The Top 5 PPC Takeaways from 2024

Imagine a world without PPC (pay-per-click advertising). If you’re a digital marketer, that may seem impossible. Since the mid-1990s, PPC, more commonly known as Google Ads, has revolutionized digital marketing and how we search for information. 

There’s much to understand about Google Ads and the industry leaders featured in our recent episode of The Digital Marketing Mentor: The Best of PPC. The episode highlights the most important lessons learned from years of working in the field. Featured are their golden nuggets of insight that have helped them navigate the waters of Google Ads.

Check out the episode here!

So, whether you dove headfirst into the PPC industry as Duane Brown, CEO of Take Some Risk, a digital marketing firm, did or discovered it to pay the bills like Kirk Williams, founder and CEO of Zato, a Google Ads agency, this blog is a treasure trove of their most important takeaways.

Read on to learn the most valuable lessons that our panel of experts have to share as they continue to navigate the evolving world of PPC. 

The Importance of Audits 

A Google Ads audit analyzes a pay-per-click program to determine how it can be improved to increase its return on investment.  

Duane Brown noted that clients are often so anxious to grow their businesses rapidly that they don’t collect the necessary information first, of which a Google Ads audit is a huge provider.

Ignoring the most crucial part of a Google Ads campaign—the audit—can cause it to struggle to achieve consistent results.

Brown underscores the practicality of collecting and reviewing extensive information before making business changes. This approach empowers you to make informed decisions and drive your business forward.

A thorough Google Ads audit should examine the following elements within a campaign:

  • KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) 
  • Evaluating Ad Extensions
  • Landing Pages & Ad Copy
  • Comparing Competitive Advertisers
  • Evaluating Bidding Strategy 
  • Examining Account Structure

In conjunction with the initial audit, Brown likes to ‘trim the fat’ of the client’s existing Google Ads campaign to see its ‘bare bones.’ By doing this, Brown says he can see what is working and what is not within the campaign.  

Manual vs. Automated Bidding

Choosing between manual and automated bidding depends on your campaign’s goals, available resources, and experience level. Although Google Ads has gradually moved away from manual bidding, the guests on The Best of PPC said both approaches to managing pay-per-click campaigns have their merits.  

Manual Bidding

Rachel Howle, head of paid search at Optidge, believes manual bidding is crucial when launching a campaign. It allows for greater control at the outset. She advises manually generating as many conversions as possible before switching to an automated bidding platform. 

Secondly, Howle suggests switching back to a manual bidding campaign if an automated one isn’t generating enough conversions. This shift will help maximize CPCs and ensure you spend the budget effectively. 

Other advantages to manual bidding include flexibility. PPC specialists can adjust their bids based on seasonality, changing performance data, and other factors. As several of the panel’s PPC experts said, this flexibility helps them fine-tune their campaigns.

Automated Bidding

Automated bidding is incredibly efficient, thanks to algorithms and machine learning, which adjust bids automatically. The result is usually increased cost efficiency and performance. 

Susan Wenograd, president and owner of Smart Smark Marketing, thoroughly enjoys this Google Ads tool. She likes relying on the search giant to make those split-second decisions about consumer behavior that only a machine can do.

Though she is happy that Google Ads is moving away from manual bidding, Wenograd says it still has a place in paid search.

She notes it’s especially effective for a brand because its intent can vary greatly. When Wenograd does have a client who opts for manual bidding, she advises them to cap their bids. She notes that, all too often, things can get significantly more expensive than they are worth. 

Ad Copy

Strong advertising copy is essential to the success of a pay-per-click campaign because it’s the first thing the target audience sees. Its purpose is to attract buyers. 

Caroline Pham, senior PPC consultant, says the key to compelling ad copy is highlighting what differentiates your brand. It must be persuasive and engaging enough that the target audience clicks on it. 

According to Pham, the challenge with ad copy is effectively varying it for social media platforms (e.g., Facebook or Instagram). Often, PPC experts have to rely on demographic data to determine what works with users and what doesn’t regarding their ad copy.

Brown says that businesses often underestimate the importance of good ad copy that is simple in structure and word usage—adding that sometimes the most significant changes in a Google Ads campaign come from adjusting the ad copy. 

Lead Generation

Thanks to UTMs, lead generation, or the process of generating consumer interest in a service or product and turning it into a sale, has significantly changed.  

Brianna DeBoever, Optidge’s social media strategist, said introducing UTMs (Urchin Tracking Module) has been a ‘game changer’ in her paid ads campaigns. 

UTM tracking allows digital marketers to monitor the performance of a Google Ads campaign by adding a small amount of text to the end of a URL.

DeBoever says this tool has allowed PPC specialists to acquire an unrivaled amount of information regarding the origin of their leads, including the following:

  • Campaign: Highlights which campaign the visitor captured or used to reach the website.
  • Source: the origin of the visitor, as in whether they’ve come from Yahoo, Google, Instagram, or TikTok.
  • Term: Identifies the user’s most significant interests.

Third-party Cookies

What began in January 2024 continues as Google slowly phases out third-party cookies for all its Chrome users. According to Wenograd, this elimination has shocked business owners, but it has surprised companies without an e-commerce presence.

According to Wenograd, companies without an e-commerce platform have relied heavily on third-party cookies to access a mountain of customer data. These companies have been left scrambling thanks to Google’s gradual purge of cookies. She says they will ‘have to get creative’ to acquire the customer data they were used to receiving from third-party cookies.

Wenograd added that many companies don’t understand how valuable the mountain of data they’ve amassed about their customers is. She feels businesses must realize that data is tremendously lucrative and leverage it.

The Best of PPC 

From conversion rates to third-party cookies and tracking attribution, The Digital Marketing Mentor’s: The Best of PPC episode covered a variety of topics and PPC success stories. 

Yet it was Amalia Fowler, the founder and principal strategist at Good AF Consulting, who noted that when she entered the ‘established space’ of the PPC community, though intimidated, she felt welcomed by her peers. She said they were sitting in the front row during her conference presentations. They applauded the loudest or made direct eye contact with her while she spoke at the podium. 

Williams adds that he feels comfortable enough to ask the type of industry questions at PPC networking events that he wouldn’t ask elsewhere.   

Therefore, despite all the discussion surrounding the latest trends and tools, that sense of community and camaraderie has made many PPC experts want to continue to work in the industry.

Please visit The Digital Marketing Mentor for more information on PPC and other digital marketing topics. 

If you’d like to learn more about Optidge PPC offerings or the broader suite of marketing services, contact us for a consultation or quote! 

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