Distinguishing PPC bottom of funnel optimization from the rest of your marketing funnel isn’t as easy as sitting back and waiting for your users to float through your conversion forms and into a sales team that bats 1.000.
But it can be made easier. You can prioritize changes that require the least effort and drive the most significant wins.
If you listened in on our conversations with clients, you’d hear us talk about this a lot. And one of the phrases you’d hear most often is “low-hanging fruit.”
Lots of existing pay-per-click advertising campaigns don’t do enough to capture the easiest prospects available. They’re the ones who already know you and are interested in your products.
If you can convert more of the low-hanging fruit at the bottom of your conversion funnel, the bottom-line results from your ad spend will improve. And more importantly, you’ll be set up for scalable, sustainable success when you update your campaigns in the future.
What Is A Conversion Funnel?
The conversion funnel is a representation of the visitor’s journey from stranger to prospect to customer. Most marketing campaigns have a version of this. If you’re already running PPC campaigns, you should be familiar with the concept.
At the top of your PPC marketing funnel, which we call the “Discover” or awareness phase, is your initial touches. This is where users learn about your brand for the first time. Maybe they visit your website, click an ad, or see you on social media.
The middle funnel, the “Contact” phase, is where prospects are starting to interact with you. They’re filling out contact forms, getting quotes, and learning about your offer. They aren’t ready to take action yet, however.
Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, users “Choose” you. After all of the huffing and puffing above, these are the customers who sign on the dotted line.
The “funnel” metaphor is appropriate here because you lose people at each stage. In the example below, even with a decent conversion rate at each stage, it still takes 5,000 “Discovers” to create 15 clients.
There are lots of strategies and targeting options for adding people to the top of your buying funnel and moving them through it. But we want to focus on the bottom of the funnel, and why addressing it first can make the rest of your PPC campaign more effective.
What Makes Bottom Of Funnel Visitors Unique?
Once again, the bottom of the funnel is where the buyer actually converts from a prospect into a customer. At this stage, your PPC traffic is hot — these users are well aware of your offer and might even be searching for it specifically.
In simple terms, prospects at the bottom of the funnel are ready to take action. So if you can convert more of them, you’ll see the most direct impact on your campaigns’ performance — especially if you’re focused on the right PPC metrics.
Why ROAS Gains Are The Best Gains
Unlike top-of-funnel PPC efforts that drive brand awareness or lead generation, targeting return on ad spend (ROAS) puts the spotlight on the tangible results generated by your campaign.
In PPC tracking terms, ROAS divides the revenue from an ad campaign by the cost of that campaign. Unlike Return on Investment (ROI), which calculates the return for your campaigns overall, ROAS focuses on the specific ratio of ad spend to revenue.
In other words, ROAS provides a focused look at your digital ad campaigns. ROI includes other components like salary and operating costs.
With most paid search campaigns, a 3-4x ROAS will push your campaign into profitability. (Obviously the ultimate goal is to keep growing well beyond 3x ROAS, but this should give you an idea of where you stand.) Improving the efficiency of your conversion funnel, however, can increase your ROAS without a corresponding increase in your ad budget.
Why You Should Start With PPC Bottom Of Funnel
Improving your close rate at the end of the funnel first isn’t just good PPC campaign management, it’s good science. After all, if you start optimizing the top of your funnel and bringing in more leads, you won’t produce results if you can’t convert them effectively.
This is so important we’ll say it again. If you’re spending money to reach potential customers with paid advertising, the final action steps that your prospects take should be as airtight as possible.
Once you’re sure that the bottom of your conversion funnel is as efficient as it can be, you can start improving the upper stages of the funnel with confidence that any ‘leakage’ has been minimized.
And unlike top- or middle-of-funnel improvements like click-through-rate or cost per click, ROAS gains directly connect your PPC campaign efforts to more dollars in your company’s/clients’ pocket.
4 PPC Bottom Of Funnel Factors To Focus On
The exact qualities of a PPC bottom-of-funnel prospect are different for every business.
Actually, they’re different for every offer. A lead at the end of the buying process for a Disney Cruise package, for example, has very different characteristics than a prospect close to subscribing to Disney+.
That said, there are methods for effectively targeting prospects who are ready to take action. Some of them can help you reach bottom of funnel users with ads that will incentivize immediate action. Others are on-page conversion optimization tactics that will push users over the finish line once they’re on your page.
The first PPC bottom of funnel strategy you should be using is…
1) Branded Search
Branded Search queries are terms that indicate a user is looking for a specific brand or product and is near the bottom of the funnel/ready to convert.
Most PPC campaigns include bids on branded keywords — including your company’s name, and your competitors’ names if your products are similar. In terms of funnel activity, your brand name keyword is unique because an explicit search for you represents the highest level of purchase intent from your traffic.
You can reach these users with equally specific and relevant ads and landing pages. Here are a few ways to focus on branded searches at the PPC bottom of funnel:
Single Keyword Ad Groups
If you’re running PPC campaigns, we recommend setting up single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) for a whole bunch of reasons.
One reason is that SKAGs by nature make your ads and copy more relevant to users who searched for that keyword. That relevance can improve your Quality Score, bounce rate, and other metrics.
Another reason is that exact match targeting (a key component of any SKAG) can help you identify and increase bids for the terms that are performing best, which can further boost ROAS.
Product Listing Ads
For eCommerce sellers, Product Listing Ads can also help you reach users doing branded searches.
These PPC search ads, which are managed in the Google Merchant Center, show your product images and prices to users in Google search results. This option allows your ready-to-buy bottom of funnel users to get to what they want quickly.
Layering in negative keywords can also reduce unwanted clicks and impressions, bolstering your overall lead quality and other metrics that matter.
In Google Ads, for example, you can add negative keywords at the campaign and ad group levels to ensure that you’re getting the right kind of traffic.
To focus on BoFu traffic, you can include broad match and generic searches (e.g. “men’s sneakers”) as negative keywords to filter out top funnel users who are less likely to make a purchase.
2) Cart Abandonment
Cart abandoners are the ultimate bottom funnel target. They’ve already done 99% of the conversion work, and they represent two-thirds of eCommerce customers on average.
Reaching these already-interested BoFu users with specific, relevant ads is a great ROAS investment.
Retargeting is one of the most common ways to bring back users who have abandoned their carts, as well as people who have viewed or purchased your products recently.
The opportunities for retargeting (or remarketing) include a whole host of options, including search ads, display ads, email marketing, social media marketing and more.
You can set up retargeting on all of the major PPC platforms and use it to segment your audience and show them specific and relevant ads.
Most importantly, this can be a fruitful — possibly even juicy — source for maximizing ROAS. Website visitors retargeted with a PPC display ad, for example, are 70% more likely to convert. Similarly, the click-through rate (CTR) of a retargeted ad is 10x higher than the CTR of a typical display ad.
As we’ve mentioned above, bottom-of-funnel targets have probably interacted with your brand before. They may have clicked on an ad, browsed your products, abandoned a cart, or even purchased something. And when that’s the case, savvy users expect you to remember and reference that exchange.
By personalizing your content for these previous visitors, you can turn that expectation into a strength — and use it to increase your ROAS.
In a recent survey, 63% of modern consumers said they expect personalized experiences from brands they’ve purchased from. And 79% say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it reflects previous interactions they’ve had with the brand.
Finally, in another study, 78% of American internet users said personally relevant branded content increases their purchase intent. So if you can master personalization for PPC bottom-of-funnel prospects, you can make that hot traffic even hotter.
Filling out a form is one of the most common final steps before user action. Doing so places a user firmly at the bottom of your sales funnel.
While your form is probably unique to your offer and industry, there are a few suggestions we can make to ease user friction at the moment of truth.
First, create ‘smart forms’ with autofill functionality. This way, your users don’t have to manually type in their name, billing address, payment information, etc. This can drastically reduce form completion time, which gives your almost-customer less time to reconsider taking action.
Further, you can optimize your forms with our (patent-pending) Breadcrumb Technique.
A real quick explanation: conventional CRO wisdom says to remove all but the most essential form fields. But we’ve found success by adding low-stakes, anonymous questions to create an initial commitment and interaction that users will feel comfortable completing.
4) Calls To Action
Like your form, your bottom funnel calls to action need to encourage action, so your user crosses the conversion finish line.
That’s why we always suggest clear and active language for a CTA. For example, a button with text like “Start Your Trial Now” will typically draw more clicks than one that says “Submit.”
The call to action is another area where you can reinforce the benefits your prospect will get from converting. Incentives like the free trial we just mentioned, or free shipping if they act now, can be especially effective.
Finally, CTAs at the bottom of the funnel should be singular — in other words, you should only ask for one thing at this stage. Some marketers go as far as removing navigation headers from landing pages to cut down on extra places for users to click.
PPC Bottom Of Funnel Tactics In Action
For a glimpse into what optimizing your PPC bottom-of-funnel can do for your ROAS, let’s take a look at an example.
One of KlientBoost’s partners, specialty breakfast cereal vendor Good Grains, wanted to improve their existing PPC performance and social media marketing.
By applying bottom-of-funnel strategies like SKAGs exact match and conversion-focused landing page optimization (note the clear “Shop Cereals” calls-to-action above), we increased Good Grains’ Google Ads ROAS by 200%. The changes also significantly reduced the campaigns’ cost per acquisition and generated other bottom-line improvements in their PPC results.
PPC Bottom Of Funnel Takeaways
If you’re just starting to make improvements to your conversion funnel, your best bet is to start at the bottom and work backward.
But to improve your ROAS and run effective PPC campaigns, you’ll need to focus on the needs and expectations of users throughout your sales process.
A healthy balance of lead acquisition and bottom-of-funnel optimization will keep your efforts efficient — and your campaigns profitable.