Basic strategy guide for paid search

When I want to learn something quickly, one of the first things I do is try to restate what I’ve learned in a simple one-page – often handwritten – document. I’ve found that if I can get around to formatting these one-pagers for general consumption, they can be quite useful to others interested in the same topic. So here’s a my paid search optimization one-pager from when I was learning the basics of pay-per-click search advertising.

PPC goals, metrics, and tactics

Goal: Increased awareness

Metrics:

  • Ad impressions
  • Ad position
  • Social interactions

Tactics:

  • Create impressions via content and display ads.
  • Bid more (increase Max CPC) on both branded and non-branded search terms to improve position (visibility) and increase impressions.
  • Make ad copy more brand-heavy and buzz worthy.

 

Goal: Increase traffic volume

Metrics:

  • Clicks
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Visits
  • Visitors
  • Page views

Tactics:

  • Keyword expansion
  • Increase bids
  • Loosen match types (e.g. go from exact to phrase match or from phrase to broad match).
  • Ad copy testing for best CTR
  • Adjust campaign organization to eliminate potential bidding conflicts

 

Goal: Improve click-through rate (CTR)

Metrics:

  • Impressions: click ratio

Tactics:

  • Expand negative matching on high-impression, low CTR ads
  • Ad copy testing for best CTR
  • Optimize position (visibility) by adjusting bid (remember: #1 is not always best)

 

Goal: Increase conversion volume

Metrics:

  • Conversions (sales, leads, downloads, shares, etc.)
  • Impression:Conversion ratio
  • Conversion rate (click : conversion ratio)

Tactics:

  • Creative testing on landing page(s)
  • Increase traffic volume
  • Ad copy testing for best conversion rate
  • Re-target spend to best performing ads

 

Goal: Improve traffic quality

Metrics:

  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Click-through rate (CTR)

Tactics:

  • Optimize based on CPA
  • If exceeding target CPA, reduce spend
  • If beating target CPA, increase spend
  • Temporarily increase volume to identify opportunity

 

Goal: Increase return on investment (ROI)

Metrics:

  • Return on ad spend
  • Return on investment

Tactics:

  • All of the above!

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