8 PPC Best Practices That May Not Be The Best For Your Business

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The advertising platform interfaces PPC advertisers with recommendations.

Representatives present best practice decks.

Articles are proliferating on the web proclaiming the ideal approach to creating the perfect campaign.

Should advertisers completely rely on advertising platforms, representatives and industry gurus to determine how to create PPC campaigns that convert well?

Not always.

In this article, you’ll learn eight “best practices” that marketers should avoid blindly applying in their campaigns.

1. Rely on wide correspondence

Especially when you are new to PPC, it’s easy to just add keywords without knowing the match types. In fact, Google and Microsoft will offer recommendations for adding broad keywords in ad groups that don’t use this type of match.

With broad correspondence comes a promise of simplicity and broad scope. Too often, however, Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising matches unrelated search terms with broad keywords.

While expression match and exact match, in their current state, can still match any number of close variants, these types of matches still provide more control than broad.

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That said, wide correspondence can have its place in the right situation.

The combination of RLSA targeting and broad queries can be effective because you already know that you are targeting audiences who have expressed some interest in your brand.

Additionally, when you’ve maximized your reach with exact phrases and keywords and still have a budget to test, broad match may be worth trying to uncover potential new queries.

You’ll just want to be very careful with search terms and watch out for irrelevant words and phrases to exclude as negative keywords.

2. Fully automated auctions

As advertising platforms increase the level of automation and decrease the level of control on the advertiser’s side, automated bidding has become an inevitable part of every PPC advertiser’s toolkit at some level.

However, I would like to caution against blindly accepting the default recommendation to use fully automated auctions at all levels.

First and foremost, automatic bids focused on driving conversions (such as Maximize Conversions and Target CPA) rely on feeding accurate conversion data back into the ad platform.

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You need to make sure that you’ve identified the right goals for your brand, whether it’s purchases or leads, and that the conversion pixels are set correctly to trigger when these occur.

If there are inaccuracies in the old conversion tracking setups in your account, you should avoid bidding strategies that optimize conversion performance because they will not work from the correct data.

Wait a few weeks until you have received accurate conversion data on your account before testing conversion-based bidding.

Second, a bidding strategy like Maximize Clicks simply focuses on getting the cheapest clicks and can hurt getting qualified traffic (which can come from more expensive keywords).

I have found that Maximize Clicks is useful in some specific cases, such as launching display campaigns, but I generally do not recommend this bidding strategy for Search campaigns.

3. Automatic acceptance recommendations

In a recent conversation with our Google agency rep, he spent a lot of time coming up with a new option to automatically accept recommendations in the account.

With this capability, advertisers can save time by letting Google do more of the heavy lifting.

With Google’s auto-app recommendations, you can potentially see:

  • Hundreds of unrevised keywords added.
  • Broad match keywords added where you did not intend to use this type of match.
  • Targeting extension added to campaigns where you only wanted to reach specific audiences.
  • And created announcements that you didn’t write.

While some of Google’s recommendations may be helpful for your account, you’d better take the time to review the suggestions before implementing them to avoid headaches down the road.

4. Include a specific number of keywords per ad group

A common question for those new to PPC is, “How many keywords should I include per ad group?”

A brief Google search will yield a variety of inconsistent answers, from 10 to 20 to 30.

Like so many questions in this industry, there is no single answer to this question. You want to think about a few factors here:

  • Meaning of the data: Grouping several similar keywords together in an ad group allows you to see impressions, clicks, and conversions that are large enough for the associated ads to make optimization decisions faster.
  • Intention: If the keywords imply a different intent, such as a top-of-the-funnel search versus buy-now need, keep them separate to control bidding and messaging.
  • Similar variants: As the close matching of variants is increasing, it is less efficient to separate keywords with the same meaning but with slightly different wording.

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5. Use of SKAGs

The Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) strategy was popularized in some circles of the PPC industry several years ago.

The idea behind this approach is that keeping a keyword in an ad group gives you maximum control over the advertising message presented for that keyword, while also helping you achieve a higher quality score to minimize disruption. CPC.

SKAGs are a less than optimal tactic for reasons similar to those discussed in the previous point.

Close variations of exact keywords and exact phrases have virtually eliminated the effectiveness of SKAGs in the past.

Even with the best search term monitoring, you’re unlikely to capture all of the potential variations that Google may associate with a keyword, and it’s virtually impossible to properly control SKAG campaigns and ad groups with words. negative keys.

SKAGs also often do a disservice by cutting ad performance data across many ad groups, where users may have actually had the same intent through slightly different keywords.

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Especially as Google continues to automate bidding and ad rotation more, creating fewer ad groups with more keywords (as long as they’re closely related enough) will give the system more data to to optimise.

6. Including research partners

By default, Google and Microsoft will choose to display campaigns on search partners. These are other sites that have partnered with these respective platforms to include their search results.

For example, Ask.com is a search partner of Google, while DuckDuckGo is a search partner of Bing / Microsoft Advertising.

I’ve found that Search Partners can vary dramatically in performance based on account and sometimes individual campaign, sometimes resulting in unpredictable spikes in traffic, especially on the Microsoft Advertising side.

If you are on a tight budget, you might want to go ahead and exclude search partners to begin with.

If you have a sufficient budget, you might want to test search partners, but you need to monitor the results closely, looking at both overall conversion rate and cost per conversion, as well as overall quality. prospects.

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Note that Google only allows you to activate or deactivate all search partners at once, without having the option of activating specific partners.

Microsoft Advertising also doesn’t let you choose specific partners, but you can review the performance of individual sites and add exclusions.

7. Combine search and display

When setting up a Search Network campaign, Google allows you to activate their display network within the same campaign.

While this approach may seem like an easy way to grow audiences with minimal effort, too often it results in display placements that cannibalize the search audience.

It is better to separate search and display campaigns. These networks differ inherently, in that search focuses on the direct intention to find a product, while display focuses on audience and subject targeting to present an offer to someone who may or may not search. immediately a product.

8. Diversify in each channel

PPC has come a long way from basic research and display advertising of the past. Increasingly, online advertisers are spreading their spending across search, display, social and native advertising platforms.

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While many brands can find valuable feedback on launching a new channel, such as the ability to target related Facebook interests in addition to those directly researching a product, you shouldn’t immediately split your spending across multiple channels without reflect. the “why” first.

Are you willing to invest the extra budget in testing a new chain, or would you use the budget of an existing well-functioning chain?

Are you prepared to invest enough time and budget to accurately assess the performance of a new channel?

While the ideal amount for a test will vary depending on audience, industry, and ROI goals, you’re unlikely to get big enough data with a $ 500 test.

In addition, not all channels make sense for all brands.

For example, Snapchat is probably not the best advertising channel for targeting B2B business decision makers, while LinkedIn is probably not the best for selling sportswear.

Of course it depends

As with many questions that arise in the PPC industry, the answer to whether you should use any of these best practices in your campaigns is, “It depends. “

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At the heart of the matter, you should avoid simply following these recommendations just because a platform or representative told you to build your campaigns a certain way.

However, there may be times when implementing one or more of the above practices can actually help your campaigns.

If you plan to test a recommendation or ‘best practice’, make sure you have a clear plan in place for testing, establishing a baseline for results and evaluating performance to determine if the practice was worth it. worth it.

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Featured Image: Saxarinka / Shutterstock


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