Being a modern-day Paid Media Manager can make you feel a bit like Sisyphus. Your VP of Marketing has charged you with rolling a boulder uphill (continuously optimizing your AdWords campaigns even when you've reached your quarterly objectives).
Image via Shutterstock. This becomes especially painful when you're getting diminishing returns out of your optimization efforts. There are many tactics to choose from, but many of them may be a waste of time and may leave you with minimal impact. When the going gets tough, you need to get creative and find cost/time-effective ways to keep optimizing your campaigns as granularly as possible. Here are five advanced strategies for getting big optimization wins in AdWords. 1. Reach people who ignored you due to your budget Before investing time into extensive research, ask yourself: Am I getting the full value out of my existing target market? Chances are, you're losing market share for your target keywords (and locations) due to budget caps. To grow your campaigns, reduce the market share loss due to budget caps. Reality check: Are you losing market share due to budget? Check the Search Lost IS (Budget) metric in Google AdWords. You'll find it in the Competitive Metrics category. So what's your number? 2%, 12% or 32%? Here's an example: our client's account was losing up to 32% of market share due to budget by week four. That means they were pacing stronger at the beginning of the month, but needed to slow down towards the end of the month to meet the monthly budget goal.
Search lost due to budget chart (via SCUBE Marketing) Once you know how much market share you lost at account level, you can dig deeper into the campaign level data. You'll know exactly which campaigns contribute to the loss. Those gems are your growth opportunities.
Search lost due to budget by campaign (via SCUBE Marketing) Action plan: Increase daily budgets with performance in mind One path you can take here is to increase the daily budgets based on performance. Use three performance buckets to make decisions: [list] [*]Great. Your CPL is healthy. Get more of it. Increase budgets. [*]Poor. Your CPL is high. You'll spread the poor performance wider by increasing the budget. You won't make it up by volume. Reduce budgets so you can allocate more spend to the performing campaigns. [*]Borderline. Your CPL needs work. Work on reducing the wasted ad spend and start raising your daily budgets - slowly. [/list] Shared Budgets will help you manage your campaign budgets easier. Here's how to prioritize your campaigns and group them into Shared Budgets: [list=1] [*]Sort campaigns by Conversions and CPL. [*]Group campaigns into Shared Budgets based on performance. We like to have four groups - B1 through B4 - based on importance, where B1 has no budget constraints, and B4 has the most budget constraints.
[*]Calculate required monthly spend. Sum each campaign category by cost for the month. Make sure all campaigns fit in your monthly budget. [*]Allocate respectively. Use maximum required budget for B1 first, then B2, B3, B4. [/list] Here's something else you can do to grow your AdWords campaign. 2. Improve market share lost due to low Ad Rank Another great way to grow your AdWords campaigns is to reduce lost market share due to low Ad Rank. If you're not familiar, I'll give you a quick, practical overview. Ad Rank is like MTV Top 40 (and if you remember Scatman, I will give you a high five). Instead of rank being based on sales of audiocassettes, vinyl and other formats across a seven day period, Ad Rank is based on three variables for each search query: [list] [*]Your bid [*]Your Quality Score [*]Your ad extensions [/list]
Scatman (via Giphy) I will skip ad extensions, as most serious advertisers use them already (and I hope you're one of them). The two variables that matter are your bids and your Quality Score. If they stay constant in your account, but your competitors keep increasing theirs, your Ad Rank relative to competitors decreases and your market share (impression share) is lost due to Ad Rank increases. Reality check: Are you losing market share due to Ad Rank? Just as you did with your budget, check the Search Lost IS (Rank) metric in Google AdWords. It's in the Competitive Metrics category.
Search lost due to Ad Rank metric (via SCUBE Marketing) Once again, find your number for both the account and campaign levels. Once you know, you'll know what direction to take things in. Your growth menu is limited to two options: [list] [*]Bid increase [*]Quality Score improvement [/list] Action plan: Increase your bids If your Quality Score is high already (attempts at improving it may result in diminishing returns or a negative impact on your conversion rate), and your CPLs are healthy, you have no other choice but to increase the bids. Your CPL will go up, but you can gain a lot more conversions. Action plan: Improve your Quality Score If your Quality Score is low, work on improving it. You can affect your Quality Score with three factors (directly from Google): [list] [*]Your ad's expected click-through rate: This is based, in part, on your ad's historical clicks and impressions. You can think of this as an estimate as to how well your ads might perform, after factoring in things like extensions, and other various bells and whistles that impact performance. [*]Your ad's relevance to the search: How relevant your ad text is to what a person searches for. [*]The quality of your landing page: How relevant and user-friendly is your landing page? [/list] Recently, Google has improved its Quality Score reporting. You can see the makeup of your score using historical data. This helps you to evaluate how the previous account changes affected your score.
New Quality Score reporting (via SCUBE Marketing) The problem: you can't take your Quality Score to the bank. It's not a KPI. Given that, if your conversion rates are healthy, don't sacrifice your results for the sake of Quality Score. Yes, you may improve your Quality Score a bit, but if your conversion rate tanks, cheap clicks won't matter. If your conversion rates are not healthy, you can either: [list] [*]Write more relevant ads (with focus on improving CTR and CVR) [*]Improve your landing page (with focus on improving CVR). I recommend using Unbounce to create highly relevant landing pages focused on conversions. You can improve their relevancy with Dynamic Text Replacement, responsive design and fast loading times. [/list]
Once you're satisfied with the conversion rate, go back to increasing the bids. On to the next move you can make to strengthen your campaigns. 3. Expand into a new buyer stage Buyers have different stages in their journey. You need to understand the buying stages for your customers, understand their differences and finally adapt your marketing to them. To illustrate the difference between them, I'll use an example that revolves around unicorns. Let's say you kept your unicorn enclosed in a submarine for a few years. Your unicorn was exposed to asbestos and got a sick with mesothelioma. You decided to sue the owner of the submarine and you started looking for a lawyer. A good one. Someone like Saul Goodman.
Saul Goodman can sue anyone (via YouTube) You may be going through any one of three different stages: [list] [*]Awareness early in the process. Looking for ideas or trying to identify the problem. Far from making a decision. Example: looking for symptoms or treatment options. [*]Consideration considering potential options. Not ready to make a decision. Example: looking to find out how the settlement amount for getting your poor unicorn sick. [*]Decision ready to make a decision. Looking for a solution. Example: looking for a lawyer. [/list] In fact, we used this approach for real law firms. One law firm had their eyes set on the strategy behind the decision stage. We identified opportunities to expand into the consideration and awareness stages. New stages helped to double the leads. Let me visualize it:
Double your leads by expanding into new buyer's journey stages (via SCUBE Marketing) Reality check: Are your campaigns assigned to specific buyer stages? Go through your campaigns and map them to the appropriate buyer stages. If you're not deliberate on your buyer stages, your conversion rate may be affected due to poor matching between the offer and the intent of the buyer stage. Think of the traffic temperature concept covered by Molly Pittman and Johnathan Dane. Then, review your offer and make sure it matches the intent of the buyer stage.
Offers matched to traffic temperature, with cold leads (awareness) on the left and warm leads (decision stage) on the right. (via KlientBoost) Action plan: Identify gaps and expand into new buyer stages Once you map your campaigns to specific buyer stages, identify the opportunities to expand. Expand into the stages that you haven't covered. For example, if you're focusing on the decision and consideration stages, expand into the awareness stage. Once you identify the missing stage(s), do the following: [list=1] [*]Perform keyword research for the new campaigns within the missing stage. [*]Develop offers that represent the intent of the buyer stage. [*]Create the ads and landing pages that reflect the offer. [/list] Let's take a look at the next step you can take toward growing your AdWords campaigns. 4. Expand into new locations Locations may be an overlooked avenue in which to expand. Let's say you own a unicorn breeding business and are targeting locations within a certain radius of your office. You assume you should be targeting people living near your business.
Unicorn breeding farm (via Giphy) Think about it again. You may be missing your opportunity. Take these two facts into consideration: [list] [*]People commute and search during their commutes. The average commute time to work in the U.S. is 25 minutes, which averages out to approximately 15 miles. A good number of people take public transportation to work. For example, in 2016, Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation. [*]People search at work. According Salary.com survey, 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites every day at work. [/list] If you don't have these in your targeted locations, you're missing out. For example, one client, selling custom kitchen cabinets, provided us with a recommended list of locations with a wealthy population. We ran ads at those locations and the traction was small. We didn't use the whole budget. Then, we identified a new set of geographies - where the target audience may be working - and tested again. The leads went up by 155% in month 1 (after the change) and 30% more in month 2.
Location targeting (via SCUBE Marketing) Reality check: Are you targeting all possible locations? Check your target locations. Are you targeting based on where people live, commute and work? If you're missing any location categories, identify them. Action plan: Expand into new location categories Once you identified the gaps, do your research and expand. You can expand based on the following scenarios: [list=1] [*]Commuter locations. People within the existing market commuting. [*]Work locations for existing market. People within the existing market at work. [*]New locations for new market. New locations to reach a new audience, provided your business can operate in them. [/list] 5. Expand your offer New customer acquisition matters - a lot. It doesn't matter if you acquire them selling the core product or a loss leader. (If you're not familiar with the loss leader concept, here is the rundown. A loss leader is a product that opens doors for new client acquisition.) Once you get a customer, your goal is to increase their lifetime value. I've covered customer lifetime value extensively in another article. Let's take Starbucks, for example. There's a reason why they're one of the unicorns of the industry. Their marketing isn't focused on selling a five-dollar Unicorn Frappuccino (they actually exist), it's about acquiring a loyal customer who willgenerate $14,099 over the lifetime.
Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino (via Starbucks) Reality check: Do you have a unique offer you could sell to acquire new customers? Consider cell phone companies. Their core product is not the cell phone. It's the subscription service. See what happens when I search for cell phones - I get ads from the cell phone companies.
Cell Phone Offers (via Google) What does that mean? These companies expanded their offers to include additional products that serve as new entry points for new customers and growth. My question to you is this - do you have a new offer you can use to acquire new customers? Action plan: Expand your offers Executing this is easier than it seems. Follow these four steps to expand your offer: [list=1] [*]Research your customers to understand their expectations. I've covered four research methods in a separate article. [*]Create your offer tied to the core product first. [*]Perform keyword research representing new offer. [*]Create the ads and landing pages that reflect the offer. [/list] Final thoughts You made it! Now, you have five different ways to grow your AdWords campaigns. Remember, start with the analysis first, and take action second. Once launched, don't forget to evaluate often, and revise. Your analysis isn't always right. You need to try, try, and try again - until you find success. What effective ways have you found to grow your AdWords campaigns? Share in the comments below.
Churn is a fascinating thing. When users keep coming back month after month, it helps you grow your business rapidly and it makes you a very happy business owner. But when you're losing more customers than you're gaining, it can spell disaster for your business. What makes it frustrating is that you don't always have a clear picture of what causes people to churn or what you should do about it. Sure, you can use analytics and it will tell you a lot. But it won't tell you why people are leaving. That's where feedback loops come in. Building feedback loops into your business allows you to gather data that you can't get from analytics. You'll get valuable insights straight from the people who are handing over their hard-earned money: your customers. In this article, we'll look at some of the ways you can build customer feedback loops into your business and how to use the feedback that you gain. How Feedback Loops Help You Reduce Churn Before we go over some ways you can build in customer feedback loops into your business, let's look at how they reduce churn. They help you create an awesome product You can be the best marketer, the best developer, or the best designer, but if your product doesn't solve a problem you're fighting an uphill battle. Especially if your business depends on people buying from you month after month. One of the best ways to improve your product is to make sure it meets your customer's needs. How do you figure out those needs? You guessed it: customer feedback. And while feedback isn't the be all and end all of product improvement, it helps you figure out if you're on the right track. Leadpages, for example, allows people to vote on what they want to see implemented next. This gives them an idea of what their product is missing and what they need to do to make it better.
They help you write copy that connects Good copy is crucial for any business. It's the first thing people see when they land on your website. If you get it right. Your copy can communicate everything your customer needs to know about your business. It can tell them what you're about, what you can do for them, what their life is going to look like when they use your product. But if you get it wrong, if your copy doesn't speak to your audience, they're going to leave, never to be seen again. Bad copy costs you a lot of money. In order to write good copy, you need to know what words and phrases your customer uses and how they talk about their problems. This isn't something you can just come up with in a vacuum or by looking at analytics. You need customer feedback to figure this out. Once you start using the exact words and phrases your target audience uses, though, they'll feel like you truly understand what they're going through. Your copy will be better aligned with what they want and they'll have a better idea of what to expect. In October 2016, Hubspot hired conversion copywriter Joel Klettke to help them create better sales copy. Instead of just hammering out new copy, Joel used feedback gathered from surveys, chat logs, and support to create a customer-driven message that increased the total volume of demo requests by 35% and increased the total volume of product signups by 27%. They allow you to create a better user experience In order to get people to use your product, you have to show them how to get value out of it as quickly as possible. That means guiding them through the initial stages. But if you don't know what is valuable to your users, you could be helping users with the wrong thing. By using feedback loops, you'll learn what people are having trouble with and what they consider something valuable. Once you know that, you can craft a user/onboarding experience that sets people up for long term use of your product. They help you get better, more qualified customers One of the big advantages of using customer feedback loops is that they help you form a crystal clear image of who your ideal customer is. You can map out their wants and needs. You get to see what type of people they are. You can figure out what job they have and how they use your product. You'll be able to see which customers benefit the most from your product and who might be better off using another solution. You'll be able to direct your marketing efforts to the people who you know will love it and use it a lot. 4 Common Types of Customer Feedback Loops Now that we've gone over the benefits of using loops in your funnel, let's explore what types of feedback loops are available and when to use them. Email Email is very easy to implement and is one of the most basic feedback loops of them all. While it's a great way to get to know more about your customer, it can be hard to keep track of all the responses you're getting. There are two types of feedback you can get from email. You can either ask open-ended questions like this: [center]Image Source Or you can create closed-ended questions like this: [center]Image Source Open-ended questions will let your customers talk freely about your product and they will give you to most valuable info. Closed-ended questions are better if you have a couple of options you want to explore and you want to ask your customers which one is best.
Did you know? Kissmetrics combines behavioral analytics with Kissmetrics Campaigns. Use analytics to find the right audience, and send the best feedback emails to the most targeted audience.
Surveys Surveys allow you to gather a lot of information in a short period of time. With surveys, everything depends on what questions you ask. Asking 'How awesome are we?' isn't going to help you very much, even if you're awesome. Here's an example. Recently, Sumo wanted to find out how they could improve their product and pricing. To do this, they created a short survey and sent it to their users using Sumo's own notification system. [center] The notification takes you to a SurveyMonkey questionnaire where you're asked what stage your business is in and how you perceive Sumo's pricing. It also provides a place to leave open-ended feedback.
Chat boxes Chat boxes give you a real time, direct communication line between you and your customer. You'll have a much faster way of responding to inquiries, but someone has to man the chat. Chat boxes have several advantages. The biggest one, however, is that it allows you to help a customer overcome a pain point before they get frustrated and leave. They help increase sales, too. When Cory Miller from iThemes started using live chat on their website they noticed more opportunities to upsell customers. By building trust and answering questions, customers had more confidence in what they were buying. Support The good thing about support is that you probably already have it installed in your business. It's a goldmine when it comes to product ideas or ideas for improving your customer experience. If they have a technical problem they'll tell you. If they don't know how to use a feature, they'll tell you. If they find something confusing, they'll tell you. The downside of support is that you can not actively request feedback from people. It's a passive way of gathering feedback. How to Use customer Feedback to Improve Your Business In this section, we'll go over some ways you can use the feedback that you've gained to improve your business and reduce churn. We'll look at how to prioritize what part of your product to improve next, how you can use the feedback to improve your copy, and how you can use the feedback to craft a better user experience. Improving your product Making changes to your product is a big decision. But if you do it right, it can make your life a lot easier. If you mess up, you end up increasing churn instead of decreasing it. So how do you know what feedback to listen to and what feedback to ignore? After all, if you ask 10 people what your product should look like you're likely to get 11 different answers. According to J.T.Trollman, product designer at Facebook, it depends on 2 things: [list=1] [*]Knowing your core values [*]When in doubt, count [/list] The first thing you need to do is be crystal clear about your values. What are you trying to do? What problem are you trying to solve? If the feedback you receive contradicts your core values, you ignore the feedback and continue building what you're already building. But what if you're not sure? In that case: count. A lot of times a small group of people will have a very strong (and loud) opinion. Count how many people are saying the same thing and if that number is big enough, adjust accordingly. In the Leadpages example we've talked about earlier, you can see they've labeled all the suggestions. If the suggestion is aligned with their values and enough people vote for it, it gets implemented. But when the idea doesn't fit their vision, they label it 'will not implemented'. This gives them a nice balance between what people want and where they want to go as a company. Improving your Copy To write good, persuasive copy, you need to know answers to 3 questions. [list] [*]What does your customer want to achieve? [*]What does your customer want to avoid? [*]What is stopping them from achieving their goal? [/list] Once you know that, you can write copy that inspires them to take action and overcomes objections. But you still need to know what exact words and phrases they use. A good way to figure that out is to take your responses and turn them into word clouds. This will quickly show you what words are being used the most. There are plenty of free services online that can help you turn feedback into word clouds. A couple of good ones are: [list] [*]TagCrowd [*]WordArt [*]WordClouds [/list] [center][center]Image Source Once you have your word clouds, ask yourself the following questions: [list] [*]What specific words are they using? (e.g: leads) [*]What words aren't they using that they could be using? (e.g: subscribers) [*]What do they talk about a lot? (e.g: content) [/list] Improving the Onboarding Experience When customers use your product or service for the first time, they don't know what to expect. If they don't know what to do or what to look for, chances are they're going to leave and look for a different solution. The goal of your onboarding experience is to get your user to a point where they can see the value in your product. Facebook, for example, is useless if you only create an account. Once you start adding friends and join some groups, you get to see what it can do for you. Take a look at your feedback and see if there are any recurring problems people are facing. Are they having trouble with a certain feature? Do they have no clue where to start? Are they getting confused by the UI? Once you know what people are struggling with, you can adjust your onboarding experience to nip churn in the bud and prevent customers from leaving. Mention, for example, already had a good idea of what users wanted thanks to user feedback. Their automated marketing process was doing a good job at converting free users into paid ones. But whenever a free user became a paid one, the whole marketing process came to a standstill.
Realizing this could increase churn, they extended the lifecycle emails to paid customers and showed them how to get the most out of every feature. Creating content Not only does customer feedback help you better serve your current customers, it also helps you attract new ones. Once you have a good idea of who you are targeting, you can create content that closely fits their needs. And if you add the words and phrases you found earlier, you can really get this going and make awesome content that attracts people to your business. You can also use the feedback to beef up your Frequently Asked Question and support sections. This will help you solve the biggest problems and it will take some pressure off you so you can work on things like your product. Keeping Your Customers Happy Building feedback loops into your business might seem like a ton of work. And it is. It does take time and it does take effort. But the time and effort you put in will pay off in the long run. By listening to your users, you start to reveal patterns that help you reduce churn. You start to reveal what your customers want. You start to reveal ways you can grow your business. And it will make you a very happy business owner. Have you ever used customer feedback loops to reduce churn? Let me know in the comments. About the Author: Robin Geuens is a freelance copywriter that helps businesses write copy that connects. Get his report, 7 Tools That Reveal What Your Customer is Thinking to get a deep understanding of who your customer is.
Everything You Need to Know About Using Video in Social Marketing [Infographic] We often hear how engaging videos are on social media - but there's certainly a trick to getting it right for your audience. This infographic shows highlights from a recent study from Animoto, where 1,000 consumers sounded off on what they wanted to see. MarketingProfs
2017 Google Consumer Confidence Report Digital Examiner recently conducted a survey to determine how much consumers trust the information they are served in Google search results. The trust for Google remains high despite recent commentary surrounding alleged biases, with 72% of consumers saying they trust search results. Digital Examiner
How Content Influences the Purchasing Process: Tips for Content Marketers [Research] CMI and SmartBrief teamed up to create new research that reveals how content influences the purchasing process. The research found that 81% of buyers say they conduct their own research before bringing in a vendor, and 62% wanted content that speaks to their needs and pain points. You can read more analysis of the study on the TopRank Marketing blog. Content Marketing Institute
The Remarkable Rise of Influencer Marketing [Infographic] In an effort to understand the current state of influencer marketing, Influencer Marketing Hub conducted an online survey. They report: "The results are definitely optimistic, indicating that influencer marketing is truly mainstream, on an upwards trajectory as a preferred method of marketing." Influencer Marketing Hub
Coming Soon: Website Demographics LinkedIn has announced that they'll soon release Website Demographics to allow brands to better understand their audience, create tailored content based on resonance, and reach ideal prospects. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
Google Said to Offer Publishers A New YouTube Deal AdAge reports: "[YouTube] is offering major publishers who choose its backend video player the ability to control ad sales both on their sites and on YouTube, according to people familiar with the new offering." AdAge
Twitter Is Testing a Feature That Lets Brands Automate Their Promoted Tweets Twitter is beta testing a program for brands that will allow them to automatically promote their Tweets. The targeting options are limited, and the platform will choose which Tweets to sponsor on behalf of the brand. This new program costs $99 per month for those interested.AdWeek
Facebook will Rank Links to Slow-loading Pages Lower in People's News Feeds For brands with a slow website, the past few years have been pretty tough. Now, Facebook joins in on the movement toward better UX by tweaking its news feed algorithm to penalize links to slow-loading websites. Marketing Land
What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?