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Get More Traffic and Save Money by Experimenting with Your PPC Campaign

iStock_000006435029XSmallAs pay-per-click consultants, we constantly monitor and adjust client ad campaigns in order to improve their performance.  We have PPC expertise on the best approaches to take when your PPC campaign needs reviving and would like to share that so you can get the most traffic possible, without spending more money.  One of the most common mistakes PPC beginners and professionals alike make is not regularly experimenting and refining their campaigns in order to keep them optimized.

It is best to think of your PPC campaigns as having two modes—experimental and standard.  You’ll start off in experimental mode, then move to standard once you’ve determined which settings work best for your campaign.  Ideally, you will experiment once per quarter in order to continually fine-tune your campaigns.  The internet changes at a very rapid pace.  Settings that worked for you last year might not be the best choice this year, so it’s best to regularly reevaluate.

There are many settings you may experiment with, but there are five that have the biggest impact on success: day parting, location, device, bid prices, and keywords.

1.       Day Parting

Day parting means dividing a day into different parts.  Day parting in PPC means setting ads so they only run on certain days at certain times.  During experimental mode, you probably want your ads to run twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

After you’ve gathered substantial data, go in and check the time of day conversion info.  (If you’re using Google AdWords, it must be connected to Google Analytics for this.)  This will show you which hours on which days have the most conversions.  It’s best to schedule ads to run during these times.

2.       Location

There are many reasons to specify the locations from where searchers may view your ad.  If you’re a local business owner, perhaps it’s worth checking if people living an hour or two away will click as they’re searching for what to do on their weekend getaway.  Even national and international companies can get results by specifying location.  It makes much for sense for ski equipment ads to run in Colorado than in Florida, for example.  Or perhaps your product does well in urban, but not rural areas.  It will save you money to target accordingly.

Like day parting, location is something you don’t want to be too specific about during experimentation.  (Unless, of course, there are already areas you’ve decided on excluding).  Once you’ve received adequate data, only continue to run ads in the successful locations.

3.       Device

“Device” refers to something other than a computer such as a smart phone or tablet.  Because the screens are smaller and the device-user is more likely to be on-the-go, you want to craft a different campaign aimed for these devices.  It should be very simple and contain only the basic information—what you’re selling, how much it costs (or how much of a deal it is), and how they can contact you.  We recommend that your device-targeted ads do not run to regular PPC locations and that your regular PPC location-targeted ads do not run on devices.  Keeping them separate makes sense and allows for better comparison in terms of success.  Certain campaigns might end up being device-only, or computer-only, based on successes.

4.       Bid prices

In AdWords, bid prices can actually be experimented with while you simultaneously run a standard campaign by using the AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) option.  This allows you to test a percentage of the ads running with different bid criteria for a specified amount of time and compare it against a control group running at the same time, allowing you to see which bid prices are more successful.

Just remember: if you experiment with high bid prices and they work well, you have to pay for them!  Make your budget high enough so you can get information from the experimental bid, but low enough that you won’t be upset if it is maxed out.

5.       Keywords

The AdWords Campaign Experiments option also allows testing of different keywords so you can monitor what leads to more clicks and conversions and what doesn’t.  After enabling ACE on an ad campaign, create new ad groups with the keywords you want to test and make the groups part of your experimental campaign.  Let the experiment collect data and then analyze which keywords lead to a higher click through rate and conversion rate.

Still have questions about PPC?  View our other PPC resources available on our website or contact ClickxPosure’s online marketing specialists at 1-888-909-RANK.