3 useful PPC tools to get the most of your AdWords account
Author: Jérémy Bourhis
17th May 2016
When you launch a new business you often have to solve an enigma, it is critical that you start making as much noise as possible about your brand or product but you have to do this with limited resources in regards to time and budget. As a growing company, Cronofy is no different and there are so many opportunities we could pursue but we can’t do everything. This is why we have to be smart in what we choose to do and try do more with less, especially where our PPC budget is concerned.
There is definitely a temptation to go big straight away with PPC (Pay-per-click) because Google has made it so easy to create campaigns via AdWords. You only need to put a list of keywords together, write a text ad and you can sit back and expect to see traffic coming through to your website, hopefully conversions too. However if you don’t keep a close eye on the cost it can quickly spiral out of control.
But it isn’t impossible to build successful PPC campaigns on a startup budget. Let’s focus on Search Campaigns which are the main component of our AdWords account for now. They don’t require as much creative work as display campaigns and can be launched quickly as long as you have a live web page, meaning that you can start collecting results and testing straight away.
Keywords are at the core of Search Campaigns. That’s what you need to focus on first, building a list of keywords reflecting your offer and likely to attract traffic. Cronofy an API calendar that integrates with all calendars so that means we could potentially target keywords like “Google calendar” or “iCloud Calendar”. It’s always tricky to find the right keywords to advertise for a B2B service in a mainly B2C focused space.
After the first round of initial keyword research we had a list of keywords we thought would bring qualified traffic to our pages although there was also the potential that we might get a lot of clicks from people simply looking to sync their calendars with their mobile app. Clicks mean and cost we didn’t plan on spending too much at first.
What PPC tools features do we use at Cronofy?
Dynamic Search Ads
A useful tool to fill the gaps in your keyword base and gain a better understanding of how your audience is actually searching for your solutions and speed-up your experiments. This uses Google’s organic web-crawling technology to look at the keywords present on your website in order to automatically show your ads for search queries that are relevant to your offers but that you aren’t currently targeting via specific keywords. It has a lot of other perks like the fact that your ads will be updated when you update your website or that the headlines of your ads will be automatically generated to include words from the actual search phrase entered by the user on the search engine.
Word of advice though: keep a close eye on it and run regular search terms reports to add negative keywords. You might love talking about kittens and puppies in your blog posts but you don’t necessarily want to spend your PPC budget on it!
Broad match modifier
This neat keyword match type, allows you to have a lot more control on your budget than when using broad keywords while still generating more traffic than phrase keywords, which is useful at first when you are building up your keyword base as you might not know all the phrase or exact match keywords you should target. The principle is that all keywords preceded by ‘+’ have to appear in the search query entered in the search engine but in no particular order. It is also a useful thing to get an idea of what your prospects are searching for even if you can only guess a couple of the more popular terms that will appear in their search query.
It can be a scary time when you click the live button on your campaigns, which is why I would recommend using Keyword Planner to estimate the potential traffic and the PPC budget you want to assign to your account. This has helped us decide on which keywords to focus on based on our desired daily ad spend and the website conversion average.
Tip: Don’t push all your campaigns live at the same time, trickle them down by theme or by territory in order to keep control over costs so you don’t have to shut down campaigns because you are out of budget. You don’t want to wake up and realise that all of your PPC budget for the day has been spent in Australia when you were fast asleep!
Don’t forget to add negative keywords
Negative keywords allow you to make sure your ads only appear for people interested in your offers. Let’s say that someone is looking for a free solution to synchronize his iPhone calendar with another personal calendar. This is not the audience that Cronofy is targeting. This is why keywords like ‘iPhone’ and ‘free’ may appear in our negative keywords list and help us keep the cost of our campaigns down.
Because we are working with a smaller budget we started by creating a list of negative keywords instead of progressively adding negative keywords based on the search queries reports. This initial list was a mix of some generic list of negative keywords that I found on the internet and the more specific ones relating to our business.
List of standard negative keywords for B2B:
List of standard negative keywords for B2C:
I think the most important thing when you start building a PPC strategy for a startup is understanding that because you don’t have the same PPC budget as a bigger organisation it is going to take more time to find what works and what doesn’t and that you are going to have to prioritise early on. Try to do a few things well rather than only scratching the surface on a lot of things.
It’s also important to keep a close eye on ROI (return on investment). Track and segment leads so you can attribute revenue to PPC and other marketing channels. PPC doesn’t work for every business or product. If you can’t find a strong enough ROI, focus on channels where you do.
Let us know what tools you use to build your account and making sure you keep your PPC spending in check, don’t hesitate to hit us up on Twitter.