3 Easy Wins for PPC in 2016


easy ppc wins

It’s officially the first week of the New Year. By now, your resolutions should be in full swing. Oh wait, you didn’t kick off your day with a vat of green-juice, a brisk jog and a thorough review of the New York Times? Its ok, I’m right there with you.

 new years resolutions fail

This post is for all of my kindred spirits who are still suffering from the vestiges of a New Year’s Eve hangover. You can embark on your big, impressive, 2016 PPC endeavors next month. For the time being, kick back, enjoy a few more slices of pizza, and score some quick wins with these easy PPC tips.

Quick Win #1: Get More Out of Ad Extensions

Many advertisers fall into a “set it and forget it” trap when it comes to ad extensions. While you certainly don’t need to tweak them on a regular basis, they do deserve a quick review from time to time. When better to hop in and re-evaluate your extensions strategy than at the start of the New Year?

 ad with multiple extensions

Ad featuring callout extensions, structured snippets and enhanced sitelinks.

First things first, marketers should take the time to get acquainted with all of the new types of ad extensions that have been released in the past few years. We’ve seen the search giants shift from providing mainly informational add-ons such as call, location and basic sitelink extensions to more sales focused options like callouts, enhanced sitelinks and structured snippets. These newer extensions are exciting because they give advertisers opportunity, beyond the allotted ad character limits, to plug their products.

bing image extension 

BingAds’ new image extension.

What’s even more exciting are the new extensions that Bing Ads has on the horizon. Not only have the folks at Microsoft recently released image extensions, they’ve also announced that they’re piloting interactive variations like video and Action Link extensions (which allow marketers to append CTA buttons that deep-link to a landing page).

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with all of the new flavors of ad extensions and have selected those that are the best fit for your business, consider how they will jive with one another. The traditional strategy has always been to enable all pertinent extensions independently, cross your fingers and hope Google will serve the best combo for searchers. While Google still calls the shots, enabling all extensions without considering how they work together could create redundancy in your ad copy. To aid your planning, check out Matt Umbro’s article on how to employ structured snippets, callouts and sitelinks in harmony.

Quick Win #2: Step Up Your Remarketing Game

remarketing meme 

Remarketing is, by and far, one of the most awesomely powerful ways to find new customers and, even better, it’s pretty easy to set up. In fact, it’s probably the closest you can come to finding a “PPC magic bullet.” At this point, most advertisers are running remarketing campaigns through Google and, I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority are pumped about the results. If you’re one of the many advertisers who is ready to up the ante on those efforts, it’s time to check out new retargeting venues.

Firstly, consider implementing a remarketing campaign on Bing. This long-awaited feature was launched in October of last year and operates similarly to AdWords’ RLSA functionality. Essentially, it allows advertisers to manipulate settings for ads served to users who are past website visitors. For example, they can set bid adjustments to prioritize ad visibility for these “qualified searchers.” Or, they create ad groups that will only be triggered if the searcher is on the remarketing list.

Another venue worth pursuing is Facebook. If you’re already advertising on Facebook, expanding your efforts to include remarketing is a no brainer. In fact, on this site, remarketing ads get 3x (!!) more engagement than regular old ads. When it comes to Facebook, there are three ways to develop remarketing audiences. You can target your website traffic (much like AdWords and Bing), your app users, or lists of people whom you’ve already had contact with. Sold? Check out Margot’s Ridiculously Awesome Guide to Facebook Remarketing for a full rundown how to set it up.

Quick Win #3: Give Customer Match a Whirl

customer match unicorn comic 

This past fall, Google released one of its most ground-breaking features to date, Customer Match targeting. This allows AdWords advertisers to engage in identity-based marketing (finally!), by uploading lists of their prospects’/customers’ email addresses, which Google matches to specific users. Advertisers can then adjust their bids and cater their ad messaging for each list segmentation. For example, the advertiser can set aggressive bids to prioritize ad positioning for prospects who are super-far down the funnel. For the time being, advertisers can employ this strategy for the Search Network, Gmail Sponsored Promotions and Youtube.

Although the idea of learning how to set up a whole new Google feature might send you reaching for another glass of left over champagne, I assure you it’s actually really easy to get Customer Match up and running. Check out my guide for step-by-step setup instructions.

Hopefully, this list of quick, stupid-simple activities will help you ease into PPC for 2016. Remember, you can always start the big projects in February!

About the Author

Erin Sagin is a PPC Evangelist and Community Manager at WordStream. She was named the 3rd Most Influential PPC Expert of 2015 by PPC Hero. When she’s able to take a break from paid search, you’ll find her practicing her hula-hooping skills or planning her next trip to Latin America. You can follow Erin on Twitter and Google+.

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kurt graver
Jan 14, 2016

Nice post, extensions are already pretty well for us. We must be doing remarketing wrong because its not yielding the results we expected. Customer match sounds interesting, definitely on our to do list for 2016.

Erin Sagin
Jan 18, 2016

Thanks for commenting! I'd definitely check out some of our posts on remarketing (Larry wrote a good one on the basics, and I wrote one on common mistakes) to troubleshoot your campaigns. Best of luck in 2016 :)

Edward Larry
Jan 14, 2016

I really like your comment on extentions, And learned about create ad groups even remarketing list, I hope I get to read more about you wordstream. Thank you.

Erin Sagin
Jan 18, 2016

Glad ya liked it! So many of us fall into the "set it and forget it" trap when it comes to extensions, but it's important to revisit them from time to time...

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