by Angela Jones

Unless they’ve been living under a rock, most adver­tis­ers are aware that the imple­men­ta­tion of a paid search campaign presents a conve­nient, control­lable and trace­able way to attain new visi­tors to their website.  Why, then, do we find some paid search accounts to be more success­ful than others?  Why does this occur across accounts with compa­ra­ble assets and product/service offer­ings?  Expe­ri­ence shows us the answers to these ques­tions lie in the appli­ca­tion of seven elements. Here we lay out the seven elements and some tips on execu­tion.

Element 1: Manage Paid and Organic Holis­ti­cally

All signs point to 1+1 = 3.  When manag­ing an inte­grated search market­ing campaign and opti­miz­ing, plan and execute paid and organic together for greater return.

To do this, you’ll need to under­stand the differ­ences between paid and organic and the bene­fits of each. Though organic clicks are consid­ered “free”, the paid search medium is more control­lable than organic search.  Keyword bid and ad copy manage­ment, for example, can be altered on a whim while organic results rely on an engine’s search algo­rithm, making opti­miza­tion efforts’ success less measur­able.

Bid on PPC terms whether or not they rank organ­i­cally. Many sites only rank for 3–4% of the terms searchers use –with paid search, you can serve ads on a larger array of terms that might not have contex­tual support on the website to rank organ­i­cally or are too compet­i­tive to rank organ­i­cally.

Even when a search result ranks organ­i­cally in top posi­tion for the search term used, SEO alone does not capture all clicks.  In fact, Google Research claims that ranked in the top organic posi­tion, 50% of incre­men­tal clicks are lost when a paid ad is paused.  This number jumps to 82% when the listing is ranked between 2 and 4 and even higher when results are ranked lower.

Element 2: Do Your Keyword Research

Remem­ber that keyword lists are iter­a­tive and always chang­ing based on a busi­ness’ offer­ing evolv­ing over time to meet consumer and indus­try demand.

Don’t forget nega­tives – Nega­tive keywords are an impor­tant safety layer to protect your ads from serving against super­flu­ous or irrel­e­vant phrases.

Contin­u­ally test match types and have a match type prior­i­ti­za­tion strat­egy (i.e. fully fund Exact Match first as they’re typi­cally cheaper and have higher conver­sion rates compared to other match types).

Element 3: Account Struc­ture

Your paid search account struc­ture allows for flex­i­bil­ity in manage­ment and report­ing. Struc­ture is also impor­tant for assign­ing expe­ri­ences (query  ad message  landing page) which informs Google Quality Score and there­fore influ­ences your bid. Sepa­rate accounts by lines of busi­nesses and/or by your client’s busi­ness struc­ture and align with where budgets are allo­cated.

Element 4: Track­ing

Ensure you track perfor­mance to opti­mize campaigns with and drive greater ROI and cut back in areas that are less prof­itable. Monitor for single and multi­ple conver­sion events per click. Track desig­nated high value conver­sion events (email sign ups, leads, sales, ROI, phone calls) as well as lower value events that show intent to purchase or consumer inter­est like store locator, coupon down­load, social cues (Face­book like or Twitter follow via Open­Graph), etc.

Element 5: Bid Manage­ment

Review search query reports to review terms your account is match­ing to that aren’t rele­vant (to build out more nega­tive keywords). If budget allows, utilize a bid manage­ment tech­nol­ogy to use auto­mated bidding algo­rithms, in addi­tion to manual human bidding. Manage bids to your goals, not just top posi­tions.  ROI should drive your allow­able bid.

Element 6: Budget­ing

Look at impres­sion share reports.  Brand terms should strive to hit high levels of impres­sion share.

Fund terms that are most prof­itable, but also look at assist data and under­stand the attri­bu­tion effects of higher funnel terms that drive more specific search queries later that result in conver­sions.

Element 7: Measure­ment and Report­ing

While track­ing consumer behav­ior is the first step, analyz­ing data to deduce action­able insights is crit­i­cal.  To only track consumer behav­ior would be like winning the lottery without cashing in on the winnings.  Google AdWords and Bing Ads offer detailed report­ing metrics to assist in account opti­miza­tion.

This data becomes even more insight­ful when viewed across all market­ing chan­nels.  Often, the success of a paid search campaign requires an analyt­ics tool to show how these clicks can boost brand aware­ness, drive long-term value and increase acqui­si­tions.

Correct utiliza­tion of these seven easily executable elements can ensure a success­ful paid search campaign. Once you’ve under­stood the rela­tion­ship between paid and organic search and have struc­tured the account in a way that makes sense for your busi­ness, track perfor­mance and use those find­ings to bid appro­pri­ately within a budget that keeps your overall account goals in line!