4 Power Plays for Driving Qualified Google Traffic (Even When No One’s Looking for You)

We learned from the 2010 sci-fi classic Inception that it’s nearly impossible to plant an idea in someone’s head (even for professional dream architects).

This is bad news when you’re on the hook to deliver a high-performing landing page for a new product or service. If no one is searching for your offer, then no matter how brilliant your page, it’s much harder to get the traffic you need to validate, test, and scale.

A quote from Inception.
Source: Advertising is Inception (SlideShare)

Even Google, the search engine powerhouse, can’t create demand where none existed before.

…Or can it?

SEO and paid search get so much attention, it’s easy to forget that Google’s coverage actually extends far beyond organic and paid SERP listings.

Not only does Google’s advertising network reach 90% of internet users, but the cost can also be pennies on the dollar compared to other platforms (like social). And by using Google Ads’ advanced targeting options, you can attract the perfect audience to your landing page and offer.

The opportunity to drive targeted, affordable traffic with Google Ads is massive—even if no one is entering your product or service into a search box. Here are four types of Google Ads that will deliver a real bang for your buck.

1. Drive Desire with YouTube Ads

More than a billion people watch over 30 billion hours of YouTube each month. Since Google owns YouTube, you can easily reach a very targeted audience with your video ads.

The Opportunity:

YouTube ads are a great way to drive awareness of your new offer by providing context and visuals in a way that text ads can’t. Targeted ads not only earn views, they can bring new engaged audiences to your landing page, ready to buy.

Here’s a client screenshot of their video campaign performance. With a low average cost per view (CPV) of only $0.05, the $25:1 ROAS absolutely justifies the investment.

A screenshot of video campaign performance

You have several options for video ads, including bumper, outstream, and video discovery.

The most popular format is skippable in-stream. These ads are skippable after 5 seconds, and advertisers are only charged if someone engages with the ad, watches to the end, or watches past 30 seconds (whichever comes first).

Examples of YouTube ads

With YouTube Ads, Watch Out For:

The first 5 seconds of your ad are critical for hooking your viewer. If your ad takes too long to tell your story or introduce your brand, your target audience will skip it.

If we’re being honest, though, you probably don’t have a “first 5 seconds” of a video ad to optimize. Creating video ads is expensive and time-consuming. It’s easy to de-prioritize and procrastinate production even if you know “it’s important.”

Fortunately, you don’t need a million-dollar ad to grab your audience’s attention.

The video software company Wistia tested the impact of production budgets on performance by creating 3 ads at dramatically different costs ($100K, $10K, $1K). They found that a big-budget ad can actually backfire by feeling too polished.

So, remember, the best ads are those that connect with the audience, and that can be done on almost any budget.

Get Started with YouTube Ads:

To run YouTube ads, select the Video campaign type in Google Ads.

Select campaign type: video

Your videos will need to be hosted on YouTube. You can use unlisted videos, but they can’t be private. You can find complete instructions for launching YouTube Ads here.

Keep in mind that even if your videos are just halfway-decent, they’ll do more to grow awareness than not running videos at all.

Editor’s note. Amy focuses on using video to drive visitors who aren’t aware of your product or service to your landing pages, but you might also consider targetting people who’re already actively searching (if you’re not already). Joe Martinez has some killer advice on how to use custom intent audiences. Worth a read if video is your thing!

2. Be Newsworthy with Discovery Ads

Discovery campaigns are Google Ads’ newest campaign type (and the unofficial competition to Facebook’s feed).

The Opportunity:

Until recently, social media channels had somewhat of a lock on serving hyper-targeted ads directly in a user’s news feed. But Google’s ramping up its options, and its Discover feed serves content to 800 million users based on their interests.

You can reach targeted users as they consume personalized content on Discover, YouTube, and Gmail with Discovery ads, featuring your product alongside other curated topics based on rich signals (such as web activity and location).

A comparison between feeds

With Discovery Ads, Watch Out For:

Machine learning attempts to serve the right ad to the right user at the right time, but that doesn’t mean you can be “hands off.”

Notice the ads above. I was served a discovery ad for a Business Analytics degree around the time I was researching MBA programs, so this ad feels very relevant to my interests.

The laundry ad, however, is a definite miss (punctuation mistake included). The promoted laundromat is 30 miles from where I live; so, even if I were “in-market” for a laundromat (which I’m not), the distance would be a deal breaker.

Google gives you the tools to reach your ideal market, but it won’t tell you that your geography is wrong or that your targeting is too broad. This is true for all ad formats, but it’s a needed reminder when Google suggests its internal signals will do the heavy lifting of targeting.

Get Started with Discovery Ads:

Because Discovery ads are still in Beta, your first step is to work with your Google rep to get whitelisted. These ads also have their own campaign type, so select Discovery.

Campaign type: Discovery

Follow these instructions for Discovery campaigns. Avoid ad disapproval by paying close attention to the image requirements, which are slightly different than they are for other ad types on Google Ads.

3. Get Email Opens (with No List) Using Gmail Ads

You don’t need a big list (or any list at all) to send targeted email promotions with high open rates.

The Opportunity:

With more than 1.5 billion active users worldwide, Gmail is one of the most popular websites in the United States. You can reach your target readers at the top of their inbox and only pay when they open your ad, which expands like regular email.

An example of Gmail Ads

While you can no longer target keywords within Gmail content, you can still use “audience keywords” and many other personalized targeting options to capture your ideal audience’s attention and direct them to your landing page.

With Gmail Ads, Watch Out For:

When ads are served in Gmail, you’re charged for the click that opens the email to expand your message, not the click that drives to your landing page (those clicks are free). This can be very confusing to marketers!

Also, be aware that only free Gmail accounts receive Gmail Ads: if you’re primarily targeting B2B clients using the paid G suite (or non-Google email) accounts, you may want to skip this method.

Get Started With Gmail Ads:

You don’t need to set up a dedicated campaign to run Gmail ads. Discovery ads (above) and Responsive Display ads (below) both automatically give you coverage in Gmail inboxes.

If you’d like more control over the way Gmail ads run, including using custom HTML files, you can do that by creating a dedicated Gmail campaign after you select Display.

Campaign subtype: Gmail campaign

Remember that you’re writing for an inbox, so write a headline that feels like a subject line, not a headline. “Grocery delivery on your schedule” works. “Packed with protein” doesn’t.

4. Amplify Your Offer with Responsive Display Ads

Responsive display ads are the default ad type for the Google Display Network. They let you easily create ads that can meet the publisher specs of the 2 million sites included in the network.

The Opportunity:

With Google’s automated responsive display ads, you can input multiple assets for a single ad (15 images, 5 logos, 5 videos, 5 headlines, and 5 descriptions).

Google will adjust and optimize the size, appearance, and format of the ad to fit the available inventory on the publisher site, meaning you don’t have to create multiple ad sizes of each creative variant.

Here are examples of how a responsive display image ad, text ad, and native ad can look on a mobile device:

Comparison of image, text, and native ads

With Responsive Display Ads, Watch Out For:

If you’re like most advertisers, you don’t think the pure text ad (shown above in the center) is great for branding. Unfortunately, there’s no way to opt out of that or any other ad combination using RDAs.

If you need full branding control for your ads, image ads would be a better choice. They’re more work to set up but allow you to ensure brand guideline compliance.

Get Started With Responsive Display Ads

Responsive display ads are easy to create. Select the Display campaign type and follow these instructions to set up responsive display ads.

Campaign Type: Display ad

With responsive ads, you’ll have one URL for any headline-image-description combination, so use assets that can work interchangeably.

Keep Bad Traffic Off Your Landing Page

Now that you know the types of Google Ads you can use to grow awareness and interest for your offer, let’s review how to make sure you get the right traffic.

A shot from Inception
Source: IMDB

The best ads and landing pages won’t drive conversions if you’re reaching the wrong audiences. Worse yet, unqualified traffic will skew your conversion rates and make it harder to improve your landing page.

You can layer audience and content targeting to reach new relevant audiences with precision, including:

  • Demographics
  • Affinity
  • In-market
  • Custom intent
  • Topics
  • Placement
  • Content keywords
  • Display expansion

Refine your targeting strategy, so you don’t waste budget or capture the wrong audiences.

As we saw in the laundromat example, just because someone is in your county doesn’t mean they want to drive an hour for your coin-op laundry service.

But tighten the geography to a 5-mile radius, and serve ads to people who are actually in-market for laundromats, visiting the websites of your competitors, or researching how to fix a broken washer/dryer… and suddenly you’ve got some viable targeting.

A meme from Inception
Source: MagicalQuote

Enjoy the Fruits of Early-Funnel Google Ads

Ads targeted to the right audience at the right time can create awareness where none existed before. This ultimately drives organic searches, builds effective remarketing lists, and creates a new audience to reach.

Smart paid marketing not only solves the problem of generating landing page traffic, it also closes the loop on our inception problem, planting the seeds of future loyal audiences.

Landing pages with PPCOriginal Article

Why SKAGs Are No Longer a PPC Best Practice (and How to Respond)

Why SKAGS Are No Longer a PPC Best Practice

The worst-kept secret, once upon a time

Step into my time machine, and let us take a journey.

It’s 2015. You’re studying PPC best practices, looking for ways to level up your SEM campaigns and boost ROI from Search. You stumble upon a “hack” for optimal keyword performance, your elusive unicorn: the SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Group).

You immediately apply the philosophy to your Adwords (now Google Ads) campaigns and, for a while, things go rather well. However, as the years roll by, you begin to notice that SKAGs are becoming harder to manage…

By 2019, you’ve endured a handful of updates to Google’s keyword matching algorithms. You’re relying more and more on scripts and keyword exclusions to preserve the integrity of your approach. You look at how the industry has changed, and begin to wonder, “are SKAGs still a best practice to get the most from my SEM strategies? Will SKAGs withstand the impending changes yet to be revealed?”

Fair question. To decide, let’s take a few minutes and break it all down.

EDITOR’S NOTE. A little fuzzy on SKAGs? Essentially, a SKAG is what it sounds like: an ad group focusing on just one keyword (instead of Google’s recommended 10-20). Read about why PPC experts sometimes use this strategy here.

Why Single Keyword Ad Groups once made sense

SKAGs, or Single Keyword Ad Groups, were born in a time when Google and other search platforms adhered much more closely to match types. Exact Match keywords would be triggered only by search terms with exactly the same spelling, word order, and word count. As such, it was necessary to add every possible iteration and misspelling to maintain complete coverage for branded and non-branded terms.

SKAGs gave advertisers control over keyword priorities and messaging, with the added benefit of expected boosts in Quality Score. In a traditional ad group (with multiple keywords) the differences in keyword bids, match types, and expected CTR contributed to the success or failure of an ad. But SKAGs mitigated the impact of variation by ensuring that keywords highlighted in each ad matched the query, while also avoiding the risk of error associated with DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion).

In short, SKAGs promised:

  1. Quick and easy Quality Score wins on the keyword and ad group level
  2. Highly relevant ads for every keyword, with minimal effort for customization
  3. Transparency into keyword performance for simplified account management
  4. Keyword-level lead quality indicators for accounts importing URL parameters to a CRM

If the digital marketing industry weren’t so dynamic, SKAGs might have reigned for much longer. In just a few short years, though, quite a bit has changed.

How PPC has changed its view of match types

Google Ads first introduced the concept of close variants in 2014. As initially conceived, close variants would overlook obvious typos, misspellings, and plural forms of keywords. Overall, this made life easier for SEM advertisers by rendering a majority of keywords obsolete. SKAGs for every identifiable misspelling and plural form were no longer necessary.

Then, in 2017, Google expanded close variants to accommodate rewording and ignore filler words:

Close variant examples from Google
An example of how Google Ads accommodates reworded content and (non-meaningful) function words. (via Google)

This change was not welcomed so warmly. But dedicated PPC managers took it in stride and learned to combat the change in other ways (e.g., scripts to automatically detect and add negative keywords).

In September 2018, Google announced a further expansion of exact match close variants to focus on matching the intent of a search rather than its specific terms. This update included implied words, paraphrases, and words or phrases that indicate a similar aim:

Intent-based matching in Google
An example of how Google Ads now matches the intent of a search rather than keywords. (via Google)

What this indicates is that Google is gradually putting more faith in machine learning to understand human speech patterns. This faith removes the pressure for advertisers to build out comprehensive keyword lists. While this benefits the majority of small advertisers just breaking into SEM, it throws a wrench into long-standing PPC strategies and previously well-optimized Google Ads accounts.

Why SKAGs should be retired as a best practice

With the way that Google is now treating close variants, there is a great deal of overlap between the three primary match types of Broad (or Modified Broad), Phrase (or Modified Phrase), and Exact (now, “Exact-ish” or Intent Match).

This overlap means Single Keyword Ad Groups ultimately require more time and energy to set up and manage when the initial purpose was to reduce it.

In a 2019 environment, then, using SKAGs result in:

  • Multiple ad groups that address the same keyword intent
  • Duplicated ad copy that is no longer customizable for each individual search
  • Cross-contamination among keyword search terms for multiple ad groups
  • Potential for missed impressions/clicks/conversions/revenue due to an overabundance of negative keywords
  • Wasted time spent on keyword additions and exclusions, ad copy testing and revisions, and stress about new Google updates

EDITOR’S NOTE. If only the web were free of outdated best practices. Your best bet for staying up-to-date is to check the date of publication, rely on multiple sources, and subscribe to a few reputable blogs that deliver fresh insight.

The Future of Search

In the wake of so many Exact Match changes, savvy digital marketers are beginning to look ahead at where the industry is headed. (Or, rather, where Google is taking the industry.) Experts disagree on whether keywords will ever be eliminated as a targeting option in Search, but there’s consensus on a move toward more contextual and behavioral audience targeting.

A few trends, in particular, suggest a keyword-less future for search advertisers:

Voice Technology

The rise of voice technology has transformed the way people engage with search engines. It no longer implies going to a computer, opening a web browser, typing keywords into a search bar, and scrolling through results. Now, people can simply speak the “name” of their virtual assistant and ask a question or make a voice command. Search “queries” are consequently becoming more conversational and long-tail searches more prevalent.

Attempting to capture voice search at scale with exact match keywords is impractical. And advertisers will soon be forced to rely on the less-precise broad and phrase match types. It’s not hard to envision a shift from targeting the keywords found in a selected query to the intent for matching with campaign goals.

Google Voice Search
Voice technology changes the way we engage with search engines like Google. (via Linus on Unsplash)

On-Page Response Opportunities

Click-to-call ads have been available for years and have grown in popularity since the uptick in mobile searches began. Click-to-message options are expanding in Search, and Facebook has introduced several means of in-app contact and conversion. It’s doubtful that Google will lag far behind, and in-SERP conversion actions (making a purchase from the Google Shopping results or submitting a lead form without having to hit a landing page) are a likely next step.

As Google and other search platforms begin to test and adopt new media for consumer response, focus will inevitably shift from a focus on keyword searches to a focus on individual needs and objectives. New algorithms will pair the consumer need to the appropriate advertiser offer. They’ll still need info provided by search queries but may not require keywords with audience targeting.

Evolution of Language

Even if keywords remain a targeting option, the evolution of language itself may cause them to fall out of focus in favor of other criteria.

For instance, international advertisers use built-in translation services that rely heavily on subjective interpretation. A single keyword may match to multiple corresponding terms in the foreign or domestic language. Even within the same language, searchers from different regions or age demographics may use different terms to refer to the same item (consider “soda” vs. “pop” vs. “coke” in the United States, for example).

While the best search marketers already have processes in place to adapt to these changes over time, it’s expected that Google and other platforms will be eager to demonstrate the capabilities of machine learning to do it faster and more effectively than humans.

How to keep landing pages and messages relevant

The future of Search is admittedly still a relative mystery. But it’s clear that SKAGs are no longer the silver bullet for SEM success.

In the next several years, there will undoubtedly be continued movement toward audiences and search intent over keyword text. This emphasizes the need for advertisers and developers to focus together on messaging and landing page experience. Every individual who arrives on your site should immediately know they are in the right place.

So, how can you make sure your pages and messaging stay relevant? Remember to focus on the basics first:

  • Every page should highlight your brand’s story. This might be through logos, headers, footers, or other branded assets.
  • Each page should have a specific category of user in mind. You may want pages for each state or city you service, for each type of product you sell, or each unique demographic/psychographic segment you hope to reach.
  • “One size fits none.” There is no such thing as a universal landing page if you want to create the best customer experience. Too much information can annoy someone who already knows what they need. Too little information may cause a first-time visitor to move on to your competitor.

EDITOR’S NOTE. Taking a “one size fits none” approach might sound a little scary if you’re on a time crunch. But you can simplify the process using a builder like Unbounce to create targeted landing pages for your campaigns.

Overall, remember to build on what you know.

Pages should be designed with their target audiences in mind. Take the time to incorporate web customization plans into your digital strategies. Don’t be afraid to duplicate a page and tweak a few points if it doesn’t quite fit a new campaign or ad group. Your conversion and bounce rates will thank you for the investment.

Looking to boost your PPC ad results even further?Original Article

How To Choose the Right Ad Platform for Your Business

How To Choose the Best Ad Platforms for Your Business

When you’re just starting out, it can be a struggle to find simple advice about where you should be advertising your business online.

The digital marketing world can be noisy, after all, and everyone has an opinion. Your friend tells you that Google Ads is just too expensive. The blogs all say Facebook is for old people. You’re hearing from others that you simply must be on Instagram. And LinkedIn is dying, right? (Everybody knows it, right?)

So how do you know where you should be advertising for your business and your demographic?

When it comes down to it, there are three questions you need to ask yourself: What’s your audience? What type of product are you selling? And what are your marketing resources?

With these considerations in mind, let’s take a quick spin through four major ad platforms to see which one is right for you.

Google Ads (formerly AdWords)

Google Ads are those pesky paid listings you probably wish didn’t appear in your Google search. You’ll typically see three to four ads at the top and bottom of the organic listings.


Essentially, “everyone” uses Google. When 90% of searcher in North America, 94% in Europe, and 93% worldwide are using Google, you don’t need to worry about whether or not your demographic is represented.

Your Product

Google Ads is an excellent platform for when consumers are actively looking for your product or your brand. For instance, if you’re a popular retailer, like Nordstrom, or you fulfill a common need, like plumbing services, people head to Google first to search, research, validate, and then purchase.

A screenshot of the Google ad platform.
People who use Google are actively looking for something (like plumbing services).

Consumers searching in Google have high purchase intent. They’re either researching because they’re considering a purchase now or in the near future—or they’re in active “buy mode.” That’s why Google Ads operates at a higher cost per click: conversion rates are often higher than other social platforms.

Your Marketing Resources

Google Ads is reasonably easy to set up if your marketing resources are limited. If you stick to the search network and avoid display and YouTube ads, you won’t need design work, videos for ads, or elaborate copywriting. The ads are short and just require some creative messaging. However, using landing pages instead of websites can increase your conversion rates dramatically and ultimately increase your ROI.

EDITOR’S NOTE. Building landing pages from scratch can be a further drain on your resources. Using Unbounce’s drag-and-drop builder, you can do it yourself in an afternoon, without a developer.

Facebook Ads

Once upon a time, running ads on Facebook was all the rage, but they’ve lost a little love over the last few years. (There’s still incredible opportunity in the platform, however.) You’ll see these ads about every five posts in your feed and in stories, articles, the marketplace, messenger, and other locations.


Some say “old” people use Facebook and the younger generations don’t. But, statistically, that’s just not true. What is true is that, while all age ranges are represented, Facebook is the one platform where the older generations are heavily represented. Here are the facts:

  • 68% of Americans use Facebook.
  • 35% of Facebook’s audience is under 25.
  • 41% of Americans 65+ use Facebook.

Facebook is excellent for all age groups. But if your product sells to people over 45, it’s the best social platform.

Your Product

If your product or service doesn’t enjoy strong brand awareness, Facebook is an excellent way to create exposure. Facebook allows you to introduce your product over time, build brand recognition, establish social credibility (through comments and likes), and ultimately win conversions.

For example, I may have difficulty finding MasterClass if I’m searching for “how to grow my business.” But they’re able to introduce the brand to me via Facebook, knowing I’m a business owner through my profile and activity.

A screenshot of the Facebook ad platform.
Facebook can educate and expose people to your brand long before they’re ready to buy.

Purchase Intent

People using Facebook generally don’t intend to buy while they’re on the platform. They have low purchase intent compared to someone searching on Google. As I suggested above, that creates an incredible opportunity for you to educate, introduce your brand, and be an option when they are ready to purchase. The lower cost per click on Facebook also helps offset the lower purchase intent.

Your Marketing Resources

Facebook relies heavily on visuals and content messaging. To be successful, you’ll need compelling ad copy, sharp graphics, engaging video, and a clean, high-converting landing page. It’s relatively easy to create Facebook ads, but optimizing them for conversion requires many assets and variables (accurate audience targeting, conversion-optimized landing pages, etc.) all working in concert.

Instagram Ads

Instagram doesn’t have nearly the placement options that Facebook enjoys. You can place ads in people’s feed or in their stories. However, the organic, visual nature of the platform makes it a perfect spot to highlight the beauty of your brand.


Instagram has 500 million users of which 80% live outside the U.S. The platform caters to a younger demographic obsessed with sharing their lives and “stories” every day. Here are a few of the defining qualities of the Instagram base:

  • 35% of Americans use Instagram.
  • 59% of these people are under 30.
  • 72% of teens use Instagram every day.
  • 39% are women and 30% are men.
  • 35% of all people on Instagram are millennials.

Your Product

Products that are visual or represent an aspirational lifestyle do quite well on Instagram. It’s more challenging to sell professional service or B2B products unless you’re developing extremely creative, compelling stories through video or images. In the B2B world, we typically use Instagram for re-targeting and less for first-touch.

Purchase Intent

Similar to Facebook, people on Instagram don’t have high purchase intent like they do on Google. It’s difficult to convert someone to a buyer when they’re sitting on the couch catching up with their friends’ lives. However, compelling ads will drive your brand forward when the consumer is ready to buy.

Your Marketing Resources

Also similar to Facebook, Instagram requires energy in the marketing department. I might argue the copywriting isn’t as important as it is in Facebook ads because of the focus on visuals. However, the visuals must be on-point and compelling video is essential in stories. You’ll need some design and video support for the platform.

You can see Zillow used high-quality photography in the example below. The ad also included an image slideshow with animated text to create a visually compelling experience.

A screenshot of a Zillow ad on Instagram.
High-quality photos and animated text maximize visual appeal to this ad by Zillow.

LinkedIn Ads

If your business is in the B2B space rather than B2C, LinkedIn should be your first spot for posting content and paid advertising. LinkedIn is far from dying. Microsoft bought the company in 2016 for $26.2 billion and has slowly turned the ship around while making drastic improvements to its advertising platform. In two years, LinkedIn has added 123 million members (compared to just 9 million additions on the Twitter network).


The professional social network doesn’t boast 2 billion users like Facebook, but with over 590 million professional members, it’s a goldmine for your B2B marketing efforts:

  • 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn.
  • 45% of users are in upper management.
  • 87 million millennials are on LinkedIn.
  • 80% of B2B leads are generated on LinkedIn.

Your Product

If you sell services or products to businesses, LinkedIn is the best place to be spending your time. CPAs, lawyers, professional service companies, and their decision makers are on the platform regularly. The entry-level staff that you might target in Instagram or Facebook are generally not on the platform. And when they are, it might be to look for a job, not your product.

Purchase Intent

Just like Facebook and Instagram, it’s a place where you can drive awareness if people have never heard of you. Sponsored content places your product right in the newsfeed and InMail ads send messages right to their inbox.

The nature of buying expensive B2B services means that the platform is used to build credibility and open a conversation. It’s unlikely someone will complete a credit card form for your $10,000 consulting services, but they may learn to trust you enough to call and open a conversation.

A screenshot of the LinkedIn platform.
B2B services (like CRMs) frequently use Linkedin as their primary ad platform.

Your Marketing Resources

LinkedIn falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to visuals and marketing resources. For sponsored content, you’ll be using a nice graphic or short video to deliver your message. Since the audience is more professional, I’d lean toward something more polished than what I’d put on Facebook or Instagram.

The InMail messages require strong copywriting and messaging along with an accompanying graphic, but you benefit from more leniency than a platform that’s 100% visual, like Instagram.

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Which platform is right for you?

As you can see, it depends on your product, audience, and marketing resources.

The best ad platforms for your business
No need to squint. Click the image above for a larger version.

In sum, if your customers are actively seeking your services or product and ready to buy, Google Ads is a good starting point and doesn’t require any creative resources. Alternatively, if you are introducing your brand to your customer and have compelling creative to show off, Facebook and Instagram are a perfect start. And for B2B offerings, LinkedIn is your best bet.

Though understanding the nature of each platform is important, these guidelines are just the tip of the iceberg.

The next step in your paid media strategy is to design a campaign allowing the different platforms to work together. One might be responsible for driving visitors to your site, for instance, and the rest nurture them for days, weeks, or months. (Editor’s Note. Keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up post by Adam on this very subject. )

What platform is generating the best results for your business? Let me know in the comments below.

Looking to boost your PPC ad results even further?Original Article

3 Ways PPC Will Change in 2019 and 3 Ways You Can Prepare For It

2019 is here, and if you’re still running the same old ad campaigns from a year or two ago, it’s time to turn off cruise control.

As much as we would all love PPC tactics (and SEO for that matter) to stay the same, they don’t. Platforms change, provide new features and updates, and even dictate the new direction of advertising.

PPC is changing dramatically. In the last year alone, Google dramatically shifted AdWords into Google Ads, bringing countless new updates and features along with it. To meet these new changes, complacency isn’t viable anymore. We can’t cruise to the finish line.

Here are three ways that PPC is going to change in the coming year and three ways to prepare for it for a first movers advantage.

1. Less self-serving, more customer-serving

PPC advertising is a pretty self-serving venture when comparing the outcome for advertisers vs. consumers: you put out some ads with lead magnets in attempts to either convert traffic, build brand awareness, or generate some direct sales on your products or services.

While the customer does benefit in some cases, it’s usually not the main focus.

The main focus is on landing the sale. The lead. Generating another customer for your funnel. Putting together that lead magnet or landing page ASAP to get the customer to sign up for your eBook, webinar, or online course. Using XX conversion hacks to psychologically trick them into converting.

These tactics don’t just give the general “marketing” world a bad name, they also annoy people. A lot.

And I have bad news for advertisers: users aren’t susceptible to this anymore. Searchers and internet browsers alike crave value, not a snatch and grab of your information for further annoying marketing messages.

They want content and information that is valuable, not just a clickbait post designed to get their email. And your only hope in 2019 is to create better content and value. Don’t believe me?

Codeless tested multiple content services and surveyed marketing experts, all of which said the content didn’t provide enough value and that consumers wouldn’t resonate with it to purchase.

We get bombarded with enough of that junk in our daily lives via email:

inbox sreenshot

We simply don’t need more of it with PPC ads and subsequent content.

Now, study after study after study confirms that people are doing more research than ever before buying a product or paying for a service.

These studies conclude that nearly 90% of people research before buying. It’s no wonder that the DMA found that the average lead takes 7-13+ touches to generate a single viable lead.

So, what am I getting at here? The overall trend of PPC becoming less self-serving and more customer-serving to meet changing consumer actions. After all, customer satisfaction and solving customer problems is the lifeblood of continued sales and lifetime value.

I’ve already seen this trend come to fruition in 2018, too. The example I saw was nothing short of perfect, either. Let me show you.

Recently I conducted the following search on Google’s search network. Here were the top four ads ranking for my keyword search. Make a mental note if you notice anything:

best crm google search

The first three ads ranking for this search at basically the same: my CRM is the best, click here and buy! But take a look at the fourth-ranking ad:

customer-serving ad

Top 40 CRM software ranked. Discover the leaders in CRM.

If that isn’t customer-serving value, I don’t know what is.

This ad perfectly matches searcher intent with a customer-centric ad that focuses on providing real, valuable, insightful research material. Instead of cramming their product down customer’s throats as “the best” (which we all know is BS), they provide instant value.

While I don’t have the PPC data to back it up, I’d be willing to bet $500 on red to say they got the majority of clicks. The lesson here is: provide value. While you’ve probably heard it before, it’s another thing to see it in practice, especially on PPC ads that cost money.

Another amazing PPC strategy for customer-centric value I saw was driving visits to a knowledge portal via remarketing to middle-of-the-funnel leads:

ppc strategy for customer-centric value

Instead of trying to push sales messages, they sought to help the user understand their tool better, producing more value and success for each client.

On top of that, writing better PPC ads is a surefire way to be less self-serving.

Take a hard look at your current ads. Are they good? Are they asking for too much? What’s the tone? Are you measuring intent?

All of this can seem overwhelming, but it’s actually easy. How? By combining a few cool PPC tools.

First, I like to plug my ad copy ideas into a grammar tool like Grammarly, because you can have the tool assess for goals, like specific tones, intent, audience, and more:

setting goals in grammarly

(Image source)

Pretty amazing right? You can create potentially hundreds of ad variations by changing the style, emotion, audience, and intent.

Then, use Google’s new ad strength tool to measure how unique and impactful your ad will be:

google's ad strength tool

This is a surefire way to create new, better ads that are less self-serving.

So, how else can you prepare for a customer-focused landscape with PPC? Here are a few ways:

  • Assess keyword intent: are you matching what the customer is expecting? Or are you just pushing product?
  • Value: are you trying to get them to convert on a dime? Or are you building up their trust in your brand by providing the right research tools at the right time?
  • Start focusing the content you offer users on PPC towards valuable information they want. According to State of Lead Gen 2018, these are the most valuable forms of content users are looking for:

content types that produce leads

(Image Source)

So, give it to ‘em!

  • Relationships: are you developing relationships with your PPC campaigns? As in, are you genuinely helping, connecting, and symbiotically growing with your potential customers?
  • Personality: are you putting your brand personality into your PPC campaigns and landing pages? Customers love to connect with genuine brands that solve pain points while sharing a unique voice and authentic personality. More interactive content like podcasts, videos, webinars, and long-form blog posts will entertain and inform users capture users in the middle of the funnel.

2. Omnichannel strategies will win big

Multichannel has been around for a long time. But omnichannel is the new kid on the block with promising performance:

What’s the difference between the two?

Multichannel is simply advertising on multiple channels, like Facebook and Google Ads. This is a very common tactic that is a great step for anyone using a single platform. Not only can you reach more people, but you can reach your target market in different formats.

The problem with multichannel is that by switching channels, your experience “resets.” This makes you prone to receiving marketing messages that you already have gotten before and aren’t matching your buying stage.

For instance, this is an ad for a brand on Facebook:

an ad on facebook

And look at how the ad experience doesn’t relate when searching on Google, despite me engaging heavily with the brand previously:

google ad

My experience turns into a first-time click, even though I am deep in the funnel.

That’s not good.

Omnichannel, on the other hand, takes multichannel to a new level. Omnichannel is a continued experience that happens on multiple platforms, picking up where the user left off.

For example, engaging with a lead magnet on Facebook and then showcasing an ad for a second, accompanying lead magnet on Google.

In terms of PPC, we can omnichannel to reach the same audience on multiple channels, pushing them down the funnel in an organized sequence.

Instead of solely relying on one channel to do one tactic, we can combine multiple for a smoother buying process. There are tons of ways to run omnichannel and cross-device advertisements now.

For instance, here are a few that you could establish in just a few minutes of extra effort compared to a standard campaign:

  1. Use Google Ads as the starting point. Using the Search Network, target middle of the funnel keywords to bring in relevant, qualified traffic. Next, with a Facebook Pixel installed, remarket those visitors with content related to the landing page they interacted with from the search network ad.
  2. Use Facebook as your starting point and craft brand awareness ads to a new audience (or a lookalike). Build trust and authority, and then target them in Google’s search network using remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs).
  3. Or, use Facebook to capture emails for dirt cheap and then continue the same experience on an email campaign. This is a strategy that kids shoe brand Wee Squeak used, generating 600 emails with $90 on Facebook and then delivering drip campaigns to drive sales online.

These are just great options in an almost infinite list of possibilities.

But, you get the point: don’t just use one channel.

Don’t feel limited to one or the other. We often see comparisons like “Which is Better: Google Ads or Facebook.”

Instead, we should be combining them for big wins.

3. Mobile is everything now

For years we have been told about the incoming mobile takeover.

Even so, most mobile PPC campaigns aren’t mobile-optimized.

Ever search for something on Google, click the first ad on mobile and find a landing page that has one of the following issues:

  • Takes too long to load (past three seconds and you will suffer major traffic loss)
  • The user experience isn’t optimized for mobile
  • Converting is a pain due to long forms

The issues go on and on. PPC optimization goes way beyond just writing mobile ad types on Google Ads now.

It’s full-scale optimization for the mobile-index and more. If that means building a new mobile site, it means you have to build one. 51% of people use WordPress, and it’s free. You can’t wait any longer to be mobile ready and you have no excuse.

Whether you just started a blog, are running an ecommerce site with WordPress, or are a SaaS company, mobile experience must be front of mind.

To keep up with the trends, focus first on mobile speed. If your site isn’t loading within the first three seconds of a click, you will be wasting time on anything else you do:

average loading speed across industries

(Image source)

No amount of A/B testing and tweaking can outrun a slow site.

Use tools like Test My Site to see what elements you can eliminate or manage for a faster site.

Once you’ve improved speed, you can start to optimize campaigns to bit on mobile traffic. To do this, increase bids on mobile devices and decrease bids on desktop in your Google Ads campaign settings:

google ads campaign settings – adjusting bids for different devices

This will ensure your traffic is only mobile device searchers even on search network campaigns.

Also, this will have a two-fold benefit:

  1. Bringing in more mobile traffic
  2. Ability to test for mobile as you will have a significant amount of traffic to test against! People often test too early with too little of traffic, leading to statistically insignificant tests.

Mobile experiences for ads don’t have to be generic either. If your site isn’t well optimized for mobile, try something new.

Don’t be afraid to test new strategies. For instance, one of the most creative mobile PPC strategies I’ve ever seen was using a chatbot as the landing page in a PPC campaign:

landbot chatbot landing page

This campaign by Fran at Landbot generated a 100% increase in his conversion rates. That’s right, he set up a landing page on his website so that every PPC click on Google search directed people into a chatbot conversation.


Mobile is everything now. And it’s time for all digital marketing entrepreneurs to improve our mobile PPC.


It’s tempting to sit back and let your 2018 campaigns go on autopilot in 2019. Especially if they are working.

And if they are working, there is no need to pause them.

But, PPC is changing right before our eyes. Google is constantly updating their platform and optimizing for the consumer, not the advertiser.

Google cares about pleasing consumers, and advertisers will need to adopt this strategy ASAP to remain relevant.

Omnichannel experiences are starting to crop up from Google Ads to Facebook Ads.

Google is continually putting stock into mobile development, too. No longer are the days of sub-par mobile ads for a quick call.

Now, mobile should be the center of your PPC strategy.

It’s time to get moving on your 2019 strategy and plan for these trends in advance.


Adam Enfroy

Adam Enfroy is a writer and manages strategic partnerships for BigCommerce. With 10+ years of digital marketing experience, he’s passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships, content, and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about selling online courses and scaling your online influence on his blog, adamenfroy.com.

You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

3 Ways PPC Will Change in 2019 and 3 Ways You Can Prepare For It (1)

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