<< by Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala on August 12th, 2010
Pay-per-click advertising is all about targeting. The main reason it is such an attractive channel to all sorts of companies is that it allows advertisers to show their ads only to consumers who are actively searching for the products they sell.
As a search engine marketer who has managed PPC campaigns for all sorts of industries, my philosophy is that a PPC account can always be more targeted. Not only will good targeting allow you to serve the right marketing message to each market segment, but it will also indirectly affect your overall Google-assigned Quality Score (thereby affecting your minimum bid). So remember that there are tangible cost implications here, too.
Even when an account generates an acceptable ROI , even maintaining that level of targeting takes work. The five steps below outline my approach to improving targeting in a PPC account- but remember that these steps should be part of an ongoing management process.
1. Watch Your Account Structure! The mantra is “Think small.” Create a lot of small ad groups composed of relatively few keywords, all organized into many different campaigns. Then go back and granulate those ad groups even further.
There are three different reasons for this approach:
Improving Click-Through Rate. One key metric to always keep in mind is click-through rate (CTR). CTR is the percentage of people who see your ad and then click on it. And CTR is one of the factors that affects your Quality Score. In general, the higher your Quality Score, the lower your costs. Creating a granular ad group structure can help you increase CTR because ad copy is set at the ad group level. If you have five very similar keywords in an ad group (as opposed to 100), you are more likely to be able to craft a message that will appeal to that small segment and compel them to click.
Improve Relevance of Ad Copy to Keywords. Another factor that Google takes into account when calculating your Quality Score is literally how similar your ad copy is to the keywords in an ad group. If you only have five similar keywords in an ad group, it should be pretty easy to include some of the same phrasing in your ad copy. If you have 100 different keywords in an ad group…not so much.
Keep Control of Your Budget. Budget limits are set at the campaign level, so separating your ad groups into many campaigns means that you’ll be able to identify the areas which are performing best and then allocate more budget to them. If you’ve got too many ad groups under one campaign, you lose that control and Google will distribute your campaign budget for you (usually to the ad groups with the most expensive keywords- not necessarily the best performance).