3 Ways To Improve Your PPC Clickthrough Rate

Simon JonesUncategorized

Increase your paid search ads CTR without increasing your keyword bids or ad spend

Far too often Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is put into its own silo. The testing team is separate from the marketing team and optimisation is predominantly done on the site. But CRO needs to be considered at each touchpoint of the user journey and teams should work together to optimise each marketing channel. If each channel works a little bit harder then you don’t need to put the pressure onto driving more traffic. 

In this post, I’ll discuss some of the ways you can make your paid search ads work harder without increasing your bids and monthly click spend. This is how to create ad copy and a user experience that matches your target customer’s emotional values and encourages them to convert.

Although marketers are always aware that the position you appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) matters, following these tactics will give you a much better chance of clickthrough and conversions without increasing your spend even if your ads are not absolutely top.

Sections in this post:

  1. Paid search click-through rate improvements
    1. Relevant Unique Value Propositions 
    2. Ad Customisations 
    3. Google Ad Scripts

It is important to note that before you start optimising your copy and the aesthetic of your ads, you first need to ensure that you have a solid keyword strategy and campaign structure so that your ads match the search terms for optimal relevancy.  The more relevant the ad, the higher the relevancy score and therefore quality score, which means that each click costs less for any given SERP position.

Checking search terms is key as a first step. If searches are relevant, but you’re not getting the CTR, you then need to look at the ad content. It could be that the ad is really good, it’s just not matching the search terms as well as you’d of thought, and making sure traffic is being directed to the right ads is a great preliminary step before going into the nitty-gritty tactics.

This post won’t go into the keywords set-up or campaign structure, but will instead show you how to improve your ad clickthrough rate once you are sure your keyword targeting is correct. In a way, this post is more about the copy you put into your ads rather than the technical set up!

3 Ways To Increase Your Paid Search Click Through Rate 

There are many ways to increase your ad relevance. At the end of the day, relevance trumps all. Whilst taking up as much real estate as possible in SERPs with the introduction of ad extensions has it’s merit, it shouldn’t be the first point of call if you’re not getting the results you want. Pushing competitors down the page will give your ad the spotlight to stand out but you’ve got to make sure your copy is doing the space justice. 

Having a larger ad than your competition means nothing if no one is clicking it anyway. With site link extensions, callouts, three titles, and two descriptions, it can be tempting to shoehorn in every product/service benefit, industry jargon, and buzzwords you can think of as a way to capture as much interest as possible, but this only shows you don’t really understand your target audience and are throwing as many wet paper towels to the wall in the hope one sticks. 

So how can you really understand your audience and write ad copy that encourages them to click through?

1. Relevant unique value propositions

Ad copy needs to be relevant.

Paid ads copy is essentially a simplified unique value proposition (UVP). But, because of the character restriction, your UVP needs to be fewer words.

Tailor your copy to the mind-set of the searcher.

There is no point shoehorning in ad extensions and generic product benefit call-outs if you haven’t got the basic value proposition correct.

The keywords (and therefore search terms) you’re bidding on determine what stage in the customer lifecycle they’re currently in. Even the research stage has multiple layers; are they searching their problem (they know they have a problem but are unsure of the solution such as “how to complete self-employed tax return”), or are they searching for a solution (brand and non-brand specific “Tax accountants in [x]”).

As with any copy that is created, it needs to be customer-centric. You can only create customer-centric copy if you actually speak to your customers and uncover the inner conversation going on inside their head, through research and getting true voice-of-customer feedback.

Find out why your customers came looking for your particular solution (what problems they had and what they hoped to achieve) and then you’ll know what drives them psychologically when searching online.

Listing your service/product benefits is great, but without the main value proposition that speaks to them emotionally, your ads are not going to stand out against the others at the top of SERPs who have the same or very similar product features and benefits.

For example, the phrase “boiler check” shows up 4 ads. Do any of these ads appeal to you? Do they speak to you? Do you feel like you’re getting anything other than the standard boiler cover that every other provider is offering? In this instance, the searcher is more than likely going to click the first placement out of convenience and brand recognition. So, if you’re going up against some well-known household names in paid search, your ad copy needs to be 10x better than theirs if you want your ads to be able to compete.

Think about whether your customers for a particular keyword/phrase are looking for a solution to achieve enhancement or eliminate pain and tailor copy accordingly.

Too many businesses formulate their ads title with “Product Name – Business Name – Generic Benefit” why not try a title that is more:

“[achieve specific desire] with [product type]” or “[eliminate problem] with [product type]”

Know who you’re speaking to, and then you’ll know what to say.

Need help with understanding your customers? Talk to us about our market research solutions.

2. Ad Customisers 

If you’re a small business or startup and don’t have any customer research at your disposal, there are other ways you can increase ad relevancy. These are Google’s way of optimising your ad copy, but remember, nothing will ever beat your own customer insights and unique copy when it comes to standing out on SERPs!

Dynamic Keyword Insertion

This allows you to automatically update and tailor your ad copy to the keyword / phrase your search has used to see your ad. Title or non-title case options are available. 

Place {KeyWord:default text} where you want your ad text to automatically update. Change “default text” to the keyword or phrase you want to show if the ad can’t show the user’s term.

This means that your ad will show the phrase or keyword your search has used and thus increase the relevance of your ad as it matches their expectations. If users see an ad that directly matches what they have searched for this is generally going to increase click-through-rates because it appears to match their search better.

However, headlines have a 30 Character limit, so if a search term exceeds this, there won’t be dynamic keyword insertion, it will default to your opted text instead.

This feature can also be a hindrance and cost you more in irrelevant traffic if not used correctly. Dynamically inserting an irrelevant search term means that you’re trying even harder to get a click from someone who isn’t actually your target audience. Again highlighting why search terms are a key starting point before you go into the more technical stuff. 

If you have a bit of spare budget or are experimenting to see what keywords and phrases you could target, you may have some broad match or some broad match modifier campaigns running. Whilst they can be helpful in complementing your exact match keywords and expanding your reach to additional variations of your search terms, broad match and broad match modified keyword match types are notorious for bringing in top of the funnel users and from all sorts of directions. Using the keyword insertion tool for these campaigns might only bring in even more irrelevant traffic. Searchers will see your ad, see the phrase they have searched for matches your copy, and click on it. But if their search is widely different from your product or service this will only increase your bounce rate and still charge you a click. 

What about phrase match campaigns? This is a better use of keyword insertion, but you might still be driving disappointed traffic that can bounce and cost you a click. Take, for example, a cosmetic brand bidding on the phrase match term “Matte Lipsticks” – your ad titles might look something like this:

Buy {keyword: [Matte Lipsticks]} – Lasts 24 Hours – Cosmeticsonline.co.uk

Your default text could be either the keyword you’re targeting or you might include the name of the lipstick, but what about the term that shows for users’ own search terms? Because it’s a phrase match your ad would also show for “Vegan Matte Lipsticks” and show that specific term to users. But cosmeticsonline.co.uk doesn’t sell any vegan cosmetics… They’re driving people to their landing page who are likely going to bounce all because they chose to use the keyword insertion feature to increase ad copy relevance for traffic that is not actually relevant to them…

How do you combat this? Make sure your negative keyword list is always up-to-date to ensure your ads don’t show for any completely irrelevant keywords. 

There are other ad customisers that allow you to automatically and dynamically update your ads to increase relevance including:

  1. Device
  2. Location
  3. Date and time
  4. Item price, stock, category, etc (for e-commerce stores)

3. Ad scripts 

This section is getting into the more technical aspects of PPC optimisation, but it’s worth mentioning as it improves ad relevance with another use of Google Ads tools. 

Ad scripts should be used when you have already accomplished the above. You should have a solid keyword strategy in place, getting in front of the right people and with the right copy before you start optimising the timings your ads appear. 

There are different ad scripts that allow you to show your ads at certain times depending on your needs. For example, you can optimise your ads for:

  • Weather-based campaigns – If you sell a product that is heavily reliant on a particular type of weather (such as heaters, suncream, sunglasses, gardening equipment, etc,.) you’ll need to make sure your ads show at a particular time more often. For example, you may be an online retailer for suncream and after sun products, or maybe you sell natural soothing creams and gels such as aloe vera. Using a weather-based script will automatically modify your bids without all the manual time-consuming optimisation from your team. If the weather goes above 25 degrees celsius you might run the script to show your ad 20% more of the time than in temperatures in less than 10 degrees celsius. Your keywords are relevant, your ad copy is relevant and now your timing is relevant!
  • TV Schedule bid optimization – This script allows you to coordinate your bids with TV ad campaigns. If a user sees a TV advert that piques their interest they’re more than likely going to go online and search for more information. This script allows you to adjust your bids accordingly so your ad is more likely to show at certain times. 
  • Sales Countdown – If you’re running a promotion or sale, you could take advantage of the sales countdown script. This allows you to dynamically change your ads with the current timings left before or during a sale. While this is useful to increase urgency in your ads, remember you must get the relevancy right first. 

Final Thought: Message Matching 

Message matching is hugely important for CRO, it’s all about making sure your marketing messages match across the whole customer funnel. Each stage in the customer lifecycle is a journey, and users need a journey that flows well and keeps building the product/service narrative. 

What do I mean?

You can’t think about optimising your paid search ad copy to improve click-throughs and leave it at that. Does the copy on your landing page match and reflect the copy on your ads? If it doesn’t, users are more likely to land on your page and assume they’ve clicked the wrong thing because they’re expecting to see copy on one thing and are presented with another.

Your ad might be tailored for one benefit of the product but your landing page states another. Whereas you might think you’re increasing your chances of a conversion because you’re showing the user more than one benefit, remember there was a reason they clicked on your ad in the first place. They were interested in the first benefit you presented to them and want to find out more. 

With this, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a proper landing page strategy in place as different keyword groups and campaigns might reflect different value propositions. Each value proposition realistically needs its own landing page to ensure every bit of copy is hyper optimised and tailored to the user.

It might seem more work in the initial set-up of the campaigns but will give a much larger return than a generic landing page for all traffic.

Need help optimising or looking after your PPC? Our PPC specialists can take a look at your campaign set-up and suggest improvements to return a better ROI… Contact us today!