October 6, 2021

Eric Shepperd

How to get a better return on PPC ad spend

It’s hard to ignore the benefits of pay per click (PPC) advertising. For a fee, you can place written or visual advertisements with a major tech platform (like Google, Bing, or Facebook), directing traffic to your website, landing page, or another destination – and you’ll only pay for the people who actually click on the ad.

That might sound like a recipe for a perfect ROI, or return on investment. But while the traffic is guaranteed, the profitability isn’t – and you’ll need to work actively if you want to improve the return on your ad spending.

General Ways to Increase Your Return

Let’s start with a high-level analysis. There are only a handful of ways you can directly improve your return on ad spend (ROAS):

Spend less. For starters, you can spend less. If the conversion rate is the same, spending $0.50 per click for 1,000 customers is better than spending $0.60 per click for 1,000 customers. Obviously the math isn’t always this clear, but reducing your spending is almost always beneficial.

Target better customers. You can also target better customers – and in several different ways. You can choose to target audiences that are ready to buy, you can eliminate demographics that aren’t likely to buy from you, and you can work to optimize your copy for the right customers as well.

Optimize for conversions. Finally, you can optimize your landing page for conversions. If you’re sending 1,000 customers per month to a landing page, then increasing the conversion rate from 1 percent to 2 percent will double the revenue you can potentially generate.

Tactics to Get a Better Return

Now let’s look at the ground-level tactics that can help you boost your ad spend:

Avoid highly competitive situations. For starters, try to avoid highly competitive situations. If you’re stuck in a bidding war with a company that has a much bigger budget, you’ll end up spending far more on advertising than you planned. You can easily avoid these situations by targeting less popular keywords, adjusting your audience parameters, and so on.

Truly get to know your target audience. It’s important to do significant market research so you really understand how your target audience thinks. What are their core values? What are their perspectives? What kind of copy would be persuasive to them? The better you understand them on a fundamental level, the better you’ll be able to optimize your ads to incentivize clicks – and the more likely they’ll be to convert.

Use better keywords to target ready-to-buy customers. Every PPC ad manager understands the importance of choosing the right keywords, but too many managers focus exclusively on factors like cost and competition – rather than relevance to your target audience. Think carefully about whether these keywords are targeting customers who are ready to buy – and don’t be afraid to make changes.

Polish your ad copy. Ad copy is important for a few different reasons. It incentivizes clicks. It sets the stage for your landing page. And it can also filter out customers who aren’t ready to buy your products. Spending time polishing your ad copy to be more relevant and more persuasive can help you get the most of your budget.

Split test your ads. Make sure you’re split testing your ads as well. You may have an intuition that one type of ad will work better, but only objective data can prove you right or wrong. Test your ads in a live environment and only keep the ads that show promise – and learn something from the ads that fail.

Optimize your landing page. Are you confident your landing page is converting as well as it could? Sometimes, even minor changes (like adjusting the color of your CTA or rearranging your copy) can lead to a significant improvement. Leave no stone unturned here and keep working to boost that conversion rate further.

Study your data. Most modern PPC ad platforms gather more data than you’ll ever need; it’s a waste if you’re not using these tools to their fullest potential. Study your performance data carefully and pay attention when your ads are underperforming.

Keep improving. Finally, commit to ongoing improvements. If you’re still running the same ads with the same budget and the same audience as when you started, you’re doing something wrong – and you’re probably missing out on a massive potential return. Make sure you’re constantly tweaking your approach – and that you remain open to new ideas.

Improving your ROAS isn’t a trivial matter; it’s something that will take months of continuous effort. But at the end of that effort, you’ll have a much higher return on your investment in a strategy that already has incredible potential.