Must-Read! Insider Tips to Ad Optimization, Straight from #SESSF

Posted in PPC, SES San Francisco

Welcome back to aimClear’s coverage of #SESSF! The afternoon brought us Insider Tips to Ad Optimization, hosted by session moderator, Noran El-Shinnawy, Director of Marketing at BoostCTR. Noran introduced John Gagnon, Bing Evangelist, and associated with Microsoft Products, and Microsoft Advertising along with Matt Lawson, Vice President of Marketing at Marin Software, who were ready to reveal juicy industry secrets on how to increase clickthroughs, conversions, and more, by enhancing advertising through Google, Facebook, and other ad platforms. Read on for the gems!

With a crafty and relevant Olympic games reference, John started us off: The average Olympic runner’s height is around 5 feet 9 inches tall, but when compared with gold metal winner, Usain Bolt’s 6 feet 5 inches, they don’t stand a chance. He’s one tall drink of water. This also means he has an advantage over the other competitors, and it takes him fewer strides to complete the race. It may not be a major difference, but the key takeaway from today’s session was EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS.

John went on to stress the importance of testing. You can be as creative as can be, but if you have no way of monitoring the results… well, you’re out of luck.

Testing Framework: The What and Why
First of all, you should test different networks individually by:

  • Intent
  • Search
  • Re-messaging
  • Context
  • Ad display
  • Mobile

Manual Testing Rules

  • 2+ weeks (your ads should run for at least 2 weeks at a time)
  • Even ad rotation (creates more leads and better performance)
  • Test each segment (non-brand, brand, content, mobile)

John recommended checking out for testing inspiration and tons of available case studies. One equation that you must check out is the Conversion Sequence:

C = 4M + 3V + 2 (i-f) – 2A

According to “The Conversion Sequence can be used to identify obstacles to conversion, and examine best practices, tests and strategies that would help these and other campaigns improve their ROI.”

In other words, a customer must be motivated to stay on your page (m), be met with a clear value proposition (v), have an incentive to take action (i), will experience a degree of friction (f) or resistance during the process and anxiety (a) about entering information or committing to a purchase.

Easy as pie.

So, why should the consumer buy from you and not your competition?

  • Show them value (quality, low price, and selection).
  • Make sure they have low anxiety (Credibility, no hidden fees, time limits, and highlight loss vs. gain).
  • Create low friction (quick turn around, convent return policy, and ease of use).
  • Give them incentive (discounts, freebies, and free shipping).

Engage Your Consumer
Telemarketers engage a customer by asking, “How are you doing today?” The customer responds with some form of, “Good,” increasing their chances of making a conversion happen by 35%!

Next, Matt jumped in with another compelling Olympic analogy: Over the years, new techniques have been developed and tested again and again for improving the high jump. It has grown and evolved from hitting your head on any number of body parts to what we now call the Fosbury Flop, sleek and successful. The point being, they kept developing new techniques, and never gave up.

Matt gave the audience 10 Tips to ad testing and optimization:

1. Select an Appropriate Test. Break ads down to their individual elements:

  • Functional creative (focuses on product or service)
  • Emotional creative (pulls at metaphoric heart strings)
  • Promotional creative (highlights discounts and evoke a sense of urgency)

2. Maintain Keyword Relevance. Testing too many different elements can lead to a sacrifice in relevancy.

3. Limit Opportunity Cost. Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of value of forgoing the nest best alternative…

4. Test Keyword Tokens. Tokens are the individual terms that make up a keyword. Discovering the most relevant tokens promotes higher quality scores by increasing CTR.

5. Leverage Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Insert {Keyword:default text} into the headline, description line or display URL will add such keyword directly into your ad. Pay close attention that your ad still makes sense with each inserted keyword. Srsly.

6. Prioritize Test Based on Return. To optimize your creative, prioritize your tests to focus on groups with the most potential to shift overall account performance.

7. Limit Test Elements. Testing too many variables at once won’t give you a clear idea of what worked and what didn’t.

8. Check Campaign Rotation Settings. Rotate your ads evenly whenever possible. Keep in mind that Google campaigns set to rotate creative evenly will only do so for 90 days. After these 90 days, the creative will automatically optimize for clicks.

9. Implement Tracking Before Each Test. It’s crucial to take note and track the where and when of each new creative. Where in the account is the creative being tested? And when was the creative activated?

10. Reach Statistical Significance and Stop. Online marketers can often times end creative tests too early or let them run too long. Choose your KPI (conversions rate, CTR, impressions) and plug this into a T-Test with a user defined confidence level. This test determines the likelihood that the difference between the single creative and the average of all creative in the group, has not occurred by chance. A confidence level between 80-99% is standard.

Takeaway: ALWAYS TEST!

Safe to say the audience obtained some pretty righteous knowledge here today. Thank you to all of the presenters, and stay tuned for more coverage of #SESSF!

Post image courtesy of tim846.