5 PPC Lessons Learned from 2 Google Adwords Case Studies

December 27, 2013

2013 has certainly been a year marked by tremendous change, for organic and paid search, and everything in between.

In the past year, Google has evolved their search algorithms and their advertising platform, and made a number of changes that businesses, marketers and advertisers alike are all having to adapt to. Google’s getting more advanced, PLAs are becoming more important, online advertising is becoming more competitive, ad copy needs to be more compelling, and the list goes on.

It’s an exciting time in the world of digital marketing and 2014 will prove to be a big year for businesses looking to grow, especially through ever-advancing platforms like Google Adwords.

Recently, Google released two exciting case studies featuring success stories from some of our clients. Google Adwords is an incredibly powerful tool, and National Positions is incredibly honored to have been able to help our clients achieve such phenomenal success.

“Soon after [these two companies] started, leads were just trickling in. National Positions helped them open the floodgates with AdWords.” –Google Inc, December 2013

Our Google Adwords certified team has helped hundreds of our clients see more visibility, more leads, and higher ROI–which is why Google has chosen to honor National Positions has one of the leading ad agencies helping businesses see real results through Google Adwords. From driving 20x more calls per day for the Student Consultant Group, to doubling CheaperThanDirt’s monthly revenue–Google highlights how sometimes it just takes professional insight and just a few strategic tweaks to get your Adwords campaign truly performing.

They say there’s a lesson to be learned from every failure. But, sometimes, the best lessons are learned from our successes too.

Below, we’ve included highlights from Google’s two latest case studies featuring National Positions, so that we can share what worked best for our clients and give you some insight into how to get your Adwords campaign geared for success in the coming year.

Get in the Right Place, at the Right Time

“Our potential customers are actively searching for our solutions when they see our AdWords ads. It’s not like we’re cold-calling or broadcasting our message on television, hoping we’ll get a bite. National Positions helps us reach people who need our services and makes sure we’re not popping up in random places that are completely irrelevant.”–Scott Klein, Student Consulting Group

One of the benefits of a well-executed PPC campaign, is the immediacy of it all. Compared to SEO, which has a more long-term trajectory, paid search can get you powerful visibility, and quick. But that’s not quite what we mean here when we say “the right time.”

What we’re talking about is the ability that PPC has to help businesses get in touch with the right leads, searching for the right keywords, right when they’re most prepared to take action, most eager for an answer, most ready to buy. The leads that click on PPC ads are incredibly action-oriented, which makes them incredibly valuable. So if you can get your ads showing up for the right key terms, you’re going to be getting your business exactly where it needs to be, right when and where your customers are looking.

Get Visual with Product Listing Ads

“We launched Product Listing Ads to promote CheaperThanDirt on Google.com and Google Shopping. Shoppers see a picture and price for the item they want, which attracts clicks and sets expectations. We built out PLA ad groups at the SKU level, getting full control over bids on a product-by-product basis.” –Chris Darabi, Senior SEM Analyst, National Positions

A picture is worth a thousand words and Google PLAs can give businesses serious exposure. Having optimized Product Listing Ads, with accurate, comprehensive content, quality images, persuasive copy and competitive pricing can help drive clicks and sales.

Follow the Lead (with Remarketing)

“Remarketing has been great for Student Consulting Group. Sometimes people lose their train of thought and don’t fill out the form or make a call. Maybe they got distracted or accidentally closed the tab. It can take multiple touches to get a person to complete an action. So we show them ads on the Google Display Network after they express interest.” –Chris Darabi, Senior SEM Analyst, National Positions

As Google themselves have pointed out, “97% of new visitors do not convert the first time they arrive at your site”—which is a staggering number.

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, helps you get your business right back at the top of customers’ minds, even after they’ve bounced from your site, by tracking that user and displaying your ads to them at a later time. By retargeting your ads to appear to these incredibly actionable leads, you’re getting more than visibility, you’re getting seen by customers who’ve already expressed interest in your brand, your products, and your services. These leads are more likely to convert, which means these ads are incredibly powerful tools for driving new business and even more sales.

Track Your Top Metrics

“Including hard numbers [gives] potential customers an expectation and sets the ad apart from the competition. How fast can their problem get solved? How much will it cost?” –Chris Darabi, Senior SEM Analyst, National Positions

The great thing about Adwords, is that there’s always an enormous amount of data at your disposal. Unfortunately, more isn’t always more—if you don’t know what you’re really looking at, which metrics you should be focusing on, and what you need to do to keep improving your campaign.

Some of the most important metrics? Clicks and CPC (cost per clicks), CTR (click through rates), Quality Score, Impressions, and Conversions are all important to keep in mind when evaluating the success of your pay per click campaign. What’s crucial to keep in mind with advertising, is that it’s not about ad spend or profit alone. Ultimately, the most important metric? ROI.


Know that Monitoring Your Campaign Means Not Just Online, But Off

“In the past, you might look at a keyword’s performance and think it’s not worth keeping because it doesn’t convert. But ever since we added call extensions with Google forwarding numbers, we can track whether it’s been driving calls. So when you do the math, it might be valuable to Student Consulting Group after all.” –Chris Darabi, Senior SEM Analyst, National Positions

While online marketing is just that—online—you can’t forget to monitor what happens offline too. Google Adwords may be an online platform, but it’s results are real world, tangible actions. Sure, most notable actions might be taken online—clicks and calls to action all coming together—but others happen offline, and it’s crucial to track those metrics too. Call tracking can be a helpful tool, among many others. But what’s most important to remember is that all of these actions and conversions must be analyzed if you want to understand the full scope of your own success.

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