If you‘re here to learn how to measure SEO return on investment, then you’re already on the right track ‒ because you’re thinking about what actually matters.
Sure, marketers can talk all day about how great SEO is…
But let’s be realistic: the only real way to know if SEO is worth it to you is to calculate its return on investment.
Yes, it is possible to reliably measure the impact of SEO on your bottom line. In fact, it’s much simpler than some marketers make it out to be.
We’ll tell you exactly how to measure the ROI of your SEO, step-by-step, so it’s easy to know if SEO is worth it for you.
How to Measure the ROI of SEO ‒ and the Impact of SEO on Your Bottom Line
It’s all too common for business owners to invest in some form of SEO and, at the end of the day, have no idea if that SEO is actually worth it…or if it’s money going to waste.
It doesn’t help that some marketers claim measuring the ROI of SEO is impossible. They’re either wrong, or dishonest.
As long as you have the right data, the formula you use to calculate SEO return on investment is pretty straightforward.
Here’s a quick and easy formula you can use to determine whether SEO has been worth your money in a specific period:
- (Value of Conversions – Cost of SEO) / Cost of SEO
There it is. And in the rest of this article, we’ll explain exactly how to get the data you need to fill in this formula.
Of course, we’d be lying if we said there are no challenges involved with calculating SEO return on investment. We’ll also help you cut through those challenges so you get the clearest possible picture of your SEO return on investment.
But first, let’s grab the data we need to measure the ROI of SEO.
Step 1: Determine the Cost of Your Investment in SEO
First, you have to calculate how much SEO cost you over the timeframe you want to measure.
When you work with a professional SEO agency, this step is as simple as it gets. You can find out how much you’re paying just by looking at the bill.
If you do all your SEO in-house, or a hybrid of in-house and agency SEO services, the breakdown will be more complicated. Some of the costs you’ll need to factor in include:
- Any in-house staff who contribute to on-page and off-page SEO, including content creators and copywriters
- Web designers and developers who contribute to technical SEO, as well as setting up SEO tracking like Google Analytics (more on that later)
- Monthly or annual subscriptions to SEO tools like SemRush, Ahrefs, or anything else you use for traffic analytics, site auditing, keyword research, list management, etc.
When you add these costs up, you’ll have a figure that can be used in your SEO ROI calculation.
Remember that these costs may change monthly. Don’t forget to take those changes into account when measuring your SEO return on investment for a specific timeframe.
Step 2: Measure Conversions From Organic Traffic
In a nutshell, organic traffic is any traffic to your website from a search engine that you don’t pay for directly.
Whenever someone clicks on your site in Google search results ‒ as long as it’s not one of your ads ‒ it’s organic traffic.
Since SEO is all about boosting organic traffic, conversions from organic traffic provide one of the best metrics for measuring the ROI of SEO.
To get that number, we recommend using Google Analytics to track your organic conversions. You can use it for free and it just works.
The way you set this up will depend on the way your business and website work, and we won’t go into too much detail here. Setting up conversion tracking correctly is extremely important, so we recommend getting help from an experienced developer or digital marketer.
Once you have Google Analytics tracking your conversions, calculating the value of SEO conversions is a breeze:
- For sales made on your website, simply segment conversions by channel and look at revenue for organic traffic. Narrow down the timeframe and you’ve got your number.
- For leads that come in through your website, this is trickier, because the actual conversion happens offline and not every lead converts. You need to assign a value to your leads overall and use that as your value. Best practice is to base that value on the average lifetime value of a customer multiplied by closure rate %.
Step 3: Use This Formula to Calculate SEO Return on Investment
After you’ve collected your data, plug it in to this formula to calculate your SEO return on investment:
- (Value of Conversions – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment
Here’s an example.
Say that organic traffic got you $100,000 in revenue over one year, and that the costs associated with SEO during that time were $20,000.
Put these figures into the formula above and we get:
- ($100,000 – $20,000) / $20,000 = 4
So for every $1 you spent on SEO, you got $4 back. This means you’re getting a 400% return on investment.
Using this formula, you can calculate the ROI of your SEO campaign over any timeframe you choose, as long as you know both the costs and the returns.
You can then use this data to help determine whether SEO is worth it for you or not…with a couple of important caveats.
We’ll look at those caveats next.
3 Challenges of Measuring SEO Return on Investment
Real-time conversion tracking has made it easier than ever to reliably measure the return on investment of your SEO efforts.
However, not even the best tracking tools can perfectly measure every facet of your organic search traffic. SEO is a time-consuming and complicated process with many moving parts.
Because of this, quantifying SEO return on investment will always be a bit of an art as well as a science.
Here’s what you need to know about the tricky part of measuring SEO and its ROI:
Challenge 1: SEO Costs Are Complex
First, measuring SEO ROI can be tough because of the sheer number of variables that contribute to a successful campaign.
An effective SEO campaign is based on a number of variables, from high-quality content, to link building, to technical SEO and more.
Having an agency handle your SEO makes quantifying these costs a breeze. You know how much you’re paying them, so use that figure in your calculation.
Tallying the costs of your internal SEO efforts is harder.
While PPC advertising has clearly identifiable click costs, SEO is about earning clicks rather than buying them. Those clicks are technically free. But the SEO you spend to get them isn’t.
You have to consider things like the cost of in-house labour (which you can break down by individuals or tasks), the SEO tools you use, and all the time you or your managers put into running that team smoothly.
It’s a lot, and you’ve got to get it right if you want a true picture of your SEO ROI.
Challenge 2: SEO Takes Time
When you’re doing SEO, it can be hard to tie specific investments and returns to work that was done in a specific timeframe.
That’s because it can take a long time for SEO to pay off. Quick wins are certainly possible, but there’s no guarantee.
From our experience and that of other reputable SEO agencies, we can estimate it will take 4-6 months for SEO to start ‘working’, meaning it begins to produce measurable results.
So, the simplified principle of comparing returns and investments over the same period does not quite work. It gives you a solid idea of whether things are working, but it’s not 1:1.
One way to get around this is to calculate ROI on a category, page, or keyword level, rather than an arbitrary time period, as Ahrefs describes here.
To learn more about SEO timelines, check out our blog post on how long it takes to get SEO results.
Challenge 3: Even ‘Perfect’ Conversion Tracking Isn’t Flawless
This problem isn’t specific to SEO.
But SEO is no exception.
The simple fact is that customer journeys are often more complex than any tracking software makes them seem.
Yes, Google Analytics will tell you if someone converted after visiting your website through an organic search. However, there may be things going on behind the scenes that you aren’t aware of or can’t track.
For example…say you watch a YouTube video about an interesting product. Then you Google that product, go to the website, and buy it.
Organic traffic gets 100% of the credit for that conversion…but it was really the YouTube video that got you there, wasn’t it?
Here’s another example with the opposite effect. Say you Google a product on your phone, find the website, and make a mental note of it. Later, you fire up your laptop and visit the website directly by typing the URL in your browser, and buy the product.
Since you switched devices, direct traffic gets 100% credit…but wasn’t that really an organic conversion?
You can see how customer journeys can twist and turn in ways that can skew your attribution.
So, no matter how well your Google Analytics is configured, you cannot always pinpoint exactly how many conversions you owe to SEO.
The more traffic and conversions you have, the more accurate it becomes, but it will never be perfect.
This begs the question: why even bother?
What You’re Missing If You Aren’t Measuring SEO Return on Investment
Put simply, not measuring your ROI is almost as bad as not doing SEO at all.
In spite of the challenges of measuring SEO ROI to pinpoint accuracy, you’re missing out on a lot of valuable data if you don’t do it at all.
The average business generates 53% of its traffic through organic search. Meaning that SEO does have an impact on the bottom line for most businesses. You can’t afford to ignore it.
And unless you know your return on investment for every dollar you spend on SEO, you can’t decide which strategies are working best, which you should scale, and whether something’s wasting your money.
Since SEO is a long-term strategy that generates results over time, you may not see a positive ROI right away. But once you’re past that, SEO will begin to deliver a return and can continue to pay dividends for years to come.
When that turning point comes, you won’t know it unless you’ve been actively measuring the ongoing ROI of your SEO work. And if you don’t know, you could end up pulling the plug on a profitable strategy just when it’s getting started.
If you need help moving the needle on your website’s search rankings, we are happy to help. Get in touch with our SEO Team to learn more about our services here at TrafficSoda.
Understanding the Benefits vs. Rising Costs of Paid Advertising
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads aren’t as cheap as they used to be.
You can thank new privacy regulations, higher competition, and tighter audience restrictions for that.
Right now, even veteran marketers are questioning whether PPC ads are still worth it.
But even in this tough market, PPC is a powerful way of reaching and engaging with your audience.
The Data Doesn’t Lie: PPC Advertising Still Works
Study after study has shown us that PPC ads continue to offer some of the best returns on investment of any marketing channel.
We know that:
- PPC ads return $2 for every $1 spent for an ROI of 200%.
- 74% of brands rely heavily on PPC to drive their business.
- PPC visitors are 50% more likely to buy than organic visitors.
For most businesses, there is simply no substitute for PPC as a means of getting you leads, sales, and revenue.
Here’s the catch:
More than ever, proper PPC management is what makes or breaks your campaign. No exceptions.
And in the world of PPC ads, mistakes come with a high price tag.
Knowing what to look for can save you a lot of headaches, so read on to learn key background info and tips to make sure that PPC ads are worth your investment.
We’ll tell you what you should look out for, what the risks are and how to avoid them.
Why Use PPC Ads to Promote Your Business?
PPC ads are a great way to reach your target audience across Google and social media.
- Incredible ROI: A PPC campaign returns $2 for every dollar spent, which is a 200% return on investment.
- High conversion rate: PPC visitors have a 50% higher likelihood of purchasing than organic visitors.
- Fast deployment: PPC ads can be launched quickly and start bringing in results immediately, unlike search engine optimization (SEO), which can take months to really get rolling.
- Unlimited flexibility: You can switch the ads on and off easily, which is perfect for small businesses or those working on a budget. And if your market conditions change, you can immediately adjust your PPC strategy to adapt.
What You Need to Know Before Launching PPC Ads
There are many other PPC advertising platforms, but these are some of the most popular:
- Google and other search engines: you can display your website in the search engine results page (SERP) when someone types in specific keywords or phrases. Visitors will see the ads you create to direct them to your site, and you pay based on whether they click on the ads.
- Google Display ads: show up as banner ads on a huge variety of websites across Google’s advertising network, including YouTube.
- Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram: PPC ads usually appear in the audience’s main newsfeed, with the word “Sponsored” or “Promoted” tagged at the top or bottom of the post. You can also have your ads appear on videos (at the beginning, middle, or end of a video), in Facebook Marketplace, or in the Facebook sidebar.
What you need to know is that every platform demands a different approach. It isn’t possible to create one ad and run it across all PPC advertising platforms.
It takes time to experiment with which ad designs and platforms work best for your product or service industry. Not every ad will be as successful as the next.
Moreover, PPC advertising constantly changes. Keeping up with the latest trends and practices is essential if you want to stay competitive and convert those clicks to sales.
How Privacy Changes Affect Your PPC Advertising Strategy
One more thing you should know before you start doing PPC:
New privacy laws have made audience targeting harder for PPC ads.
In response to these laws and privacy concerns, a lot of the big ad platforms, including Google and Facebook, have limited how you can reach your audiences with PPC ads.
- Apple has prevented advertisers from collecting consumer data through both Safari searches and certain applications on Apple devices.
- Google plans to remove third-party cookie tracking from the Chrome browser in 2023, which will account for about 65% of the global web browser share.
These changes will make it harder to target ads to very specific segments of customers, or track conversions accurately.
Without getting into the weeds here, the bottom line is that PPC advertising is going to depend more and more on a holistic digital marketing strategy that includes other channels like SEO, Email Marketing, and Content Marketing.
PPC Ads are Worth the Time and Money
There’s no doubt that PPC advertising is still valuable. But as costs rise and challenges increase, a carefully managed PPC campaign becomes even more critical to success.
You get wildly different results based on the platform you choose, the content of your ads, and audience you are trying to target, as well as the efficacy of your overall PPC advertising strategy.
You must also optimize and monitor your PPC ads throughout the process.
To learn more about running a successful PPC ad campaign, feel free to consult with our team of digital marketing professionals who can walk you through the entire process, from planning to execution.
There’s a universal truth that persists no matter how good your product or service is, or how much you spend on marketing:
Sometimes, your perfect customer isn’t ready to buy right now.
- Some of your prospects just don’t know you yet.
- Others know you, but aren’t sure they’re ready to trust you.
- Still others are trying to choose between you and your competitor.
- And some people aren’t even aware that they need what you offer at all.
When someone doesn’t know you and doesn’t trust you, the likelihood of them clicking on your ad that says “Buy Now!” is very low (but not impossible).
On the other hand, someone who is ready to buy will respond better to an ad that says “Buy Now!” than a weaker offer like “Click Here to Learn More.”
Both of these kinds of potential customers can be a goldmine of traffic, leads, and sales if you have a strong understanding of customer problem awareness.
Think of customer problem awareness as a “journey” customers take, starting from the point where they aren’t aware they have a problem to the point where they decide your product fits their needs.
If you know where someone is on their problem awareness journey, you can deliver the right message at the right time to create and then capture their demand.
Let’s talk about how and when to capture or create demand based on your customer’s level of problem awareness.
Understanding Demand Creation vs. Demand Capture
Without demand, there can be no sale. Yet demand alone doesn’t translate into sales.
Customers have to know what you can do for them and trust that you’ll deliver.
You need both demand creation and demand capture as part of your marketing mix.
What is Demand Creation?
Demand creation, also called demand generation, is marketing that aims to stimulate demand for a certain product or service in the market.
Creating demand is the first step in the marketing funnel. It involves building awareness, positioning relevance, supporting validation, and more.
The most effective form of demand creation taps into your target audience’s existing interests to build trust with them, while positioning yourself (your product or service) as the answer to their wants and needs.
Once you’ve generated demand for your offer, you can move on to step two: converting that demand into a sale.
What is Demand Capture?
Demand capture is marketing that aims to take the demand for your product or service and convert it into real sales or leads.
Demand capture happens further down your marketing funnel than demand creation, focusing on the part of your audience that already knows they want what you offer. The only thing left to do is give them that final push to convert!
Leveraging 5 Levels of Customer Awareness to Create & Capture Demand
In general, the less knowledgeable a customer is, the lower their demand for your product or service. After all, how can they want something they don’t know exists; how can they yearn to fill a need they haven’t realized yet?
For any business, it is important to balance both demand creation and capture in order to grow. To figure out that balance, you need to know where your customers are right now and ask, “What does my prospect already know?” about their problem and your solution?
To answer those questions you need to understand where your target audience is on the customer problem awareness scale.
In his groundbreaking book Breakthrough Advertising, Eugene Schwartz emphasized the importance of customer problem awareness and identified five different levels. They are:
These people don’t even know they have a problem, let alone one you can solve for them! Of course, this doesn’t mean their lives are perfect ‒ they just don’t realize it can be better. You have to open their eyes.
- Problem Aware
There’s a problem, and they know it, but they may not fully grasp it yet and definitely don’t know the solution(s). You can help them make that connection.
- Solution Aware
Now, you’re getting somewhere. These people already know products or services like yours, so they’re open to learning about what makes yours better.
- Product Aware
Finally, at this stage, people are familiar with your product or service. But they probably know your competitors’, too. Now, you need to persuade them to make the right choice.
- Most Aware
This is where you want people to be: a loyal customer who’s fully aware of what you have to offer, and can be guided towards repeat or new purchases.
Where your target audience falls in this scale will dictate:
- What kind of information you need to give them;
- How you should speak with them; and
- What offer will produce the best results.
Knowing your customer’s problem awareness level is crucial in determining which type of promotion will be most effective for different segments of your target audience.
When to Use Demand Capture vs. Demand Creation
For customers with less problem awareness, you want to entertain, educate, and inspire trust in your business through content like:
- Blog posts
- Social media updates
You have to build trust with your prospects before they’ll be receptive to your offer, especially if your solution or business is brand new, unique, or has never been advertised to them before. Launching right into your products or services without making a connection makes people feel like you don’t care about them (so why should they care about you?).
Demonstrate that you understand their problem and experience their pain through relevant, relatable copy and content.
Near the bottom of your funnel, where customers have greater problem awareness, you want to seal the deal and capture demand with higher-commitment content like:
- Product demos
- Free trials
- Free consultations
- Product details and spec sheets
At this stage, you can ask customers for some contact information in return, which gives you a chance to start that sales conversation.
Bridging the Gap Between Demand Creation and Capture
Rather than dividing customer problem awareness into five neatly-separated shelves, think of it as a spectrum. Many people exist somewhere between two levels. You can’t focus all your attention on one level.
If you concentrate solely on capturing demand, you leave out scores of potential customers who just haven’t been acquainted with you yet.
On the other hand, if you raise awareness without taking steps to capture demand, you’re leaving money on the table.
Plus, as more governments crack down on online data collection and privacy, it’s becoming harder to pinpoint the people in your audience that are actually ready to buy. This makes it more important than ever to layer in both demand creation and capture.
Focusing too much on buyers who are at one point of your sales funnel will mean you miss out on buyers who are coming in at other points.
The ideal marketing funnel is built around generating demand and then capturing it. These two elements are essential for generating more traffic, sales, and leads, especially as new privacy regulations make traditional lead generation more challenging.
TrafficSoda can help you audit your existing marketing materials and develop a strategy to close those content gaps. If you’d like help getting started, reach out for your free strategy proposal now.
A recent survey shows that up to 30% of a typical company’s revenue is generated through marketing.
Yet turning leads into sales remains one of the single most difficult parts of getting your business to grow.
Fact is, most leads who enter your marketing funnel – even many so-called qualified leads – do not end up buying your product or service.
This, right here, is a massive bottleneck for many companies trying to climb the leader.
And all too often, these struggling companies think this can all be fixed with a bigger marketing budget – without setting a useful strategy in place.
The #1 Mistake You’re Making In Marketing Right Now
Leads don’t pay the bills…conversions do.
But whether it’s hitting the “Buy” button, making the phone call, or lining up to check-out, most of your prospective customers just aren’t taking that final step.
You might feel so close to making the sale. Like something somewhere is missing, and all your customers need is one final “push” towards conversion.
This is where many, many companies make a big mistake.
Instead of taking a forensic look at their broken marketing funnel and analyzing where, exactly, their leads are dropping off…
These companies pull out their credit card and expand the campaign, as-is, to an even wider audience.
They fall prey to the all-too-common misconception that you should be marketing your service or product to as many people as you can.
However, this “scattershot” marketing approach won’t bear any fruit if 99% of the people coming across your product or service aren’t buying!
Sure – you’ll be reaching more potential customers overall. It stands to reason that your conversions should increase accordingly.
But that doesn’t actually solve the problem you had in the first place: that too small a portion of your leads were actually buying.
Your conversion rate is still low. You’re still spending too much money per lead.
Put simply, you’re not getting your money’s worth.
What You Should Do Instead: Quality Over Quantity
This is exactly where data driven lead generation is so important.
Rather than focusing on reaching more people, this methodology helps focusing on the right kind of people. Your target market.
Data-driven lead generation focuses on leveraging sales and marketing data to focus on the quality of leads over quantity. This is an extremely important concept.
Data-driven lead generation doesn’t necessarily focus on getting as many leads as possible. Rather, it integrates sales into the mix and focuses on pushing the leads to actually buy a product.
This approach can further amplify the success of any marketing strategy, and constant iterations can serve to work out that strategy’s pains and shortcomings.
Lead Generation & Data Analytics
In order to build the right models for your business that can provide you with the most usable data, it is crucial to gather accurate, relevant marketing and sales data.
This data can then help generate insights and prove or disprove your hypothesis of whether a specific strategy could work.
With data analytics, you can focus on understanding the different attributes of your target market and develop detailed insights – the kind that you can use to produce powerful marketing messages.
Furthermore, this can allow you to find connections between different attributes and data sets that aren’t possible through traditional biased thinking.
For this to happen, you need reliable data which can help drive your analysis.
Good Data Is Unbiased Data
Here’s the real beauty of data driven lead generation:
Data is always unbiased.
The pre-set notions and theories that are followed in “traditional” marketing (some of which are literally over a hundred years old!) are not always relevant in this ever-changing technological environment of ours.
It is important to get unbiased data to help drive analysis and to get results.
Having unbiased data will help you generate those high-quality leads that have a significant chance of turning into a sale.
In order to find reliable, unbiased data, you have to develop an understanding of who you’re targeting and identify the best acquisition channels to collect the most valid data. These can include techniques such as tracking anonymous users visiting your website, gathering feedback from your customers, monitoring trends of loyal customers or using social logins to access a prospect’s profile.
Often, your company’s history is its biggest asset. Using historic behaviour and historic data from older clients can help narrow down your target market and really allow you to focus on generating quality leads. In order to narrow your target market, you need DATA!
Here are some of the key metrics to focus on in your quest to building a data driven strategy:
- How much of your revenue comes from marketing channels such as email, social, PPC, and others?
- How many leads are you generating in a specific time period?
- How many customers actually buy a product or book a service from your website?
- To date, how much actual revenue has your marketing strategy generated (and how does this compare to what you forecasted?)
- How much money have you generated from each lead source?
- How many leads have become opportunities for each of your marketing channels?
Start Putting Data To Work For You Now
To be honest, this only really begins to scratch the surface of what data-driven lead generation strategy can do for your business…but it’s a solid place to start.
And the very best time to start is now.
With all the uncertainty in the world right now, no business can afford to take a “scattershot” approach to its marketing budget.
This is the time to stand out or stand back and get left behind.
Reach out to us when you’re ready to start turning more leads into paying customers.
Let’s get right into it. The key word I want you to focus on from the title of this blog is realistic.
Of course you want your business to grow. That’s a given. And a strategic, focused lead generation campaign is the most consistent, reliable way to get new customers through the door.
But “skyrocket my business” isn’t exactly a specific, measurable goal. You need to dig deeper.
Goals give your company something to work towards, but reaching for something unrealistic will knock you off the path to success.
Once you’ve done the research and crunched the numbers, you’ll land on that perfectly balanced goal. From there, your lead generation will improve drastically.
This notion is a universal truth for all businesses. Having a clearly defined objective gives you the focus to achieve what you’re aiming for.
Why Are Realistic Goals Integral to Your Success?
First and foremost, studies show that – out of 3,000-plus marketers – there is a 376% likelier chance for success for those who set goals.
Giving yourself realistic benchmarks lets you plan and budget time and money around those expectations.
You won’t over-commit and experience a catastrophic outcome that sinks you financially. Plus, you invested a reasonable amount of time that hasn’t taken away from the rest of your business.
Whereas an unrealistic goal might act as a financial sinkhole that takes your focus off what brought you to the dance: providing quality services.
Metrics That Will Help You Set Realistic Goals
It’s tricky to improve upon what you can’t measure.
However, what you’re measuring should provide valuable insights that help you generate more leads.
What are some examples of meaningful metrics for lead generation?
- Marketing Qualified Leads: leads that have shown interest in your services but aren’t ready to make a purchase. These individuals have performed an action such as filling out a contact form or clicking on an ad.If you nurture an MQL, they’ll be likelier to convert into a customer or client.
- Conversions Through the Sales Funnel: tracks how leads travel the marketing funnel towards being a customer. If customers are moving down this path successfully, it’s an indication that your methods are working.
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL): a metric that becomes meaningful deep into the buyer’s journey. A wealth of SQLs means that you’ve performed well in cultivating relationships with MQLs and keeping them interested in your services.
4 Critical Factors to Weigh In Setting Realistic Goals
1. Average Deal Size
- Smaller transactions make it more challenging to get a decent return on your investment.
- If your focus is on smaller deals, you’ll have to convert at a high volume.
- Your deal size dictates the preferred size of your prospect or lead database. If you have a more significantly sized deal size, you don’t need to work with as many leads.
2. Average Sales Cycle
- Knowing how long it takes to convert a lead into a buyer gives you a clearer picture of your potential return on investment (ROI). Plus, it helps you grasp the various steps in your pipeline.
- You must adjust accordingly to these timeframes for the most realistic projections of your ROI.
3. Complexity of Sale
- You need to consider how complicated your message is and how many people will be involved in crafting your goals.
- These factors often dictate the number of call attempts and the number of contacts per account for callers.
- Complex sales bring in more value per deal and often justify a lower response and conversion rates because of the money being brought in.
4. Quality of Data
- If you’re receiving quality data about leads, you’ll be spending your time trying to convert people who are more likely to purchase your products.
Defining and achieving your lead goals could mean exciting things for you and your company: higher profit margins, faster growth, and freedom to try new things. Reach out to us to learn how to start generating more leads online now.
As a business owner, you’re probably no stranger to people trying to turn you into a believer in Google Ads.
And the well-intentioned folks singing the praises of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) do have a point. After all, on average, businesses make $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads.
So, why not jump at the opportunity? Who wouldn’t go for a 100% return on your investment?
Well, I’m willing to guess the savvy business owner in you isn’t ready to take that vague stat at face value…and you’re right to be a bit skeptical.
When things sound too good to be true, you know there’s got to be more to the story.
Let’s get serious.
The Truth Is, Google Ads Are Not Automatically Profitable.
The “$2-revenue-per-$1-spend” statistic we just mentioned up above is an average.
Meaning, some companies who use Google Ads actually see results that eclipse that 100% return on their investmentby a long shot…while other completely miss the mark.
In fact, there are horror stories of businesses losing thousands upon thousands of dollars due to inefficiencies or ill-fated campaigns. A few beginner mistakes can result in:
- Visitors landing on entirely the wrong page on your website and immediately losing interest.
- Paying for search queries that have absolutely nothing to do with your business.
- Shovelling more and more money into ads that aren’t moving the needle in the slightest.
- Getting tons of traffic from visitors that have zero intention of ever buying from you.
- Churning out ads with no hope of ever gaining ground on your competitors.
All the above will decimate your Google Ads budget faster than you can say, “Broke.”
I hate seeing hardworking business owners throwing good money after bad. So, today, I’m going to tell you exactly where companies like yours most often go wrong with Google Ads.
Then, I’ll explain how you can avoid falling into a Google Ads money pit yourself.
1. Sending Visitors to Irrelevant Landing Pages
Right off the top, I need to make one very integral point: your home page and a landing page are not the same thing.
Sadly, there is a wealth of inexperienced, unseasoned people running ads that send their audience directly to the company homepage.
People who click PPC ads are generally looking for a particular product or service. If someone clicks your paid search result expecting something specific, and is taken to a homepage instead, they’ll likely navigate elsewhere.
People want the most hassle-free navigational experience possible. They should be able to transact on the landing page, removing any barriers from the scenario.
This practice leads to bad quality scores and paltry conversion rates, which both increases your cost per click and takes a chunk out of your ROI.
2. Having Keywords That Are Too Broad
With keywords, specification is everything.
Running with overly generalized, broad-match keywords will put you on wrong end of irrelevant search results fast.
For instance, say you’re running a plumbing service. You’d think using “plumbing” as your keyword might seem like it makes sense, right?
But think about all the different intentions someone might have if they type “plumbing” as their search term.
They might be looking for a plumbing job, a do-it-yourself plumbing blog, a general definition, plumbing tools…anything else that falls under the plumber umbrella. Meaning, you’re drastically reducing your chances for click-throughs and conversions.
From there, you’ll see a significant increase in your costs per click and a decrease in your quality scores.
Then, your ads will sink to newer and more troubling depths in the rankings.
None of this is good.
3. No Trial and Error Process
Earlier, I mentioned how some companies manage to blow the industry average $2 revenue per $1 spend out of the water.
This kind of success doesn’t happen by accident. There’s a rigorous testing period involved in order to learn what really does and doesn’t work for your audience.
In Google Ad language, this is known as A/B testing.
If you start your Ads initiative expecting results right out of the gate, you’re setting yourself up for immediate failure.
Without taking the time to figure out what connects with your audience, it’ll all-but guarantee low click-throughs and conversion rates.
If you haven’t noticed a pattern here, the next part of that process is a higher cost per click and lower quality scores!
4. Neglecting Negative Keywords
As vital as it is to let Google know what exact keywords for which your ad should pop up, you also need to indicate words for which you don’t want your ad to show.
Those search terms you’re looking to avoid are called negative keywords.
For instance, say you’re an electrician who provides more expensive services because you cater to a high-income clientele.
Imagine you add “electrical services” is added as a keyword. Google’s default searching algorithm will show your ad for a range of phrases and broad match keywords, including “cheap electrical services” and “electrical services for cheap.”
All your search traffic will reach your site and be turned off by your prices because they were looking for bargain-basement pricing! Thus, leading to the cycle that drains your budget so substantially.
A skilled Google Ads partner will have a knack for these negative keywords and will ensure you receive the correct kind of traffic on your landing page.
5. Putting Bids Over Quality
When has throwing money at a problem ever helped anybody?
Yet, that’s what many individuals – in over their heads – working on Ads campaigns try to do.
To win out valuable Google Ad space, people will throw their budget away without focusing on quality score.
No matter how much you spend on outbidding competitors, it means nothing if your quality score stinks.
Google Ads Are a Professional Discipline
You know how you’ve spent years upon years honing your craft, whether you’re an electrician, mechanic, or HVAC specialist, etc.?
There are people out there who’ve invested just as much time learning the endless intricacies of Google Ads…and still haven’t mastered this highly technical art/science/math hybrid.
All mistakes highlighted in this blog are only scratching the surface—and they’re a lot to digest on their own. Learning all the ins and outs of Google’s advertising platform at the same time you’re running a business is a tall order.
However, that doesn’t mean you should turn up your nose at Google Ads.
Google Ads provides too many lucrative opportunities for you to ignore. There are many companies like yours who’ve seen a massive uptick in revenue thanks to Google’s PPC services.
What’s essential is finding a digital marketer who’s equipped with the know-how, dedication, and savvy to generate a sizeable return on your Google Ads spending.
An expert with a proven track record who gets the concepts discussed in this blog like the back of their hand – and knows how to generate a significant return on your investment.
When it comes to making landing pages, email copy or even ads, it can be hard to gauge what will perform the best.
Relying on guesses or chance for your marketing decisions is risky. You’re much better off split testing.
Most people have heard of the term A/B testing before. SEO split testing is relatively new to the marketing world but is quickly becoming an essential tool for conversion-driven companies.
What is Split Testing?
Our goal with SEO split testing is to compare multiple versions of the same ad or landing page and see which performs better.
Imagine you’re at the optometrist, getting an eye exam. Split testing is similar: you try out different variations until you’ve found the option that suits you best. When it comes to SEO, the best option is the one that most effectively achieves your goals for the campaign.
In order to begin split testing, you’ll need some ads. The best practice is to create two or more ads that have minor changes to the design, copy or layout (more on that later.) You’ll then show each ad to similar target audiences and monitor their performance.
The Benefit of Split Testing
Simply put, split testing is valuable to businesses because it’s low cost with a high reward.
You could pay someone to write five articles per week, but they may only generate 10 leads. Imagine the savings you could earn by only writing one article in the time it takes to write two but split testing the calls to action (CTAs).
You may find that the number of leads goes from 10 to 20. The extra time spent writing the article means it’s of high quality and unrushed. Even if the test doesn’t yield the results, you can use the knowledge you gained to make data-driven changes for the next time.
The eventual success of your tests will ultimately set you off better than a business that didn’t test.
It’s easy to determine which title has a bigger impact or which button is most clickable using testing. Minor changes and adjustments can make your conversions take off and keep people on your page for as long as possible.
How to Run Split Testing
Before You Run the Test
Step 1: What do you test?
Before you do anything, you have to identify the aspects of the ad or landing page you want to test. It may prove to be a longer list than you bargained for.
However, it’s a good idea to only one variable at a time. That way, you’ll know whether (and exactly how) the change made an impact. These changes don’t have to be major. Even changing the colour of your CTA can improve your results!
If you want to test multiple variables, that’s perfectly fine! The best practice is to test them individually and identify the top performers.
Now, there are times when it does make sense to test multiple variables instead of just one. This is called multivariate testing. This method takes longer to set up and requires more traffic to complete. The more you change, the more combinations you have to test to get useful results.
Step 2: What are your goals?
It’s important to identify the specific goal you want to focus on throughout the test.
Though you’ll end up monitoring multiple metrics for each test, you should choose a primary focus before you start testing.
Why? Simply because it allows you to identify which variable will influence what metric.
You should identify where do you want the variable to end up when the test is done.
Step 3: Creation
It’s time to create your various tests!
You have your variables and goals, so all that’s left is to make them. The first step is to make a control – an unaltered version of whatever it is you want to test. If this is a landing page, you would design and create copy how you normally would.
Once that is finished, it’s time to build your variant page or ad. This will be whatever you’ll be testing against your original. For example, if you’re wondering whether videos or images provide higher engagement, you would set up your unaltered version with just images. Your variation would then replace the images with videos.
Step 4: How Significant Do the Results have to be?
It’s easy to say that the results just have to be better than the original.
But by how much? If you got one more conversion than the original, is that worth it? Probably not.
Statistical significance is the most important part of the testing process. You may recall the term confidence level from your old statistics class. Typically you want to have a 95% confidence level, but the higher the percentage, the surer you are that you’ll have the results you think.
During the Test
Please note that you shouldn’t run more than one test for a single campaign. If you do, it can complicate your results. If you have an ad campaign that directs to a landing page that you’re testing, how do you know which one is actually generating leads?
Step 5: Test the Control and Variant at the Same Time
To begin your test on a website or email, you’ll need to use a testing tool.
Using Google Analytics’ Experiments, you can test up to 10 versions of a web page to monitor the performance.
Once you have that in place, you’ll need to run the campaign at the same time. If you were to run test A about furnaces in the winter and then test B in the summer, you won’t know if it was actually affected by your changes or if it was just the time you ran them.
Step 6: How Long Should the Test Last?
Oftentimes one of the downfalls of testing is limiting the amount of time to see the results.
You won’t see results overnight. It typically takes a week or two to see the variations in the different tests.
So don’t panic if you don’t see results yet!
After the Test
Step 7: Was the Test Significant?
It’s time to reflect on the test you just ran.
Looking back on your original goal, did you meet it? Which performed better?
Once you determine that, it’s time to find out if the test results were statistically significant. Can you justify the change?
Hubspot offers a free split testing calculator for you to use if you don’t want to do it manually.
Step 8: Improve!
These tests are all about making improvements to gain traffic and conversions.
So use the information you’ve gathered to improve your results.
If the test you just ran didn’t work out how you thought, then run another one with a different change! If you were successful, use that in your next campaign.
Use your tests to discover new ways to develop your own content and improve!
LinkedIn is a powerful and under-utilized social media.
It is a gateway to company executives, business-driven people and many other influential users.
Because LinkedIn’s Ad targeting strategy is so comprehensive and has so much data from users to take from.
LinkedIn is set apart from other social medias because it is made up of:
- 500 million active users
- 45 million decision-makers
- 73 million senior level executives
Now that you know the impact LinkedIn Ad campaigns, it’s time to find the best targeting options for your needs!
1. Sponsored Content
Sponsored content on LinkedIn is native ads that you come across when scrolling through your feed.
The goal of sponsored content is to engage viewers quickly while simultaneously delivering the objectives of the ad.
Sponsored content builds relationships through the use of relevant content based on the LinkedIn algorithm. This has been proven to be an effective method of creating leads and engagement. In fact, 25% more consumers look at sponsored content than display ad units.
LinkedIn is great for sponsored content because of their audience targeting software. You can build you perfect audience using your own profile’s audience. You can even move beyond that target audience using LinkedIn’s Audience Network.
The best part is that you can follow the campaign performance within the LinkedIn Insight Tag.
2. Sponsored InMail
Sponsored InMail is used for your core audience.
Using LinkedIn’s messaging system, you can send custom messages to the active members. Think of this type of advertising to be similar to a newsletter.
55% of organizations give their personalization efforts a grade of C or lower, this is the perfect method to change that.
One of the best features within sponsored InMail is the call to actions. These CTAs are optimized for conversions and leads. On both mobile and desktop, the CTA is always visible while the user scrolls, giving them every opportunity to go further down the funnel.
Not only is it viewer friendly, but it’s user friendly too! Anyone can have a perfectly formatted layout without worrying about its responsiveness. InMail automatically formats the content you provide it to look good on any screen.
3. LinkedIn Text Ads
This is a perfect choice for those looking to expand their reach within LinkedIn without breaking the bank.
Text Ads are simple ads on the right side or top of your LinkedIn desktop feed. It is what it says it is: text and a small icon to accompany it.
Create a text ad using bids based on pay per click or cost per impression. You control how much you want to spend.
How can you make the most of text ads?
You will always get the best results if you have accurate audience targeting. When creating your ads, in order to tailor the ads to the desired audience consider:
- Using creative visuals
- Using CTAs that link to a landing page that also matches the ad
- Continuously test and make adjustments, 3-4 ads in each campaign is best practice
When it comes to running a LinkedIn ads campaigns, there’s no set way. It’s all dependent on who you’re targeting and what you want out of the ads. LinkedIn allows you to take control of everything, even your own profile, and get the traffic you want.
Google is quite possibly the most powerful online advertising platform out there.
You can run ads to generate more leads and revenue. You can sell more products online. And you can bring more traffic to your website.
Best of all, Google Ads are relatively simple to execute.
Why Google Ads?
Google is the most popular search engine in the world, receiving 3.5 billion search queries a day and an estimated 700% return on investment. It’s used by people everywhere to ask questions from “How many ounces of flour equates to one cup?” to “What is the best outfit for a first date?” These questions are answered with a combination of paid advertisements and organic results.
Ok, so advertising on Google makes the most sense from an ROI standpoint – based on the massive amount of daily users – but what are the tangible benefits to advertising on Google?
Google Ads are:
- If you create a Google Ads campaign that is converting at a profitable rate, there is no reason to cap spend on that campaign. Just hop back into your Google Ads account and bump up your PPC budget. Your leads and profits rise accordingly!
- With detailed conversion tracking, Google Ads PPC is one of the most measurable of online channels.
- Google Ads is more transparent, providing tons of PPC metrics.
- Quickly determine if your campaigns are sucking or returning ROI.
- Google Ads provides tons of options so you can customize your campaigns.
- Hyper-target the audiences you most want to reach.
In addition, specific keyword match types for example, only show your ad to people who search for an exact keyword you specify, like “Vegas hotels” – filtering out traffic on general terms related to Las Vegas or hotels.
Google Ads Best Practices
Google Ads typically perform quite well without in-depth optimization. However, in order to get the biggest bang for your buck, it’s important to do your research.
What are your competitors doing successfully? How could you implement optimizations into your campaigns to maximize performance?
- Use ad extensions to display product images, a phone number, a mega-pack of links to your site, and your physical location.
- Narrow your audience by location, time of day to be targeted, language, browser or device type.
- Access an enormous network of non-search users on properties like Gmail and YouTube.
1. Using Google Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are additional bits of information about your business that can be added to your Google text ads. These extensions can automatically pull info from your Google My Business profile or be populated manually. Both types of Google Ad extensions can have value: automatic extensions are convenient, while manual extensions offer powerful customization.
Currently, you can enrich your text ads with 10 types of extensions:
- Sitelink Extensions: additional links you can add to your search ad to allow searchers to view all your various offerings up front
- Location Extensions: show the address of your business as well as hours of operation directly in your search ad; this is a fundamental action to ensure more traffic to your storefront location; must connect a ‘Google My Business’ account to Google Ads to enable location extensions
- Affiliate Location Extensions: these help potential customers find the best, and nearest, retail stores that sell your product; most useful for large brands that are sold nationwide
- Structured Snippet Extensions: these provide advertisers with three additional header lines of text to include meaningful business information
- Call Extensions: allows the business telephone number to be shown on the ad; on mobile devices, users can use this extension to directly dial your business
- Message Extensions: shown on mobile devices, and allows the searcher to contact you via text message; message extensions cannot be tracked for conversions
- App Extensions: this extension allows you to add a mobile app download button next to your ad; a customizable call to action can be included beneath your ad
- Callout Extensions: like Sitelink Extensions, but without clickable links; allows the advertiser to provide additional information and relevance regarding your ad; can help improve the click-through rate and the conversion rate
- Price Extensions: allows the advertiser to display products and/or services alongside their prices directly in the ad; price extensions only appear if Google ranks your ad as #1
- Promotion Extensions: allows the advertiser to include coupons, sales and other deals in their ad; you can schedule promotion extensions within Google Ads for custom holidays and promotions that are exclusive to your business
However, extensions don’t always appear when your ad is shown. It depends on:
- Your ad’s position and Adrank; and
- Whether Google predicts the extension will help or hinder your ad’s performance.
2. Narrowing Your Google Ads Audience
Google lets you narrow your ad’s audience to better reach those who are most likely to be within your target demographic. You can define your audience based on specific demographics, locations and devices – including the ability to exclude users who are outside your niche.
- Demographic targeting includes identifiable audience traits like age, gender, parental status and income.
- Location targeting lets you define your audience by country, regions within a country (like cities or territories) or even within a certain distance of a specific zip or postal code.
- Device targeting is available to display and video campaigns. You can show ads on specific devices, models, carriers or wireless networks.
3. Leveraging Google’s Non-Search Network
The Google Ads platform gives you the option to display your ads across numerous non-search networks affiliated with Google. This feature is what earns Google Ads its status as the most versatile international advertising platform.
Google’s extended network includes channels such as:
- YouTube TrueView For Action: videos ads that include a direct call-to-action. You only pay when the user elects to view your video. Targeting specific keywords and utilizing call-to-action buttons can greatly reduce your cost-per-click.
- Smart Shopping: this new campaign type uses automation to optimize bidding for maximum ROI. It’s extremely efficient for advertisers with small budgets.
- Display Remarketing: these are image ads shown on Google’s partner sites to users who have visited your site in the past. Remarketing is a great campaign to move the user to conversion.
- Gmail Ads: text ads that appear in users’ promotions inbox in Gmail. If the user clicks, they are brought to a display ad, which will direct the user straight to your landing page.
Types of Google Ad Campaigns
Google gives you plenty of ad campaigns to choose from. The campaign you select will determine where people will be able to see your ads – so your choice should be based on your specific advertising goals.
Some of the most commonly used campaign types are:
- Search Network Campaign: ads appear in Google Search results (and on other Google sites) when users search for relevant keywords. Your ads are displayed to people who are looking for information related to the content of your ad. The goal of a search network campaign is to generate a specific user action: sales, leads, phone calls or clicks to your website.
- Display Network Campaign: display ads appear to users while they’re browsing online, watching YouTube videos, checking Gmail or using their mobile device and apps. These campaigns can help promote your brand, generate product awareness, or increase sales and leads.
- Shopping Campaign: these ads use Merchant Center product data to show users an image of your product, along with the price and the name of your store. They help to promote what you’re selling, drive traffic to your store (online or offline) and find you more qualified leads.
- Video Campaign: display video ads by themselves or along with other streaming content on YouTube and across the Google Display Network.
- App Campaign: app ads appear across Google’s mobile platforms such as mobile Search, Google Play, the YouTube App and the Display Network. These ads can be used to encourage users to install your app or make in-app actions.
Google Ads Terminology
Marketing terminology can be daunting. We’ve provided a comprehensive breakdown of some of the most popular Google Ads terms to help you navigate.
Your AdRank determines your ad placement. The higher the value, the better you’ll rank, thus a higher chance of getting clicks. Ad Rank is determined by your maximum bid multiplied by your Quality Score.
The higher your bid, the better your placement. Your three bidding options are CPC, CPM, or CPE.
The amount you pay for each click on your ad.
The amount you pay for one thousand ad impressions when your ad is shown to a thousand people.
The amount you pay when someone takes a specific action with your ad. You chose this engagement action when you create your campaign.
The format of your ads and where your ads will appear.
- Search ads: text ads that are displayed among search results on a Google results page.
- Display ads: typically image-based and are shown on web pages within the Google Display Network.
- Video ads: between six and 15 seconds and appear on YouTube.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The number of people who click through to your website from your ads.
Conversion Rate (CVR)
A measure of form submissions versus the number of total visits to your landing page. The higher your CVR, the greater the proportion of visitors that turn into leads.
A type of advertising where the advertiser pays per click on an ad. PPC is not specific to Google Ads but is a very important metric to track when running your campaign.
Quality Score (QS)
A number determined by Google that rates the quality and relevance of your ads and keywords. Higher quality ads and keywords perform better with your audience. New keywords automatically start out with a Quality Score of 6. Per WordStream:
- A good Quality Score for branded keywords is between 8 and 10.
- A good Quality Score for high-intent commercial keywords is 7 to 9.
- 7 is a good Quality Score for low-intent keywords.
Get Started With Google Ads
Advertising on Google is an effective way to support a Lead Generation strategy. If you’re looking for guidance or agency experience in the Google Ads realm, contact us today!
As a small business, it can be challenging to get noticed in the sea of other businesses. How can you make yourself heard and seen by your target audience?
Facebook announced during Small Business Week 2019 three new key features for small businesses to gain traction.
Facebook has always been a great platform to advertise businesses because of the 2.4 billion active monthly users. And now it’s even easier to use.
Here are the brand-new features for small business to take off with!
Instead of just making a regular ad, now you can automatically create multiple versions of an ad. Up to six different ads can run across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.
How does it work?
Well, this new tool provides users with some questions regarding their business and the overall objective and goal of the ad. It uses this information and creates useful suggests for Call to Action (CTA) buttons, keyword text suggestions and other creative details specific to your company’s Facebook Page.
Automated ads will save people time and effort to change the advertisements for each platform.
Embedded Appointment Bookings
Across all Facebook owned platforms, you can now embed appointment booking software.
This feature allows for customers to automatically book your services without you personally having to talk to them!
It is completely customizable for your business’ services. You can display your availability and manage any and all appointments directly. This could even go hand-in-hand with the Facebook Messenger Bots. The bots can handle the bookings too!
It’s a free service already built into Facebook. This could be an excellent option for those who haven’t already invested in a third-party appointment booking service.
Video Editing Tool
Video is the biggest drivers of engagement by far for Facebook advertisements. These posts actually get about 59% more engagement than other types of posts.
Is it time to roll of the DSLR cameras and sound board? What if you don’t have these things?
Small businesses might not have the budget for a whole production team to shoot and edit advertisements. And that’s okay, Facebook now has you covered!
The new video editing tools released by Facebook now gives the opportunity to crop, trim and add overlays to videos. For each ad, it automatically crops and trims to the correct lengths for different platforms.
While the features don’t replace the flexibility of editing software, such as Adobe Premiere, it allows for small edits to be made quickly. Some text or logo overlay may just be all you need.
The Future of Facebook for Small Businesses
So why should we care about this new update from Facebook?
Facebook is really pushing for accessibility to the resources they offer. In 2019 alone, Facebook plans to run over 200 training events.
Their goal is to train as many small entrepreneurs’ digital skills needed for the business world today. There will be online and offline events hosted to educate the masses.
Combined with Facebook’s other tools, such as the Pixel, businesses with smaller audiences can get a farther reach. An example would be using the Custom Audience tool for retargeting viewers who have watched your videos. You can provide different ads to those who watched more than 50% of the video. It allows for a better conversion rate at a lower cost.
Facebook hopes that this update, as well as the additional Blueprint courses, will help those who lack the technological resources and the budgets to get off their feet.