Pay-per-click (PPC) optimization helps B2B software marketers generate quality leads, boost sales and surpass competitors.
Technology advancements have led businesses to gravitate toward software solutions to streamline day-to-day operations. This has allowed software and SaaS providers to leverage the power of paid marketing to get their products in front of the right buyers at the right time.
Chief marketing officers (CMOs) are spending over 72% of their total marketing budget on pure digital channels, with paid digital marketing holding a prominent share (full research available to Gartner clients).
Successful PPC campaigns help software and SaaS companies target the right audiences, generate quality leads and maximize sales by focusing on specific demographics. However, if you don’t know how much to bid, the results can be lackluster.
Below, we discuss five well-tried PPC optimization tips to calculate the right bid, get the most out of your investment and maximize marketing returns. But first, let’s dive deeper into the basics of PPC optimization and its importance for B2B software marketers.
PPC optimization: What is it and why is it important?
PPC optimization is the process of analyzing an existing PPC campaign to improve its reach by making changes to the campaign settings, ad group structure, keywords and landing pages. Its goal is to increase product visibility on paid search results.
PPC campaign optimization focuses on targeting relevant keywords for bids, maximizing clicks, minimizing the cost per click (CPC), improving the click-through rate (CTR) and boosting the return on investment (ROI) while keeping advertising costs down.
PPC optimization helps B2B software marketers enhance campaign performance to generate quality leads, boost online presence and display ads to more people. PPC advertising is one of the top digital marketing channels for lead generation, per Gartner research (full report available to clients).
Top marketing channels for lead generation
Win at PPC ad bidding: 5 PPC optimization tips to maximize ROI
1. Optimize keywords
If you don’t optimize keywords per your target audience, your PPC campaign will fall flat. As a result, your ads will not show up when users search online for what they need. Optimized keywords significantly improve the quality of traffic your ads receive, helping you calculate the right ad bid.
Three ways to master keyword optimization for PPC campaigns:
Focus on high-performing keywords: It’s challenging to select the most promising keywords when you have a long list. Use the 80-20 rule: Focus on 20% of top-performing keywords that can drive 80% of your results. Consider various metrics such as impressions, clicks, cost, conversion and conversion value to determine the most lucrative keywords.
Build out negative keyword lists: If you offer accounting software, for instance, some of your negative keywords might be “payroll” or “Excel.” These phrases aren’t relevant to your target audience. Create a separate list of such negative keywords to ensure people searching for those terms don’t land on your site.
Pause underperforming keywords: Just like there’s no point refrigerating rotten fruits, it doesn’t make sense to continue using keywords that aren’t producing results. Identify underperforming keywords by measuring impressions and clicks. If they’re low, it’s better to pause those keywords, as they’re costing you money but not converting customers.
Bonus tip: To outperform competitors, regularly review and refresh your keyword strategy as well as ensure the search terms remain relevant to the customer journey, suggests Gartner (full report available to clients).
2. Make good use of geotargeting and available channels
To gain online visibility, you need to be where your prospects are. PPC advertising allows you to choose exactly whom you want to reach by targeting specific demographics such as age, gender, profession, job function and location.
Four ways to leverage geotargeting to optimize PPC campaigns:
Single campaign using geographic bid adjustments: Identify areas where conversion rate is the highest, and increase your bids in those areas.
Two campaigns, each targeting multiple areas: Create two different campaigns targeting similar keywords and multiple locations.
Multiple campaigns, each targeting a single area: Run multiple campaigns, with each targeting only one region for better results.
Multiple campaigns, each targeting multiple regions with bid adjustments: Divide all your campaigns into specific geo-segments based on data (such as users’ IP address, language or device) for optimal benefit-driven outcomes.
In addition, use industry-specific channels to ensure you are reaching the right people at the right time. Creating PPC ad groups targeted at channels frequently visited by prospects can increase your chances of converting those interested in what you have to offer.
Bonus tip: Assign different click values to different platforms and audiences to get a higher ROI from each channel. For instance, clicks from a software reviews site might be more valuable than clicks from social media ads.
3. Create a high-converting landing page
Your ad campaign’s landing page often determines whether or not a visitor will convert. Sloppy landing pages make you lose leads, but great landing pages become a selling power tool for your ads. Create a landing page that’s compelling enough to persuade prospects to talk with sales or schedule a demo.
Three elements of a PPC landing page that converts highly:
Keep the navigation simple: Embrace simplicity and make sure your landing page is easily accessible and usable. This will help visitors easily browse through your page and clearly see what you have to offer, without distracting or extraneous information.
Have a visually appealing design: Keep the design simple and user-friendly. Focus on color schemes, grids, fonts and animations to create an eye-catching design. Also, try to get your page to load within three seconds or less; it’s a recommended practice.
Use clear, relevant calls-to-action (CTAs): CTAs can make or break your landing page and, ultimately, your PPC campaign. Use action-oriented, clear and relevant CTAs throughout the page to encourage visitors to click and take action.
Bonus tip: Use A/B testing to determine which variation of your landing page is catching more eyes and leading to higher conversions. With A/B testing, you can significantly optimize and improve user experience for your landing page.
4. Shift to manual bidding
Choosing the wrong bidding strategy can lead to a costly pitfall. A common mistake many B2B advertisers make when starting with PPC ads is setting up automatic bidding. Automated bidding usually targets an overly broad audience, which could lead to overspending on click advertising and, ultimately, hurt your ROI.
To avoid that, switch to manual bidding. It’s a more customizable bidding approach and can instantly boost PPC performance and conversion rates.
Three reasons to prioritize manual bidding for PPC campaigns:
Improves the click-through rate (CTR): You get full control over ad bidding as well as the delivery methods and frequency of your ads. By playing around with these settings, you can find what works best for your campaign and improve CTRs.
Drives focus on keywords: You can set alerts and notifications via email or across devices if a keyword goes above or below a certain bid threshold, so you never miss an opportunity to get in front of your target audience.
Leverages different bidding tiers: Manual bidding allows the use of multiple bidding tiers based on specific times of the day or consumer habits. This means you can set your ad bids differently during morning commute hours vs. weekends or other times.
Bonus tip: Switch to manual bidding to retain more control and adjust your bids to meet campaign goals, thus maximizing conversions and sales.
5. Leverage a remarketing (or retargeting) PPC strategy
Remarketing or retargeting is a great way to re-engage with your target audience and expand the reach of your PPC campaigns.
The concept behind this technique is simple: Display highly relevant ads to people that have already visited your website or performed an action on it, such as filling out a form.
To get the most out of your ad campaigns, carefully examine which ads are showing up when. By adjusting bids based on specific visitor behaviors, you can ensure that prospects see only relevant ads instead of being bombarded with unnecessary ads while browsing online.
Three ways remarketing benefits PPC campaigns:
Strengthens your brand: It allows you to deliver personalized messages directly to those who have already visited your website or product page. People become more familiar with your brand, increasing the likelihood of buying from you in the future.
Boost conversions: It enables you to get more sales by targeting people who have already visited your site. You can use PPC remarketing to create an audience that you can market directly to later on.
Optimizes your campaign at run time: You can easily see which ads are performing better and adjust them or create new ones based on that information.