Over the last few weeks, Croud’s PPC team has shared insights how to drive growth from mature PPC accounts through a three-part blog series. In the first and second articles, we explored the growing reach and demand for paid search, and effectively streamlining media spend. In this final article, we highlight three tips to help troubleshoot and improve conversion rate for your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
Some of these actions can be carried out by a PPC specialist while other improvements may require cooperation with the web development team to ensure the user journey – from ad click to purchase – is as easy, smooth and quick as possible.
Mobile and desktop page speed test analysis
If a user lands on a page of your website that takes more than a few seconds to load, they may consider leaving your page and opting for one of your competitors’ ads instead. Your window of opportunity to entice the user will have passed, so it’s important to keep page speed top-of-mind.
According to Think With Google, the ideal load time for a mobile website page is five seconds or less. A one-second delay in mobile load time could impact conversions by up to 20%. Another Think With Google benchmark study reports that the bounce rate probability increases by 32% as the page load time extends from one to three seconds, and the probability increases by 123% when the page load time extends from one to 10 seconds.
Fortunately, Google has a PageSpeed Insights tool which analyses the content of a web page and then provides some recommendations to make the page load faster. Both the desktop and mobile pages will be reviewed and given a score out of 100:
- Poor: zero to 49
- Needs Improvement: 50 to 89
- Good: 90 to 100
When reviewing the results for one finance client with a mobile page speed score of 18 out of 100, a list of opportunities were provided by the PageSpeed Insights tool to improve the overall load time speed, which amounted to 16.4 seconds – this was before all elements on the page were fully interactive.
The diagnostics results section also provides more information on improving performance for the webpage.
Results from this Google tool should be shared with the respective web development team to improve and produce faster load times.
Create custom landing pages for different ad copy
Even if your webpages are optimised to load quickly on all devices, it is essential that the content and navigability of the landing page address the user’s needs once they’ve click on your PPC ad.
To ensure that users’ needs are being met, it is important that your PPC landing page matches closely with the wording of the ad and is relevant to the keyword. Does the proposition offered on the webpage align with what’s been described in your ad copy?
This tactic also has the added benefit of improving Quality Score through a strong landing page experience. Google takes into consideration how well the content on the web page matches the user’s original search term, as well as how easy it is to navigate. This is measured through one of three statuses: below average, average or above average. An additional benefit of a higher quality score is that the Google Ads engine will charge you less for the ad click.
Within the layout of the landing page, ensure you have a clear and compelling call-to-action. Use contrasting colours on the buttons to make them stand out and ensure that they are, not only above the fold, but also one of the first items that the user sees.
Consider testing different variables on the page layout to see what works best. In a test for another finance client which took place early last year, our web development team moved the call-to-action for initiating the quote-and-buy journey slightly further up the landing page to drive conversions.
Although the quote volume had primarily increased due to search demand during the testing period, the overall click-to-quote conversion rate increased by 9% which helped bring users further into the purchasing funnel.
Audience targeting refinement
Even if you are targeting highly relevant keywords with a high click-through-rate (CTR) and the bounce rate is low on your site, you may still be running into issues with conversions because your audience is too broad and attracting certain demographics that don’t match your target group.
There are a handful of features within Google Ads that can be leveraged to target individuals based on:
Additionally, you can use audience groups to target users based on their search interests and behaviour. In cases where advertising budget is limited, this option would be worth exploring. Below, we will look at how we can leverage one of these audience types.
In-market audiences are especially convenient for targeting users who are actively researching your products and services with the potential to purchase. This can range from financial services and business services to consumer software and real estate. There are two ways to identifying which in-market audience would be the most suitable for you to target.
Audience Insights report
The Audience Insights tool in Google Ads is useful for researching new audiences based on information from your remarketing lists. For example, Croud was able to gather insights for one of our clients that specialises in personal loans, from a remarketing list of users who had recently made a purchase on the site. We were also able to collect details on which audiences they were most associated with.
The index score shows users within the audience segment compared to the general population, as well as the likelihood of this segment being in your audience list. The audiences can then be applied into the relevant campaigns through the observation or targeting mode.
Within the audience section of Google Analytics, there is an option to view an in-market segments report. Below is an example of a report we put together for a client within the automobile industry. We selected the most valuable goal and used this data to identify, not only which segments generated the most conversions, but also the segments with a conversion rate higher than the average shown.
The above takes data from all channels on the platform – but by utilising the secondary dimension, you can also filter by campaign to narrow down audiences further and find the most relevant ones. All in-market segments listed in the Google Analytics report are available to be applied within the Google Ads campaigns.
One of Croud’s retail clients had historically struggled with low conversion rates for non-brand search campaigns prior to the beginning of our partnership with them in March 2021. After identifying the most relevant in-market audiences within Google Analytics, the audience targeting within the existing campaigns was narrowed significantly to only shows ads to users within those audience pools.
Before May, the average conversion rate for the previous six months was 1.4%. However, after the new search audience strategy was implemented in April, we saw the average conversion rate for the last month increase from 1.5% to 2.2% – the highest monthly average within the past 12 months.