About a week ago, I wrote an article explaining the importance of PPC management when it comes to creating a successful marketing strategy for your business. It was a broad strokes approach, outlining the advantages of having a professional agency manage your campaign, focusing on the experience and expertise a good agency will bring to the table.
However, it is undoubtedly worth exploring in more depth the various tools and strategies an agency employs to maximise the effectiveness of your PPC campaign. There are two major areas worth covering here: Other types of paid campaigns and the tools by which they can be measured and analysed.
Obviously, most people associate PPC campaigns with the text ads that appear above and to the right of the organic results on Google search, especially when one considers that it is often the favoured method of large retailers wishing to drive sales from their sites. However, a PPC campaign that aims to capture traffic and increase sales through search advertising is usually only one incarnation of a complex and multi-faceted online marketing strategy.
The Google Display Network (GDN) covers a massive proportion of the most visited sites on the internet, including Youtube (the second most popular search engine). As well as text ads, image and video advertisements can be placed around the GDN, exposing your brand to a potential audience of millions. Bidding for ads to be shown on a cost per thousand basis, optimising and tracking them for view through conversions, as well as understanding how size and site choice will affect the impact of your campaign is something a good digital marketing agency can explain and can set up for your business. For example, an electronics retailer might want to focus a GDN campaign for LCD televisions on sports websites, targeting football fans with increasing regularity in the run up to the weekend. Well run display campaigns that target audiences intelligently will significantly increase brand awareness and interest in a company’s products.
As well as brand awareness, the GDN provides remarketing opportunities for companies looking to optimise the number of sales they achieve through a campaign. In order to create an effective remarketing campaign, an agency needs to track the progress of visitors through your site. When they reach a certain goal, but abandon their sign up/ purchase/ download, the insertion of a code snippet on that page means that you can create custom ads that appear on other websites they visit, reminding them of the purchase they were considering and even offering a more attractive offer. Again, a good agency will include this as part of your campaign, helping you to maximise conversions and ROI.
However, creating a campaign that takes full advantage of the scope and variety of marketing on the Google network is really only half the job of an agency. Without proper analysis and constant improvement, these complex campaigns become meaningless, falling victim to the much repeated phrase, “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.
Tools like Google Analytics are invaluable, allowing agencies to pinpoint the best and worst performing aspects of a campaign and create clear strategies for improvement. Similarly, Adwords can provide useful analysis tools that can be used to improve campaign performance.
For example, Analytics offers breakdowns of traffic, allowing you to see how much of your traffic is being generated by your campaigns, which pages gain most visits and even where you lose most of your customers. Beyond this, inserting code into the HTML of your website to monitor goals and conversions allows the creation of custom segments, from which an accurate picture of a customer’s journey from advert to purchase can be created. All of this information is collected and put back into the campaigns, generating a cycle of constant improvement for your PPC campaigns and your website.
Adwords too has some useful tools which agencies use to improve campaigns. The search terms report shows the keywords used by customers that trigger your ads, useful when adding negative keywords and refining the reach of existing campaigns. Customising bid strategies, pushing ads at certain times, even targeting the ads by postcode are all tools that a good agency will consider when trying to get the most from your campaign.
Adwords and Analytics are designed to be user friendly, to allow even the most casual user a fair chance at creating and running a campaign with some success. But to really create a concerted and successful digital marketing strategy, the expertise of an agency will help your business to reach its goals and more importantly, maintain a successful campaign in the long term.