Google AdWords is one of the most popular PPC platforms and can drive great results for any brand, regardless of the budget size. With good ad content and strategic targeting options in place, AdWords can help you to target and convert the right user at the right time, giving you maximum mileage for spend.

While creating a campaign is not that big of a challenge on AdWords, optimizing campaigns be a tough task and performance can be affected if not optimized. Therefore, we’ve decided to share with you 4 optimization techniques that can make a big difference to your PPC campaign.

Split Test Ad Copy

Split testing ad copy is a great optimization technique because it gives you valuable insights in to which ads for your campaign are generating the most CTR. Although the idea of implementing and testing multiple ad variations can seem like a tiring exercise but it will help you get a better understanding of what’s working for you in terms of ads and subsequently maximize your conversion rate.

The overall goal of any effective PPC campaign is to drive audiences to a landing page or social media profile and encourage them to take an action, be it “liking” your brand’s Facebook page, signing up or purchasing a product. With a few simple optimizations, this can be easy to achieve.

When possible, you should create at least two variations of an ad. Elements you can split test include:

  • Headlines: Is a short, succinct headline more effective than a longer detailed one?
  • Descriptions: Should you focus on product features and benefits or use your characters more creatively to try and pique a user’s curiosity?
  • Calls-To-Action: Is “Lean More” that little bit more persuasive than “Buy Now”?

By analyzing the effectiveness of each ad (it’s advisable to run each one for at least a week so you can measure a more substantial set of results) you should eventually end up with the perfectly performing copy!

Optimizing with The Paid & Organic Report

By linking Google Webmasters to AdWords, the Paid & Organic Dimension report becomes available and adds SEO data directly in AdWords, making it easier than ever for the SEM team to determine if they are missing any opportunities.

Use SEO To Find New AdWords Keywords

There may be queries for which your site already ranks well organically but for which you’re not buying any AdWords. These queries are easy to find by first filtering for queries with some organic volume and no ad impressions.

If you are worried that ads on pages with a high SEO rank will cannibalize free organic clicks, be sure to test this theory with this report. Filter for queries that have at least 1 ad click and 1 organic click. Now you will see the data for how your listings perform when there are only ads, only organic results, or both.

We’ve also measured this in other ways by turning ads on and off in different states and using Google Analytics to measure the overall impact to the website traffic and sales. In most cases, we find the same thing Google claims: when you run ads on pages with organic rankings for your own site, you will see an incremental lift in traffic, so it’s usually worth the extra investment.

Organize Your Account Structure

Much like creating multiple ad variations, correctly arranging your AdWords account structure can seem unnecessarily time-consuming, especially when you’re not starting from scratch. But if you want to guarantee the best possible conversation rates for your campaigns, this simple act of organization is essential.

Within your account, you should have a few campaigns to effectively track your advertising performance. A campaign will, in turn, contain a number of different ad groups. Campaigns can be defined by a number of factors, such as your overall budget, or the geographical locations in which you want to display your ads. For example, you may be an online fashion retailer whose top customer segments are located in the UK and Ireland, and you may want to create two separate campaigns for those British and Irish customers.

Within a campaign, there will be a number of ad groups. It’s important to make sure that these ad groups are small and streamlined in their focus. You may want to organize your ad groups so you have one per product page or category for example. The smaller your ad group, the more focused your keywords will be, and the more relevant your ad will become by default.

Similarly, organizing keywords for better relevancy within your ad groups is equally important if you want to achieve higher CTRs and increased conversions. 

Utilize Negative Keywords

Another often overlooked but the all-important aspect of any PPC campaign is negative keywords. You may spend a significant amount of time conducting keyword research and trying to strike the perfect balance between broad, phrase and exact match types, but what about the search terms that you don’t want to be associated with your ads and wasting your budget? Adding negative keywords is an important action to take because they maintain the high level of relevancy that you should be aiming to achieve with your campaign.

A solid starting point is to think of any phrases and keywords you don’t want your ads to be triggered by and add them to your negative keywords list. From there, you can adopt a more granular approach, such as adding search terms that may be similar to your chosen keywords but actually relate to a different product or service.

Regularly reviewing your search terms reports in Google AdWords will let you see how your ads performed when triggered by actual searches. Find out which terms that aren’t relevant to your brand have been used, and you can quickly add them to your negative keywords list.

Using the example of an online fashion retailer again, you may want to include negative keywords such as “article”, and “pictures” to reduce the likelihood of your ad being displayed to a window shopper who probably isn’t inclined to make a purchase.

Are you running a particularly successful PPC campaign? What optimizations do you think have made the biggest difference? Let us know your thoughts and share your PPC ad experiences in the comments section below!