Implementing Paid Search tactics that deviate from Google's best practices can sometimes yield surprisingly positive results. While adhering to Google's recommendations is benefitial for long-term stability and especially compliance, there is room for creativity and experimentation within the framework.
A while back I was perusing a very useful and popular reddit channel r/PPC and I was highly amused to come across a post titled "Why do I always get better results when I do the exact OPPOSITE of what Google recommends?". The individual posts several tactics that they had implemented recently that a resulted in positive results.
Here are my favourites that made the list:
I turn off any auto-recommendations account-wide; I immediately save tons of money on wasted garbage clicks served to irrelevant people
I bid on keywords with low "Quality Score" for my landing pages & ad copy; they become my best-converting keywords that make the most money
I ditch the "suggested" Responsive Display Ads and use properly-designed ad banners; they get way more CTR and actually convert
I combine multiple display targeting dimensions despite being spammed to "YOU WILL LOSE PERFORMANCE BY COMBINING MULTIPLE TARGETING METHODS!"... the display placements immediately appear on much more relevant websites
One expert replied to ot this post with:
A client recently asked why their ads score is going backward & had to explain it's all marketing to separate them from their money. With zero optimizations we got their "score" back up by ignoring the recommendations.
I thought - I wonder whether there are more examples I can get from the community. And firends - there are.
PPC Live UK Experts
According to Google's best practices for optimizing scores, using broad match type keywords is recommended for branded campaigns. However, I conducted tests using the Exact match type, which surprisingly yielded relevant conversions at a lower CPC.
Conversely, when I utilized broad match type keywords, the outcome was quite the opposite. It consumed a significant portion of the budget and resulted in numerous irrelevant clicks without generating quality leads.
It also helped me in improving competitive metrics like "Search impression share", "Top of page rate", "Absolute top of page rate" to 88% from 13%.
Pinning RSA Assets
Pinning best performing RSA assets (tested vs unpinned in a controlled environment) led to lower CPC, increased CVR and revenue per 1000 impressions.
Ad Scores and Conversion Rates
I have tried many things which have worked well, which were not advised by Google, from ignoring ad scores and getting a higher conversion rate to dismissing every recommendation.
One of the most recent actions which has/is working well for me is not switching my keywords to broad match, I infact have done the opposite and lean more towards exact match keywords now, this has worked well as it acts closer to the previous phrase and BMM+ match types.
This strategy does involve more work, ad group themes and keyword research, but I am finding phrase match is getting too broad for lead generation campaigns, whilst broad match still waste a lot of spend and drives low quality conversions which I can not justify to my clients.
Since adopting exact match strategies more I am able to still drive quality client approved leads, and ensure spend is going towards key search terms and not being wasted on low quality traffic.
Contextual Targeting & Dynamic Creative Optimization
Using contextual targeting: Google Ads guidelines recommends using demographic targeting for most campaigns. However, I have found success using contextual targeting to show ads that are relevant to the content on my websites. For example, news articles about technology I use contextual targeting so my ads appear if somebody search for technology products and services. This is a real converting machine. We generate more Revenue with this strategy.
Second example - dynamic creative optimization (DCO): Google Ads guidelines recommend using static ads for most campaigns. However, I have found success using dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to create personalized ads for each user. DCO allows me to change the creative elements of an ad, such as the headline, image, and text, based on the user's interests and browsing behavior. A start-up I have worked for had generated 45% more hot Leads with this strategy. Try what works for you!
We still have several clients using Manual CPC bidding that perform really well. We’ve tested switching them to Smart Bidding a few times as well, but saw worse results over a 3-6 month timeframe. We’re also still very cautious about using Broad Match keywords, and Phrase continues to be the best option for most of our accounts (at least when they’re initially set up).
Automated Bid strategies Vs Manual CPC
It goes against Google’s recommendation, however, I find automated bid strategies like Maximise Conversions drive up CPC unnecessarily for brand keywords.
Manual CPC enables you to keep cost-per-click down and you can still maximise impression share by increasing spend accordingly.
From - Anonymous
Target impressions share ( instead of tROAS) in brand campaigns to get highest ROAS.
Success in Paid Search often requires a mix of best practices and strategic innovation, offering PPC advertisers the opportunity to think outside the box while still achieving excellent results. Because Google says you should do something doesn't mean you should blindlty follow suit. We should be always looking to test and learn and see whether the "best practices" are yielding good results and not to be afraid to go into the opposite direction when it is not.
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