Killer PPC Tips from the 2014 Hero Conference

Recently, the Volusion PPC team of experts attended the Hero Conference—a marketing conference dedicated to paid search marketing—to get the latest and greatest PPC tips and tricks. Our experience at the recent conference in Austin, Texas from April 28-30—which gathered leaders from Bing, Dell, eBay, Adobe, and more—gave us the opportunity to bring these insights back to you. Read below for all the insider insights we gathered for improving your paid search campaigns.

Improving Quality Scores

High Quality Scores are one of the best ways to increase the performance of your Google AdWords campaigns. Quality Scores, measured on a scale of 1-10, take into account numerous factors in your AdWords campaign to determine the relevance of your campaign while influencing how much you’ll pay per click.

Follow the advice below and watch your quality scores rise:

  • Keep each keyword theme in segmented ad groups. If you have a campaign focused on “beads,” then each ad group should be focused on a certain type of bead. Within those ad groups you should be able to find only keywords relevant to a specific bead. As such, the ads should also then relate directly to that bead. Not only will quality scores increase, but you’ll notice that it’s also easier to navigate through your campaign.
  • Review duplicate keywords. Duplicate keywords can easily hurt your AdWords campaign by driving up costs and lowering relevance across the account. Evaluate existing duplicate keywords and pause keywords converting at a lower rate or spending the most money with little return.
  • Write highly relevant ad copy. Ads are your user’s first impression of your website. To increase both click-through-rate (CTR) and quality scores, try incorporating some of your keywords into the ad copy. By doing so, your audience will quickly take notice of your ad and follow through to your site. Additionally, that higher CTR will assist in driving up keyword quality scores.
  • Landing page relevance. Once you've established relevant ad copy, think about where on the website you’re landing searchers. Does the page correspond with what they’re looking for? If not, consider changing landing pages or creating a new ad group focused on themes or products related to that page.

Ad Testing

The key to finding the best performing ad in your ad groups is to test, and then test again. As a store owner, try evaluating ad performance and testing new ads after approximately 1,000 impressions. Rather than duplicating the highest performing ad in the account and making small variations, think outside the box. While making small variations of your current ads might boost CTR a bit, focus on revamping your copy, promotions, and call to actions altogether.  Find what really resonates best with your unique audience.

When it comes to creating new ads, consider the following:

  • Keywords: Are you utilizing your keywords in your ads? Incorporating keywords in your ad text can drastically increase CTR. For example, using keywords in your headline can lift CTR an average of 15% alone. Use them in both the headline and 1st description line for an even higher boost.
  • Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI): If you haven’t utilized DKI yet, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to dynamically change your ad to closely mirror your user’s search. Try using the code {KeyWord:(insert headline or ad description line here)}. This code will allow headlines or description lines (wherever the code is placed) to insert keywords from your existing keyword list. Keywords will appear in bold, grab the audience’s attention, and drastically ramp up click-through.
  • Vanity URLs: While destination URLs must send users directly to the exact page listed, the display URL does not. Start using keywords or descriptive copy in your display URL. This technique piques the audience’s interest and may foster more engagement.
  • Evaluate campaign settings: If you find that default ad rotation setting to be focused on clicks, consider rotating ads indefinitely to easily identify successes from the changes you’ve made.

Importance of Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

Text ads do an excellent job of showing promotions and capturing buyers’ eyes with bolded keywords, but images grab your customers’ eyes even more. With Google Shopping becoming more popular, it’s important to create a Google Shopping campaign to further engage your audience. Shopping campaigns allow your products to stay relevant on the search page and encourage sales on your site by showcasing product images and promotions.  They also help grow your real-estate on the search page.

Why add PLAs to your online marketing mix?

  • PLAs naturally draw buyers’ eyes to product images
  • CPC bids are typically lower than traditional keyword bids
  • Easily market all of your products rather than focusing on a select few
  • Display specific product prices
  • Easily manage ads based on product availability through data feeds

The Importance of Landing Pages

When creating landing pages for your store, create them with the customer in mind so that navigation, finding products, and purchasing is as easy as possible. Good landing pages encourage customer interaction, customer satisfaction, and even more sales.

  • Test landing pages often. You’ll gain valuable data regarding which aspects of a page work and which don’t. This is crucial for your home page, but also carries over to category and product pages. Try moving text around, changing headlines and page layout, highlight customer reviews, and communicate your call-to-action clearly. Sometimes something as simple as changing colors or button placements can result in significant improvements in site interaction and conversions.  Be sure to keep track of your changes so you can gauge customer behavior along the way.
  • Eliminate functional errors. Navigate through your site to make sure each part is functional. Make sure clickable photos and offers take people to the proper pages, and images advertising products should follow through to the appropriate products as opposed to just being a static image.
  • Focus the site experience on the individual customer. Try setting up pages to speak to the individual. With the text, images, and layout, think about what each single customer would want to see to connect with your site.  What resonates to their emotional appeal?

PPC in the Multi-Device World

While mobile is not the main source for conversions, many searches start on a mobile device before the actual conversion takes place on a tablet or computer.  A good mobile experience motivates customers to return to your website when they resume searching on a tablet or desktop.

  • Widen your presence. Make sure you are present on each device (tablet, desktop, and smartphone) and that the pages are optimized accordingly. You don’t want to have mobile ads directing to a landing page formatted for the desktop experience.
  • Lower mobile bids. If funds are tight—or even if they aren’t—it’s a good idea to lower your bids on mobile devices by about 50-80% on average. Traffic is almost always cheaper on mobile than other devices. There is no reason to pay more than necessary for mobile traffic.


Remarketing is a great way to keep your website and products in front of customers after they leave your website and continue to browse the internet. Since most remarketing campaign ads are shown through Google’s Display network, campaign budgets and cost-per-clicks tend to be relatively lower than other campaign types. These campaigns are also highly beneficial because they continue targeting visitors who have previously interacted with your website. When combining traditional PPC campaigns with PLAs and Remarketing, many advertisers see an average conversion rate lift of 3-5%.

To get started with a remarketing campaign, place the remarketing tag on your Volusion store template and begin creating unique remarketing lists. Try some of our favorite remarketing lists below to garner the best results from your campaign:

  • Top converting categories: unique list for each top converting category page
  • Order Finish: users who have completed the conversion process
  • Abandoned shopping cart: custom combination of users who have reached the shopping cart but haven’t completed a purchase

For the more advanced advertisers, consider setting up Remarketing Lists for Search Ads or even Dynamic Remarketing campaigns to boost remarketing efforts and see an even higher return.