Three Tactics to Optimize Paid Search for Lead Generation
Are you tired of pouring money into PPC (pay-per-click) and SEM (search engine marketing) campaigns without seeing a significant return on investment? Do you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels and not driving the right traffic to your website?
We hear you. As powerful as these tools can be for lead generation, they’re only effective when they’re executed with the right strategy and best practices. In this post, we’ll share some game-changing tips for using PPC and SEM to generate high-quality leads and get the most bang for your buck.
Why Should I Use Paid Search for Lead Gen?
First things first, let’s talk about ad formats. When it comes to lead generation, search is king.
Paid search is an effective tool for lead generation because it allows you to reach potential customers who are actively searching for products or services related to your business. By targeting users who are already in the market for what you offer, you increase the likelihood of generating high-quality leads.
Google search is particularly effective for lead generation campaigns, as it allows advertisers to target users who are actively searching for products or services related to their business. When setting up your campaigns, it’s usually best to exclude search partners and focus exclusively on Google search. This is because the partner network tends to produce lower-quality leads and may not be as effective for lead generation.
For Microsoft, typically, it is recommended to only run ads on the Microsoft network for higher quality leads. However, if you run on the extended network, monitoring placement reports and excluding any problematic traffic is recommended.
There may be exceptions to these rules depending on your specific campaign goals and target audience. You might be better positioned to test large networks depending on your budget, but proper tracking is a must. Ensure integration with your CRM (customer relationship management), so you can continually monitor the performance of your ads and adjust your strategy as necessary to ensure that you generate the highest quality leads possible.
1. Utilize Ad Extensions for Lead Generation
Several ad extensions are particularly effective for lead generation campaigns as they make finding pertinent information easier. Here are some of the most useful ones:
Call extensions: Adding a call extension to your ads allows users to click on a phone number and call your business directly. This is especially important for local businesses, as it can increase the chances of users converting into leads by providing them with an easy way to contact your business.
Location extensions: By adding a location extension to your ads, you can display your business address and phone number. This is particularly useful for businesses with a physical location, as it can increase the chances of users visiting your store or office.
Sitelink extensions: Sitelink extensions allow you to include additional links to your website in your ad. This makes it easier for potential leads to quickly navigate to specific landing pages or forms that are designed to capture user information. But remember that single-page landing page experiences will not utilize sitelinks because they will not have navigation.
Structured snippet extensions: Structured snippets allow you to provide additional information about your business or services. Using structured snippets, you can highlight key service offerings or benefits of your products or services.
Lead form extensions: Lead form extensions allow users to submit their contact information directly from the ad. This is a powerful tool, as it can streamline the lead capture process and increase the chances of users converting into leads.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of each ad extension will vary depending on the business and the specific campaign goals. Experimentation and testing are key to determining which ad extensions work best for your lead-generation campaigns.
2. Utilize Smart Bidding to Optimize Lead Generation
Think smarter, not harder. Automated bidding can help you achieve your desired cost per lead while minimizing the amount of manual work required.
Target CPA (cost per acquisition) Bidding
This is the most common bidding method for most lead gen advertisers. This strategy involves setting a target cost per lead and allowing Google to automatically adjust your bids to meet that goal. By using machine learning algorithms to analyze historical performance data, Google can optimize your bids in real-time to achieve the best possible results.
Don’t forget to monitor the percentage of leads that turn into customers in order to determine the target CPL.
tROAS (target return on ad spend) Bidding
This option is best if you assign values to the conversion actions in Google. With this strategy, you can assign higher values to conversion actions that are further along in the conversion funnel. For example, a free trial sign-up might be assigned a $10 value, while a fully paid subscription might be assigned a $50 value. By assigning different values to different conversion actions, you can more accurately reflect the true value of each lead and optimize your bids accordingly.
With tROAS bidding, you can also prioritize keywords and ad groups that are driving higher-value conversions. For example, if certain keywords drive more fully paid subscriptions than others, the algorithm can learn and adjust your bids to focus more on those keywords and less on those that only drive free trial sign-ups.
3. Maximize your Lead Volume with Quality Scores
At the end of the day, advertisers who serve the most relevant and valuable ads will be rewarded by Google in ad auctions. With a possible rank of 1-10, the higher the Quality Score, the cheaper the CPCs.
Quality Scores are historically somewhat of an elusive metric provided to advertisers. However, understanding how they are calculated can help you optimize your accounts to maximize your lead volume and save you money!
3 main factors determine Quality Scores to focus on optimizing:
Landing Page Experience
Expected CTR (Click Through Rate)
Each of these factors is evaluated with a status of “Above average,” “Average,” or “Below average.” According to Google, this evaluation is based on a comparison with other advertisers whose ads showed for the exact same keyword over the last 90 days.
Ad Relevance shows you how relevant your ads are to the keywords users are targeting. Since there are a limited number of headlines in each Google Ad, not all of the keywords in your ad groups will be included in those headlines. However, rotating ad copy, including underperforming keywords in your headlines and descriptions, or creating additional RSAs could help improve any “below average” ranks.
Landing Page Experience refers to a user’s experience when going through the Google Ads journey. Essentially, it’s how relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad. Google will crawl the landing page to see if any version of a searched keyword is included in the content on the page. They do this because, in a perfect world, that specific search term would lead to a page that has additional information about the searched term. The goal here is to create a cohesive experience from search to ad clicked to lead submission.
Expected CTR refers to the likelihood that your ad will be clicked on when shown. To improve expected CTR, try using calls to action with words like “Buy, Order, Browse, Find, Try, Get a Quote, or Sign Up.” You can also try to ensure your ads appeal to your target audience and highlight what makes your product or service different from competitors.
By optimizing our ad strategy based on Quality Scores, Adlucent has seen account health metrics improve, including cheaper CPCs, fewer limited keywords, higher conversion rates, cheaper CPAs, and higher impression share rankings, to name a few!
Paid search can be a highly effective tool for lead generation, but it’s important to approach it with the right strategy and tactics. By utilizing ad extensions, smart bidding, and quality scores, you can increase the chances of generating high-quality leads while minimizing your costs. At Adlucent, we’re passionate about helping businesses achieve success through paid search, and we believe that a partnership with us can help you take your lead generation campaigns to the next level. Don’t wait – reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed.
Katie Patton Katie has been managing paid search accounts on Google and Bing for over 14 years. She has expertise in B2C and B2B lead generation, e-commerce, and more in various industries.
Maddie Steinohrt Hi! I’m Maddie Steinohrt. I have been working in Marketing for nearly 6 years with a focus on lead generation across entertainment, real estate, and services. I joined the Adlucent team a year ago, in 2022, and have loved being a part of our lead gen expansion and account growth.
Adlucent is the performance marketing agency that proves outperformance has no limit. Powered by our purpose-built platform, Deep Search™, Adlucent unifies the best of human and machine for a scientific approach to marketing. We work transparently in partnership with B2C and B2B retailers and brands to create custom, predictive programs that drive ever-better outcomes. Our services include paid search, shopping, social, retail media networks, display media, video, performance creative, consulting, and measurement. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Adlucent is part of Advantage Solutions and ranked one of the top marketing companies in the U.S. by AdAge.
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