PPC advertising involves selecting a set of keywords, and writing an advert to appear when a person searched for that keyword, in major search engines. Also, it allows you to set a budget that you’re willing to spend for clicks. Here are 10 techniques, that many people aren’t even aware of, that can step up your paid search marketing strategy by 10x.

1. Single-keyword ad groups (SKAGs)

These are ad groups that contain a single keyword, with possible different match styles.

For example;

Ad group – cheap flights
Keywords – [cheap flights]
“cheap flights”
+cheap +flights

As you can see, the ad group contains the same search term, with different match types.

With SKAGs, you’ll be able to significantly increase your CTR, which in turn will lead to a lower CPC and a higher QS, which will result in a lower CPA.

How’s that possible?

Having a single keyword in your ad group allows you to write better ads, that are extremely specific as well as relevant to the users’ search terms. As you probably already know, a higher ad relevancy equals to a higher CTR, which will improve the keyword’s quality score, while lowering the CPC.

The end result of all that, is a lower CPA.

Although, you should only use this technique for keywords with highest performance. Otherwise, it’ll be very hard to maintain and optimize your account.

2. Bing Ads

If you’re not using Bing Ads, you’re missing out on 30% of US search traffic.

Not to mention the lower cost for most keywords.

Also, chances are, your competitors may have passed up on Bing ads too, which means you’ll have a monopoly in there. An effective paid search strategy should leverage several different channels whenever available.

3. Retargeting lists for search ads

This basically means you can target your past visitors when they’re back, searching for keywords in your campaign.

If a user visited your gift card site, and left, within the next 30 days, whenever that user searches for gift cards, you’ll be able to show them (more specific) ads to that user.

Since the user is a warm lead – not a cold one – it’ll be easier to convert them.

Doing this will allow you to test different ads, and have a better control over the budget between returning users and newcomers.

4. Negative retargeting lists

Even though a once-visited visitor is more likely to be converted, you shouldn’t target ALL the people who visited your website.

Using negative retargeting lists make sure you’re not wasting money on people who visited your site, but probably weren’t interested in your products / services / offers.

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5. Stop focusing on being #1.

Aahh…the #1 spot.

Everyone wants to get into that spot.

And they’re bidding their butts off, trying to win.

But all they’re doing is increasing the bar farther away from their grasp.

At some point, their CPA will be much higher. So much, that it wouldn’t make sense to advertise anymore.

Do you really want to get into that dog fight?

Think about it.

Instead of competing for the #1 spot with others, try to get into #2, #3. This is much more cost effective, while still getting your ad in the main page.

Let your competitors waste their budget on the first position, and focus on the second spot. It’s less hassle.

6. Adjust your campaigns to peak times of your target audience

Find out the time frames that your target audiences are most active within. Adjust your campaign(s) according to those times.

If your target audience is primarily active between 6am-9am, and 3pm-7pm, then you’ll be able to squeeze more leads and customers using your campaigns. This “day-parting” technique is a must for any effective paid search strategy.

7. Long tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are the ones that appeal to users, who are searching for very niche, or highly specific terms.

An example of a long tail keyword can be “pneumatic pilot valve”, in contrast to to a generic keyword like “valves”.

This is very useful, especially, if your ad budget is limited, and you can’t afford to spend any money on wasted clicks.

Not only the CPC is much cheaper, but also you’ll find prospects who know exactly what they want, and the quality of the leads will be much higher.

8. Use negative keywords.

Even in a well-defined niche, there might e keywords that you don’t want to be listed for.

For example, if you rent cars, but don’t sell them, you don’t want your ads to be listed under keywords that are related to buying vehicles. In that case, words like “buy”, “purchase” are the negative keywords that needs to go into your campaign, in order to make sure that you don’t waste your ad money, showing ads to the wrong set of the people.

9. Bid on your competitors brand names.

Type each of your competitors’ names on Google, and see what ads come up. If yours isn’t there, get it on there by bidding on your competitors’ brand names and company names.

You might think that this is a dirty trick, or that this is unethical, but it certainly is neither dirty, nor unethical.

It’s being used by everybody.

So, if you’re not using this, chances are, your competitors are using this technique, which means that they’re getting a chunk of your search traffic.

10. Constantly A/B split test keywords, ad copy, landing page copy/layouts, etc.

You can’t just set up your ad accounts and campaigns, and be done with it. This is NOT a one-time thing. You have to constantly horn your ad copy, try new copies, test new keywords, try out highest-converting keywords with different copies / landing pages, run a new ad on highest-converting locations, and a million other things.

It allows you to find out what works, and what doesn’t, in a constantly-changing world.

Also, you can one-up your ad game during seasons, special holidays, and other trends in the masses. If you haven’t done so recently, it is probably time to do a thorough account audit as well.

You can bet almost anything, that at least one of your competitors paid search strategy involves some A-grade split testing game.

Also, make sure to pay close attention to main metrics like ROI/ROAS, conversion volume, and cost per conversion. Remember; what gets measured, can be improved.

These are the 10 tips that can increase the effectiveness of your CPC campaign, while helping you to keep your search engine marketing budget in control.