I’ve been asked before by clients and interested parties about why their large amounts of Google Adwords are not converting to sales at their expectation levels.
High ad traffic does not necessarily correlate to higher profits. A common misconception is that “if I get a ton of traffic from my ad campaigns, some of them are bound to convert to sales and my profits will increase.” While this may be true, any business man or women knows that you need to focus on profit not revenue. High ad traffic may lead to lots of revenue, but the amount you’ll pay for your ad campaign (remember – it’s called PPC – and literally means pay per click) will cause your ROI to be low or even negative.
There could be many valid and explainable reasons for having great ad campaign traffic but low conversion rates. Fortunately, these reasons are fairly easy to avoid. If you aren’t getting the conversion rates you want out of your ad campaign, take a look at the list of do-nots below and see if you can make improvements.
Bidding on the incorrect keywords
One of the big keys to increasing your CTR (click-through-rate) and ROI is targeting relevant keywords and not bidding on broad-match keywords.
Let’s start by discussing broad-match keywords. If you are an auto insurance company, while it may seem beneficial to bid on the keywords “insurance” or “auto insurance” these are highly competitive keywords and companies pay a fortune for every single click. While you may have some worthwhile clicks from these keywords, you will pay a premium for them and your profits will suffer.
Instead, focus on exact match keywords, local keywords, and lower competition keywords. If you are an auto insurance company based out of St. Paul Minnesota, you would likely have a higher conversion rate with local traffic. Try bidding on “auto insurance minnesota”, “auto insurance st. paul” or similar keywords. If your auto insurance company runs comparison quotes on your competitors and shows potential customers how much they could save by switching to you, you may try bidding on keywords such as “auto insurance minnesota comparison rates”, “comparing car insurance rates in minnesota” or other similar keywords. If the page your ad brings your customer to is interesting to them, this creates a call-to-action and can lead to higher conversion rates. I’ll touch more on that in the next sections.
By focusing on the correct keywords, your overall clicks will decrease, but your CTR and conversion rate will increase.
Generic, non-targeted ads
Expanding on the last section about avoiding targeting broad-match keywords, your ads should also be specific. The text in your ads is the first thing your potential customers will see and is your only opportunity for a first impression.
Back to the St. Paul based auto insurance company again, what text should they focus on in their ad?
Let’s say that the add the company currently runs advertises their low rates and great service. This sounds like a good idea, right? Everyone wants lower rates and great customer service. The problem is that in today’s world, people actually expect these things when shopping around for services, especially insurance. So while it’s a good marketing technique, it’s not going to increase your CTR or conversion rate.
Instead, the add text should focus on their geographical advantage to maximize their CTR based on their keywords. If a search engine user searches for “car insurance companies in minnesota” then the ads they see better have the word “minnesota” in it or they will skip over it. Also, adding in calls to action like “get a free quote!” or “see how much you’ll save in 5 minutes!” can dramatically increase your CTR. If you can deliver the goods, your conversion rates will increase.
Bear in mind, the example I’ve been using of the auto insurance company is an atypical example. Auto insurance is one of the highest competition keywords and you may not get good CTRs and conversion rates no matter what you do.
Using your site home page as your ad landing page
One big ad campaign no-no is linking your ads to your sites home page. Even if your ad is optimized for your keywords and you have great CTRs, as soon as someone lands on your sites home page they aren’t going to know what to do with themselves.
Instead, create ad specific landing pages with calls-to-action that will cause user engagement and increase viewing time. The longer a potential customer is on your site, the higher the conversion rate will be (generally speaking).
Again using the auto insurance company as an example, lets say that a potential customer clicks on their optimized ad for comparing auto insurance rates in Minnesota. If the page they land on after clicking on the ad doesn’t give them the ability to compare local rates, your bounce rate is going to be huge. If the company runs a campaign advertising “auto insurance quote in 4 minutes” the page the customer lands on better be a form to get an auto insurance quote. If they land on the website home page, and leave it up to the user to navigate to the relevant information on their site, their conversion rates will suffer, regardless of how much traffic they get from the ad campaigns, they won’t see the ROI they are looking for.
Poor products or on-site content
OK, so far we’ve gone over tips to optimize your ad campaigns to generate visitors who are more likely convert to customers, but the battle is only half over.
Once you have the visitors attention, you now need to peak their interest, encourage their engagement, and give them a good reason to stick around and give you their money.
The idea of the auto insurance company linking their ads to a page that will give you a quote on the spot, or allow the user to compare local rates in an instant is what you should be going for here.
Your tactics to drive user engagement once you have their attention will vary based on your products, but the concept is always the same. Give your potential customers a reason to want to convert from a casual visitor to a customer.