PPC best practices—like segmenting and targeting your audience, choosing the right keywords, and using data to optimize—are pretty evergreen. But because platforms evolve, companies grow, and customer behaviors shift, the strategies we use to practice them are usually not.
And we’ve seen lots of challenging changes over the past year or so from Google, Apple, and Facebook in the name of automation, privacy, and pandemics.
That’s why I’m going to share with you eight PPC strategies that you can use today to overcome the many challenges we’re facing today.
These strategies involve the following:
Let the games begin.
Almost none of the strategies and tools covered in this post are new. What is new is the role they play in today’s PPC landscape. With Google taking away modified broad match and low-volume search terms; Facebook Ads limiting us to only eight conversion events, and eventual cookiepocalypse redefining pretty much everything, some strategies and tools that were ineffective or didn’t make sense to use in the past are now coming out on top.
Google’s retirement of modified broad was based on their claim that “broad match is now more effective at driving performance” and that modified broad and phrase match often have the same use cases. The PPC community largely begged to differ. Even if it is more effective, broad match will always carry the risk of wasting money on low-converting traffic.
But with this workaround, you can get the benefits of broad match at a much lower risk.
How to do it:
With this strategy, you’ll create a workaround by pairing the broad match keyword type with larger affinity, in-market, and custom audiences.
Basically, you’re telling your ad to show for any search that contextually matches up to your broad match keyword, but only if it’s coming from someone in your selected targeted audience.
This way, even if you’re not showing for the best query, you’re at least showing to the right person and getting some brand exposure. And since that audience by design is going to be searching more relevant queries anyway, the “risk” of broad match is already reduced. And you may even find new terms or audiences to target (or exclude).
This strategy is helpful if you’re looking to:
Before you get started, review your campaign setup to make sure there aren’t any restrictions or exclusions that could render this strategy ineffective. You’ll also need a solid negative keyword list to begin with.
For more help with this strategy, head here.
Why? Because YouTube Studio gives you access to data and insights you won’t find in standard Google Ads reporting.
What you can do:
The “Card clicks” column here shows that TV, Game console, and Tablet placements could be wasting your spend.
For more ways to use this PPC strategy, head here.
Microsoft Advertising Intelligence is a keyword planner tool that you access by downloading a plugin for Excel. The amount of information it provides can be dizzying, but when used right, you can discover new keywords that would otherwise slip through the cracks (or that you may not be able to discover through the limited Search Terms Report).
How to use it:
What you’ll do is paste a list of keywords into the tool’s Excel interface. You’ll then get a list of keyword recommendations with volume, bid estimates, and [lots of] other metrics.
But that’s only the beginning. Now you can get more granular with different views:
Now, you can plug the list of new keywords you come up with into the Google Keyword Planner. And don’t exclude low-volume keywords. You’d be surprised to see how many keywords that have little to no search volume in Bing are actually quite popular on Google—and vice versa.
So be sure to upload your Microsoft keyword lists to Google and Google keyword lists to Microsoft. (P.S. You can also use our Free Keyword Tool to get Bing and Google performance data in one place.)
Learn more about this PPC strategy here.
This PPC strategy is useful for advertisers to show clients how their display ads are impacting their campaign performance (i.e., to show that the money you’re spending on Display ads is worth it).
What you need to do:
Now, the numbers in Google Analytics will show you which users, who did not convert from your Display campaigns, eventually returned to your site via other channels and converted.
You can also take those audiences you created and apply them in observation mode to your ad groups or campaigns in Search. This way, you can get information on what users are searching for after interacting with your Display ads.
Learn more about this PPC strategy here.
As third-party cookies are in their final stages of life, collecting first-party data is now a priority for advertisers. While you can (and should) include lead magnets on your site that collect email addresses and other information, you can scale that data collection by using lead form ads, particularly on Facebook.
Two ways to do it:
For more tips on this strategy, head here.
Though this tool came out back in 2017, it still doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. With it you can capture your own first-party intent data for effective B2B PPC.
Great ways to use it:
For more tips on using the LinkedIn Website Demographics tool for PPC success, head here.
Going from unlimited to-dos to only eight? Fun.
Going from unlimited Facebook conversion events to only eight? Not fun.
Let’s say Facebook Ads for webinars are your top-of-funnel bread and butter. And that since you serve six different verticals, you have a separate conversion event set up for each industry. Well now, you now only have two conversion events left for your entire domain.
What to do:
For the subsequent ad in your Facebook funnel, make the ad creative and copy the same for all industries. Now you can create one Custom Conversion event for all webinar signups, and then choose that one Custom Conversion as just one of your aggregated events.
There are plenty of ways to combine your events in a way that works for you, such as by:
For more ways to deal with Facebook Aggregated Event Measurement, head here.
You could also steer clear of conversion events and pixels altogether by using Facebook campaign objectives that don’t send users to your site—like leads (mentioned above) and messages (mentioned below).
Not only does the messages objective spare you the conversion event complications, but you can also do more with its current iteration. In particular, you can basically turn it into a conversational lead ad.
How to do it:
Once you select the messages objective, go through the standard campaign setup (media type, primary text, headline, etc.) Then, scroll down to the Message Template section and select “Generate Leads – Messenger Only.”
Click Create and you can set up a conditional chat sequence to gather information and further qualify leads.
The conversational approach to information gathering can sometimes engage users who might completely ignore a direct response ad. It’s also a more creative method that might be more appealing to fatigued audiences.
For more help with this PPC strategy, head here.
As I mentioned from the start, these strategies and the tools to carry them out have been around for a while. But they’re resurfacing as the PPC world is heading toward one that is privacy-first (and by the looks of it, heavily automated).
Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream, where she helps businesses to make sense of their online marketing and advertising. She specializes in SEO and copywriting and finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.
See other posts by Kristen McCormick
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.