Knowing which keywords and ads are responsible for your conversions is pretty simple and easy. You just have regular conversion tracking set up to track that.
But what happens when your keywords are not really the things that are getting you conversions?
The secret is, it’s your search terms.
And there’s a very big chance that you have a humongous keyword to search discrepancy that’s slowly bleeding your AdWords, Bing Ads, or Facebook account dry from money being spent, that will never convert.
Unexposed search terms are such an untapped PPC potential.
If you look inside of your AdWords Search network campaign today, I 100% guarantee you that you’ll always have more search terms than you have keywords.
The keywords are what you control and what you’re bidding on. But the search terms are what Google is controlling and what you’re paying for.
This means that one of your single keywords (out of the potential hundreds [or more] you’re bidding on), could easily have hundreds of search terms.
This means that it’s actually a mix of your search terms that are getting you conversions, more so than your keywords.
Just look at all those search terms from a single keyword – image source
Once you actually start focusing on lowering your search term to keyword discrepancy, you regain more control, and you not only improve your cost per acquisition, but the many other metrics you care about in managed AdWord campaigns.
But this doesn’t just happen within your Search network campaigns. It happens on the Display network when your automatic placements outnumber your targeted placements and when your Facebook interests are grouped together to create a bigger audience size, without you being able to breakdown the individual interest performance.
So how do you take advantage of The Iceberg Effect?
Create Single Keyword Ad Groups from your search term reports and extract what you can from your automatic placements reports and granulate your social PPC audiences as much as possible.
You need to turn bigger icebergs into smaller ones.
Even though the cost per clicks might be cheaper on Display or Social network, you hardly get any conversions. Or even if you do, they’re of crap quality.
Sounds familiar, right?
It has to do with a very simple principle that I call, “The Chuck Norris PPC Cycle”.
Notice where different PPC visitors enter the conversion cycle.
And as you know, you can’t beat Chuck Norris, you can only obey him.
So what does that mean for you?
It means that different visitors who come from different PPC channels have completely different conversion intents.
It also means that you need to do a better job matching your CTA offer with the temperature and conversion intent of that traffic.
In simpler terms, you need to follow the Ice Cube & Lava scale (Can you tell that I have a lot of different sayings?):
The stronger the intent, the more threatening your CTA can be.
What this scale shows is that the colder your traffic, the lower threat your offer has to be in order to expect conversion to come through.
And you can replicate this same logic to other types of PPC channels so you cover all your bases: Display, Video, Social, and Search.
Display is usually colder traffic, while Search is much warmer.
Let’s say that you’re a B2B PPC advertiser and your ultimate PPC goal is to generate leads through the CTA of a “Free Consultation”.
You might get that to work very well on the Search network because of your visitors having the “hot intent” of wanting what you have to offer.
But if you try to replicate that “Free Consultation” CTA on the Display network where a visitor has clicked a banner ad (and wasn’t searching for you), you can see how it gets pretty hard to expect them to convert right?
So to fix this and help you out, we compiled the different types of CTA offers that we’ve been using for our clients and the breakdown of conversion success looks pretty much like this scale:
Hotter CTAs won’t work for colder traffic, but colder CTAs will work for hotter traffic.
There’s one very important thing to keep in mind however:
If you don’t have a plan for taking a Display visitor from a cold offer to a warmer offer, then all your work will be for no good.
Your email nurturing and retargeting nurturing needs to help bridge the gap from one stage of your marketing funnel to the next, so that you can eventually make the money you want to.
The PPC school you need to graduate your visitors through.
Keep in mind, that if you don’t understand your PPC traffic temperatures and their individual conversion intents, then this PPC secret won’t work for you.
In fact, you might as well keep using brute force like Marshawn Lynch and hope that it works.
But not so fast (although, I do appreciate gifts).
There’s a good chance that your execution is off. And because of that, it’s time to find out where your bottleneck(s) is/are.
See, before you can expect your macro conversion (the end goal you want to take place), many micro conversions need to take place.
Most of the time, these micro conversions are linear in nature, so it makes it easy for you to locate, diagnose, and fix the issue.
Above are some of the most common micro conversions.
If you’re in the lead gen or SaaS space and use lead capture forms on your landing pages, then you’re familiar with the steps a visitor must take leading up to the macro conversion happening.
When you’re tracking your micro conversions you can quickly see that it might not be the landing page that has a problem. It could be the ads or the visitors you’re attracting, or even the order of your form fields.
Take a look at the difference in “Average Session Duration” between these three AdWords campaigns:
There’s a big conversion potential gap between 12 to 114 seconds.
The cool thing is that you can track this micro conversion of “time on site” through Google Analytics and break down your campaign, ad group, and keyword level metrics.
In addition, you can use tools like Hotjar to track form field dwell times (how many seconds it takes for one person to fill out one field on your form), re-fill rates, and Crazy Egg for scroll depth at the PPC channel level.
Finding that certain fields on your forms are the biggest micro conversion blockers?
The hidden fields are what you add to your sign up/lead gen form so it can capture the data that’s in the URL when a visitor converts. If you’re using a landing page builder like Unbounce, then it’sincredibly easy.
Now, once you identify the sales rates of your keywords, you basically start discovering what“Multi Intent Keywords” are.
This means that within your Search network campaign, your keywords start acting like they have different PPC channel temperatures and you should start considering to treat them individually based on their conversion intent and the CTA offer their most receptive to.
PPC Secret #5 – F*** Your PPC Metrics
This isn’t as much of a PPC secret as it is a rant from my end.
There are very few things that move the needle in regards to PPC performance faster than focusing on a hybrid approach of PPC and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
Once you embrace the fact that your ads are not the conversion convincing point, but that your website or landing page is, you understand how much potential a CRO mindset has for your PPC performance.
See, it’s very easy to get caught up in bullshit PPC metrics and acronyms…
AdWords has over 100 metrics, Facebook has over 75.
And while these metrics are important, they’re only guiding lights. They’re not Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
If you’ve truly exhausted all CRO and sales value increase opportunities, then sure, focus on these metrics as your next optimization phase.
But I doubt that’s where you’re at since you’re reading this post 🙂
Be okay sacrificing your quality scores if that 1/10 keyword is making you money.
Instead, focus your time on improving your conversion rates. Not because AdWords is telling that your landing page relevance is low.
Like I mentioned in the opening of this post, great PPC secrets are hard to come by. And one day, these PPC secrets will no longer be secrets.
It’s up to you to do what your competitors aren’t willing to do. And it’s mostly because they’re too lazy to get anything done that truly moves the needle, and more importantly, makes more money.
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