8 Ways to Optimize Conversions on Paid Search

Author: Josh Faytinger
Posted: Nov 5, 2019

Topics: Paid Search

When it comes to acquiring new users in the conversion funnel, few marketing tactics are as effective as pay-per-click advertising, also known as paid search, or PPC. Paid search is used primarily to drive conversions. Successful paid search campaigns require a clearly defined path for potential customers to convert. That journey is continually optimized so the greatest number of qualified users convert, or complete a desired action. A well-executed paid search campaign will maximize conversions and generate a greater return on your marketing dollars.


Here are 8 proven strategies for making sure your next paid search campaign gets the most bang for the buck. 

1. Ensure Text Ads Are Relevant to Their Respective Landing Pages

It's critical that paid search ads match the landing page a user sees when they click through. According to iSponiage, pay-per-click ads account for 64.6 percent of clicks for keyword searches that imply high commercial intent. In other words, those who are seeing text ads are lower in the funnel and are typically more likely to make a purchase. When a landing page has copy or images that aren’t relevant to a text ad, it could confuse potential customers, consequently leading to loss of sales.

Check existing text ads to ensure they are representative of campaign landing pages. Check for consistency so that when customers click-through, they see what they're expecting. Users make their decision to remain on your website in a short amount of time, so make sure you don't lose them by providing clear, relevant information and actionable calls-to-action.

2. Landing Pages and A/B Testing

A/B testing also referred to as split testing, is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which one performs better. In regards to paid efforts, A/B testing is a definitive way of proving which ads and landing pages will help achieve the best outcome. Additionally, split testing the landing page(s) is a crucial step in optimizing any paid search campaign. 

3. Remarketing

User paths are often non-linear and we must plan for that. While we'd like for users to search for our brand, find us, and purchase from us — in that order — it's often not the case. Remarketing refers to digital advertising that allows brands to retarget website visitors with specific ads by placing a pixel, or snippet of code, on a user's internet browser after their initial visit. Thanks to the Familiarity Principle (a social psychology phenomenon that says people develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them), remarketing ads have become effective online marketing tools, resulting in a 24 percent visitor return rate and a 1,046 percent rise in branded searches, according to Science Daily.

4. On-Page Optimization and Keyword Choice

Keywords are essential when running a paid search campaign with Google Ads. 

According to Google, a user's number one goal is to find what they are looking for, whether they click on paid or organic results. For example, bid prices will be higher if the landing page lacks relevancy to a targeted keyword. This is why choosing the right keywords and building optimized landing pages around those keywords is so important. Treat landing pages as though they'll be ranked organically.

Grouping keywords can increase your CTR and Quality Score while lowering your cost per acquisition.

5. Negative Keywords Are Your Friend

When setting up a paid search campaign, you will have the option to select negative keywords.

Negative keywords are words that have no relevance to your product or service. If you are an online retailer of athletic shoes but you don’t sell children’s athletic shoes, you can use negative keywords or phrases to filter out searches with “children” or “kids” in them. So the next time someone searches "kid's shoes," your ad will not appear.

Negative keywords prevent wasted ad spend, reduce unqualified website traffic, increase click-through rate (CTR), and reduce cost per acquisition (CPA), conserving your paid search budget. Phrases or broad match types cast a wider net when selecting negative keywords. Lastly, be sure to include the plural form of negative keywords.

6. Optimize By Device

Users behave very differently across each device. In fact, the device type (desktop, mobile, tablet) can have a huge impact on the overall user experience (UX) for both paid and SEO efforts. Optimizing ads by device type is incredibly important; in fact, Google introduced device-level bidding in Google Ads last year. This allows advertisers to have greater control over how their ads appear. 

How you utilize desktop versus mobile channels will depend on your product or service. If you’re selling a product online, you likely are seeing a trend toward more mobile purchases. According to a CMS report, the average smartphone conversion rate is up 64 percent compared to the average desktop conversion rate. Service-based businesses are also reaping the benefit of the shift to mobile. According to a Google Mobile Movement Study, nearly 90% of respondents reported visiting or calling a business within 24 hours of finding the business through a Google search.

7. Keep Conversions Simple

Focus on streamlining user experience. 

Condense the number of fields on any sign-up form. Lowering the number of form fields to three can result in up to a 25 percent conversion rate, a study conducted by QuickSprout revealed. Additionally, having as many as 3-5 fields can reduce conversions up to 20 percent. More than six fields can result in a conversion rate of less than 15 percent. Placing icons near sign up forms and in the checkout or shopping cart section of a website can also increase conversion rates.

Use A/B testing.
Test different sign-up forms and use the form with the top-performing result.
Communicate clearly.  
By setting expectations for shipping times and prices early, customers won't feel deceived as they reach the checkout page. By being transparent and straightforward about the purchase process, the client will trust your brand which can ultimately lead to customer retention.

8. Highlight Special Offers

Exclusive offers or discounts to your customers are a great way to draw visitors to your site. The key to special offers is to use phrases that motivate potential customers to navigate to your page to learn more. Calls-to-action, like “act now,” encourage customers to move quickly and make purchases decisions without hesitation. Make your offer valuable and emphasize the benefits of shopping on your website. Special offers are another great A/B test opportunity. 

Paid search can be highly effective. The key is to be outcome-focused and have clear, measurable objectives for what you want to achieve. Follow these tips along with a strategy paired with organic search efforts, and you're sure to see positive results. 

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