Are You Learning from Your PPC?

By Robert Brady

Director of PPC Conversion, Trafficado


Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is popular with internet marketers because you can track everything. You know exactly what search queries are triggering your ads, you know how much each click costs, you know which ad gets the highest click-through rate (CTR) and you know which clicks turn into actual conversions. This transparency and accountability is how I sell PPC to my clients and it’s how I demonstrate the value of ongoing efforts. But even if you have a great ROI, is there more you could learn from your PPC?


Learn from Clicks

You’re probably already testing at least two different ads in each ad group and rotating out the underperforming ad(s) on a regular basis. That’s great. It helps improve your CTR, your Quality Score (QS) improves, your account history is strengthening, your cost-per-click (CPC) goes down or your avg. position improves. That’s a lot of benefits, but what is it telling you about your customers? Take the following example:

Ad #1

Title: Professional Lawn Mowing
Copy: Take back your weekends. Affordable lawn mowing. How affordable?
0.72% CTR – 5.68% conversion rate

Ad #2

Title: Minnesota Lawn Care Pro
Copy: Make your yard beautiful with professional lawn care. Free quote!
0.44% CTR – 7.48% conversion rate

First, you may be tempted to pause Ad #2 because it has lower CTR. However, we see that Ad #2 has a much higher CR, which led to a lower cost/conversion. Therefore, you would likely pause Ad #1 to get less expensive conversions. In addition to the performance boost, what else can you learn from this? Here are some additional learnings.

  • The inquisitive call to action “How affordable?” gets better CTR, but it appeals most to price shoppers who don’t convert.
  • The positive imagery of Ad #2, “Make your yard beautiful…” primes the user to convert.
  • Mentioning Minnesota didn’t help CTR like I expected, but the “localness” may be increasing conversion.


Turn Learning Into Action

The 3 learnings above are great, but how can you act on that insight? Here are follow-up tests to help you learn even more about your customers:

  • You like the higher CTR with the “How affordable?” copy, so test a landing page that offers 3 quotes from local providers. By doing the legwork for price shoppers you can capture customers earlier in the buying cycle.
  • Positive mental imagery works with the ad copy, so extend it into the landing page copy. Test using more pictures of beautiful lawns. Maybe customers need an idea of what their lawn could be with a little help.
  • Take the “localness” to the next level. Target campaigns to cities like Minneapolis or St. Paul. Maybe even suburbs like Ramsey, Anoka and Brooklyn Park. Make sure the landing page supports it too.


Get Started

Your PPC is doing great. CTR is good, conversion rates are healthy and ROI is positive. But you still have the chance to get even more out of your PPC as you look at your results and analyze what the data tells you about your customers. As you learn more about your customers you’ll be able to produce even better results. But that’s enough reading, get to it!


About the Author


Robert is a Google AdWords Certified Partner, Microsoft adExcellence member and is certified with Marketing Experiments for Online Testing and Landing Page Optimization. He has worked with a variety of different companies ranging from a small grass-fed beef grower in Idaho to a large B2B data storage provider.

He currently resides in Provo, Utah and can often be found skiing the greatest snow on earth, mountain biking through the Wasatch mountains or playing ultimate Frisbee at the park on a Saturday morning.

See Robert Live!

Robert will be presenting a session on “End to End PPC Conversion Optimization – From User Intent through Leaky Funnel Forensics” at Conversion Conference West 2012 in San Francisco, California. See the full agenda and read more about this session.

Want to save on your Conversion Conference Registration? Follow Robert on Twitter to say hello to him and request for a discount code!


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