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

Selling the Click vs. Selling the Product: Which Strategy is More Effective for a Text-Based PPC Ad?

August 9th, 2016

Imagine for a moment that you need to write a PPC search ad for an event your company is running. It’s an event so you’re on a tight timeline. In fact, you have a week to run the ads. At the end of the week, your early discount of 5% ends.

Long story, short, you need to build a text-based PPC campaign that gets a lot of people to buy tickets, and you don’t really have time to figure out what strategy works through a/b testing or historical data mining.

What do you do?

An organization that [full disclosure] partners with MECLABS (MarketingExperiments’ parent company) to help optimize its event messaging was faced with a similar situation recently.

The strategies, while simple in wording are fairly radical in nature.




For the control ad, the primary message sold the actual value of the event.

“2 Days and 13 World Class Speakers”

For the treatment ad, the primary message sold the page on the other side of the click.

It was a fundamental shift in the process-level value proposition of the ad. One was aimed at the ultimate objective of purchasing event tickets. One was aimed at the shorter term objective of clicking through to the video mentioned in the ad.

The result of that shift was a 102% increase in thank-you page impressions. One important thing to note is that the average thank-you page impression generated more than one ticket sale. So this ad treatment hit the bottom line dramatically.


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Search Marketing: How a simple copy change increased conversion 21%

September 18th, 2014

Serving customers effectively starts with intelligence.

It’s not the kind of intelligence needed to solve Sudoku puzzles or carry home a victory on trivia night, but rather it’s what you really know about your customers:

  • What keeps them up at night?
  • How could your product or service transform their careers?
  • How could what you’re offering transform their businesses?

Yes, to serve your customers effectively, you have to understand how your products or services are relevant enough to effectively relate to their needs.

It’s also worth mentioning that PPC testing can help you build your customer theory, often on the cheap.

In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, let’s look at some recent PPC ad experiments that show how you can better use testing and optimization to help you understand your customers’ needs and ultimately build a deeper connection with your customers.

But first, here’s quick overview on the test background:

Background: A CRM software solution for small and large businesses.

Goal: To increase the total numbers of clicks.

Primary Research Question: Which PPC will generate the most clicks?

Approach: A/B multifactorial variable cluster





The original ad emphasizes the fact that the software is award-winning and can be fully integrated into a business.

Read more…

PPC Marketing: 3 steps to improve performance

June 19th, 2014

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…

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

April 22nd, 2013

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:

Loan Modification Help

Looking to Get a Loan Modification

Call for a Free Consultation Today


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…

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

April 3rd, 2013

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.

Read more…

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

March 13th, 2013

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

Read more…