Perhaps you’re trying to manage a paid search campaign for your company but are frustrated by all of the settings and control options you see. If so, know that this is a typical experience for people who don’t do deep dives into PPC as a regular part of their jobs. To help, we’ve created a 3-R concept that will guide you through the paid search jungle and give you a structured audit process that will result in better results for your PPC budget and campaign. Elements of this 3-R concept are Reach, Relevance and Response.
Maintenance is key.
To optimize your campaigns, whether for Bing Ads or Google Ads, maintenance is a must. It makes sense to review your account two to four times a year, whether you’re running your own campaigns for your pest control company or your campaign is being managed by an outside agency. You’ll always find something that can be improved.
Before you begin:
- Put your campaign into context, including any recent changes in strategy and goals, remembering why you set up or changed campaigns in the ways you did. This will help you to prevent any misinterpretations of settings and metrics.
- Set your date range to at least three months; sometimes, it will need expanded further to pull meaningful data.
Now, here is more about the three Rs.
REACH: How ads get to their destination.
Your overall goal is to delivery the right ads to the right prospects, so you first need to control ad delivery. Here are just some options:
- Ad Scheduling
- Ad Budget
- Ad position and bid prices
- Audiences & Lists
- Campaign types
RELEVANCE: How ads connect to the right audience.
For paid ads to be successful for your pest control company, you’ll need to match the intent of your prospects’ searches, whether that’s help with termites, cockroaches, or something else entirely. Choosing the right keywords and crafting appropriate messaging facilitates prospect interaction, from the initial search term to the landing page.
The more relevant your campaign, the more it will be ranked well, helping you to benefit from lower click costs, higher quality scores, and overall better results.
Your options to manage the relevance of your campaign include but are not limited to:
- Campaign structure
- Keyword choices & match types
- Negative keywords & lists
- Ad group segmentation
- Ad copy development
- Ad Type
- Landing pages
RESPONSE: How ads deliver ROI.
After connecting with the right prospects, you want conversions to take place. Prospect actions can be as straightforward as email signups or as valuable as someone signing up for ongoing pest control services. To make conversions happen, you need to providing compelling information, relevant value, and a strong call-to-action.
To manage and measure this aspect of the prospect journey, you can use these:
- Landing pages
- Conversion types
- Conversion tracking
- Call tracking from ads
- Call tracking from pages
- Tracking messages & chats
- Conversions & Conversion rates
- Cost-per-conversion, return-on-ad-spend (ROAS)
Where your PPC audit should begin: date range and change history
Compare data points in a certain date range. This can be, for example, the current 30-day period to last month, and/or the previous year. Determine current trends and compare them. Once you note a change of relevance, also focus on deciding why they happened. Did you change your daily spend? Did you make any targeting errors?
Use the Google feature that allows you to review any changes made to an account. Who made changes? What type?
To observe account activity, set the date range to the last 30 option and choose the change history link on the left side of the navigation bar. Here you can see exactly what’s been going on in your account. Take care not to click or undo any recent changes to the campaigns.
Determine the right network settings:
For accurate data collection and performance metrics, separate display campaigns from search campaigns.
- Search Network
- Your text ads will appear on the search results pages of the search engines of your choosing.
- Display Network
- This huge platform has the ability to reach over 90% of global internet users, with ads appearing on websites, apps, and social media with dedicated advertising spaces connected to the platform of your choice.
Don’t overlook this! This control plays a key role in protecting your pest control company’s budget from clicks outside of your target area, focusing your spend where clicks are more likely to lead to conversions. For local pest control campaigns, you’ll want to geo-target some areas and exclude others. This can make your spend so effective that it can have the potential to double your conversion production.
See when you get the most conversions at the best CPA. It could be a time of day or a day in the week. By reviewing your predefined reports (formerly dimensions) screen, you will likely see repeating patterns, and you can change bid adjustment to maximize campaign performance.
Use your keyword planner for budget insights and estimating; specifically, to see how often ads will show and the number of clicks you’ll receive. If you underfund a campaign, results often include low impression share, clicks, and conversions, so it’s important to budget wisely from the get-go.
You can extend your budget in numerous ways, including:
- Reducing the target area
- Excluding specific areas that consume but never convert
- Pausing keywords and match types that never convert
- Building strong negative keyword lists
- Lowering your bid prices
- Making additional scheduling adjustments and delivery options to further fine-tune and stretch your budget and show your ads more often
If you have a larger budget, maximize opportunities, perhaps through further campaign segmentation or day-parting. This can work especially well for campaigns that are heavily segmented or location-based, or are shared budget campaigns.
Ad position and bid strategy:
Monitor click-through and conversion rate data for performance, and experiment with different approaches. As just one example, lowering your bid price and position may actually improve metrics and save your pest control company money. Once you know what works best for you, optimize rules or scripting usage to hold bids and positions that are your sweet spots.
At DAGMAR, we combine manual processes with automation to control variables to avoid the excessive and untimely keyword bid increases that can take place with full-on automation.
Device bid adjustments:
You can shift spend towards the device with the most conversions, whether mobile, desktop, or tablet. You may decide to exclude a device, or create a campaign specific to a device. If you do, adjust your landing page to optimize conversion opportunities.
Underfunded-campaigns have ads that show less often. Besides reducing visibility, this slows down data collection and the ad optimization process. By adequately funding a campaign, you can collect critical data more quickly; make corrections; and improve metrics, including your quality score, click-through-rate (CTR), and conversion rate.
Use your keyword planning to see how much impression share you can control. As needed, adjust target areas, number of campaigns, and keywords selected.
Audiences, Lists and RLSA (Remarketing List for Search Ads):
Early on, create audience lists based upon traffic to your website pages and paid search landing pages. You can then segment each list by paid and organic visitors, which can help you to create effective remarketing messages, used when you want to share a special offer or new product.
You can also use the RLSA tactic to better target audience members in your search campaigns. This can help to improve relevance, click-through, and conversion rates.
Use automation scripts to manage bid costs hourly. Take advantage of rule automation to write your own scripts to maximize ad exposure, and/or to better manage campaigns. Overall, use automation to lower click costs, improve production, and more.
Where are you providing pest control services? Is English really the only language you should select? Perhaps the answer is “yes.” Or maybe your company is in a bilingual metro area. Decide what makes sense and then set up a test campaign to see if you’re right.
Great campaigns are also relevant ones.
Each campaign therefore needs a well-defined ad group and keyword segmentation reflecting your products or services. Optimize the ad groups for those that align with targeted cost-per-lead goals.
Use your keyword selection to construct ad groups and ensure that these terms are strategically used in ad copy and corresponding landing pages alike. Doing this well will help significantly with your quality score and ad rank; set expectations; improve the prospect journey; make a better user experience; and boost the likelihood of conversions, then sales.
Keyword counts and grouping:
Each ad group should use only a handful of keywords, usually less than 20; if you feel there’s an exception, make sure the keywords relate well to one another. If they don’t, this is a cue to create a new ad group.
Keyword segmentation aligns ad groups and messages to search queries from people in need of pest control services. Other benefits include a better quality score, lower click costs, and improved click-through-rate (CTR) and conversion rates.
Branded keywords and campaigns:
Carefully craft these campaigns, and ensure they mesh well with your SEO efforts. Done well, your brand can benefit from high visibility and traffic. For branded campaigns, you will likely need a strong negative keyword list. Consider using branded campaigns for mobile-only or device-specific campaigns.
Campaign segmentation and focus:
During your PPC audit, you may very well find that you have campaigns with different structures, focus, and geo-specific targeting. If your approach for each dovetails with a particular campaign’s goals, that’s absolutely fine. It makes sense to create hyper-relevant ads and conversion opportunities.
Ads per ad group:
Google recommends four, but that’s not always the best answer. You’ll want to rotate ads, sure, but you’ll also need to monitor conversions of each active ad and use the ad messaging that works well. When you don’t test ads, you can actually increase costs of conversion and lower your conversion rate.
Take advantage of platform controls to reap rewards from Google, because ad footprints increase on search engine results pages with the use of additional features and extensions. Populate with care, though, so you don’t create repeating or confusing messaging.
You’ll need at least two site links to appear on desktop (there can be up to six), with one link appearing on mobile. These provide additional click opportunities, but make sure they’re relevant to the ads, ad group, and campaign.
Connect your Google Ads account to the matching Google My Business listing and show location information to people within the area. This may cause these ads to show in Google Maps, generating additional clicks and conversions. These rules also apply to Bing Ads.
Call out extensions:
These include value-added messages, such as “Over 30 years of experience in pest control” or “Family owned and operated,” and they provide extra information within the ad.
Structured snippet extensions:
You can highlight unique features, such as free pest control treatments under defined circumstances. These used to be automated extensions, but now you have more control, and these snippets add more info in your ad space.
For a direct way to benefit from a one-click conversion, you can provide a phone number. This can boost customer engagement, but you’ll need to show it during regular business hours only to ensure the call is promptly answered.
TACTICS AND INSIGHTS
Remarketing can help you to win clicks that were originally non-converting because you can reach out to this audience with special offers to convert them into customers. Use audience lists created when you set up your campaign and apply those lists and similar audiences using the search and display networks to deliver your ads.
Targeting inclusion and exclusion:
If you examine the conversions of your targeted areas, how much are they contributing to your CPA and ROI? Exclude areas that consume but don’t convert, and you may find that you can double your conversion rate and slice your CPA in half. Have you created ad groups and campaigns based on city names and regions? If, not, you can in fact salvage underperforming campaigns by geo-targeting them.
Reviewing the search terms report during your audit will reveal keywords that may have been overlooked in keyword research. These new search terms may be added to existing ad groups or campaigns or provide new negative keywords to block unwanted clicks.
Exact and phrase match types may be the most cost effective and easy to control, but you may be missing opportunities for traffic and conversions if you don’t also use broad/modified broad terms with strong negative keywords lists to control ad spend waste. What’s right for your pest control company are match types that align with both your goals and your budget.
Negative keyword lists:
You can apply negative keywords individually at the level of an ad group, or applied as lists that are shared across multiple campaigns. To view negative keywords as a list, you can pick the tools icon and then select the negative keywords list link. To view those at a campaign and ad group level, you should select the campaign you want to audit, and then keywords and negative keywords from the navigation. If you discover, through this PPC audit, that you don’t have negative keywords, this is crucial to fix.
KEY METRICS TO REVIEW
If you’re wondering about your ad relevance, CTR is a clear indicator of how successfully you’ve aligned keywords and ad messages. If the CTR is low, review search queries and match types for guidance on keyword and negative keyword management.
If your score is 5 or lower, then examine your keyword set. What opportunities do you have to collect similar keywords to create a new ad group?
Low search volume:
In the status column, look to see if any keywords have low search volume. If so, take a closer look. Although they may get some impressions and clicks, they may well be reducing overall ad performance and rank. Consider pausing or removing them, and see what happens.
Alignment of goals:
At the start of a PPC audit, review campaign goals. Without having this kind of clarity, you can’t assess success or make targeted improvements.
Conversion data is crucial in determining cost-per-lead or acquisition accurately, and all conversions must be tracked.
If you share goals with your SEO team, work with them when attributing them in Google Analytics or Google Ads. Every landing page must have appropriately conversion devices, from phone numbers to contact forms, with correctly embedded tracking scripts. As part of your PPC audit, check conversion goals in Google Ads and Analytics to see which ones were imported into ads. Are you accidentally doubling up on your conversion numbers?
Categories are used for organizational and reporting purposes, and will let you know know if the conversion pixel is current, inactive, or unverified.
One person can complete a conversion numerous times, and you’ll want to include all of them, while also being able to know the number of unique users.
This is defined as the time in which a conversion can be attributed to a first click via PPC. This can be set for days or even months, and it’s important to set the window in a way that matches your sales cycle length.
Looking for a guiding light metric? This is it!
You need to know your return on investment/return on ad spend metrics and, if you aren’t getting a solid return, you’ll need to either adjust your campaign so that you do, or use your marketing dollars on channels that do work for your pest control company.
How many conversions are you regularly getting? From which campaigns? Is this number going up? If not, consider A/B testing, landing page testing, or using special offers.
This is another crucial metric, and your campaign should be designed in a way that offers up a quality cost-per-conversion performance. What is the value of a single lead?
Creating your game plan
At this point, you should have a list of items to consider from your PPC audit, and now it’s time
to prioritize that list. First, fix items that are causing wasteful spending and fueling high costs per lead. Then, prioritize less inflammatory items that, when addressed, can contribute to streamlining your campaign. Sometimes, this is enough to address your issues.
Other situations are more complex, especially if they require regrouping of keywords, refreshed messaging, and revamped landing pages. Campaigns with more significant fixes required will need careful planning and execution, with changes made methodically—and then measured. In some cases, you may decide to begin anew with a complete overhaul.
We’re here to help you with your PPC Audits!
If you’ve read this far, you understand the potential that paid search has to efficiently deliver new, qualified leads that can change your business.
Auditing your PPC campaigns is a time-consuming prospect, but it can be a time-wasting task if you’re not well-versed in the new interface. The good news is that we can do all of the heavy lifting for you and it won’t cost you a dime for us to get in there and have a look around. Just send us a quick message or give us a call at 904-270-9778