Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the most effective ways to drive qualified traffic and sales for your business. You’ll get much faster results than with implementing SEO strategies, which I love too, but they are the long game part of digital marketing. Many businesses need quicker leads and sales, so that’s why they emphasize getting marketers with Paid Media experience, like what I’ve brought to the table for the last several years: working in-house and before, working at a startup and even managed $10k a month for a nonprofit remotely and achieved amazing results. It didn’t matter how much the ad spend was or what niche I was working with whether it be a roofing company or a growing fintech company, the principles are what I always focused on and why I’d get above average results every time. I’m willing to work hard, but play hard too!
There’s a balance I like to strike whenever I’m at any company. I appreciate being able to spread my wings, but I also want to have fun, just like anyone else, and be paid what I’m worth based on how much knowledge and best practices I can bring to the table. After all the hardship and struggles I’ve been through, I know I deserve something better. I don’t care if I have to work my way up at a bigger agency, I’m confident within 5-6 months I can rise to SEM Manager status or even get to a Senior PPC Specialist role quickly if I’m given the proper chance.
But anyway, I digress!
With the right strategies and optimization, PPC can deliver an impressive return on investment. Let’s dive in, shall we? I’ll show you exactly how to best master PPC in 2023 and beyond!
My Real World Experience with Google Ads in 2023 to Start
In my case, when I was working on Suwanee Appliance Garage, a family run business my dad and I created together along with my uncle who initially helped sell the appliances we had at a warehouse we began at back in the Summer 2021 as I was also in charge of payroll for the home delivery business we also had at the time, I ran Google Ads there three different times throughout the development of that business really beginning to ramp things up in early 2023, trying out different approaches like creating a manual campaign from the ground up to seeing what Google Smart Campaigns have to offer.
I thought the experience there was gonna be a disaster like Adwords Express used to be, but I was pleasantly surprised that you can add actual negative keywords even to such a basic bare bones campaign. The only major problem was that it was very expensive to run that kind of Google Ads campaign because you really don’t have much control over the account structure and location targeting and as I’ve experienced from real life, you’ll get junk leads along with lots of phone calls, and even with the phone calls, you’ll get less than desirable customers sometimes.
I recall a time where we went to a house and this couple wanted to sell us their stuff, and the photos looked really good, but when we got there, the washer and dryer they had was pretty damn dirty and not even worth the price they were asking for. That’s the kind of real world implications running these ads have, especially with small business owners, so that’s why I worked so hard to learn the fundamentals correctly to be able to add a robust negative keyword list to weed out bad customers like this.
More on Weeding Out Bad Customers & Other Gripes I Currently Have with Google Ads
There was also another time where we were getting leads, but way out of our service area and had made the mistake of taking on way more than we could chew at the time. There’s a whole story about it here that you can read if you’d like!
Most people just see a buncha numbers on a dashboard while I’m actively trying to see if these campaigns are having any real world return on investment or business impact.
Another thing that’s really stupid about Google Ads as of currently is how long it takes for conversions to even post on the account. It’s so bad that I just go straight into Google Analytics 4 and check on how many conversions we REALLY got there to tell me if our campaigns are effective or not. You gotta be able to not solely rely on what Google Ads tells you in order to figure out if your campaign is working.
A lot of people see your phone number and exit the screen and call from their phone rather than clicking directly on the tel link or filling out a contact form. Do some old fashioned market research and surveys and ask your customers how they found your store or business and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re doing is working or not. I’m sure there’s also a way to track offline conversions, but I’d like to get deeper into that if I get into an larger agency.
It really shows that Google has tried to improve their product, although getting rid of certain match types was pretty stupid and beyond me, I’m not gonna lie there.
Laser-Focused Keyword Research is Your Foundation to Everything!
Thorough keyword research is the foundation of every successful PPC campaign. Make use of free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and paid tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to uncover low competition but high conversion potential keywords. Look beyond just volume and explore search intent, seasonality, and location modifiers for insights. Take the time to organize keywords into ad groups based on product lines, services, etc. Granular organization keeps your account focused.
Another tip I have is to use Google Bard and put all your keywords in there and then ask it to give you ideas on how to structure your campaign correctly and some initial budget ideas. It’s surprisingly spot on and can save you loads of time trying to figure this out. You really don’t have to work like you’re in a freaking Flintstones cartoon anymore for a grumpy Mr. Slate and “driving” your car with your feet!
Off topic, but the first season Flintstones theme song “Rise and Shine” will always be my favorite version. I challenge anyone on this! Hoyt Curtin made some serious bangers for Hanna-Barbera at the time.
Ah, the power of AI combined with ingenuity and best practices! The best of both worlds, I’d say.
Write Strong Ad Copy Designed to Convert and Convince Your Customers to Buy
With advertisers fighting for the top spots, ad copy has never been more important. Lean into emotional triggers like humor and urgency in your headlines. Craft ad descriptions that speak directly to the searcher’s intent and include persuasive calls-to-action. Adopt a conversational tone to build trust and rapport. Test different ad copy elements frequently to determine the optimal formulas. And remember to follow Google’s guidelines when it comes to writing ads.
Be especially careful if you’re in a YMYL (Your Money Your Life) niche, especially healthcare and finance. It’s the same thing with search engine optimization too for these niches. You have to be very careful and make sure everything you write is factually correct and follows HIPAA or SEC rules. There are certain rules and restrictions you must follow so your ads will run correctly.
Strategic Audience Targeting in Google Ads
Get selective with your targeting to cut waste and boost conversions. Layer on demographics, interests, behaviors, and more to define your ideal customers. Tap into customer match and similar audiences to find more of your best customers. Use negative keywords and bid adjustments to weed out irrelevant traffic. Segment your audiences for customized bids and ads.
Expansive Ad Extensions and Callouts
Ad extensions, like callouts, site links, and call buttons can work wonders for click-through and conversion rates. Maximize real estate by using all applicable extensions. Consider promoting top products with structured snippets. Dynamic keyword insertion automatically pulls in relevant keywords. Test extension formats and placements to determine the best configuration.
Automated Bidding Strategies
Manual bidding is slow, tedious, and inefficient. Automated bidding relies on machine learning to optimize bids for your goals, whether awareness, traffic, or sales. Take advantage of bid strategies like Target CPA, Target ROAS, and Maximize Conversions. Set clear metrics and let the algorithms do the heavy lifting. Monitor performance and override bids as needed. Automation frees up time for high-level strategy.
Relentless A/B Testing
Stagnation is the enemy of PPC success. Commit to continuously testing elements like ad copy, landing pages, extensions, bids, and more. Make minor changes and run simultaneous A/B experiments to gauge impact. Multivariate testing combines multiple variables. Analyze results meticulously and double down on what moves the needle. Even slight optimizations compound over time.
Deadly Accurate Remarketing
Remarketing targets previous site visitors or customers to re-engage them. Create hyper-specific lists based on behaviors like page views, purchases, or abandoned carts. Use dynamic remarketing ads with actual product images and details. Bid higher for hot leads like email subscribers and recent converters. Customize offers for each audience, like extra discounts for cart abandoners.
Scrutinizing Analytics and Scrutinizing Them Again!
Crunching campaign analytics should be a key daily habit. Monitor metrics like CPC, CTR, conversions, ROI, and more. Drill into keywords, ads, and landing pages using segmentation. Make data-driven decisions on bids, targeting, ad copy, etc. Analyze month-over-month performance. Connect Google Ads with Google Analytics for deeper cross-channel insights.
A/B Split-Testing Landing Pages and Landing Page Copy
The post-click landing page is the real moment of truth. Ensure your landing pages clearly state the offer and benefit. Remove distractions and emphasize the CTA. Use tools like Google Optimize to A/B test elements like headlines, copy, layouts, buttons, images, and offers. Let data guide design and conversion rate optimization. The better the landing page, the more clicks convert.
Meticulous Attention to Your Negative Keyword List Every Day!
Negative keywords are the “anti-matter” that keeps your account from going off course into irrelevance. Identify wasted spend and traffic with search term reports and immediately add them to your negative keyword list. Extract terms with low conversion rates and add as negatives. Use negative match modifiers or phrase match negatives for precision. Add competitors’ names as negatives to steer clear of their lanes. Revisit and refine negatives monthly. Here’s a real example of a negative keyword list I have on one of my accounts:
Comprehensive Campaign Reviews and Check Ups!
It’s easy to “set it and forget it” with PPC, but regular reviews are required to stay ahead. Every quarter, thoroughly audit campaign performance. Assess trends in conversions, cost-per-conversion, click-through rate, etc. Scan for low-performing areas in need of improvement. Brainstorm ways to test and optimize. Collaborate with stakeholders on strategy and target metrics for the next quarter.
One last pro tip: Please email your customer service representative from Google when they try to annoy the crap out of you to schedule meeting with them even when you’re not interested. I’d get inane messages like this all the time and she quickly got the hint that I knew what I was doing and her BS wasn’t gonna work on me. I haven’t heard a peep from her since.
Also, NEVER blindly apply any of the recommendations Google gives to you in increasing your campaign score. Most of the suggestions are designed to get you to spend even more money than necessary. Don’t fall for Google’s own weird psychological mind games. That’s what seperates the amazing PPC Specialists from the rookies.
Mastering PPC is no small feat, but meticulous optimization pays off exponentially. With this comprehensive 2023 guide, you have the blueprint to maximizing campaign performance and achieving PPC greatness this year and beyond! Let me know if you need any help fine-tuning your PPC skills. I’m always happy to offer guidance to reach your goals faster. Now go out there and make some marketing magic happen!