So you’ve set up your PPC account, have been monitoring it for a while, and things are going swimmingly. But now what? You feel you’ve done everything you think you can do to the PPC account. Not so!

There’s always more to do! In this article, I’ll discuss some ideas you can use to give your account a serious kick in the butt!

Note: some of the strategies require statistically significant data before implementing.

I like to see data from at least 100 conversion events before moving forward with any strategy.

1.  Geographic Targeting

Dig through the data and determine if there are specific geographic areas that are performing better than others. If yes, think about ways to increase volume in those regions. Is there room to add a geographic qualifier to any of your search terms in the account (e.g. “Nike sneakers in NYC”, “Nike sneakers in New York City”, etc.)?

It may also make sense to target areas (e.g. NYC) with broader terms like “sneakers,” “tennis shoes,” etc. using a lot of negative match types of course.

One strategy I like is to start off PPC campaigns with generic terms (e.g. “Nike sneakers,” “Nike tennis shoes,” etc.) and broader geographic targeting (e.g. North America). From there, use analytics and reporting tools to determine which geographic areas are performing and build out from there. It ensures resources are used on areas that have proven ROI and ROAS and reduces shooting in the dark.

Naturally, this strategy also entails scaling back on what doesn’t convert or perform as well. For example, if you’ve spent a bunch of money in a state like North Carolina and there have been very few conversions, it’s probably a good idea to scale back on ad spend there.

Note: I like to create separate campaigns by geography to keep accounts well-organized.

2.  Ad Scheduling

Take a look at the data and see when your traffic is converting the best and converting the worst. The idea is to reallocate your budget from poor converting times of the day to good converting times.

For example, in one account, we noticed there were very few sales from 1am to 4am PT. So, we reallocated ad spend from 1am to 4am to 11am to 4pm PT when most of the company’s sales occurred.

3.  Call Tracking

If you haven’t already implemented call tracking in your PPC account, now would be a good time! If you want to gauge the true impact of a campaign, you’ll need to measure both online and offline conversions.

You may find once you have call tracking in place that you’ve been making the phone ring off the hook as it’s not uncommon for people to pick up the phone instead of converting online. Here are some easy approaches to see if calls are related to PPC advertising:

  • Unique phone numbers. Include unique phone numbers on PPC landing pages. If landing pages are specific to a product or service, assign a unique number to each products/service and see which make the phone ring.
  • Assign unique codes to landing pages: Assign unique codes to landing pages and ask callers for the code when they call. With this strategy, you’ll need to sync up codes to your ads on your back end and optimize accordingly.

Of course, you can always implement Google’s call code or use a third party tool. This will allow you to get more detailed information from specific calls and will allow you to optimize your bidding. Take a look at this article for more information on PPC call tracking.

4.  Demographic Targeting

The Display Network offers some ability to adjust bids based on age and gender demographics. It even supports excluding certain audience segments from seeing your ads.

Still in its infancy, this targeting system will get smarter over time as it gathers more data. No need to wait, however. Give it a try now if you have some very obvious audience segments that you’re trying to include or exclude – for example, all women, or only retirees.

Many B2B advertisers also like to block all youth-oriented sites, regardless of content. It’s worth experimenting with, because it could allow you to bid more aggressively for the remaining traffic.

As Google collects far more data on users (with the launch of Google+ and sweeping changes in their privacy policies), I’d anticipate this capability improving greatly within the year. We can also dream about when it might be added to the feature set on the search side.

5.  AdWords Campaign Experiments

Optimize your PPC iteratively by conducting structured tests with AdWords Campaign Experiments. Start by coming up with a hypothesis like bidding up modified broad match or phrase match terms so they take a higher priority (in relation to other match types) to test the overall impact on ROAS.

Don’t worry; the system lets you easily revert a unsuccessful test group back to the original. And it might just help you solve internal or agency-client debates about “best” practices (many people have their own wild theories about match types, for example).

You can split traffic evenly between the control group (existing bids) and the experiment group (new bids), and see test results at both the ad group level and the keyword level. The tool even reports on whether data collected has reached a sufficient level of statistical significance. You can then apply the principles learned to your ongoing account management philosophy.

Now get out there and give your AdWords account a swift kick in the backside!

Image from Shutterstock, used under license.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Paid Search Column

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About The Author: was recently voted the 2013 Most influential SEM. She is the Vice President of Online Marketing Strategy at Page Zero Media where she focuses on search engine marketing strategy, landing page optimization (LPO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • http://www.wpromote.com Michael Block

    Good article and I couldn’t agree more with the use of Google AdWords Campaign Experiments. However, I would really put an asterisk next to the advice about ad scheduling. It’s important to allocate budget toward times of the day that convert more but only if they convert more compared to spend.

    For example, very few clients will convert between 1am and 4am, as Ms. Elesseily mentions, but very few clients will spend much during those hours. If the spend curve over the day looks similar to the conversion curve over the day, then there is no optimization to be made (i.e. you can’t allocate spend to the better performing areas because there is little inefficiency to redistribute).

    Don’t look for conversion volume alone as the indicator; rather, look for conversion volume compared to spend volume. Don’t make decisions about budget allocation unless there are discrepancies between distribution of conversions compared to spend over the course of the day. Also remember to always look at statistically significant data sets with regards to both click/conversion volume and time.

  • http://www.markbarrera.com Mark Barrera

    Google sent a notice last week that they will be removing demographic bidding from all AdWords accounts around March 21.

    I imagine they will launch something in the future, so we’ll just have to wait to see what they come out with next.

 

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