The past year was very different for most of us, and many people are looking forward to starting over in 2021. As the new year kicks off, digital marketers everywhere are getting their calendars lined up and embarking on new budget talks. Often, this involves optimizing and streamlining paid advertising strategies to yield even better results.
A lot has changed in the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) world over the last decade. If you haven’t kept up, you might be years behind what’s currently “in.” To help you ensure you’re up to speed, we’ve compiled 15 PPC best practices you should adhere to in 2021. Let’s take a look!
1. Use Automation
A great PPC campaign starts with clear processes, and that includes automation. It’s beneficial to look for ways to automate manual tasks that you perform repeatedly, such as testing, bidding, and reporting. Google Ads can help you streamline your PPC process with features like automated rules that enable you to increase bids for high-converting, low-cost keywords.
2. Review Your Budget
Few things are worse than getting stuck in a rut and forgetting to reevaluate your budgets. Every so often, it’s important to take a look at past campaigns. What worked, and what didn’t pan out so well? Where was your money best spent? Did you use all of the money you allotted to your campaigns? If so, do you need to increase it or change your approach? Answers to these questions can guide you as you create new strategies and set new budgets.
3. Incorporate Video Ads
Eighty percent of marketers report that video ads have helped them boost sales. Additionally, 83 percent say videos have improved their lead generation efforts. Visuals are one of the best ways to ensure users remember the information you’re showing them. So, aim to incorporate video formats where they make sense in your advertising strategy.
4. Review New Features in Google Ads
If you want to optimize your ads to meet your audience’s needs, it’s crucial to stay up to date on current paid search features. Here are just a few tools that Google unveiled last year:
- Free product listings in Google Shopping.
- More conversion categories, including “add to cart,” “book appointment,” and more.
- Custom audiences in Google Ads, Display, Gmail, Youtube, and Discovery.
- Image extensions that display small images next to text ads.
5. Implement Smart Bidding
Google allows you to use machine learning to optimize your conversion rates and manage your ad spend. Simply tell the search giant what your advertising goal is, and Smart Bidding will place bids on your behalf, taking your budget into account.
6. Diversify Your Strategies
Are you used to running text-based search ads? Make it your goal in 2021 to diversify your campaigns by including shopping, display, YouTube, and even Gmail ads. This approach ensures that you meet potential customers in more of the spaces they frequently use online.
7. Incorporate Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI)
Keyword insertion is a feature that might feel too advanced if you’re new to the PPC world, but once you figure it out, it could really up your advertising game. With this feature, you can insert keywords into your ad copy to customize it based on terms that users are searching for. This makes your messaging more relevant to your target audience.
8. Customize Ads for Mobile Devices
Mobile traffic surpassed desktop use back in 2016, so if you’re not mobile-friendly, you’re behind the times. As a best practice, your paid search strategy should also consider mobile consumers. Ignoring these users could cause you to waste your budget and lose out on opportunities to reach your target market.
9. Test Additional Features
If you’re like most marketers, you’re probably not using the tools you have at your fingertips as optimally as you could be. Therefore, you should explore the apps and platforms you’ve been using to see if there are any features you could be taking advantage of. You might just discover a powerful new tool to implement into your strategy!
10. Target Your Audiences Better
Both Google and Microsoft offer ways to hone in on your audiences better so you can target your PPC campaigns more directly to people whose interests and behaviors are likely to align with your brand. Consider incorporating targeting that includes:
- LinkedIn profile targeting
- Custom intent
- In-market audiences
Be sure you review the audiences you selected last year and update your settings and audience lists accordingly.
11. Learn to Use Scripts
Scripts are tools that allow you to automate certain aspects of your PPC campaigns, such as bid management and split testing. This helps you avoid wasting time on repetitive tasks and allows you to streamline and optimize your reporting and performance.
12. Run Responsive Search Ads
Responsive search ads allow you to show more text (and more relevant messages) to your audience. You can add up to 15 different variations of your headlines and four different variations of your ad copy. Then, as time goes on, Google Ads will automatically test the various combinations to learn which options get the best results.
13. Prepare for Voice Search
Maybe you’re not getting a large number of voice searchers just yet, but trust us: They’re coming. In 2021, the number of US voice-assisted users is expected to reach 122.7 million (42.2 percent of US internet users). Be ready to respond to voice searchers by incorporating voice search best practices into your PPC campaigns.
14. Don’t Forget About Visual Search
Voice search isn’t the only thing that’s expected to take off in 2021 – visual search will likely gain more popularity this year, as well. To be ready for image-based search, make sure your catalog of products is aesthetically pleasing and comes complete with metadata. This will help Google and other search engines classify your photos correctly.
15. Reevaluate How You Report
Have you been using the same performance report for years? If so, it’s time to reevaluate your key metrics and look for reports that can deliver the information you need to evolve and grow as a brand. Take a look at the data you’re currently using to determine if it’s still valuable. Then, see what new metrics you can add to get an even better idea of your campaign performance.
Stay Up to Date with All Things PPC with Help from Zero Gravity Marketing
At Zero Gravity Marketing, we’re proud to say that we’re always on the ball with trends and industry changes. If you need help ushering in 2021 with a PPC campaign that works best for your business, give us a call!