I’ve noticed one glaringly obvious fact recently: a lot of people have got PPC CRO (click-through rate optimisation) all wrong. So many businesses waste time making incremental copy changes to their PPC ads and expecting their click-through rates to go soaring. But they never do.
Why? Because copy changes actually have little to no effect on click-through on PPC ads. There, I said it. That’s not to say that once in a while, one of these little changes you make does have an impact – but more often than not, they just don’t.
High CTR does not equal high conversions …
Another assumption I’m keen to debunk is that ads with a high click through rate also have a huge conversion rate (the amount of users actually making a purchase or entering details having clicked on that ad.)
However, again, this is misguided. There is actually little difference in the resulting conversion rates of both low and high click-through ads. So what does this tell us? An ad with a high click-through won’t necessarily reflect this in a high conversion rate.
Higher bidding doesn’t mean higher conversions …
My final gripe – the preconception that there is a quick win for bidding yourself into your desired position, as a method of boosting conversion. This pivots on the axis that you should pay more for a higher position, because that’s where all this magical conversion is happening, right? Wrong.
In reality, ads in different positions have similar conversion rates. A higher ad position might have an influence on your click through, but as we’ve already explored, this won’t necessarily send your conversion rocketing. Plus, the higher the positon, the higher those clicks cost in the first place.
To me, that just sounds like an expensive way to fail.
So what actually works?
So, now that we’ve been through a few techniques that don’t work – let’s concentrate on the ones that do.
1. Use highly converting ad formats
There’s a new wave of ad formats which can bias people toward converting – before they even click on your PPC ad. Here are the three ways you can take advantage of this trend:
Ad customizers: ad customizers allow you to go beyond simply telling your customers to buy your product. Sale countdowns and limited product availability counters are just ways of tapping into buying psychology by adding a sense of urgency into your ad. Even if your sale never ends – as long as your customer thinks it does, and feels that essential fear of missing out, your ads will be way more effective.
Shopping ads – shopping ads are killer for e-commerce. The price and image information steals attention and clicks from other ads on the page and means the users clicking through know exactly what they’re getting, so they’re already more likely to convert.
Keywords – as always, keywords selection is critical. Out of the three categories of keywords (navigational, informational and transactional), transactional show the most commercial intent on behalf of the buyer. The most successful PPC ads weight their keyword selection to this category.
2. Don’t be afraid to be different
My second tip is perhaps the most simple: the best way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to be, well… different. Funnily enough, this is what a lot of businesses struggle with.
Unique ads should really showcase your USP (unique selling point) in a way that elicits a human response.
There’s a famous example about a PPC ad for divorce lawyers. Instead of using the same old keywords and formats as the other thousands of competitors, it uses the title “who is your husband with?” thus appealing directly to the user, resulting in an emotional response.
It’s no wonder that this ad converts three times as highly as its competition.
3. Exploit remarketing for CRO
I feel that remarketing is an often underestimated CRO tool. However, I’m of the opinion that it’s a pretty important one. It’s a method of reconnecting you to your visitors who have left your site without converting – as well as the 70% who abandoned their cart. This is the vast majority of your visitors, and people who have already had one point of contact with you (so are much more likely to convert second time around).
Aggressive and to the point remarketing campaigns tend to work best, as conversion rates actually increase over time with remarketing ads.
Another way to exploit remarketing for conversion is through remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA).
These have, on average, higher click through rates and lower cost per click than other search ads. A final word of warning, though: be wary of stealing conversion from your other campaigns!