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9 Questions Your Small Business Should Ask About PPC

Running a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Strategy via Google AdWords is a great way to drive traffic to your small business’ website immediately. Once you have a campaign running, have accrued substantial traffic data and feel you have a general handle on your strategy, it’s time to optimize your PPC strategy. This optimization comes from analyzing your AdWords data and making strategic decisions. If you’re not yet familiar with running a PPC Strategy via Google AdWords, feel free to give our AdWords page a read prior to reading this post. If you’re a small business in New Hampshire (or anywhere for that matter) and you’re serious about optimizing your PPC strategy via Google AdWords, it’s time to start learning more about how to interpret your AdWords data. As a small business, your internet strategy could make a considerable difference in your businesses’ performance and optimizing your small businesses’ internet strategy requires an investment in learning the tactics. In this post we’ll look at the various metrics which can help you better optimize your PPC campaign strategy, much of the information we outline herein comes directly from Google. Here’s the best part if you’re a small business, learning these internet marketing strategy tactics is essentially free, it’s a time and learning investment. In order to learn, we need to ask questions. Here are nine questions you should ask yourself to help optimize your small businesses’ PPC strategy.

#1 What is your click through rate?

Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your small business’ ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (impressions). Your ad and keyword each have their own CTRs, unique to your campaign performance. Your PPC Strategy’s CTR is a vital metric to follow to truly understand your small business’ PPC Strategy performance as part of your overall internet marketing strategy. A keyword’s CTR is a strong indicator of its relevance to the user and the overall success of the keyword. For example, a well targeted keyword that shows a similarly targeted ad is more likely to have a higher CTR than a general keyword with non-specific ad text. The more your keywords and ads relate to each other and to your business, the more likely a user is to click on your ad after searching on your keyword phrase. For example, if our target keyword was “web design nh” we would make sure that the ad triggered by this keyword also used the keyword “web design nh” therefore our ad relates directly to our keyword and will most likely produce website visitors who are looking for website design services in New Hampshire, which is our target customer. A low CTR may point to poor keyword performance, indicating a need for ad or keyword optimization. Therefore, you can use CTR to gauge which ads and keywords aren’t performing as well for you and then optimize them. For example, we may find that if our target keyword is “web design nh” but our ad triggered by the keyword “web design nh” instead reads “internet marketing nh” that we have a low CTR because the ad does not pay off the keyword. If someone is looking for website design services in New Hampshire, using the keyword “web design nh” they probably won’t click an ad that reads “internet marketing nh” because there’s an obvious disconnect between the keyword search query and the resulting ad produced. This is a common PPC Strategy mistake which should be addressed through creating keyword specific ad groups, which we’ll cover in Question #2. CTR is also used to determine your keyword’s Quality Score. A higher CTR and Quality Score can lead to lower costs and higher ad position. This is important, let’s break it down. If you’re currently paying an average of $1.50 per click and have a budget of $30 per day, you can receive 20 clicks per day max. Therefore if you can improve your CTR and your Quality Score, you’ll then reduce your Cost-Per-Click (CPC). Let’s say you lower your CPC from an average of $1.50 per click to $1.00 per click. Maintaing the same budget of $30 per day will now net you 30 clicks per day, an increase of 10 clicks per day, for free. If you’re a small business this is great way to increase the bang you get for your buck.

#2 How many Ad Groups do you have?

Organizing similar keywords into multiple ad groups gives you a better opportunity to have higher click through rates (CTRs) and quality scores. The quality score is a rating from Google that ranges from 1 (not relevant) to 10 (highly relevant), and the main reason you want that score to be high is that it will enable you to bid lower for higher placements. If your ad groups have too many keywords that are unrelated, then Google will not know which words it should base its relevancy rating upon and your CTR will most likely be lower leading to a low quality score. Generally if your small business’ PPC Ads have a quality score of around 7 or higher you are in good shape, but remember, keep monitoring and adjusting as needed.

#3 What is my Ad’s Serve Percentage?

Your AdWords Ad Serve Percentage is the percentage of time your ad has been shown in relation to the rest of your active ads within the same ad group. It’s normal for the ad served percentage or the number of impressions accrued for each ad in your ad group to be different.

#4 What factors influence how often a given ad is served?

Google claims there are three main factors that influence how often a given ad is served, here’s what they say:
  •  By default, all campaigns are set to optimized ad serving. This means that if one ad has a higher clickthrough rate (CTR), it will show more frequently than the other ads in your ad group. This system automatically favors better-performing ads that drive more traffic to your site. You can opt out of optimized ad serving if you’d like the AdWords system to rotate your ads roughly evenly. If you do so, note that your ads still may accrue different ad served percentages or numbers of impressions. This is because the AdWords system considers an ad’s Quality Score when ranking it on a search result page. An ad with a high Quality Score may appear on the first page of search results, where it accrues an impression every time it’s served. On the other hand, an ad with a low Quality Score may appear on the second page of search results, where it will only accrue an impression if the user clicks through to that page.
  • If an ad is created late in the day, it will have a lower ad served percentage at the end of the day than the existing ads. This difference will decrease over time.
  • If an ad has yet to be reviewed and approved, it’ll only appear on Google. If it isn’t yet generating impressions on the Google Network, an ad will have a lower ad served percentage. This means if you’ve been running an ad and then replace it with a new ad, you may see a drastic decrease in clicks and serve percentage for the first couple days while the new ad is being reviewed and approved.

#5 What is Ad rotation?

Ad rotation refers to the way your ads are delivered on Google and the Google Network. Your ads will rotate if you have multiple ads within an ad group, since no more than one ad from your account can show at a time. You can, however, specify how you’d like the ads in your ad group to be served. The first option for ad serving is Google’s default setting of Optimize. Optimized ad serving delivers ads with higher clickthrough rates (CTRs) into the ad auction more often than other ads in the ad group. These higher-quality ads gain more impressions than other ads in the ad group, resulting in higher ad served percentages. By using this ad serving option, your ad group will likely receive more impressions and clicks overall, since higher-quality ads attain better positions and attract more user attention. The second option is to have your ads served in a set rotation. Rotated ad serving delivers ads more evenly into the auction, even when one ad has a lower CTR than another. The impression statistics and ad served percentages of the ads in the ad group will be more similar to each other than if you had selected the optimization option. However, these statistics still may differ from each other, since ad position may vary based on Quality Score and CPC.

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