Top 5 Things You Should Do for Your PPC Campaign This Summer

Around this time of year, the days are longer, the beach is crowded, and the air conditioning is always on. The shift into these summer months brings about a feeling of change, and there is no reason why it has to stop with a change in weather. It can also be an ideal time to step back and address your current optimization strategies. Very often, we forget how many awesome features AdWords provides to truly heat up our campaigns. So, sit back and read through these five TLC strategies to consider implementing into your campaign this season. Let’s get your PPC search campaign in its “summer body” shape.

Enhanced CPC##

Enhanced CPC is a combination of manual and automated bidding strategies that Google defines as a strategy that “raises your manual bids in situations that seem more likely to lead to a sale or other conversion on your website, and lowers your bid for situations that seem less likely to lead to a conversion”. Essentially, when you turn on ECPC, Google will determine how likely you will receive a conversion from that click and increase your bid up to 30% more in that auction, and lower your bid for auctions in which your ad will not do as well. Your campaign will not be going over budget, but will still compete competitively in each auction. ECPC takes into account time of day, user search history, location and more to predict how well your ad will perform in that auction and either boost the bid up for higher ad placement or knock it down and keep from wasting money on non-converting clicks.

Recent Updates: Google has implemented some changes to the limitation on ECPC, which will be rolled out gradually to accounts throughout this month. As mentioned before, Google would increase your bid up to 30% in situations where the conversion from a click seemed more likely. With recent changes, however, ECPC will be setting no cap, other than your budget, when it comes to how much more they will bid in potential converting clicks. Read more about the bid strategy and upcoming changes here.

Why you should consider it

Think of a hot summer day spent at the beach versus a quick trip to the dog park on a hot afternoon. For both situations, you need to apply some sunscreen, but for the beach trip, you need to apply a lot more. You need to be more aggressive in how often you apply and really stay on top of how hot that day is going to be. Although both have the sun shining on them, the day at the beach is much more of a potential situation for a sunburn.

It’s the same with enhanced CPC, but Google is the one that is staying on top of reapplying the sunscreen. With manual bidding, it can be difficult to fully monitor which auctions you should bid on more aggressively, especially when you start running more campaigns. ECPC is like Google’s way of saying, “Hey! You’re more likely to get burnt today, let’s up that sunscreen usage,” which translates to, “Hey! You’re more likely to get a conversion from this user, so let’s up that bid in order to get you that click!” ECPC puts something that you have probably been managing on your own in Google’s hands. It also gives you great insight into who, when, where, and how you should target.

Keep in mind, however, that it is best to already have some conversion data before relying on ECPC for optimal results.

Where to find it

In your campaign, select the “Settings” tab. There under “All Settings”, you will find a section addressing your current bid strategy. Select the blue “Edit”, you will be able to check off a box to enable ECPC. Be sure to click save for your changes and you are good to go! AdWords will now be automatically adjusting your bids.

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Location Targeting##

With location targeting, you are able to segment out different targeted areas based on entire countries, areas within in a country, or a radius around an area. It provides you with an opportunity to bid higher for areas that you see most of your paid search clicks or conversions coming from. It also makes sure that you have your ads showing up in the correct geographical areas. If you are unable to ship to Hawaii and Alaska, for example, you can take those states out of your location targeting.

Advanced settings allow you to totally exclude certain locations or to choose to target people in your target location, people searching for your target location, people with interest in it, or ones that qualify for all three. Location targeting helps you even target certain groups in designated areas, such as by income demographics. It can get to be more and more intricate as you hone in on who your audience is and where they live. Below is an example of using advanced settings to find location groups within targeted areas.

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Why you should consider it

A huge part of paid search advertising is keeping relevant users in, and costly irrelevant ones out. As you get deeper into finding and targeting that audience, location targeting is a great way to capitalize on relevant traffic.

Let’s say that you are an above ground pool business and you only ship to the state of California, aside from Los Angeles. Naturally you are going to want to specifically target California and not all of the U.S. However, after looking through your dimension statistics on geography, you notice that most of your converted clicks are coming from the Fresno, where your brick and mortar location is. You decide to aggressively increase your bids to target your zipcode and a few neighboring areas, where you see the majority of traffic is coming from. You also increase your bids in the city of Fresno as a whole. In the image below, you can view a simple breakdown of some general bid adjustments based on zipcode, city, and state, as well as some exclusion based on if the traffic was from Los Angeles.

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Where to find it

Be sure to be in the campaign for which you are wanting to create location targets. To analyze your previous ad performance in various locations, go to the dimensions tab at the top of the page. Click on “View…” and choose “Geographic”. There is also the opportunity to check out “User locations”, but for the sake of accuracy in relevant users, “Geographic” is a more defined overview of where your impressions and clicks are coming from. In this graph, you can find your top locations and choose where you want to target. Next, go to the “Settings” tab and next to “Locations”, there is a list of “Targeted locations”. If you choose “View location info”, you will see a breakdown of targeted locations, and you can add in new ones and adjust your bid accordingly.

For more detailed instruction, check out Google’s AdWords help page.

Ad Scheduling##

AdWords ad scheduling, or sometimes called dayparting, is a great way to further target your audience when they are searching for queries related to your keywords. Ad scheduling allows you to parcel out ads based on time frames throughout the day, week, month, etc. and adjust your bids accordingly. These time frames could be based on hours that you are open, peak competition hours, times you are experiencing high traffic to your site, or for a variety of other reasons. By analyzing your “Hour of day”, “Day of week”, “Month”, or any other kind of time period, you can more specifically up or lower your bid adjustments.

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In the example above, you can see that a schedule was created to increase bids by 15% on Monday-Friday. Perhaps this time frame is when your business experiences the most traffic and when you receive a lot of your business. Bids are also decreased by 25% on the weekends. You can break out a schedule to compete more competitively at certain times and more passively in other auctions. Whatever the structure of your business, using the “Time” in dimensions can help you determine when these times are. The top line graph portion provides an overview of the changes that you implement to give you a more structured outline.

Why you should consider it

One of the biggest struggles of running a PPC campaign is finding that target audience and advertising to them at the prime time in order to turn that allocated budget into a large profit. With the summer approaching, the normal search peak hours can change (depending on your business), and this can be a great way to adjust your campaign strategy! There may be more peak times on the weekend to bid more aggressively as families and friends search for more seasonal products and activities, for example.

Where to find it

First, be sure to in the campaign you would like to alter. To analyze your ad performance based on time, much similar to location targeting, go to the dimensions tab at the top of your campaign page. From here, click on “View:...” and chose “Time”, from which you can choose which time breakup you are wanting to analyze. To build out a schedule, go to the “Settings” tab along the top of the campaign page as well. Under “Advanced settings” there is a “Schedule” option. Choose “View ad schedule” to get a full overview on the layout of what you are enforcing. Select the red “+ Ad Schedule” to begin creating custom time frames to bid adjust your ads.

For more detailed instruction, check out Google’s AdWords help page.

Seasonal Keywords & Ad Copy##

As previously mentioned, summer brings about a sense of change. Searchers go from looking for tennis shoes to finding the right pair of flip flops. They are more likely to feel inclined to click on an ad that offers a promotion on shorts. Using seasonal keywords and ad copy can utilize the change in seasons to your advantage.

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In the example above, check out the search query for “summer kids clothing”. The first and third PPC advertisements adapt to the season by adding in “summer” to their ad copy. The first, by H&M, uses sitelinks (which we will talk about next) to even further highlight this shift in seasons and allow the user to go straight to relevant landing pages. The middle ad for Crazy 8 takes a different approach and calls out a promotion they are having on swimwear. These businesses took different approaches, but they both took the summer season seriously and not only bid on keywords that relate to the summer season, but also included those words in their ad copy. This can seriously increase the likelihood of a converted click.

Why you should consider it

When the seasons change, so do some search queries. It can be important to have summer ads, even if you run a business for all seasons. Creating an ad or two that bids on summer keywords could only help those seasonal searchers better find relevant results.

Where to find it

You can find summer keywords in a variety of tools that you use for your everyday keyword research. Some personal favorites of ours include the AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMRush Keyword Tool, and SpyFu. It can also be helpful to play around with search queries in Google to help get an idea of what appears for particular terms, and what types of phrases your competitors might be bidding on. All updates to ad copy with seasonal keywords and promotions can take place in either AdWords Editor or the live version under the “Ads” and “Keywords” tabs under your campaign, whichever you feel more comfortable with.

Sitelinks are ad extensions that “take people to specific pages on your site”, says Google. They are a way to get greater visibility on SERPs and create greater accessibility to the user by leading straight to the page that the link advertises. These hyperlinks are created in AdWords and can be used to highlight certain pages of your site. Sitelinks appear right underneath the main search result and are either listed in a single line with the link text, stacked with the link text, or stacked with the link text and provided description.

As it is now, Google determines when a sitelink appears, and they don't show them one hundred percent of the time. There are algorithms in place that crawl through sitelinks and will only show them when they are relevant to a particular searcher. It’s important to create a few sitelinks that will be useful to a variety of visitors to your site. Be sure that the landing pages to these sitelinks are also directly relevant. This article provides some great insights into Google’s process of choosing sitelinks and how to better your odds.

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Why you should consider it

As mentioned previously, sitelinks are a easy way to gain more of that visible space on the search results page. Just like a traditional PPC ad, you will only be charged when a click on that sitelink occurs, but they are free real estate to take advantage of. Providing sitelinks allows users to find out more specific information about your site, whether it be products you offer or promotions you have going on. This summer, use these sublistings to your advantage. Highlight any summer-related product you may sell or any promotion you have running during the season. It’s an easy and quick way to increase user accessibility to portions of your site.

Where to find it

Sitelinks can be made both in the live and offline version of Editor, however, we personally find it much easier to launch sitelinks in the live version. To do this, go to the relevant campaign and choose the tab “Ad extensions”. Next, choose “View:...” and click on “Sitelinks extensions”. Underneath, there is a red button with the label “+ Extension”. In the tab that appears, click on “+ New sitelink”. This new window is where you will be able to build out your individual sitelinks. The link text will be what the searcher will click on, which can be up to 25 characters. The final URL is whatever landing page you are wanting the sitelink to lead to. The description is where you can add in some information for the ads that generate the full sitelinks. Very often, however, your sitelink will just include the “Link text”. Either way, it can never hurt to include a description. The rest of the options in this window allow you to create some advanced settings. For example, if you are creating a sitelink for the summer only, be sure to have it run for whatever summer months you are including it in by creating a schedule (see example below).

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Check out these instructions by Google for a more detailed walkthrough.

Whether you decide to embrace all these summer tips or you want to start with just one, remember that it’s important to keep your optimizations up-to-date and competitive. So, grab yourself a glass of lemonade and some shades and get to revitalizing your PPC campaign this summer!

Need help with your PPC campaigns? Volusion has a team of specialized, AdWords certified professionals ready to create, manage and optimize your account, and provide in-depth reporting so that you can make the best business decisions for your store. Give our marketing services advisers a call today at 1-888-750-3996. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll get back to you soon!