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The 30-Minute PPC Audit Anyone Can Do

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Let’s get one thing about a PPC audit off our chest. We know our PPC accounts aren’t always perfect 100% of the time. Audits are one of the best tools we have for making small, sustainable improvements.

That’s why we routinely conduct audits for our clients. Incorporating this step into our PPC management process helps us catch small issues before they become big issues.

As we have one quarter behind us this year, we’re taking the time to audit our efforts more extensively. The main purpose of a deep-dive PPC audit is to help our clients with Q2 marketing strategy development. These audits help us:

  • understand historical performance in a way that allows us to set better goals
  • identify the right metrics we should be measuring
  • highlight room for improvement

Many of our clients are in the process of setting Q2 marketing goals and budgets right now. To help contribute to these strategy efforts, we conduct a PPC audit to offer reliable projections to determine spend, number of leads, cost per lead, conversion rate, sales, and more. Hopefully this post can help you do the same!

The following checklist outlines the different account areas you can dive into during your PPC audit and what items to look for.

Date Range

Instead of focusing on a short window of time, we like to focus on the entire year. You don’t want to get buried in too much data, but you do need enough data for your audit to be statistically relevant. For this year’s year end audit, we selected January 1, 2017 – November 1, 2017.

Metrics

The next step you want to do before digging into the data is select the metrics you want to evaluate your account by.

To avoid analysis paralysis, it’s crucial to strip away the excess and focus on the paid search advertising metrics that provide actionable insight. Assessing critical paid search advertising metrics during your audit will allow you to monitor and improve digital performance.

Here are the top 6 metrics we like to include in a PPC audit:

  • Channel Growth
  • Conversion Rate
  • Acquisition
  • Cost Per Order (or Cost Per Lead)
  • Sales
  • Revenue

PPC Audit Checklist

Review Campaign Settings

Your account structure should be divided into a number of campaigns based on clear categorical buckets.

If your strategy is to organize by market ー for instance state, city, or county ー your campaigns should be labeled with the associated market. If your strategy is to organize by product type or service, your campaigns should be labeled with the associated product or service. Keeping a clear naming structure at the account level will help you stay organized and reduce reporting time.

You don’t want your campaigns to look like this:

Screenshot of Google AdWords Campaigns dropdown

The key is to avoid numbers and over complicated naming conventions – keep it simple, straightforward. Essentially, are the campaigns numbered A-Z or do they have unique names that explain what kind of ad groups you’re going to find and what type of campaign type it is?

Access Ad Group Relevancy

It’s tough to get potential customers to convert if their pay-per-click experience is not relevant. One of the best ways to make their click experience more relevant is to match the creative and copy of your ad to the search term of the user.

High-Intent Search Term —> Hyper-Specific Ads —-> Relevant Landing Page

How can you do this? Scan your account to find ad groups that hold more than 15-20 keywords. These are likely the groups that will require the most review and clean-up.

Why does the number of keywords matter so much? While your ad groups’ keyword count won’t impact performance, remember that you want your ads to be as relevant as possible. When you have a huge list of keywords, it typically includes includes various themes, meaning you’re forced to write generic ad copy.

Rather than serving generic ad copy to a large list of keywords, you want to breakout your ad groups into lists of granular, related keywords that share the same theme. When you do this, you can create hyper-specific ads for each ad group that will help you increase your quality score and click through rate.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are the extra snippets of information Google allows advertisers to add to their Expanded Text ads to provide more relevant information to searchers. Ad extensions can help improve click-through rates and give you more real-estate on the page. They are an important part of the PPC audit to pay attention to. If your account doesn’t have any ad extensions set up, get on it!

If you have extensions in place, double check that the extensions are running successfully. Are your sitelinks truly representative of your business? Can you check your call extension to make sure someone is answering the phone when it rings?

Check Number of Ads and Ad Copy

Scan your account to find ad groups that only have one ad running. These are likely the groups that will require the most review and clean-up. We generally recommend having a minimum of three ads per ad group to improve account optimization.

However, you also don’t want to have a ton of ads per ad group. The sweet spot is typically somewhere between 2-3 ads. This amount keeps the account manageable, while giving you enough data to run tests. Let your ads run two weeks, identify a winner, pause the losing ads and test out new options against your winner.

While you are reviewing your ads, don’t forget to focus on the basics as well. Are all of your ads grammatically correct? Do any of the ads have spelling errors? Are they promoting the most relevant offers?

Review Settings

Analyzing your campaign settings is a simple activity that takes less than five minutes. We love digging into campaign settings because it’s generally something that is set up when the campaigns are created and then never looked at again. There are probably some juicy adjustments to be made.

In the settings tab, you can check and optimize device performance, ad delivery method, ad scheduling, ad rotation, and location/language targeting.

Key items to focus on:

  • Is your campaign targeting search and display traffic? If so, fixing this can be a big win for your account. The main problem with targeting search and display within one campaign is that these networks target users in two completely different scenarios. You can’t get a clear understanding of performance and your ads are less effective.
  • Are you serving your ads in all available target markets? Check your locations settings to make sure you are targeting all the countries, states, cities, or counties relevant to your business. Here you can make bid adjustments based on the target locations you value the most.
  • Are you making device bid adjustments? Review your performance by device – mobile, desktop, and tablet. If your performance alters by device, you can make adjustments to prioritize your top performing devices.

Triple Check Conversion Tracking

Last but not least in the PPC audit, are you tracking conversions properly? Neglecting to track conversions is a massive PPC mistake.

Without conversion data, it’s impossible to understand what’s working and what’s not. Here are some common conversion errors that you can watch out for:

  • Your not measuring phone call conversions from search and digital. We strongly recommend setting up CallRail to track calls from PPC. Setting your account up to track phone calls will help you optimize your marketing and increase ROI.
  • Your clicks and conversions are exactly the same. If you see this in your account, you have your conversion tracking code on every page of your website, rather than just your order confirmation/thank you page. Unlike your remarketing tag, your conversion tag should only be placed on the page that appears after a conversion has been completed.
  • Your conversion count is super low. A suspiciously low number of conversions could mean you’re missing conversions. Before abandoning your PPC efforts all together, double check to make sure conversion status isn’t “unverified” or “tag inactive”. If you see either of these errors, re-install your conversion tag and follow these steps to verify the setup is correct.

Your turn!

We strongly encourage marketing teams conduct a PPC audit quarterly and annually so they can search for new and better solutions to improve campaigns. While the above checklist can easily be completed in 30 minutes, if you’re interested in a more comprehensive check, it may be better to outsource the project and get fresh eyes.

Tuff offers a free PPC audit and would love to learn more about your company and goals.

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Landing Page or Homepage? Where To Send Your Paid Traffic

Think your homepage is good enough to send paid traffic to? Think again.

First of all, what is the difference between a homepage and a landing page?

A homepage is the central focus of your website

It’s used as the front facing asset for the various forms of traffic coming to your business.  

A homepage is meant to:

  • Clearly align with your audience and their needs
  • Be easy to navigate to other areas of your site
  • Make it obvious how to convert into a lead or take next steps to engage further with your company
  • Be clear and comprehensive about what you do
  • Leave a good impression about your brand and what it stands for

A homepage is important because a lot of the disparate traffic across the web will somehow be pointed to your homepage, including SEO backlinks which are generally pointed towards homepages.

If you’re doing a lot of networking or emailing you could also see a lot of direct traffic typing in your name and going straight to your homepage. In general, more than 50% of your website traffic will go to your homepage.

A lot of companies take great pains to make sure their homepage is optimized to convert. This amount of effort on the homepage can sometimes lead a marketing manager or decision maker to favor the homepage for paid traffic rather than a landing page. The thinking is usually that if you’ve put in the effort to raise conversion rates on the homepage, it should be a strong enough to capture paid traffic as well.

So, in comparison, what is a landing page?  

A landing page is a narrow focused page. It’s designed to align even more closely with a specific need your audience has. According to Neil Patel, a landing page is developed with One reader in mind, for One big idea.  

A landing page is meant to:

  • Have 100% Ad -> Page consistency with messaging (i.e. your paid ad is about an upcoming webinar and your landing page is all about that specific webinar topic with a form to fill out to save your seat)
  • Leave the audience with one option of what to do next, usually in line with their specific pain point (i.e. you send paid traffic looking for the Keyword ‘Promo Product Samples’ to a page where they can get samples of your Product, not the homepage where they can get samples, mock ups, catalogs, and join the mailing list)
  • Be the solution they’re looking for (i.e. someone is looking for Apple Macbook Pro and you send them to a page all about the Macbook Pro, rather than sending them to a page with various apple products to choose from)
  • Follow the best practices for a homepage like leaving a good brand impression and being easy to convert

A landing page by its customizable nature is a better choice for (increasingly expensive) paid traffic because it aligns more closely with the customer journey. In fact, companies that test their homepage versus landing pages have seen big increases in conversions, up to a 55% lift

The reason is that a landing page speaks directly to a user’s need, which you should have already hyper-focused using your ad targeting and ad copy. By the time the customer gets to your page they should be relieved to have found exactly what they’re looking for.

Homepage vs. landing page

A man presenting with charts behind him.

When deciding on sending paid traffic to a homepage versus a landing page, think of the customer and where they’re at in their journey. 

If they are showing any kind of buying intent or product/service specificity within their paid search, think about catering to that with a landing page. Another case for a landing page would be remarketing specific products (Macbook Pro) to specific segments of audience (cart abandoners) that showed interest in that product.  

But my homepage is still good enough, it converts well!

If your traffic is very top of funnel and searching for more vague terms, or if the searcher is simply searching for brand terms, you could get away with a great homepage. Another case for the homepage is remarketing to that top of funnel traffic, the people that aren’t as familiar with your brand.

As always with marketing, think of the customer first and where they are in their journey. Then, test using a landing page versus a homepage, catering your funnel to the user’s needs, and watch your conversions skyrocket.

Need help optimizing your funnel for paid traffic? 

Tuff can help! Schedule a free funnel audit now.

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How Wireframing Will Improve Your Conversion Rate

We sometimes get questions about how other clients work with Tuff to reach their growth goals — so we’re sharing some stories to help bring our services to life. Meet Xendoo.

Xendoo is an online accounting and bookkeeping service partnering with small business owners to take on their business financials and accounting with a dedicated team of CPAs. They give small business owners time back to focus on their business and give them peace of mind by knowing their books are being done correctly. Founded in 2016, Xendoo received an initial round of funding in 2017. We were lucky to start working with them later that year.

We partnered with Xendoo to improve their website’s user experience and as a result, they had their highest client acquisition month ever with:

  • 35% increase in conversions MoM
  • 82% Increase in new clients MoM

Why Xendoo Focused On User Experience

A website is one of the most powerful user acquisition channels for businesses today, and for good reason. If you build it right, your website can be the best and most cost effective marketing tool you have. Especially when you’ve done the research to know which complementary user acquisition channels are going to drive the most growth for your audience.

For a fast-growing startup, it’s common to outgrow the early versions of your site. As you scale, your positioning will evolve, your brand identity will become more established, and you’ll hone in on your ideal users.

As this happens, it’s critical that your site also evolves. If you put consistent effort into improving the user experience of your website and everything that goes with it, you can consistently improve your conversion rate and scale your user acquisition.  

Xendoo launched their site in late 2017 with two core goals in mind: client acquisition and fundraising. The site needed to serve and secure new clients, but it also needed to attract investors. We launched our paid client acquisition efforts in January of 2018 and immediately started growing a slow, but steady, client base. As Xendoo gained more traction throughout the year, the site data started pouring in and areas of improvement were easily identified.  

So, how did we double their conversions (yes, that turned into almost twice as many clients per month!)?

Let’s dive in and take a look.

Xendoo’s Playbook

Customer Research

Designing a great user experience requires understanding the problems different visitors have and then working to solve those problems. Before we worked on the structure of the website, we leveraged Google Analytics, LiveHelpNow (live chat), and CallRail (phone calls) to identify hurdles that stopped people from moving through the conversion funnel.

Three distinct themes surfaced:

  • What services does Xendoo offer exactly?
    • Ideal: When someone lands on this page, they should immediately know how it’s going to help them.
  • What services do you integrate with?
    • Ideal: This should be quick and easy to understand.   
  • How do I start a free trial?
    • Ideal: Consistent language and visuals around one primary CTA.

Clear CTA

Leaning on the data we turned our focus to the site structure, designing the primary CTA first. Making the CTA the first element you include in your skeleton layout will ensure that the rest of the website supports the CTA and isn’t buried on the page. When working on user flow, you need to ask yourself “What is the number one thing we want users to do?” and “What value does our service or product fulfill for the user?” The intersection of these answers is your primary call-to-action. For Xendoo, this CTA was a month of bookkeeping for free.

Wireframes

Once we had the CTA’s identified, we built the site wireframes. Wireframes are a blueprint to define the information architecture and layout of your website or product. They allow you to take a step back from the design and develop a clear understanding of all user paths throughout a site. This is one of the most essential, yet overlooked, steps in creating a high-converting website.

Mock Up

The final step in the wireframe process was to develop a sample mock. It’s a common practice for designers to use “Lorem Ipsum” while wireframing and designing mockups. But, when it comes to increasing your conversions your content is equally, if not more important, as your layout and design. Once we had the copy down, we were able to work it into an illustrative mock that set the tone for the entirety of the site design.

Results:

  • Best client acquisition month ever!
  • 35% increase in conversions MoM
  • 82% Increase in new clients MoM

Free Growth Strategy Session

What questions do you have about user experience or conversion rate optimization that we might have missed? For more help with your questions feel free to reach out to Tuff! We’d be happy to review an existing account. Sign up for a free growth strategy session with Tuff today.

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How to Find Your User Acquisition Channels

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Figuring out which user acquisition channels are going to drive the most growth is key to your business success.

Acquisition channels are diverse and plenty. With many options, how can you create a channel strategy that will really accomplish your goals?

Few companies can afford to actively use more than a handful of channels and, even so, it’s tough to figure out which ones are actually delivering the right customers.

I’ve spent the past few years working with all kinds of businesses across a range of industries to help them figure this out. Instead of sharing a whole list of tactics you can try out yourself, I’m going to share the one consistent strategy I’ve seen add more to the bottom line than any specific channel –  trial and error.

It can seem overwhelming at the start, but testing and optimization should become part of your growth DNA. What might seem like a steep learning curve will turn into a path with long-term payoff when you get it right.

Let’s dive in.

Focus on your users, not your channel

There’s so much out there, it’s often hard to know where to start. As a business owner, you might feel a lot of pressure to continue coming up with new ways to connect with and reach your audience.

 

However, there’s one fundamental thing you need to focus on and continue focusing on from day one. To successfully manage your tests and increase the chances of success, listen to users and understand their perspective. User research is a priority that should, in some way, find a home within the design of any new channel or tactic strategy.

Whether you have 1,000 customers or 100,000, focus on the already successful users and uncover the user acquisition channels that converted these people. Uncover as much as you can about these people to help your growth team understand what triggers and motivates them to take action. What was their user journey with your product or service and how can you repeat it with future customers? Doing this on a regular basis will give you the right lens to narrow the types of tactics and channels that are most likely to drive a positive response from prospective customers.

Set clear goals

If you’re early in your business, finding growth channels is about traction – not scale. With that in mind, before you start experimenting, make sure you’ve set clear goals you’d like to achieve – even if you don’t have much data to base them on.

Whatever user acquisition channels you attempt, testing and refining campaigns will be a critical part of the process. It’s important to measure the ROI of your efforts by channel so that you know which need a bit of tuning and which need a complete makeover or be dropped.

There’s been a lot written about goal-setting! And, you might already know what works best for you. Here are some of our favorite resources if you’d like to learn more about setting intentional goals:

Create a ridiculously long list of channels and tactics

Have a million and one things rattling around in your head? Good! Just get it all out there.

A brain dump can help you organize your thoughts and feel more in control, especially when you use it to create a growth list like this one.

Get your team together and build your user acquisition channels list – write it down, type it out, drop it into Google Sheets, whatever you want to do. Don’t worry if it’s unorganized or sporadic, you’ll restructure it later.

A chart of possible user acquisition channels

 

Evaluate channel possibility

So you have a big list, now what?

Even lean testing means an entirely new set of processes, resources, and outputs, so it’s important to be intentional with how you and your team spend your time. Attempting to drive growth on too many user acquisition channels at the same time will divide your resources and dilutes your focus.

One way to manage your tests and increase the chances of success is to spend time upfront evaluating emerging channels—the idea is to test and get early access to good opportunities, but you can’t do everything.

Consider the following questions to help you prioritize channels with a “high propensity” to work for your business:

  • Does the channel have an audience that roughly matches your customer personas?
  • Is this channel crowded or emerging? Are your competitors there and will you have to shell out buckets of cash to play?
  • What part of the buyer’s journey do you believe the customer is in when they’re spending time on this platform? How does that align with your business goals?
  • Can you effectively filter your ads to reach only your target audience to better manage your costs and get the best bang for your buck?  
  • Is this a compounding loop? Will this channel enable our users to grow the product for us?

Assemble a team to make it happen

We have seen a lot of founders focus on growth strategies. The starting point for that is almost always, “What should the structure for the growth team be?”

As we’ve outlined in the process above, the first step is defining the user acquisition channels that will or have the biggest impact on growth, and working your way backward to the team needed to execute effectively. When you do that, you will quickly realize that to execute on your ideas you need a cross-functional team with a mix of engineering, product, data, design, marketing, and sales skills. The mix will depend on the particular channel you test.

Which is why I love that we are building Tuff not just for our clients, but also with them. We believe the future of growth agencies is in being value drivers, rather than service providers. Sure, we have a number of top-notch services we regularly execute. But, it’s bigger than that.  In order for you to find traction and scale growth for your business, you need a customizable, plug-in growth team.

So, what do you say, ready to get started? Join us for a free growth strategy session where we can dive into the user acquisition channels right for your company and growth. 

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5 Simple Strategies to Improve PPC Results

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One of the most exciting pieces of working on PPC is that every account is different and some tactics that work for one account may not work for another.

However, every time we roll up our sleeves and start a new campaign or want to see changes in a current campaign, we have 5 go-to strategies we feel confident will improve PPC results.

In this post, we share 5 straightforward ways to improve your PPC performance — all of which are proven and have worked for us.

What’s included?

  • Can we reduce non-converting spend?
  • Can we improve our keyword match types?
  • Can we align our ad copy more closely to our landing page?
  • Can we make bid adjustments by device?
  • Can we utilize remarketing lists for search ads?

Let’s dive in!

#1: Can we reduce non-converting spend?

This is a quick, yet effective strategy. Can you identify keywords that have lots of impressions and clicks, but no conversions or orders? This is called a non-converting keyword: a keyword that spends a significant amount of your budget without providing a valuable return on your investment. It’s important not to get distracted by the vanity metric of clicks, the end goal is conversion.

Reviewing your account and identifying non-converting keywords will help you:

    • Eliminate waste: Optimize or pause keywords that have not converted.
  • Improve the user experience: Investigate keywords that have a high CTR and high Bounce Rate because this means that the keyword is relevant to the ad but the landing page is probably not correct.

We recently used this strategy when we took over the Adwords account for Jackson Tree Service. This technique helped reduce their Cost Per Click (CPC) by 45% and increase their Click Through Rate (CTR) by 39%. 

#2: Can we improve our keyword match types?

Broad match keywords can be costly because they often generate a large amount of unqualified traffic. Can you, on a weekly basis, use more restrictive match types (modified broad and exact) to filter out unqualified traffic? While clicks may decrease, you’ll be showing your ads to more high intent search terms which will improve sales and increase quality scores.

Broad match is the default match type for keywords unless you select a specific match type. Because broad matched keywords are aimed at capturing a large number of impressions and reach, your ad can show on irrelevant search causing costs to rise fast. Monitor your account for low quality keywords and eliminate any broad match terms that are monopolizing your budget.

For more examples on keyword match types, check out this help doc from Google Adwords support center.

#3: Can we align our ad copy more closely to our landing page?

It’s tough to get potential customers to convert if their pay-per-click experience is not relevant. One of the best ways to make their click experience more relevant is to match the creative and copy of your landing page to the ad copy served on Google.

Here’s an example: If you are a landscaping company in Denver and bidding on the keyword ‘+professional +lawn +service +company +near +me”, you’ll want your ad copy to include the terms “lawn services”, your url extensions to include lawn/service, and your ad description to mention “lawn services”.

In addition to making sure you align your keyword closely with your ad copy, send them directly to a page showcasing your lawn services.

#4: Can we make bid adjustments by device?

If desktop is performing significantly better than your campaign’s average cost per order, and tablet is performing significantly worse, it probably makes sense to increase bids on desktop, while decreasing bids on tablet. This doesn’t mean you have to turn off a device completely. By bringing each segment’s performance closer to the overall average, your campaign should become more efficient and yield more total conversions.

You can see how your campaigns are doing by selecting a campaign, going to your settings tab and clicking “device”. This example shows bid adjustments for desktop and tablet.

#5: Can we utilize remarketing lists for search and display ads?

With remarketing audiences, you have the ability to increase bids for users who are more likely to convert than your average Joe on the street who has never heard of your company and might not be a quality click. This gives you the ability to potentially bid down across product category Search campaigns as a whole but bid higher on audiences more likely to convert. If you have a product category that has a low ROI and isn’t bringing in new 01’s, you can only serve this category to returning visitors.

In order to leverage a remarketing list, you first must place the Adwords Remarketing tag on your website. To access to retargeting tag, open your Adwords account and select “Shared library” from the left menu bar. Under Shared library, select audiences.

If you’re creating a remarketing list for the first time, you’ll see several remarketing options. Under “Website visitors,” click “Set up remarketing” and complete the setup process

Over to you! We’re excited to share our strategies, open up conversations on PPC and learn all together. What PPC strategies do you lean on when looking to supercharge results?

Free Growth Strategy Session

If you’re looking for a PPC solution, drop us a line and hit us with all the details. For more help with your questions feel free to reach out to Tuff! We’d be happy to review an existing account in a free growth strategy session.

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The Biggest Mistake Most Businesses Make When Investing in PPC

What is the ROI on your PPC channels and how does it compare to your other digital marketing efforts?

If you can’t answer this question, you’re not alone.

When it comes to digital marketing, PPC is a critical piece of the client acquisition mix. Done right, it can bring you more leads, more sales, and more revenue. Done poorly, it can be a huge expense with minimal return.

A man stacking building blocks.

After managing millions of dollars in ad spend we’ve learned that one of the most critical components to account success is managing campaigns to an efficient ROI. It’s our favorite and most telling metric. Understanding ROI from your paid digital advertising campaigns means tracking leads from click to close and measuring revenue on a per-channel (or campaign) basis.

When you understand which campaigns and channels are actually generating revenue, you’ll know where you’re making or losing money and have a powerful data set to share with your fellow executives and investors.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to invest in PPC for the long-term and learn about the unlimited opportunity to maximize your ROI.

How to identify an ROI target

When it comes to maximizing your results with PPC, the first step is to identify an ROI target. While this can be difficult to track, it’s one of the most important KPIs for your business and advertising health.

How do you determine an ROI target for your PPC efforts? Here’s how we do it:

(Sales – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI

So, if a PPC campaign generated $1,000 sales and the PPC campaign cost $100, then the campaign ROI is 900%.

($1000-$100) / $100 = 900%

While this doesn’t account for Lifetime Value (LTV), it’s still one of the most important metrics for you to track so you can make informed budget decisions.

How to invest in and evaluate your PPC to yield the highest ROI

Now that you’ve set an ROI target, the next step is to evaluate your performance based on ROI. It seems simple yet too often companies come to us after running PPC campaigns with uncertain feelings as to whether or not it’s working. If your PPC reporting looks like the below screenshot, it’s bad and good. Bad because you’re missing an opportunity to be more data-informed but good because we can work on it.

A screenshot from a PPC report demonstrating ROI.

Instead of just looking at top of the funnel metrics like reach or clicks shown in the report above, once you have your ROI targets, we monitor results and evaluate performance based on ROI.

The cadence of your reports should be determined on your lead-to-close time. For example, if you typically close a lead in a 7 day window, you might look to do weekly reporting. We’ve also worked with clients with longer lead-to-close times, as long as an average of 3 months. In cases like this, you might look to do quarterly evaluations.

With ROI reporting, we track the following metrics at the account level:

  • Spend
  • Traffic
  • Sales
  • Cost Per Visitor
  • Sales Conversion Rate
  • Cost Per Sale
  • ROI

The biggest mistake most businesses make when investing in PPC

Our most successful PPC clients also focus on retention. Rather than putting their entire budget into the upfront traffic drivers and then hoping their leads will turn into profitable clients over time, they apply proven customer retention strategiesthat lead to high ROI on their PPC investments.

Before launching your PPC efforts make sure your retention plan is solid. It’s hard to have the foresight to plan for every bump a customer might run into but making sure your team is empowered to spring into action on the customer’s behalf is critical. You’ll end up wasting time and money if the clicks you acquire through PPC don’t stick around.

To share an example, we have an existing client that consistently generates 100 leads per month from Adwords. We’ve been working with their team closely on PPC for over 15 months. In Q1 of 2018, we saw average returns  – for every $1 we spent, the business made $2. We spent $40,000 each month and we got $80,000 each month in return. While this was positive, our other marketing channels were operating at a 3:1 return. By the end of March, we were so unsatisfied with our gains that we almost walked away from Adwords and Bing completely.

In May, we tried something new and it changed the situation completely. Instead of focusing on the click, or PPC channel, we dug deeper on the post-click. Asking, once we get a user to the site, how do we get them to convert? Once we get a user to call us, how do we close the sale? We listened to over 200 phone calls and found that certain sales reps were more successful with internet leads than others. We rerouted the PPC calls to a specific group of sales reps and within 30 days our ROI when from 2:1 to 7:1. We spent the same budget, generated the same amount of monthly leads, but increased revenue by 600%.

Why thinking long-term yields the greatest returns

In this blog post, we’ve talked a lot about ROI and managing your PPC accounts to an accountable ROI target. While a high return is generally the key goal for your PPC efforts as a whole, picking a metric that’s relevant to your campaign objective is equally important.

For example, one of our clients is actively advertising on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Bing, and Adwords. We use these channels in a comprehensive cross-channel PPC effort to funnel customers through the path-to-purchase.

When it comes to YouTube, we use this channel to strengthen brand awareness and open up the funnel to as many potential people as possible. Because of this, we evaluate our YouTube campaigns based on reach and impression metrics, rather than ROI. We then use Facebook and Instagram to retarget video viewers and drive as much quality traffic to the site as possible. We evaluate these campaigns by click metrics. Last but not least, we then use a combination of Adwords and Bing campaign types to drive sales. Our collective PPC efforts – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Bing, and Adwords – are then evaluated by an ROI target.

From plug-in equations to determine your ROI to higher level strategy focused on customer retention, PPC is a powerful and important digital marketing tool. Empowered with data, you can learn how to yield the highest PPC ROI for your campaigns.

Free Growth Strategy Session

Our team at Tuff loves helping people learn and use these tools. If you ever have any questions or new strategies you’re looking to explore, join us for a free growth strategy session.

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How Good is Your Paid Advertising, Really?

How does your paid advertising stack up, compared to your competitors? Where does it fall compared to other businesses where your customers spend money?

Whether you’re doing PPC for the first time or your company has been running campaigns for years, it can be daunting to know whether or not you’re doing a good job. In fact, benchmarking your paid advertising against other companies can be more complicated than measuring the results of your own efforts.

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Here’s a simple 3-step process for creating your benchmarking report:

1. Understand the metrics that matter most

Earlier this year, Wordstream dug into their clients PPC data and compiled Google AdWords benchmarks across 20 different industries.

They evaluated their accounts based on the following metrics:

  • Average Click-Through Rate (CTR) in AdWords by industry, for Search and Display
  • Average Cost per Click (CPC) in AdWords by industry, for Search and Display
  • Average Conversion Rate (CVR) in AdWords by industry, for Search and Display
  • Average Cost per Action (CPA) in AdWords by industry, for Search and Display
A Google AdWords benchmark report with CTR, Avg. CPC, Conv. rate, and Cost / all conv.

These metrics vary depending on industry. A useful metric for one industry isn’t necessarily helpful for another. What’s important is that you don’t need to compare every possible metric. With the four metrics above, you’ll have a good sense of what is working and what isn’t and how you can improve.

2. Collect data

Now that you have target metrics for your industries paid advertising, the next step is the execute your campaigns. Once you’ve hit “enable”, your campaigns will start running and the data will begin to populate in your account.

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Instead of focusing on a short window of time, we like to focus on at least 30 days. You don’t want to get buried in too much data, but you do need enough data for your evaluation to be statistically relevant.

3. Analyze the results

At this stage, you’ll map your internal scores for the same metrics against your collected data. Where are you doing well? Where are you falling behind? What smart ideas can you quickly implement? How can you improve?

Let’s look at two different Tuff client accounts and walk through different ways you can analyze and understand your results.

eCommerce

Tuff has been partnering with a high-end jeweler in the US for over 2 years. Working closely with their marketing team, we manage their paid advertising for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Bing, and Adwords, spending around $150,000 per month in media allocations.

In the chart below, we’ve compared their Q1 Search Performance with the industry average. Here’s how our team tackled the assessment:

A chart benchmarking CTR, CPC, CVR, and CPA

Ah, so much red (my first reaction)!! Let’s review…

CTR: We’re only slightly above the average on CTR which made this feel like a key opportunity to improve. Using this info, we sorted our ads from top performing to lowest performing. We kept our top 50% and generated a new set of ads to replace to lower CTR ads. We also layered on two new ad formats: Call Only Ads and Responsive Search Ads.

CPC: Our cost per click is higher than average so we can tackle this in a few ways. We started by asking two fundamental questions: Can we identify keywords that have a high number of impressions and clicks, but zero conversions, orders, or sales? If so, let’s kill them. And can we use more restrictive match types (modified broad and exact) to filter out unqualified traffic? If so, let’s tighten up our match types so we can eliminate waste.

CVR: For now, no action items within the account. We’ll continue to monitor and tackle this next benchmark report.

CTA: This is one of our favorite metrics. How much did it cost you to acquire a lead, sale, conversion? This account has 56 search campaigns with a different CPA for each. We know exactly how many leads we need to convert a sale and what are ROI targets are at each campaign. Compared to the industry we’re $18.57 above average. However, we know that our products, at a higher price point than traditional eCommerce, still have a positive return. Since the campaigns are still very profitable at a $63.84 CPA, this metric isn’t super concerning. That said, one way to get this down would be to consider offering a promotion or deal with our retargeting efforts on display. This won’t lower the Search CPA, but it should help increase post-view conversions from Search.  

B2B

Here’s another example from one of our B2B clients. This company is relatively new to the market but growing fast in the small business bookkeeping and accounting space. We manage their paid advertising for both Facebook and Adwords, allocating 20k per month across both channels.

In the chart below, we’ve compared their Q1 Search Performance with the industry average. Here’s how our team tackled the assessment:

A chart benchmarking CTR, CPC, CVR, and CPA

CTR: Nice! We’re up significantly here. This could mean that our positioning is relevant and unique to our competition in the space. While we didn’t make any adjustments to the ads in this account, we did pull the top performing ads for the entire marketing team so that we could leverage that positioning in other channels such as email, Facebook, Instagram, and landing pages.

CPC: We’re spending 3x more than the industry average on clicks, so it was important to dig in here. The first thing we did was look at our keyword position and the required minimum bid to stay on the first page of results. The keywords in this industry are expensive and in order to stay in the top 3 positions, not the first but an average of 2, we had to bid pretty high. The account quality score is high, so we know that spend is one of the best ways to keep us on page 1. One of the tools we use to see keyword bid trends is Google’s Keyword Planner. We use this before we launch campaigns and during optimization so we know an estimate on what things will cost.

CVR: Wow! Big high five to our client on creating high-converting landing pages. While there were no direct actions to take on this one, we did analyze which campaigns had the highest and lowest conversion rates. For any campaigns that we’re budget capped and converting at a high-rate, we increased budget.

CTA: Over by $5 and working to bring this down. Since this is an average and the account has 31 search campaigns, can we identify any campaigns that are 2x over the CPA average? If so, how do we bring them down? This benchmark was helpful in understanding which campaigns we need to focus on the most to see the most significant change in results.

Key takeaways:

  • Use the data to understand your account metrics but not to shut things down immediately if you don’t hit it out of the park on your first swing. As you can see from our eCommerce example, things look pretty red. The benchmark report gives you a chance to identify focus areas and improve.
  • Understand where you fall on the industry paid advertising spectrum. These benchmarks are averages, and it’s important to know where you fall on the spectrum. In our eCommerce example, the average product price is $10,000. This account sees very different results than a lower price product account.
  • Benchmarks give you a place to focus but aren’t the only indicator of success or failure. We always go back to one key metric: ROI. When you understand which campaigns and channels are actually generating revenue, you’ll know where you’re making or losing money and how to move forward.

Over to you! 

We’re excited to share our strategies, open up conversations on PPC and learn all together. What benchmarking strategies do you lean on when looking to evaluate results?

If you’re short on capacity, you can get some of the benefit of benchmarking with significantly less effort by contacting Tuff for a free growth strategy session. We’ll analyze your paid advertising and present your top growth opportunities in a PDF.

A purple pencil with a red tip inside a pink light bulb.

Facebook Ad Copywriting Strategies to Try Today

As I sit down for the afternoon, I’ve blocked off a few hours for Facebook ad copywriting. As an agency, we’re fortunate to run and test quite a few Facebook ads every week. This means lots of copywriting opportunities and the need for fresh inspiration.

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” — Shakespeare
“A word after a word after a word is power.” —Margaret Atwood
“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.” — Jack Kerouac
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” —Samuel Johnson

No matter your writing muse, communicating your message in a compelling way with a limited number of characters ideal for social media is hard. It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself, your creativity and your vocabulary.

When I feel myself hitting a roadblock, I bring myself back to four pillars I’ve found effective for Facebook ad copywriting:

  • Timeliness
  • Humanizing
  • Emojis
  • Wordplay

 

Below we’ll share and comment on these four strategies. Under each strategy the first two ads will examples will been written by Tuff and the third example will be another company we think has practiced this strategy well.

Timeliness

Timeliness is an awesome tool for Facebook ad copywriting. Being able to take advantage of the excitement and hype surrounding a big or seasonal event can go a long way. It also shows your audience that your ads and content aren’t on a set and repeat schedule, your aware of what is going on in their world and following along as well.


Here, we capitalized on the Madness of March.

 


With Valentine’s Day coming up before this ad, we were communicating the value of Xendoo — it saves you time.

 


Example: We like how Penguin Books makes you feel all the fall feels.

 

Humanizing

This year Facebook, as a company, has been making a number of changes to incentivize interactions and engagement. They’ve been noticing trends of users being quite passive on Facebook, mostly scrolling throughout content without interacting with it. So, rather than prioritizing content that might grab a user’s attention, but drive little interaction, Facebook will favor the content that sparks conversations and brings people together. One way we like to try and attempt this is through humanizing brands and ads by using photos of real people and customers rather than graphics and illustrations of people. The second way we practice this is through using real names, locations, and jobs in ads.

Instead of a picture of the meal, we used a photo of a person this audience might relate to.

By using “Sally” and “Philly”, we built a character similar to the target audience.

Outside Example: We love the photo 17hats uses here. It shows they know who their audience is.

Emojis

We love emojis! In some A/B tests we’ve also seen them performing quite a bit better than there emoji-less counterparts. With the right brand, they make a lot of sense. Depending on the demographic, including emojis likens the ads to the text messages and Facebook comments with their personal network. We especially like to use emojis as bullet points, like in the 2nd and 3rd example here. It turns Facebook ad copywriting in emoji-writing.

Wordplay

It can be easy to tune Facebook ads out. But, when the copy makes the reader think, laugh, or challenges them with a pun, it can create willingness for deeper engagement. If you need an assist, this Pun Generator can help get the juices flowing!


Divine Spaces is a marketplace focused on unique event rentals. “Open your doors” applies to both the literal and metaphorical doors.

Readers likely aren’t used to fill in the blank type ads. We were hoping to surprise them here.

Over to you…

What Facebook ad copywriting strategies do you use for Facebook ads? Send us a note and let us know.

If you’re feeling stuck writing Facebook copy, challenge yourself to write four different ads practicing: timeliness, humanizing your brand, emojis, and wordplay. Then, pick your favorite out of the four.

Or, get in touch with our team for a free growth strategy session and we’ll help you out!