Exceeding PPC Expectations in the New Year

Exceeding PPC Expectations in the New Year

As we start a new year it is best practice to assess the successes — but perhaps more importantly, failures — of the outgoing year. After all, failures are merely lessons that drive the decisions we make in the future. Some of us may be content not to set personal goals, and that’s ok, but when it comes to PPC digital marketing, not setting goals is a highway to failure. So what defines effective goal setting for a pay-per-click campaign?

 It may help to think of PPC as a diet. How likely are you to lose weight if you don’t define the amount of weight you want to lose? Chances are, three months later you’ll step on the scale, become disenchanted and seek out a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. The same principle applies for PPC.  As with any “lifestyle” plan, you must map out what you want to achieve — your key performance indicators.  Establishing your KPI’s lays the foundation for the entire campaign.  

One PPC Size Does Not Fit All

Health example: A Paleo regime may work for your friend, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best food plan for your own body. Measuring cost per call lead when your the majority of your leads come in through form fill will only lead to frustration and useless metrics. This example may be an extreme case of miscalculation of KPI but let’s face it —  there are so many points of data to measure within one’s analytics. Doing some basic research before starting a campaign, or restructuring your current campaign, saves time, money, and adjustments down the road.

Many industries already have standard keys for success. Some popular KPI’s per industry are:

Emergency Service based industries (Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, PI Attorney, Disaster Clean-up): Cost per call lead is key, along with ROAS.

CVB’s & Visitor Bureaus: Cost per engagement, page views, time on site.

Blog Publishing: Cost per follower, page likes, cost per share.

 

What makes PPC planning worthwhile?

No one ever said “I am going to go on a diet for fun.”  There are driving factors behind the undertaking: an anniversary trip to the beach, high blood pressure, class reunion, or athletic competition.  Similarly, in business, you can set your PPC goal and map how to reach it, but you need to have a clear motive: what does meeting your KPI’s mean to your business?  For example, if you’re a plumber, achieving your goals-end results in adding another service vehicle.  For a blogger, securing 10,000 more followers can result in increased sponsorship. A winning ROAS is of high value to a CMO. In PPC, set a value to your success by establishing a value per lead.  What are you willing to pay for your lead? You can establish a value per lead by first taking your average cost per conversion (typically, a conversion would a call or form submission from your website) / your close rate. Then, you can focus spending on advertising efforts that have a higher close rate, or are driving more valuable conversions.

 

Roadblocks & Accelerators on the PPC Journey

For the unmotivated dieter, Thanksgiving is a classic setback occasion. Seasonality consideration plays out the same way in a PPC strategy. Instead of tempting failure by setting one cost per lead for the entire year, set yourself up for success by setting a goal for the peak season and the low season.  Meeting those individual goals will give you a more balanced, digestible average for the entire year.

 

Comparing Apples and Oranges

Starting at a size 16 and aiming to be a size 2 in four months will most likely end in disappointment. Comparing different body types is unhealthy. In business, when employing PPC, it’s important to set realistic goals relevant to your industry. Comparing yourself to others in your own industry provides healthy competition, as well as a standard for achievement. It pays to do your homework. Rely on industry professionals that have experience in your industry to guide you on realistic CPL’s.  Ask your friends, competitors (if they will tell you) what they have set.  Every industry has a baseline.  The competitive environment surrounding the cost per click on keywords will ultimately drive your CPL. PI Attorneys, MBA, and Plumbing related keywords are notorious for high cost-per-clicks. Know this before you set an unrealistic expectation of CPL just because it looks good on paper.

Fuel The Fire

It’s a well known fact that starting a diet alone, without implementing other healthy habits such as an exercise plan, will take longer to achieve desired results. For PPC, that online action of “the click” is only one of many steps your consumer might take during their daily online journey.  What other interactions may occur to influence “To Click, or Not to Click.”  For example, perhaps you have been running a PPC strategy for five years — optimized, restructured, paid attention to seasonality, impression share, quality score …but your conversions have plateaued. A mid-funnel marketing strategy for creating an optimal environment for success is very likely overdue. If you’re not reaching your consumers during all phases of the sales funnel, then you are not fueling the fire! To succeed, consider lead-nurturing strategies with drip campaigns through email and social channels. Implement remarketing strategies through site retargeting with display and video. And RLSA within Google is an effective remarketed list for search ads that places a higher value on that audience with a bid modifier.  

 

Personalized PPC Planning

After a few months on a new “lifestyle” plan, you will find things that work for you, and some that don’t. Personalized plans open doors for creativity, exploration, and impetus for sticking to goals. In PPC, you must know your audience. What channels are appropriate for them?  For instance, if Bing’s audience skews towards an older affluent audience but your audience is millennials — why put money there?  Time-stamp the entrance of your lead submission and tailor your messages accordingly. People are less likely to buy something if a CPC ad is followed up after a month, rather than a day.  Segment your data to ensure the right message is being delivered to the appropriate audience, at the right time.  

 

It Pays to Persevere with PPC

Consistency and perseverance are crucial ingredients in the PPC recipe. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. A positive mindset, coupled with a willingness to constantly refine strategy, is behind the most successful PPC campaigns — campaigns that are planned out from the beginning with clear KPIs and strong overall motivations.

 

References

https://unbounce.com/ppc/ppc-metrics-that-actually-matter/ (written by owner of Disruptive)

https://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/insights/planning-tools/bing-network-audience