First, let’s address why we should follow the premise of my bold headline statement. In PPC, the buck stops at the user. Fundamentally, the key to capturing that all-important conversion is to understand that user. To achieve this you need to place your users at the centre of your thinking, working outwards from them to achieve a user-orientated style of campaign structure and management.

Now, let’s see how you can deliver this premise and put your users into the spotlight of your PPC campaigns:

  1. Organisation & structure of ad groups

You want to capture your target audience at every stage of the buying cycle – interest/awareness, research/consideration and conversion/purchase. This is a psychological process, which highlights the importance of the user. Different keywords have different roles within the psychological buying cycle. Broad match keyword ad groups are more likely to capture users in the interest/awareness and research/consideration stages of the buying cycle. Exact match keywords ad groups are more likely to capture users in, or near to, the conversion/purchase phase. Thus, splitting your ad groups by Broad match and Exact match places the user at the center of the process.

Simultaneously, the tone of your ad copy should mirror these differences. Ads in the broad match ad groups should appeal to people who are interested in but unaware of your brand, and who are researching and considering your product offering. As such, the ad copy needs to be descriptive, valuable and informative. Ads in the Exact match ad groups should appeal to people who have done their research and are ready to convert. Therefore, the ad copy should contain price points and sharp call-to-action phrases.

Lastly, the landing pages should follow suit. Where the user ends up needs to be consistent with their needs and intentions following their search query. Ads in the broad match ad groups should send users to an informative landing page, presenting all of the information the customer needs to complete their research, with multiple options and inspiration. Ads in the Exact match ad groups should send users to a landing page presenting them with a clear and definite action to conversion. For example, a landing page incorporating a contact form, quote request or a booking/sign up form.

  1. Insights through integration

Search and social channels have different roles in the conversion pathway, with search channels generating more direct conversions and social channels assisting conversions. According to a recent Marin study, 48% of search conversions are assisted by a click on a Facebook ad. Despite their different roles, they correlate and support one another, and also provide valuable insights that managing the two channels separately does not provide. The study also found that customers who click on search and social ads had an approximately two times greater conversion rate than users who clicked on the search ad only. Additionally, the study found that users who clicked on both a search and social ad contributed approximately two times more revenue per click than users who clicked on search ads only.

This moves us away from a channel-orientated to a user-orientated campaign management, integrating multiple channels and managing them alongside one another. Different channels can be used to capture users in different phases of the buying cycle, but integrating them allows for attribution modelling and allows us to determine and assign value in order to achieve the highest potential ROI.

  1. Remarketing

Remarketing is all about targeting those who you have already collected some data about. Therefore, it’s a prime opportunity to hold your user at the centre, hone in on them, and give them what they want, including what you failed to give them the last time they were presented with your ad.

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) allow people who have visited your website but did not convert to be reached on the search results page. So, with this user information, you know they have shown an interest in your offering by visiting your website, but for one reason or another they did not convert when they visited. With this insight you can make inferences about the user’s intentions. Maybe cost was a barrier to them converting previously. With this inference, present these users with a text ad reminding them who you are, what you can offer them this time that you didn’t last time (perhaps a 10% discount?), and a really sharp call-to-action phrase. This means you’re presenting the user with more reason to convert this time.

These three recommendations are just some way to achieving a user-orientation PPC campaign. We can spend hours optimising an account each month with the end goal of building more and more conversions, but ultimately it is the user that converts, which is why the user is the most pivotal part of the process.

There are my thoughts on what should be at the centre ‘in the spotlight’ of a PPC campaign. Do you agree with this user-centred approach? How do you go about achieving this? Please comment below or tweet me with your thoughts. And thanks for reading!

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