How to Make Sure a Google AdWords PPC Campaign Is Worth the Cost

By Kathryn Hawkins. Content Marketing
Screenshot of the Google AdWords website.
Screenshot of the Google AdWords website.   Credit:  jordache via Depositphotos  License: Depositphotos

Will you get a good return on investment on a Google AdWords PPC campaign? Here are some tips for making sure your strategy pays off.

If you’re looking for ultra-targeted website visitors, it all comes down to two factors: content, and keyword advertising. If you want to develop a comprehensive SEO strategy that pays off with organic search results, focusing on your web content strategy may be the best investment for long-term results.

However, if you want to promote a specific timely initiative, or to give your existing marketing efforts an extra boost, investing in a Google AdWords campaign may be worth considering as well.

Depending on what you’re promoting, though, keyword campaigns can cost a lot of coin: If you want to include the word “insurance,” for instance, you could be paying a hefty $54.91 per click—which provides no guarantee that the clicker will purchase your services or even call you. If you don’t prepare for a campaign, you could be wasting a lot of money.

Here are some strategies for making the most of a Google PPC ad campaign:

Choose your keywords carefully - If you don’t want to pay the equivalent of a dinner out for every new site visitor, seek “long-tail” keywords that aren’t searched for quite as often. Instead of simply using “homeowner’s insurance” as a keyword phrase, try something more specific (and cheaper): “homeowner’s insurance in Florida,” for instance. Google’s Keyword Tool can help you find the right phrases for your needs and budget.

Use multiple campaigns - AdWords permits you to run multiple keyword campaigns at once, so focus on creating a number of compelling ads aimed at different audiences and using different keywords related to your site. If you sell shoes, run an ad for Vans aimed at teens, and one for Orthaheels aimed at their grandparents.

Monitor your results and adapt your campaigns accordingly - Log into both your AdWords account and your site analytics account daily to learn how many people are clicking on your ads, and, of those people, how many site visitors are “converting” (performing a set action, such as buying a product or signing up for your newsletter). If the number of clicks is lower than you’d like, switch up your keywords to increase visitors; if the conversions are low, look at ways to optimize your AdWords landing pages so that visitors will turn into buyers. Conversion Sciences recommends some additional strategies for optimizing conversions, such as limiting the times of day that your ads run, and using Google Analytics to track your conversion goals and the associated spend.

Drive your visitors to a lead magnet - It’s important to make sure that the click you’ve just paid for results in a new lead, and that often won’t happen when you simply send a visitor to your home page or a product page. Make sure that you’re offering a “lead magnet” - for an ecommerce business, that often means an opportunity to sign up to a mailing list for a discount on their purchase, so even if they don’t make an immediate purchase, you’ll be able to convince them to return by emailing them in the future. For a service-based business or a SaaS product, you can offer a download of a free white paper or guide focused on news that’s relevant to your industry. On Venture Harbor, Marcus Taylor suggests some great options for a lead magnet, including a “content upgrade,” a free trial, or a survey.

When is it not the right strategy?

Google AdWords can be great for some kinds of business, particularly those in ecommerce. PPC ads can help them jump above their competition in Google results, and turn into immediate sales. They can create ads for the exact products they want to promote, so that they can target shoppers who are looking for that specific product and are ready to make a purchase. For them, PPC is often a no-brainer, especially if they don’t mind competing on price.

But what about businesses with a more expensive product or service, which might have a much longer decision-making cycle? You’re not going to hire an attorney or a financial advisor based on a single click; you’ll want to take the time to make sure she knows her stuff.

And what about a company that offers a product that people don’t even realize they need yet? Rather than purchasing specific keywords based around your business, you need to start with demand generation. That means educating consumers about an industry problem, and leading them to the recognization that there’s a better way to do things—which will, of course, lead to your solution.

Just look at how the market for deodorant came about in the early 1900s: If the makers of Odorono had sold keyword ads for “deodorant” or “stop sweating” (assuming they had computers, and Google—bear with me), no one ever would have searched for their terms. Instead, they needed to use content marketing through detailed advertising copy to convince people that heavy perfume on top of ripe B.O. was not the way to go.

In either case, if your product or service isn’t one that people are likely to make a snap decision about, you’re likely better off investing time and money into creating compelling content that will educate prospects and help them come to an independent decision about why they need to invest in what you’re offering.

If you’re not seeing a positive ROI on your Google Keyword Ads, there’s no shame in shutting down the campaign and deciding to reallocate that marketing budget elsewhere. By investing it into high quality content, you may not see the same immediate hit of traffic, but you’ll likely see a stream of well-targeted, highly qualified leads come through your funnel, even long after your initial investment. With the same budget invested in content marketing, you’ll be able to show sustainable growth—resulting in high-quality, targeted leads that turn into sales.

Learn more about building and implementing a content marketing plan in our free 19-page guide, or contact us for a free consultation.

Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than 16 years.

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