How to reduce your PPC costs (Episode III)

December 30, 2009 Lammo

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, and are ready for all that the next decade has in store – Perhaps your New Years Resolution will be to stop spending so much on PPC? If so, then you’re going to love the final part of our three-part series (In case you missed them, here’s Part One and Part Two from last week) looking at reducing your PPC costs.

Today it’s the turn of Kier and Kirsty to give us their advice on how to cut those Adwords bills…

Kick us off then Kier..

Kier MarstonYour best bet is to work on improving your CTR.

Ensure that your ad groups are all tightly focused for the keywords and that your site/landing page has been properly built out to be as ‘valuable’ to the end user as possible (there’s plenty of advice on this out there, check out Kieron Donoghue’s blog post on Google Adwords landing pages for some starting points). Also, constantly try new variations on ad copy and kill those that perform worse. The higher your CTR the better your quality score and the less you’ll actually pay per click.

Kirsty says…

Kirsty McCubbinThere are two main things I tend to do when my PPC campaigns aren’t quite cutting it on the margins front, or if I want to give them due dilligence to make sure I’m not spending money I don’t have to:

Step 1

Once the campaign/adgroups have had a bit of time to “bed in” I will gradually reduce my CPCs and see how the campaign reacts. Sometimes I have managed to shave a fair whack off of my PPC spend doing this. I have one campaign running at the moment that I have reduced CPC on by 50% and I’m getting the same traffic levels I always did. I do suspect I’ve been able to do this because the campaign has been running for 2 years and performing well though.

However, that said I recently shaved 30% off the cost of an adgroup that was 8 weeks old overnight. If you are working in an area with very competitive CPCs this technique will often not work, but is always worth a try before throwing in the towel. If my attempts to reduce CPCs without affecting my traffic too dreadfully don’t work, I tend to just wholesale cut my bid levels back to where I will make a profit and take whatever traffic I can get. Sometimes traffic levels increase after a while. In either case I always follow up with STEP 2 …

Step 2

I look for cheaper, laser targeted longtails to add into my adgroups. These often have much less competition, cost less, convert better, and have the gratifying side effect of increasing the overall CTR on my adgroup which can assist with STEP 1!

Oh, and if you have any terms or adgroups that are pulling down the CTR of a campaign generally, move them to a campaign of their own. This will help your campaign perform at its best. Finally, the reverse engineering Shane talked about in the How Much Cash For PPC post is absolutely essential. However, you do need to follow that up by making damned sure that whatever you are sending traffic to is indeed converting and making you a profit. You need to analyse profit right down to keyword level by making sure you are at least using network keyword tracking and sending your traffic to highly targeted landing pages. That way, you will be able to weed out keywords that are just burning spend and concentrate on more lucrative areas. To take a “campaign wide” view of your affiliate profits can often lead to you missing out on a valuable niche product or strongly converting keyword that you can subsequently build good revenue on.

So in short, Step 3 (yes I know I said I did two things!) is making sure all your spend is working for you and you’re not carrying any rubbish performers in your campaign!

John LamertonEditors Note: Thanks to all the doctors who took the time to give some fantastic advice over these last three posts – Advice that should make a huge difference to affiliates’ PPC efforts, and should see the end of unprofitable PPC campaigns forever!

Don’t forget if there’s a burning question about any aspect of Affiliate Marketing that you’d like to ask, then the Affiliate Doctors would love to hear from you! Happy New Year everybody!

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Filed under: Clinic, Pay Per Click

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