Muscular white male bodybuilder with a moustache, wearing eyeglasses and a tight tank top, flexing his right bicep, blue background

Tricks for clicks: How to improve your PPC performance

November 2023

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is an essential digital marketing channel that allows businesses to target audiences and drive traffic to your website. However, there may come a time when your PPC campaign's performance drops and the return on investment (ROI) just isn’t good enough. When this happens, it's time to identify the root causes and take action to improve your PPC performance. Here is what we’ve learned through experience about what you can do.

1. Review your PPC metrics

The first step in addressing a performance drop in your PPC campaign is to thoroughly review your key performance metrics. Understanding and clearly reporting the metrics is an important part of our client PPC strategies. For our client Cricut, a maker of craft machines and accessories, we created custom data visualisation dashboards that provide user-friendly reports on essential metrics and performance indicators, and trained the client's team in using them.

Some of the key metrics to examine are:

a. Click-through rate (CTR): A declining CTR can indicate that your ad copy is no longer resonating with your target audience.

b. Conversion rate: If your conversion rate is dropping, it's a sign that your landing page or ad content may need optimisation.

c. Quality score: A low quality score can negatively impact your ad rank and cost per click (CPC). Ensure your keywords, ad copy, and landing page are aligned and relevant.

d. Cost per click (CPC): A sudden increase in CPC without improved performance may indicate inefficiencies in your campaign.

2. Look for clues in historical data

One way to work out what’s causing your drop in performance is to examine your historical PPC data. Look for trends or patterns, changes in ad spend, seasonality, keyword performance and ad position over time. This analysis can give you insights into what went wrong and when.

3. Check out your competitors

What are your competitors doing in the PPC space? They might have adjusted their strategies, affecting your campaign's performance. Look at their ad copy, keywords and landing pages to see if there's something you can learn and incorporate into your own campaigns.

4. A/B testing, testing, testing

If you suspect that ad copy or landing page changes aren’t doing you any favours, conduct A/B tests. Create lots of variations of your ad copy and landing pages and run them simultaneously. Then monitor their performance to see which versions are underperforming and use that data to make adjustments.

5. Don’t let your landing pages let you down

Make sure your landing pages are fast-loading, mobile-responsive and provide a seamless user experience. Conduct A/B tests on elements such as headlines, call-to-action buttons and forms, and optimise them to improve your conversion rate.

6. Go back to keyword analysis

Take a good look at the keywords you’re using. If certain ones are not delivering results or have become too competitive, it could be time to refine your keyword strategy. For our clients, we choose different keywords for different stages of the funnel, starting with broader, more generic ones to attract qualified traffic and gradually transitioning to brand-specific keywords that yield higher revenue. We also identify and filter out any keywords that weren’t relevant.

7. Spend wisely: review your budget allocation

Review your budget allocation across campaigns, ad groups and keywords. If you're overspending on underperforming segments, consider redistributing your budget to allocate more funds to top-performing areas. This can help optimise your ROI.

8. All about timing: ad scheduling and bid adjustments

Evaluate your ad scheduling and bid adjustments. Are your ads showing at the right times when your target audience is most active? We fine-tune our bids by considering various factors such as the day, time and device. 

9. A little extra with ad extensions

Use ad extensions to enhance your ads’ visibility and relevance. Ad extensions provide additional information and links to your ads. With one of our clients, Cricut, we found that adding these extensions to ads helped significantly improve click-through rates and conversions.

10. Seek professional help

If you find it challenging to pinpoint the issues and implement necessary changes, consider seeking assistance from a PPC agency (may we suggest… ahem… us?). Applying these techniques has certainly helped us boost our clients’ PPC campaigns; with Cricut, return on ad spend in Germany reached 521% compared with the expected 350%. Agencies have the expertise and tools to diagnose problems and provide actionable solutions.

Changing tack to get back on track

When your PPC performance takes a nosedive, it can be frustrating, but it's not the end of the world. By following these strategies, you can diagnose the issues, make data-driven adjustments and improve your PPC performance. The PPC advertising landscape is always evolving, so continuous monitoring and adaptation are key to a successful, long-term strategy.