Every time a marketer makes the call to get an agent, every time a new prospect is dialed, or every single time a sales funnel is logged, they all depend on Google Adwords. Today, billions of dollars are saved per week on paid search advertising alone and, in the last year alone, Google has invested a whopping $5 billion into its biggest franchise.
So, just how can we lower our cost per click, even as our ROI goes up? Here are a few tips:
1. Make your phrase quality higher.
There is a fine balance between premium and yield. Promising to reveal faster seems to be more prevalent these days in paid search ads. But, it is important to make sure your phrase quality is high enough to compete against what is definitely the largest category of quality buyers on the market today—your competitors. Adwords representatives know you are competing with other competitors and so they have to be more valuable, more effective and more, of course, economical, if they want to be successful.
There are a few tactics that can help you make your quote your word for quality. First, avoid listing your competitor’s name in your phrase (in previous posts we talked about using the keyword “Call Your Competitor” for both competitors and target customers). Second, think about the type of language you would use to make your phrase meaningful to your target customers. For example, a customer might really want to advertise for a pair of sandals and in future scripts I expect you will mention the price differential, then help the customer look up competitors.
2. Make your query non-contextual.
I also like to run free trials and testing to test phrases that seem strategic and are in line with your pricing strategy. For example, a customer might search for “midway between Summer and Fall” in terms of temperature. Then I tell the customer they can use their click for a traffic guarantee (a data acquisition cost lessor), which is the second most expensive keyword in my bid; and offers me (one of the biggest advertisers in paid search) a lower bid (which will benefit me).
From an advertiser’s perspective, this is a great strategy. Because I know my keywords are great, I try to maximize my bid for the lowest bid. For Adwords, I’m doing exactly the opposite. Because I know there is no reason not to compete on quality, I will increase my bid to help get the sale, and then spend a little bit more to try to make sure I am competitive with the others using this phrase. If I were to spend $10 to compete for quality, at least I would make $10 more than everyone else bidding on the same keyword.
3. Make sure your bid matches your tactic.
If your tactics offer different value than your goal, ensure your paid search bids match that. For example, if you’re targeting for midlife readers, and you are making a bid for midlife, but you are making a bid for never-ending readers, I want to believe you are a midlife publisher. But, if your bid prices are near a specific price point, I am going to bid on that keyword. Paying too much for the very same keyword—even if it is better for me—only hurts me.
4. Practice compliance.
My biggest complaint about Adwords practices is the ability to hide from the user. In a world where we know we can never know with certainty what human beings will do next, Adwords offers users the opportunity to hide their ads with a very low bid. This gives the user the power to become invisible. This is unfortunately, not a quality users should have to have to interact with their advertisers, which are working hard to benefit them.
If you are using Adwords to run content ads, make sure they are compliant with Adwords’ policies. I know it can be challenging, but ask the support team to help guide you through it. Some examples of violation include obvious, but avoided, but still not compliant with the policy, like providing page or ad titles that are protected by copyright, and formats (comments, quotes) that are out of whack with the search. Avoid these practices by changing your policies.
As a marketer, I know it is easy to get frustrated with Google’s sometimes cluttered and overly complex interface. Sometimes it’s easy to adopt a culture of complacency and take it for granted that your hard work and investment will pay off. That’s why we all need to get savvy and keep learning about how to increase both the quality of our bids and the ROI on our advertisements.