30 Ideas For PPC SEM Optimization And Testing

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harryhuxford | Friday, September 17th, 2010

Filed under: PPC Tips & Advice

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Many Levers And Knobs
PPC marketers looking to squeeze out more conversions per advertising dollar engage in continuous optimization and testing. Because PPC SEM has so many interchangeable parts, there’s always something to be optimized and tested. No two PPC campaigns are exactly alike so you’ll have to find the best options for your product and vertical. Here are some quick ideas to fuel your optimization machine.

Text Ads:

  • Dynamic keyword insertion in headline vs. static text in headline.
  • Empty display URL tails vs. populated display URL tails.
  • Dynamic keyword insertion in display URL tails vs. static text in display URL tails.
  • Capitalization Of Every Word In The Ad vs. Only capitalizing first word in sentences.
  • Call-to-action in line 1 of the ad vs. call-to-action in line 2 of the ad.
  • Image Ads:

  • Static graphic ads vs. animated flash ads.
  • Mouse-over actions vs. no mouse-over actions.
  • Landing Pages:

  • Horizontal (left to right) eye-gaze flow vs. vertical (top to bottom) eye-gaze flow.
  • Product demo graphic or video vs. no product demo media.
  • Single column form fields vs. two column form fields.
  • Text of ‘Submit’ button on form fills. Try testing ‘Register’, ‘Sign Up’ or ‘Find My Deal’.
  • All Ads And Landing Pages:

  • Including price of product vs. not showing price.
  • Including an “As Seen On…” line in your ad vs. not showing “As Seen On…”
  • Scarcity message vs. no scarcity message. (see examples of scarcity)
  • Urgency message vs. no urgency message. (see examples of urgency).
  • Showing or not showing product MSRP. Showing product MSRPs may turn away users who want to pay less than MSRP. Test this.
  • Product or company testimonials vs. no testimonials.
  • Display Network:

  • Website category exclusions vs. no category exclusions.
  • Page-type exclusions vs. no page-type exclusions. (Such as forums, error pages or parked domains.)
  • Demographic bidding vs. no demographic bidding.
  • A campaign without keywords that runs only on managed placements vs. a keyworded campaign that runs on automatic placements.
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    Ad Delivery And A/B Testing:

  • AdWords’ default delivery setting of “Optimize: show better performing ads more often” vs. “Rotate: show ads more evenly.”
  • When A/B testing, a 50/50 traffic split between ads ‘A’ and ‘B’ vs. 80/20, 75/25 or 67/33 traffic splits. **Useful if ad ‘A’ has been a great performer and you want to divert more traffic to it in A/B testing.
  • Targeting a specific ad position or rank vs. showing ads in any position.
  • Ad Scheduling:

  • Optimizing ad scheduling by hour of day. (By computing hourly cost per conversion)
  • Optimizing ad scheduling by day of week. (By using the AdWords Dimensions tab to analyze ‘Day of Week’)
  • Geotargeting:

  • A geotargeted campaign with general keywords vs. a national campaign with geo-specific keywords.
  • Device Targeting:

  • A campaign that targets laptops and desktops vs. a campaign that targets mobile devices (smart-phones or iPads)
  • A campaign that targets AT&T mobile devices vs. a campaign that targets Verizon devices.
  • Bidding:

  • Manual CPC bidding vs. automatic CPC bidding.
  • CPC bidding (clicks) vs. CPM bidding (impressions) vs. CPA bidding (conversion optimizer). **CPC bidding is the default setting but CPM or CPA bidding may yield better results for your product or niche. Test this!
  • What Else?
    I only listed 30 ideas for optimization but this can easily be expanded. Do you know any optimization strategies that you’ve tested or are curious about? Maybe some optimization tweaks for keywords and negatives? Please let me know in the comments! And please feel free to contact us if you would like a free consultation about your online marketing efforts!

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