This post is not going to be about areas of your account to improve.
I’m sure your keyword list is on point, your ad copy wonderfully crafted, your bids perfectly calculated, and so on.
Instead, I want to talk about a few key areas that greatly impact your PPC campaigns but are notably outside the advertising platforms. The items below are things that your PPC agency or campaign manager might not be in control of, but the attention to detail in these areas can have a big impact on their job performance.
If these areas are doing well, the PPC team will be seen as heroes. If these areas are struggling, the PPC team has, at best, an uphill battle on their hands. At worst, it could be near impossible to meet your marketing goals with these things hampering their success.
So with that in mind, here are four aspects of online marketing that greatly impact PPC campaigns that you should be paying attention to if you want your campaigns to succeed.
Ad creative is likely the first impression (pun not intended..ok maybe a little) someone will have of your brand. It’s where they’ll form their initial opinions of you.
What message are you sending them? Positive, negative?
Are you focusing on their needs or your offers?
Did you include a call to action?
Are you standing out from the crowd?
Did you make an impact?
Did they even see your ad or did they scroll past?
Granted, it’s hard to accomplish all of these in a single image/ad creative, but that’s why it’s important for companies to pay attention to ad creative. The better the first impression, the more likely they are to interact with you later whether it’s a purchase, social engagement, or something else.
Here are some articles that can help you get started with ad creative updates:
If ad creative is the first impression, landing pages are the second and can arguably have an even greater impact.
With creative, you’re given a small space to work with and, whether they’re aware of it or not, consumers usually understand that everyone is playing in the same sandbox and has to follow the same rules.
When it comes to landing pages, however, there’s no set of boundaries to level the playing field. It’s up to you what to do with this space and how you communicate a message to the customer.
There are many landing page best practices out there, but if you have to focus on a few key pieces, here’s my short list:
- Follow up on the ad promise: Your ad was enticing enough for the user to click. It doesn’t have to be perfectly mirrored messaging, but the landing page should follow up on the message from the ad. No bait and switch.
- Clear messaging on your brand: Too many companies try to mask exactly what they do. Make it clear what your company does and how you will benefit the customer.
- Easy to follow call to action: Don’t hide the CTA on the page. Make it clear what you want the user to do. This doesn’t mean you have to be pushy. Just clear.
- Page speed: No one is waiting around for huge page load times, especially on mobile devices. If the page doesn’t fully load before the user clicks back, you’ve wasted the ex-potential customer’s time (bad) as well as your ad spend (also bad).
Even if you don’t have the fanciest landing page, following these four guidelines will (fortunately and unfortunately) put you head and shoulders above many other advertisers. Spend a little time clarifying your message, speeding up your page, and saving potential customers headaches by delivering what they need on the landing page.
If you’re looking for some resources for landing pages, we have a list cultivated for you with guides, tips, and tools.
Call to Action
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Your calls to action are (probably) terrible.
Whether lead gen or ecommerce, there’s no excuse for a frustrating conversion process.
For lead generation: think about what you’re actually offering people. Is it useful to them or just something you threw together because you wanted to generate leads?
For ecommerce: we want someone to make a purchase, but are you making it harder than it needs to be? How can you minimize the process so you get what you need and the customer isn’t frustrated trying to figure out how to use a Guest Login to buy something?
I can’t speak for everyone out there, but if your offer seems like either a waste of my time and effort or that it’s not worth the price I have to pay, I’m not doing it. No PPC campaign settings can make up for that no matter how hard you try.
Take a look at what you’re offering and ask yourself if, from a customer perspective, it’s worth the price they have to pay. If you’re not sure, that’s likely a sign that it’s not. And don’t only take your own opinion into account. Ask a few trusted folks (ideally outside of your company with no stake in the matter) if they think it’s a valid trade. If your call to action isn’t up to snuff, you’re failing before you’ve even built a PPC campaign.
Similar to unappealing or frustrating calls to action, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the following conversation:
Them: “We’re not sure we’re getting results from the campaigns. Any idea what we could be doing better?”
Us: “We’re seeing conversion performance in the account. Can you share some of the CRM reporting you have available? That can help us determine where we’re seeing unproductive spending.”
Them: “Well, our CRM isn’t fully set up, but it doesn’t seem like things are different from before we started.”
Without having insights into your performance, it’s nearly impossible to know what direction your campaigns should go.
Although it might not seem like it, having inaccurate CRM data can sometimes be just as damaging as not having conversion tracking set up in-channel. Your PPC team depends on the data in the CRM to be accurate so they can make optimizations. If it’s incomplete or inaccurate, there might as well not be any data to begin with.
If possible, I always encourage companies we work with to have their marketing tech stack sorted out before we activate campaigns. It’s not that I’m worried we won’t have success with our campaigns, it’s that we won’t have any insights into performance and won’t know what’s working and what’s not.
There are loads of optimizations that can be done in your ad channels to impact and optimize performance. But unfortunately, there are some areas of influence that can’t be saved with the best campaign strategy in the world. Make sure you’re not focusing too much on the details when these big picture items could be at fault for poor performance.