Another year is quickly approaching.
That means now is the perfect time to review current PPC best practices to start improving your performance.
There are opportunities to revisit the dependable PPC best practices but even more opportunity to implement new ideas into your program.
Get ready to rock PPC in 2019!
1. Review New Features in Google Ads
Another year, another Google deadline.
All Google Ads advertisers must switch over to the new ad experience by October 25.
This change is introducing a number of exclusive features only available in the new experience.
Don’t overlook these new features of note in Google Ads:
- Promotion extensions: Showcase products with a dollar or percentage discount. These can be added to the account down to ad group level. This is great option for advertisers who have been using sitelinks or ad copy for promos. The promotion extensions stand out more and take on a “coupon” look.
- Bid adjustments for phone calls: Increasing bid adjustments on ads with call extensions can drive those ads to be served more often. Check the number of ad impressions and call impressions to see if this is necessary.
- Outstream video campaigns: Mobile-only video ads served outside of Google and YouTube only on partners sites or apps.
2. Test New Platforms
OK, PPC marketers, listen up!
Testing new paid channels is one of the most important best practices you need to know.
Go beyond just Google, Bing, and Facebook in 2019.
Here are few other advertising platforms to consider and try out:
- LinkedIn: Most appropriate for professional and business targeting.
- Pinterest: Products, services, consumer goods with a female-focused target.
- SnapChat: Younger demographic (13 to 35), video ads, app installs, filters, lenses.
3. Mobile Preference
For years, we’ve seen the usage of mobile devices for search increase.
Now we have arrived at a do or die moment for businesses.
It’s time to customize your mobile ad experience.
This goes beyond a PPC best practice.
PPC marketers who ignore mobile risk wasting paid budgets and losing opportunities to reach their target market.
Start by assessing the volume of traffic coming from mobile devices in PPC.
This simple chart is available in the new Google Ads interface to get a snapshot of performance by device. Bing Ads offers a similar view.
This advertiser is seeing 58 percent of conversions coming from mobile phones (bottom blue bar) with the lowest cost per conversion.
This data can be analyzed at the campaign level to determine if the bid should be adjusted based on device.
Try to make changes in 10 percent increments or a small level to determine how the changes might impact the bottom line.
4. Test New Features
Earlier in this post, we see a few new features you should consider testing in Google Ads 2019: Promotions extensions and Outstream video campaigns.
Another new feature with a bigger impact than both is the Audience Network in Bing Ads. It is AI-powered and can add a punch to your current search campaigns.
The secret is its analysis of billions of audience intent signals from Microsoft properties (including billions of Bing searches, MSN, Outlook, Skype, and LinkedIn), resulting in highly relevant in-market lists that can reach searchers just at the time they are looking to make a purchase.
When browsing over 200 in-market categories, you also get see a list size of the users, which is extremely helpful for planning.
5. Audiences Integrated with Search
For quite some time we were limited to the keyword in search engines.
But now have the ability to layer in audience targeting and demographics to further refine those keyword campaigns.
An audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.
We know about Bing Ads audiences, but there are few opportunities to check out in Google Ads to test in 2019:
- Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home-ownership, education, household income.
- In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
- Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors and YouTube
Note: This varies per the campaign type and seems to be updated frequently, so make this a regular check-point in your campaign management for all platforms.
6. Learn to Use Scripts
PPC managers can learn to automate repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts using scripts added to the account.
Navigating through the world of scripts can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is a post here on Search Engine Journal providing use cases and resources to get started with scripts.
Luckily you don’t need a PhD in computer science because there are resources online with free or templated scripts. Google also holds workshops across the country for training.
7. Voice Search Preparation
You might not be getting a large quantity of voice searches yet. Most advertisers aren’t.
But it will be important for you to check in with the trends in your account.
Be ready to respond to information voice searchers are seeking or negative-out the irrelevant searches.
Read up on the basics in 4 Steps to Prepare Your PPC Campaigns for Voice Search, including how to identify voice search queries.
Here’s a screenshot that shows a quick way to eyeball possible traffic in your account in the new Google Ads interface:
Review this activity on a regular basis to determine if there are any valuable keywords to add to the account or as a new campaign.
For example, if you notice several navigational voice searches like “sushi restaurant near me”, consider creating a campaign to hyper-target those people trying to find you, perhaps with ads and landing pages with easy access to directions, hours, and parking.
8. Budget Review for 2019
Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and reevaluate the distribution of their budgets.
Learn more about managing a small PPC budget, or for any size budget, consider the following:
- Which campaigns were successful, with positive ROI?
- Is there additional traffic to capture to grow those results for the winning campaigns?
- Can you allot additional budget from other campaigns with less stellar performance?
- How about shifting budget from other channels with less stellar performance?
- Are you able to request the company invest more in these results?
9. Reevaluate How You Report
Have you been using the same old report for years?
It’s time to reevaluate your essential PPC key metrics and replace or add that data into your reports.
Both Bing Ads and Google Ads have recently revamped their Overview pages. Both need work, but can provide a few handy graphs if you need them in a pinch.
Your objectives in reevaluating the reporting are:
- Are we still using this data?
- Is the information we are using actionable?
- What new metrics should we consider adding we haven’t thought about?
10. Seek Collaboration
If the PPC wheels keep spinning, going nowhere, it’s a time to step back and seek out friendly resources and second options.
Much of the skill and science for PPC management is an individual approach so there is no shortage of ideas.
More Paid Search Resources:
- 6 Growth Marketing Best Practices for Higher SEM Profitability
- B2B PPC Tactics: 4 Best Practices to Start Using Today
- 10 PPC Copywriting Best Practices for Extra Effective Text Ads
All screenshots taken by author, October 2018