Calling versus buying online is no longer an either/or proposition. When it comes to complicated purchases like insurance, healthcare, and mortgages, the need for human help is even more pronounced.

Over half of consumers prefer to talk to an agent on the phone in these high-stakes situations.

However, if you’re finding that your business line isn’t ringing quite as often as you’d like it to, here are some surefire ways to optimize your search ads to drive more high-value phone calls.

Ideas to optimize your paid search ads for more phone calls

·         Let your audience know you’re ready to take their call — and that a real person will answer

If you’re waiting for the phone to ring, make sure your audiences know that you’re ready to take their call. In the days of landlines, if customers wanted a service, they simply took out the yellow pages and thumbed through the business listings until they found the service they were looking for.

These days, your audience is much more likely to find you online, either through search engines or social media. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for a human to answer their questions.

·         Cater to the more than half of users that will likely be on mobile

If your customer found your landing page via search, there’s a majority percent chance they’re on a mobile device. That’s great news for businesses looking to boost calls, since mobile users obviously already have their phone in hand.

However, forcing users to dig up a pen in order to write down your business number only to put it back into their phone adds an unnecessary extra step that could make some users think twice about calling.

·         Use location-specific targeting

Mobile search is by nature local, and vice versa. If your customer is searching for businesses hoping to make a call and speak to a representative, chances are, they need some sort of local services.

For example, if your car breaks down, you’ll probably search for local auto shops, click a few ads, and make a couple of calls. It would be incredibly frustrating if each of those calls ended up being to a business in another state.

·         Track calls made from ads and landing pages

Keeping up with where your calls are coming from in the physical world is important, but tracking where they’re coming from on the web is just as critical.

Understanding which of your calls are coming from ads as well as which are coming from landing pages is an important part of optimizing paid search.

Using a call tracking and analytics solution alongside Google Ads can help give a more complete picture of your call data.

Short conclusion

The good old-fashioned phone call for business can now drive conversions and sales even in this age of technology. Provide the best possible experience to your customers when they call you and when they click on your ad, seize retargeting opportunities.

Remember, more calls mean more opportunities for revenue for your business.

If you are knowledgeable on PPC, you are familiar with the Google AdWords Search Terms Report.

If you are new to Adwords or have someone else managing your SEM, you need to become familiar with this report that reveals crucial keyword data.

What is the Google Ads search terms report?

A search term is the exact word or set of words a customer enters when searching on Google.com or one of our Search Network sites.

A keyword is the word or set of words that AdWords advertisers create for a given ad group to target your ads to customers.

How do I pull an AdWords search terms report?

To run a search terms report in AdWords, complete the following steps:

  • Sign-in to your AdWords account and choose a desired date range
  • Click on the campaign you are interested in viewing search terms for
  • Click the “Keywords” tab
  • Notice the three sub-tabs displayed directly below the main tabs that say “Keywords,” “Negative keywords,” and “Search terms”
  • Click “Search terms”
  • Download the report by clicking the downward arrow icon

Block unwanted SERPs with negative keywords

As you scroll down your search terms report, you’re going to see a bunch of search terms whose SERPs you obviously do not wish to appear on.

A classic example is people looking for “jobs” or “careers” in your industry.

Match types work just the same for negative keywords as they do for positive keywords, so for example if you see that you have a bunch of search terms like:

  • jobs selling ladies shoes
  • careers in ladies retail
  • ladies shoes sales jobs

You could choose to add 2 phrase match negative keywords:

  • “jobs”
  • “careers”

It’s also worth noting that you’ll sometimes want to use exact match negative keywords. A great example of this is the single word search term for whatever you sell.

Why are you finding unrelated search queries in your report

When you use this report you may find that there is a lot of search queries that are popping up that are completely unrelated to your product or service.

This will be because of the keywords you have in your adgroups and their related match types.

Short conclusion

The way people search and how people search is always changing for example the increased use of mobile phones and Siri or Google Voice Search means that which keywords trigger ads will be more a reflection of speech than of written English.

Therefore, the search term report should form part of your armory and be checked on a monthly basis to identify themes and patterns to your customers search behaviour.

Conversion tracking is critical to your success in online marketing. Setting up conversion tracking allows you to see the valuable actions that users take after interacting with your ad, like purchases, sign ups, and phone calls.

What is conversion tracking?

Conversion tracking is the method advertisers use to identify and record valuable actions to their business within their Google Ads account.

By setting up conversion tracking, advertisers give the Google algorithm the information it needs to understand what drives success in an account.

How does the algorithm gather these signals?

These conversion actions can either be imported from Google Analytics or tracked via the Google Ads pixel. And regardless of how you track your conversions, advertisers can add as many actions they find valuable.

Once these conversion actions are defined in the platform, Google will record a conversion each time a user completes one of those actions.

What does the algorithm do with these signals?

As your account builds up conversion data, the algorithm starts to learn about these successful signals. And as these learnings are significant, the algorithm optimizes your ad delivery as you are eligible for placements in the ad auction.

Without this conversion data, the algorithm is blind to the information most advertisers care most about—growing their business or client’s account by optimizing their delivery from Google Ads.

Enter campaign-level conversion setting

So why did Google introduce this change to bidding? Google states that over 70% of their advertisers are using automated bidding today. And to that stat, they say:

“And while many of you have told us that Smart Bidding has helped drive better performance, you’ve also asked for more flexibility to reach your business goals.”

What is campaign-level conversion setting?

Campaign-level conversion setting is a way for advertisers to select which of their conversion actions the algorithm should track and optimize towards for a campaign.

So what’s different?

As I touched on above, with the account-level conversion setting, each of the conversion actions in a given account add together to populate your conversion metrics.

Now, with the campaign-level conversion setting, Google is giving advertisers the ability to specify which action(s) should populate your conversion data.

Meaning that this new setting simply gives Google more information about which conversion actions are most relevant to track and optimize towards.

Setting up campaign-level conversion tracking

To start leveraging this new setting, you can navigate to your campaign settings and click into the conversion drop down.

Once you select to “choose conversion action for this campaign,” you will see all of your conversion actions pop up with the ability to select the specific action(s).

What can you expect with campaign-level conversions?

As you’ve read and seen in our performance, you can expect this setting to have the potential to improve your results. But, before jumping right into this new setting, you do need to consider the impact that the change will have on your account performance.

Short conclusion

This can also help solve the need to set up different accounts to manage separate marketing budgets. Google explains with this scenario:

For example, suppose you’re a hotel group with separate marketing budgets for the different chains of hotels, and different campaigns targeting online bookings for separate chains.

Now you can simply choose the corresponding conversion action(s) for each chain and ensure their budgets are delivering the valuable actions they were intended to drive.

Why you need a guide to split testing copy? Because your copy can -and will- make or break your PPC campaigns.

Sure, the images and videos can grab attention and even pique interest, but it’s going to be the copy that tells users why they should click or convert.

So you can bet that your Ad copy is what will determine whether they do or not.

What is Ads A/B testing or Ads experiments?

Ads feature Campaign Drafts & Experiments will be referred here as AdWords Experiments. It lets you mirror your campaign’s set up and make changes to it without impacting the original campaign performance.

The first step is to create a draft which can either be applied to the original campaign or activated as an Experiment. If a draft is run as an Experiment, then it will test the changes made to your campaign and compare its performance with the original campaign over time.

Ideas for AdWords A/B testing

The possibilities for testing are endless, but here we will unfold a couple of ideas that you can act upon:

Bidding Strategy

You might want to use a different bidding strategy to test how the change impacts your campaign performance. Altering your bids is one objective that can be met with split testing.

For instance, you might want to see if decreasing your bids will still drive sufficient traffic, but before using the new bid, you would want to test if that would work without disrupting the correct traction being generated.

Ad Copy

You might want to test an entire new ad copy to figure out if it connects more with your audience.

Alternately you might also want to test out different CTAs in your ad messaging to analyze which would impact more.

Landing Page

If you have two landing pages that can be linked to an ad, you might want to check which one to use.

For instance, there might be a pricing page of your product and a sign up page, you would eventually want a user to reach the sign up page, but you also know that a user might be interested in viewing your pricing structure before making that decision.

Negative Keywords

Adding some keywords you deem as irrelevant might lead to a drastic shift in the impressions and clicks received. Before adding a certain keyword as negative keyword you might want to check how it impacts the campaign performance. This can again be tested with A/B testing feature of AdWords.

Short conclusion

One word of caution, however, to those who may be tempted to embrace experiments a bit too readily: only one experiment can run per campaign at any given time.

This means that campaigns running ad copy tests cannot simultaneously test smart bidding strategies, bid modifiers, custom audience targeting, etc.

It is important to keep that limitation in mind as you plan and schedule various tests to run.

Among most PPC pros, bidding on brand is an accepted practice. Still, some clients (and maybe even some PPC pros), continue to resist it.

Benefits on bidding on brand terms:

You can present your brand accurately

As the brand owner, you know your brand best. And when you bid on brand, you can make sure that your brand is represented correctly in your ads.

When you leave brand bids to your affiliates and partners, you can run into problems of brand misrepresentation.

You can ‘compete’ with affiliates & partners

Even if your affiliates and partners are presenting your brand accurately, that doesn’t mean you should abandon bidding on brand.

Quite the contrary.

If you’re like my clients, you prefer to sell directly to customers. You still want to bid on brand so that your ad will appear along with ads placed by your partners and affiliates.

You get PPC ‘proof of concept’

It allows us to show how clicks and impressions accumulate over time and demonstrate the value of how non-branded search, remarketing, and GDN campaigns help to build up brand awareness.

Benefits of bidding on your brand terms:

Position yourself as a market leader

Studies show that companies who show up in the #1 spot in both sponsored listings and organic results have increased credibility & top-of-mind awareness to their audience.

Paid search and organic listings work together to lift your brand awareness. Test this yourself by measuring brand query growth over time.

Lower CPA’s

Visitors who are searching with your brand name are closer to the point of converting than those using broader searches.

Sure they “might” find you in the organic SERP’s, but why would you take the risk of losing out on any of these important searches?

Don’t lose clicks to your competition

Savvy competitors are most likely already bidding on your brand name, showing above your organic listing.

It’s nearly impossible to show up at the top of the page for your brand searches 100% of the time through organic listings alone, unless you somehow have zero competition.

Short conclusion

Of course there are some occasional situations where it may not make sense to bid on your brand keywords, but 95% of the time this is something we strongly recommend as part of a SEM strategy.

At the end of the day, Paid Search is the most measurable of media so you can always make sure you’re getting value for your money.

We all want to generate more leads, but getting started with paid ads can be scary.

After all, you don’t want to flush our hard-earned ad budget down the drain.

That said, one of the greatest things about being in business is learning why some companies are successful while others fall short.

What Is a Lead Campaign on Google Ads?

A lead campaign, in this context, is an online advertising campaign dedicated to generating high-quality, relevant leads for a business.

Businesses that have a long sales process, like insurance and real estate, rely on lead campaigns to supply their salespeople with sales opportunities.

They drive traffic to a landing page, a relevant page designed to get a visitor’s contact information.

Creating a lead-generation campaign on the Google ads platform only requires a few clicks.

Setting up a successful campaign that generates leads at a profit month after month, however, requires a lot more effort.

Simplest lead generation strategy

Through keyword targeting.

When reviewing PPC accounts, probably the biggest mistake I see advertisers making that holds their lead generation back is not using single keyword ad groups.

Higher ad relevance = higher CTR = higher Quality Score = more qualified traffic = more leads.

Here is how you implement single keyword ad groups.

Firstly, you need to place your keyword within its own ad group in the three different match types (BMM, Phrase, and Exact)

Set up proper URL tracking

To accurately measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, you need to make sure that you are able to track other important elements besides conversions.

This data will allow you to determine which campaign and site a lead came from, the keyword they searched for, the device they were on, and so on.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use UTM Parameters and ValueTrack Parameters.

These tags are data that you append to the end of your landing page URLs, and you’ve probably seen them when you clicked a link or ad.

Develop tailored landing pages for your ad groups.

Once a visitor gets to one of your landing pages you’ve already paid for the click.

This means that measures such as adding extra form fields or validating for a business email address in an effort to reduce the number of poor-quality leads, are misguided.

Instead, you should focus on maximizing the conversion rates of your landing pages by optimizing the elements below.

Short conclusion

If you have a micro budget, you’re going to pinch your pennies. With a Google Ads  account, you can generate more leads without spending a ton of cash.

You can then focus your efforts on creating a product or service that will maximize your AdWords ROI.

If you understand how to find and use relevant, high intention keywords,  you can target leads and drive more conversions on your first try.

Search ads, though, only have to worry about the strategy and the copy—Google’s Display Ads require an enormous focus on the visual.

This can be intimidating for plenty of small- and medium-sized businesses who don’t have the budgets to outsource design and video editing to high-level, expensive third parties.

Speaking from experience, when you have no technical or design knowledge in these areas, it can feel like the situation is a little hopeless.

It doesn’t have to be, though.

Let’s take a look at few of the best Google display ad builder tools that will help you create strong visuals that will engage your audience, encourage clicks, and hopefully drive some conversions.

PaperG – collaborate with professionals on large quantities of high-quality ads

Using PaperG’s creative management platform, publishers and agencies can customize, collaborate on, and learn from their display ad creatives.

PaperG has been able to decrease the costs and turnaround time typically associated with creating ads for multiscreen campaigns.

Flexitive – if you want to create HTML5 banner ads, Flexitive is a good option for you

It provides many features that will help you to get really creative and you don’t need to worry ’bout how to make HTML5 banner ads. With just one touch you will have the same concept prepared for multiple screens and operating systems.

Bannersketch – choose from a wide variety of banner templates of varying sizes.

There are over 1,300 prebuilt banners from which you can choose. There are theme choices like cartoon, grunge, kids or business. The program allows you to adjust background colors, font size, character type and frame outline.

Animaker’s Animated Video Software – explainer videos can make for powerful, compelling Display Ads even if they’re short

The animations can help tell a story even if the sound isn’t enabled and draw in user attention. You can choose from different characters, a number of different animation styles, backgrounds, and actions that the characters can take.

This sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy and affordable to create an incredible video for your display ads using this tool.

AdRoll – entice audiences with personalized ads

AdRoll is a retargeting platform that uses audience targeting to help its clients design dynamic ads that appeal to individual customers.

AdRoll offers a series of best practices for generating dynamic ads on its website, including tips like using photos with transparent backgrounds and using fewer than 50 characters in all ad copy.

Short conclusion

You can start with all of them for free and if you decide that you found what you were looking for you will need to invest a part of your budget into smart elements that will impress users.

With the appropriate philosophy about banner ads and the right tool you will make potential customers to love your product.

Paid search has been an important channel in a comprehensive marketing strategy for years now.

But we’ve also seen some major shifts in the way that PPC works, and as with most technological things, the pace of change isn’t slowing anytime soon.

After all, every bit of advertising drives interest and awareness with the potential to lead to a query on a search engine that paid search can then convert.

Like a net at the bottom of your entire media portfolio, search engine marketing is ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year to capture demand and route it to your best landing pages.

The near future

The near future is all about automation. To get remarkable results in paid search, or any biddable media channel, automation is essential.

Anyone who works in the marketing industry will probably be a bit unimpressed by the mention of this technology by now. But machine learning will, eventually, change the game for paid search.

One day, machine will be able to make better decisions than humans about bidding, targeting, and even ad copy.

A lot of this hinges on the progress of deep learning, a type of machine learning which imitates the way the human brain learns by creating neural networks.

Amazon Will Move into the Space

More marketers are beginning to purchase ad space on Amazon. The audience there is broadening, and it’s currently cheaper to market on Amazon than it is to advertise on Google.

Now is the time for you to consider making the shift for your own business.

Particularly if you offer goods or products that consumers might be searching for on Amazon, there’s the potential for you to get a lot more value from your ad spend on the e-commerce site.

Every search represents a potential customer

If 90 percent of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search, it would seem that getting in front of a consumer when they’re just starting their purchase journey should be prioritized.

And the time when consumers are searching for middle funnel terms as they round out their research and get closer to buying can be a very valuable inflection point for brands to influence them.

Human marketers will keep their jobs

This will be a year when PPC marketers adjust their day-to-day tasks a bit. They won’t have to do so much bid management (how many of us are really going to miss that, anyway?).

And they won’t have to spend so much time running basic ad split-tests and adjusting budgets.

Marketers can also invest time in learning about their target audiences, and in learning how to segment and target those audiences (more on this in a moment).

They could also invest time in creating more customized ad creative, and in developing customer journeys that are more efficient.

Short conclusion

Wearable technology, virtual reality, nanotechnology, human-computer integration – these are all technologies that are in their infancy at the moment, but, once mature, will fundamentally change the way people interact with the world.

And, most probably, make search engines seem incredibly old-fashioned as a means of finding information.

Target CPA bidding will help advertisers who use Google Ads to get as many conversions as they can for their set budget, but it won’t necessarily help them save money.

To actually lower or reduce the cost it takes to acquire a new customer in Google Ads, PPC marketers need experience.

What is Target CPA bidding?

Target CPA is an AdWords Smart Bidding Strategy that enables you to set bids for generating as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) you choose.

The bids are optimized using advanced machine learning – thus, there are capabilities that tailor bids for every auction.

If I increase my target CPA, will I get more conversions?

Yes. If increasing cost-per-conversion is not a concern, go ahead and increase CPA targets and receive more conversions.

In the first chart, targets were increased in high converting ad groups and conversions rose accordingly.

Actual cost-per-conversion increased 27% after 30 days and conversions increased by 67%.

Because conversion volume is the goal, the 67% increase in conversions outweighs the 27% increase in cost-per-conversion.

Long term tips

Search terms 

You can dig even deeper into your keyword performance by analyzing the actual search terms that triggered your ads. Take, for instance, you are bidding on the broad match keyword: iphone charger.

As a broad match keyword, there are tons of potential queries that could trigger your ads only by containing one or both of those keywords.

So how can you tell if the keyword is truly generating quality traffic if you don’t know for sure what that traffic actually consists of?

Take a look into your audience

If you’re not already running a Remarketing campaign or an RLSA campaign, Audience insights would be great to leverage here.

If you’re not running a Remarketing campaign, this is another great way to boost conversions by targeting individuals who have already expressed interest by previously clicking your ads and visiting your site.

You can also layer audiences to further optimize bidding. In-Market audiences include users based on what they are actively researching or planning, and Affinity audiences include users based on their interests and habits on the web.

Work on your quality score

Take a step back from your campaigns, and look at the entire picture. Do all the pieces go together?

You can send the most appropriate, highly qualified, ready-to-convert, traffic to your site, but if the page you’re sending them to isn’t built for what you’re trying to have them do, then what’s the point?

Short conclusion

CPA bidding is great when you have a target CPA for all keywords in each ad group; however, the majority of ecommerce sites utilizes the target ROAS rather than the target CPA.

In such case, note that CPA bidding is rarely the best bid method to use.

Google Adwords is one PPC advertising technique that has to be carried out carefully.

You can get everything right, but if you’re not particularly careful with the way you set up your Adwords campaigns, then nothing else will matter.

The difference between making a lot of money and losing a lot of it lies with a proper campaign.

What is Google Adwords Optimization?

AdWords Optimization is the process of fine-tuning the Google AdWords campaign to achieve the maximum results once you have decided that Google AdWords is for your business.

It is based on reducing ad waste and increasing ROI.

All of the optimization efforts should be concentrated in these three areas.

Ad Targeting

Advertisements have to be targeting customers who have a high potential for buying products or services. If you neglect this step, your business will have a tough time making sales and improving it’s brand’s reputation.

Ad copy

If the ads are finally targeting the correct people, it is crucial to consider Ad Copy for optimization purposes.

Ad copies have to be carefully written as it will take a lot of effort to come up with the best ad copy and it is a critical part of the Google AdWords campaign.

Landing pages

Without a perfectly planned landing page, the two ingredients – ad targeting and ad copy will have no effect, and your efforts for optimizing Google AdWords will not deliver the expected results.

Optimization checklist

Rotate your ads

Consistently rotate at least 2 distinct advertisements. If you find a winner, then delete the other one. Afterwards, write another ad and try to make it better than current winner.

It doesn’t stop there, you have to keep doing this to increase your response rate little by little over time.

Bid management

When it comes to managing your bids, if you find keywords that are losing a little or breaking even, you only have to lower your bid prices and you’ll be okay.

On the other hand, you should consistently increase the bid prices of moneymaking keywords, so you can be able to make more money.

Test your headlines and landing pages

You should always test your headlines, landing pages, call to action and more. This could be the holy grail of superb high conversion rates! You can as well test yours offers; rotating offers to see which one makes you the most money. Testing can be done readily with Google website optimiser.

Track your campaigns

You should always track your campaigns. You can choose to track either sales or leads, whichever you decide. If you need to track both, then use an additional tracking script with the usual conversion tracking code.

Short conclusion

As your accounts mature and improve, keeping this cadence up may become overkill. That doesn’t mean you should stop doing it though.

It just means that you can be more efficient, so you’ll have more opportunities to grow your campaigns in even bigger ways.