost per click (CPC)—the amount you’re charged whenever someone clicks on one of your PPC ads—can put it out of reach for many small and mid-sized agencies or others with limited advertising budgets.
One recent report took a look at the average monthly CPC cost in Google Ads search advertising for the U.S. between March 2019 and March 2020. For some industries, the average monthly CPC can easily reach almost $20, with the insurance industry leading the way at $18.57 CPC, followed by online education at $14.04. Marketing and advertising close out the top three at $7.40 CPC.
So instead of going all in one a single platform like Google Ads just based on potential reach, here are a few things to consider when you’re trying to narrow down which ad platform is right for your clients.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but your campaign goals are a key part of your strategy and they can help you determine which platforms will enable you to reach your goals.
- What do you want to achieve with this campaign?
- Are you trying to increase sales, get more leads, or build brand awareness?
The answers to these questions can help you narrow the field about which platform may be best for your campaign based on these goals.
Understanding your client’s customer type
After establishing your campaign goals, you should ensure you have a good understanding of your client’s potential customer type. For example, is your client a B2B company looking to expand services to other businesses? Or is the client a B2C company that needs to connect with consumers?
Understanding your client’s customer type can help you narrow down which platform is best for you. For example, Facebook and Instagram might be great places for B2C investments, but B2B may be better suited for channels like LinkedIn. In addition to understanding customer type (target audience), you may find it also helpful to take into consideration the industry your client is in.
Morphio’s audience segmentation tool, for example, can help you select and monitor your audience segments across Google. And, when your campaigns are up and running, it can even help you segment and identify high- and low-converting customers based on conversion metrics such as your user journey, keyword data, and attribution settings.
Setting Your Budget
One of the great things about digital advertising is there is usually a solution for everyone, regardless of budget amounts. That said, it doesn’t mean you should toss all of your advertising dollars into a single bucket and hope for the best. Instead, you should invest a good amount of time and forethought in making decisions about where, how, and on what that you’ll invest into each PPC campaign.
The hard truth is, there is no magic formula for budgeting in PPC advertising. Some of your clients may have a limited amount they want to invest on advertising. Others may have larger budgets with grandiose ideas about how you should spend it. Many clients, unfortunately, don’t have a great understanding of exactly what it takes—and how much—to achieve their goals.
But budgeting may be the most pivotal point of your PPC success or failure. So how do you help your clients set an adequate PPC budget? Here are a few things to consider:
First, it may be helpful, if you don’t know already, to understand how PPC works.
When it comes to PPC, there are three important factors to know: average CPC, max CPC, actual CPC.
- Max PPC is the highest price you’re willing to pay for a click, which you can select when you set up your campaign.
- Average PPC is the total amount you pay for all clicks (for example, for an keyword-related ad click or other campaign metric) divided across the total number of clicks.
- Your actual PPC is the real cost you pay for a click.
Of course, there are several factors that play into how much you’ll actually pay for a click (competition, Quality Score, geography etc.), but from a high-level, understanding the basics of how CPC bidding works is very important.
Once you understand how PPC works, you should consider how much of the budget should be used for key areas such as intent-based tactics, prospecting, and retargeting or remarketing.
When it comes to paid search campaigns, for example, these types of campaigns are generally intent-based. That means you have an action you want a person to take, whether that’s clicking an ad that takes the person to your website or completing a specific task, like filling out a form or signing up for a service.
Keyword advertising is highly intent-based and as a result, many agencies will choose to invest the largest portion of advertising here, often in the range of 50-75% of total budget.
Prospecting is a way to build your audience and increase brand awareness. This is a great place to make investments in display and video advertising campaigns. Prospecting campaigns may take longer to move a cold prospect into a hot lead (compared, let’s say to keyword advertising) because they generally start with a wider audience to garner engagements, then, over time, that audience is segmented into more granular targets based on their behaviors such as time spent on your website, pages viewed, or other completed tasks.) Since the prospecting approach is a longer-play, you may want to consider investing about 10-20% of her PPC budget here.
Retargeting/remarketing usually costs less than traditional search advertising so you could potentially invest a smaller amount of your overall PPC budget here, maybe 10-20%, and still have good results.
For many agencies and their clients, budget setting is often the result of a lot of manual estimates (like using spreadsheets) and guesswork (looking back at past spends and making adjustments for today.) Morphio can help take the guesswork out of your budget processes. Its AI-powered engine can help your teams eliminate the manual, repetitive data analyzation, and provide you with automated insights so you can make better decisions today and as your campaigns evolve and change over time, including forecasting and changes to facilitate campaign performance improvements.
After you’ve chosen your ad platforms and set your budget, now is time to get into the nitty-gritty of paid search. While there are a number of approaches you can take based on the specific platform you’re using, here are some general recommendations you should be able to apply for success across multi-channels.
When it comes to paid search, start by using a keyword tool to analyze search volume for that term. For better insight, also analyze search volume with geographical influences, for example, consider population density if you’re running ads for a regional, statewide, or global company.
Search volume analysis can help you determine your budget allocation at the beginning and then guide you as you need to make bid adjustments throughout the length of your campaign.
It’s also a good idea to check out the competitive landscape because bidding against your competitors’ branded terms can sometimes be a great strategy to get the most out of your PPC campaigns.
Morphio’s ad campaign suggestions mean you don’t have to guess. You’ll always have insight and suggestions right at your fingertips to improve PPC campaign performance.
Having a bid strategy can also help you make the best use of your PPC budget. This strategy can help you understand how and where you’re going to spend your money over a specific amount of time, instead of just tossing money into your campaign and hoping for the best.
While bidding strategies may be different depending on the platform you’re using, here are a few suggestions to help get you started, regardless of platform:
Choose either a manual or automated bidding strategy. While some agencies may be hesitant to choose an automated approach (for example, a fear of giving up campaign control and not having a hands-on approach that could impact short- and long-term performance), most platforms have a range of parameters you can select to prevent this from happening. An automated approach to bidding can help save you time and effort and increase your odds of being competitive based on your established limits and parameters.
If you’re starting a new campaign and have limited conversion data, you may be more comfortable opting for manual bidding. Once your campaign matures and you gather more reliable data, you can reap the benefits of an automated bidding strategy. Once you’ve collected a statistically significant amount of conversion data, automated bidding is the key to scaling campaigns.
Once you’ve chosen your bidding method, there are several bidding types you can elect to use in your campaign:
- CPC (cost per click): Great for a budget-focused approach to your campaign
- CPM (cost per thousand impressions, also known as cost per mille): Great for display and video campaigns where you’re not relying as heavily on clicks and conversions
- CPA (cost per acquisition): Great for when you want to pay per lead generated
You may also want to consider return on ad spend (ROAS) when building your bidding strategy. Your ROAS enable you to look back at previous campaigns (or earlier timeline in existing campaigns) to see what performed best so you can make adjustments to remaining or future campaigns based on those metrics.
Another factor to include in your bidding strategy is target impression share. Target impression share is a relatively new approach for PPC, but it enables you to pre-set a target amount for your impression share and, in Google Ads for example, determine ad placement, such as top of page and absolute top of page for prime ad positioning.
Once you’ve set up your campaign, Morphio can help you ensure it’s always performing up to your expectations. Its AI-powered suggestions tool continuously analyzes your advertising performance, aligns them with your goals, reviews audience behaviors, and makes suggestions so you can fine-tune for better ROI.
Earlier, we mentioned the role of keyword research in campaign success, but keywords aren’t the only research points for great PPC campaigns. Before you set your first ad in rotation, you should also do competitor research.
To get started, you’ll need to use your keyword research. What are the most competitive keywords for your campaign? Who is bidding on those keywords and what’s the average PPC?
Once you’ve looked at those keyword metrics, make a list of your top PPC competitors and consider:
- Which keywords are your competitors targeting?
- What do their ads say?
- How are their ads similar/different from yours?
- What types of pages are your competitors using in their ads (dedicated landing pages, core website pages, forms, etc.)?
To get the most out of your competitor research, you’ll likely need to use tools specifically designed to help you uncover this important information. Morphio’s SEO performance monitoring checks competitors’ websites against your account’s top keywords for insight into average rank and average rank growth. If a competitor makes changes and it affects your keywords, Morphio captures metadata before and after a competitor changes its website and SERPs so you’re always competitive.
Budget Monitoring for Success
PPC advertising is not set-it-and-forget-it. The most effective PPC campaigns with the best ROI for your clients are those that you manage through a combination of manual, hands-on insight and with the support of automated tools.
Unfortunately, most big-name ad platforms don’t have great tools that can help you with an out-of-the-box approach to budget monitoring. That’s because they’re goals are to get you to spend money, while your goals are to get the most out of the budget you’re spending—without overspending.
Morphio can help you with continuous budget insight to ensure your dollars are spent like you want, where you want, and you never go over budget. Morphio will analyze the daily spend of all of the platforms you’ve connected within your Morphio account and then will make comparisons of your actual spend to your target budget. You can monitor your budget each month or set custom dates for lifetime spends.
You can also use Morphio for enhanced budget monitoring to track campaign groups within a single ad platform or for campaign groups across multiple ad platforms (such as retargeting campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn).
If your campaigns over- or under-spend, Morphio will send you automated alerts so you never have to worry about missing your targets, and its automated reporting tools ensure you always have insight into PPC performance while enabling you to share your successes with your clients.