Archive for the ‘Paid Search Marketing (PPC)’ Category

PPC Marketing: 3 steps to improve performance

June 19th, 2014 1 comment

Paid search marketing campaigns can be expensive, frustrating and outright brutal in terms of meeting ROI expectations. However, they can be used as a proving ground for optimization and to discover more about your customer base.

I think most of us prefer the latter. In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll take a look at a recent session on converting PPC traffic at eTail West 2014 featuring Jon Powell, Senior Manager of Research and Strategy, MECLABS, who shared three steps for increasing the performance of PPC campaigns.


According to Jon, there is no solution among paid search tactics that delivers both easy and effective results.

“There’s no silver bullet,” Jon explained.

Here are a few key steps that Jon suggested to help increase the effectiveness of your PPC ad campaigns:

  • Be present: When bidding on keywords, casting as big a net as possible is not ideal. Instead, Jon explained, focus on being where you get the biggest bang for your buck.
  • Be interested: Smart PPC campaigns are focused on developing a conversation with customers.
  • Be consistent: Thinking holistically about your marketing from conversation to conversion will help your efforts to guide the discussion.


Don’t forget mobile

Jon closed the session with an excellent case study on mobile paid search behavior.

The results ultimately suggested that testing your way into understanding how mobile users enter search queries will likely be a game changer for some organizations as the mobile migration continues.

Or, as Jon mentioned in his summary: “Find out what they’re interested in and test that.”

  Read more…

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Paid Search Marketing: 3 optimization ideas to test in your next PPC campaign

April 22nd, 2013 No comments

On a recent Web clinic, Brian Smith, Marketing Analyst, FCH, submitted a PPC ad and landing page for live optimization.

Unfortunately, we do not have time to optimize every submission live on Web clinics, and did not get to this submission.

So, in today’s MarketingExperiments blog post, we’ll offer Brian some optimization suggestions from a peer review session with the MECLABS research team. Our goal is to provide some optimization suggestions from a real-world example you can use to aid your PPC ad and landing page optimization efforts.

But first, let’s get a little backstory on the testing Brian and his team have done prior to the Web clinic.

When I asked Brian about his previous testing efforts, he explained the team has focused their testing mostly on value proposition development and landing page optimization.

I also asked Brian about some of the goals for their PPC ads and landing pages, and Brian explained they share one common goal – lead generation.

“The goal of the PPC ad is to get people to the site,” Brian said, “and the goal of the landing page is to get people to call us or fill out the form.”

Here is the PPC ad copy Brian sent us:

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Identify the elements in your marketing that influence conversion

When I asked Matthew Hertzman, Research Manager, MECLABS, for some optimization opportunities, he explained it’s important to first break the PPC ad copy and the landing page down into basic marketing elements using the MECLABS Conversion Sequence Heuristic.


The heuristic is a patented, repeatable methodology marketers can use to look at their offers to understand how they can be optimized to improve the chances of a conversion.

(Editor’s Note: Optimization ideas, by their very nature, point out areas that need improvement. We respect all the hard work Brian and his team have put into their marketing efforts so far. OK, now let’s take the gloves off and dive into some ideas … )


Optimization Idea #1: Test more PPC ad copy variations

Matthew noted the PPC ad could use a little work on reducing the elements of friction and anxiety. Here were a few of his suggestions:

  • Try using a display URL in the PPC ad

“We’ve seen from testing that the added continuity from using display URLs generally increases clickthrough rates across multiple industries.”

  • Try including a phone number in the PPC ad

“Including a phone number in the PPC ad copy might also relieve some anxiety,” Matthew explained. “But, if the goal is to get them to call or to fill out the form, why not test giving them a direct phone number to call in the PPC ad and use the form as a separate lead gen channel.”

Below is the landing page Brian submitted with the PPC ad:

So, when I asked Matthew for additional opportunities on the landing page with Brian’s goals in mind, here were some of his suggestions …

Read more…

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Paid Search Marketing: A/B split test produces 144% increase in total leads

April 3rd, 2013 2 comments

Testing and optimizing elements of your PPC ad campaigns can significantly increase conversion when done strategically.

So, in today’s MarketingExperiments blog post, we’re going to look at how the MECLABS Research team used paid search keywords strategically placed on a landing page to achieve a 144% increase in total leads.

First, let’s take a quick look at the research notes on the experiment …

Background: Provides end-to-end market solutions for small and medium-sized businesses

Goal: Increase the email capture rate of an online form

Primary Research Question: Which page will obtain the most form submissions?

Approach: A/B split test




A problem the team identified in the control was the landing page utilized a general headline that did not reference the keyword used in the PPC ad.




For the treatment, the team hypothesized a simple integration of the keyword utilized in the PPC ad would make a deeper connection between the expectations created by the PPC ad and expectations for the landing page in the mind of a user.

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PPC Optimization: Tips from your peers on regional differences, Google Product Listing Ads, distracted visitors and offline conversion

March 13th, 2013 No comments

With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you pay money every time your ad drives someone to your landing page, so improving conversion is crucial to a healthy ROI. After all, you’re directly paying for this traffic, therefore each bounced potential customer seems to hurt just a little bit more.

Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, will share our discoveries about optimizing landing pages that receive traffic from PPC ads on today’s free Web clinic – Converting PPC Traffic: How strategic keyword placement increased conversion by 144%.

But before we share what we’ve learned, we wanted to hear from you. Here are a few PPC conversion optimization tips from your peers …


Pay attention to regional differences

We market on a regional local basis. Establishing a persona per market has worked well.

Also, messaging by market has worked well. The lesson we have learned is, regional differences do exist, and experimenting to find those differences is  key to optimization.

Ben Joslin, VP of Marketing, MD Connect


5 tips to optimize Google Product Listing Ads

Here are some tips to improve your Google Product Listing Ad (PLA) program:

1. Reliable Google Merchant Center integration

Continuously maintain and update the product feed and use the resulting performance data as the basis for future optimization.

2. Manage PLAs at the product, category and sub-category level

A combination of broad and more specific product targets will result in the best balance in traffic and efficiency.

3. Leverage text ad performance to improve PLAs

Product-related keywords and queries that have been successful in your PPC program may translate well into PLAs, and vice-versa. Continuous search query mining and expansion of coverage is critical to PLA growth.

4. Match terms to customer intent and negate ineffectual terms

Mine queries for those that are successfully converting, and negate search queries that are not performing well.

5. Optimize and test landing page and PLA ad text

Use Google to promote text and promotional pricing in the feed. Design and test various landing pages on a product-specific level to determine what converts [the] fastest.

Auburn Rutledge, Client Manager, Adlucent

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Search Marketing: 46% more conversions from PPC ad test

January 23rd, 2013 No comments

The top two pay-per-click (PPC) advertising challenges for marketers are “increasing lead generation” and “achieving or increasing measurable ROI,” according to the MarketingSherpa Search Marketing Benchmark Report – PPC Edition, with 56% of respondents indicating those areas are key challenges.

“Being a small company, it is important for us to achieve a high ROI on our PPC ads, so this goal typically drives our strategy for SEM (search engine marketing),” a marketer responded in the benchmark report.

One way to increase lead generation and measure the ROI of your search marketing is by testing the ads. So today on the MarketingExperiments blog, we’re featuring a paid search test conducted for a MECLABS Research Partner



Background: This MECLABS Research Partner is the sole provider of the Accurascope procedure, which is an innovative, minimally invasive spine surgery for back pain relief.

Goal: To increase number of leads on website

Primary Research Question: Which benefit approach of the three treatments will increase the conversion rate?



Three pay-per-click ads were tested: the control plus two treatments. All three ads sent traffic to the same webpage for lead capture. The goal was not to get the most clicks on the PPC ads, but rather the most conversions on this webpage.



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Which PPC Ad Won? (Marketing intuition contest)

March 28th, 2012 16 comments

In today’s Web clinic, “What Your Customers Want: How to predict customer behavior for maximum ROI,” Dr. Flint McGlaughlin will present a recent PPC experiment from our lab in which you, the MarketingExperiments blog reader, helped create the treatment.

But before we do that, we wanted to give you a chance to predict which PPC ad received a higher clickthrough rate.

The marketer with the best answer will win a copy of Kristin Zhivago’s book, Roadmap to Revenue.  Kristin is a speaker at the upcoming Optimization Summit 2012 in Denver.


The background

In a recent PPC test for a MECLABS Research Partner (designed in part by Amy Harold), the Partner wanted to see which ad would generate more clicks. The goal here was to learn enough about the audience to be able to plan a content strategy that would pull in more prospects to their offer.

Here are the four treatments we tested:



How to win

To win the book (and the respect of your peers), you need to tell us two things in the comments of this blog post:

  1. Which treatment won
  2. Why it won

The marketer who guesses the correct treatment and gives us the best reason why they think that treatment won, will win the contest and be featured on this blog post as having near-psychic levels of marketing intuition.

So go ahead and study the slides embedded above and then leave a comment below. But do it quickly because the deadline is 4:00 EDT today.

P.S. To be among the first to know whether you were right or not, you can tune into today’s Web clinic at 4:00 pm EDT (hence the deadline) where we’ll reveal the results and dive into how you can predict your customers’ behavior.



Congratulations to Tanith, who gave the nearest thing to a correct answer of any of the commenters!

If I wasn’t diagnosed, but wondered if I had the condition, I’d go for T4.


Technically, Luke Thorpe was the only one who gave the absolute correct answer, but because he works in this office, I’m not sure I believed him when he told me he hadn’t seen the winner beforehand. :)

So I can’t in good conscience make him the official winner.

Tanith will be receiving a copy of Roadmap to Revenue in the coming week or so.

Thank you to all of our commenters, and thank you especially to Tanith for having great marketing intuition!

Related Resources:

What Your Customers Want: How to predict customer behavior for maximum ROI – View the Web clinic replay to learn more about what your customers want

Online Advertising Forensics: We investigate how and why a text-based PPC ad produced 47% more conversions

How to Test Your Value Proposition Using a PPC Ad

Search Engine Marketing: Finding appeal for your PPC Ads

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