It should come as no surprise that PPC agencies and freelancers can sometimes become so engrossed in the technical side of the business that they forget what it’s all about — the customers.
The pay-per-click world sure can get insular. It’s a complex form of advertising, after all, and that makes it very engaging to the people who work with it.
Plus, the language we use in PPC is very specific, and there’s a tremendous amount of information we could communicate with our customers. Add it all together, and you get the picture of an industry that might easily alienate the very people it aims to serve.
How to stop it from happening? Think ahead. A customer-centric approach works best if you implement it as early as customer acquisition and infuse it into all the other segments of your customers’ journey. Here are five tips for becoming more customer-orientated.
You might be the exemplary business that doesn’t use any of the dishonest, aggressive, borderline fraudulent ways PPC agencies can court to customers. You might not be the only one, either. But a few bad apples can do a lot of damage and paint the whole industry in a negative way, at least for some customers.
We’ve all seen it before. Some agencies and freelancers try to tout PPC as a kind of a business panacea, a cure for every ailment your potential customers’ business might have.
Others give promises that are impossible to keep, such as the promise of always getting a return on investment for PPC advertising.
The very least you can do is not add to the pile. Think about all the red flags your customers might be warned against when looking for someone to handle their PPC. Then find ways to not display any of them.
Some PPC agencies and freelancers wouldn’t agree that content is king, if for no other reason than because it’s a point of professional pride. But all differences aside, proper content can facilitate customer acquisition by providing the customers the information they need.
In business-to-business marketing, the two types of content B2B buyers say are the most effective are testimonials and case studies. It makes sense because both types of content provide proof of the effectiveness of your service. They do it in different ways so it would be best not to rely on one of them alone and use them together instead.
It’s also very important to tailor-make the content to fit your potential customers. If your case study shows, for example, how good you are at protecting ads from competitors’ clicks, you should use it to communicate to potential clients that have those kinds of problems, which are usually smaller, local businesses.
“Providing value” in the context of PPC management services can sometimes be boiled down to “providing the best possible impact on the bottom line.” And it’s true — as a customer-centric business, you should carefully balance between caring about your customers’ bottom line and yours.
A great way to do that is to think about providing the services that deliver the most value to your customers. Remarketing, also known as retargeting, is one such service.
It’s an effective way to go after the 96% of people who leave your customer’s website without converting and bring them back to the benefit of your customer’s branding, conversion rates, and ROI.
The best thing about remarketing is that all the major networks are offering it. You can use Facebook Dynamic Ads for it. Google Ads offer five distinct ways to remarket with them. Remarketing is a great example of a service you can offer to deliver more value to your customers, and in turn benefit your own business.
Is a PPC manager only as good as the tools they use? Probably not. Would it be possible to do your job without good tools? Maybe — but the competition would eat you alive. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush are ubiquitous for a reason, as is Google’s Keyword Planner.
However, the tighter your operating budget is, the more important it becomes to use only the tools that give your customers exactly what they need. Nothing more, and nothing less.
Let’s say you’re using display advertising to remarket to your client’s customers. If you want to use a click fraud protection tool — as you should — it would be best that you used a tool that has specific functionalities in place for display advertising.
The ability to use ad placements as a source and block them can be of tremendous value. That’s why we offer it as part of our click fraud protection and prevention tool.
We mentioned before that the PPC community uses a specific language, but that it also has a lot of information it needs to communicate with the customers and clients. Reporting is an important part of customer retention. You should know what, how, and when to communicate with customers, and who is the best person to do it.
Your customers will want to speak with the person who is in direct control over their PPC money. It might be a good idea to let them if it doesn’t interfere with anyone’s work performance. Account managers shouldn’t sit by the phone 24/7, waiting for their clients. But they should be at least one of the people in the agency that are in contact with the clients.
Giving your clients a full insight into their account is incredibly important for transparency reasons. Some might know their way around the data and could be talked with as you would with another PPC professional.
Always be ready to deliver all the data that belong to your clients. Whatever data you deliver, do it in a way your clients will be able to understand.
As a PPC agency or a freelancer, your objective always stays the same — to use your customers’ or clients’ PPC budgets in a way that most effectively achieves their goals.
Your ability to meet that objective will depend on your ability to use data to analyze ad performance and find the best possible strategies for your clients. But don’t think for a second that’s all that matters. You must be able to see things from your clients’ perspective.
You have to understand what’s most valuable to them. And you need to be able to communicate in a clear and meaningful way. That’s what customer-centric businesses do.
What does it do: Eliminates repeated clicks from unknown devices coming from IP ranges
Why is it effective: Because it automatically blocks all IP ranges that bring traffic from devices that lack a digital fingerprint
If there is one method that indicates an organized attack, then it is a burst of clicks coming from an IP range. Fraudsters usually set up a virtual machine on a certain data center and run a script that clicks on your ads. Often times our systems will indicate that clicks are coming from devices that do not broadcast any information that could be used to form a browser or digital fingerprint.
For example a browser on your computer (let’s assume it is the Chrome browser) has a unique set of extensions, language settings, window size properties. At the same time, your computer has an operating system and other unique characteristics. All that combined helps us determine a digital signature. It is quite rare to encounter a device that does not send these kinds of information.
"If there is one method that indicates an organized attack, then it is a burst of clicks coming from an IP range."
And finally, there were sporadic cases where fraudsters intentionally blocked our tracking pixel and tried to avoid being caught in illegal activities.
All these situations could be put under control using the protection rule we are showcasing today.
We put a limit to five clicks per two days, but of course, you are free to modify the rule to your specific needs.
The digital fingerprint is just one layer of protection against a click-fraud. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to receive lots of clicks from devices that do not send any info about the browser or the device. But if you see clicks coming from an IP range than possible fraudulent activity starts to be too obvious and it is better to be safe than sorry. Block those IP ranges and be assured fraudsters are avoiding your ads.
Setting a budget is one of the most important decisions marketers must make when creating their PPC campaigns. It’s also among the most challenging ones. The lack of data, absence of a structured approach, or simply not having a clear goal, can all cause you to create a budget that doesn’t help get the most return from advertising bucks.
And there’s a strong incentive to get the budgeting right — Google estimates that $1 spent in Google Ads might generate $8 of profit in return.
So how much should you spend on PPC advertising? Surely, you shouldn’t spend more on getting traffic than that traffic is going to bring back. After all, advertising is all about benefiting a business, and turning a profit is something a business must do. In that sense, you should spend the least possible amount of money that gives you the most results.
This, of course, is a very vague way to answer a complex question. Determining a PPC budget requires having access to data, as well as being able to calculate metrics and, above all, discern the metrics you should focus on from the ones that do very little for you, no matter how buzzworthy they are.
The very first thing you need is a goal. People don’t pay for advertising for no reason, they advertise so that they are able to achieve something. You can focus this campaign of lead generation, or on revenue generation. Either way, you need to have a number you’re trying to earn.
In order to achieve that number, you will need to bring a certain amount of traffic to your website, or your landing page. Not every person that lands will convert, so you need to know your website’s conversion rate — how many of your website visitors end up becoming leads. If you’re focusing on revenue generation, it gets a bit more complicated, but we’ll cover that later.
If you want to have 20 new leads, and your website’s conversion rate is 10%, you’ll need 200 people to land on your website in order to get those 20 leads.
Head over to Google Ads Keyword Planner, or the dashboard of your PPC platform of choice. There, you’ll be able to find the average cost per click on a keyword that would bring you the traffic you need.
After making sure there’s enough search volume for the term, go ahead and multiply the number of people that need to land on the website with the cost per click. What you get is your PPC advertising budget.
In the simplest case where you’re only looking to generate leads, your PPC advertising budget formula would look like this:
Budget = (Leads / CR) x CPC
Let’s say that you need 20 new leads and that your website converts at a rate of 10%. If the average CPC is $5, then your budget would be:
(20 / 0.1) x 5 = $1000
A budget of $1000 should bring you at or very near your goal of 20 new leads. But if you’re not only after leads, and you want to find out how big of a budget you’ll need to get a certain number of new customers, you can do that, too.
Let’s say that half of all leads convert to customers, and you set the goal at 50 new customers. You’d have to add another conversion rate, and you would do it like this:
Budget = (Customers / CR1)/CR2 x CPC
So, you now have a goal of 50 new customers which convert at a rate of 50% from your leads, which convert at a rate of 10% from all website traffic, which costs $5 per click. Your budget to achieve that goal should be:
(50 / 0.5)/0.1 x 5 = $5000
A cool five grand would get you what you need. And if you’re wondering how revenue ties in, you should be able to calculate the average customer value for a certain time period. It could be a monthly value, or you can just use the initial purchase. You would then take the revenue you want to see, divide it by the average customer value for that time period, and get the number of customers you need to attract.
In pay-per-click advertising, the size of your budget depends on some factors that are out of your control. Yes, you are free to set your goals, and you can and should do your best to improve your website’s and sales teams’ conversion and closure rates.
But the average CPC is a value that exists independent of you. In some industries, it can go up to $50, and even more. If we used a $50 average cost per click in the last calculation we did, it would increase the budget to $50,000. That’s a lot of zeros, too many for most businesses.
But there’s a catch — CPC isn’t that important of a metric on its own. It’s only good because it lets us understand more important things, such as how much money we need to spend to achieve certain goals. And if that goal is acquiring customers, then the CPC helps us get to a very useful number — cost per acquisition, or CPA.
In the calculation we use, it costs $5000 to acquire 50 customers. That’s $100 per customers. However, if the customer's monthly value, or initial purchase, is larger than $100, PPC advertising is making you money. The industries where the average CPCs are around $50 — the financial and legal industries — are also the industries that tend to have larger customer values.
If you’re working with keywords with $50 average CPC, and that balloons your CPA to $1000, it won’t matter because your customers spend $5000 on their first purchase with you. And it won’t matter that you have to spend a five-, six-, or even seven-digit number on advertising. The return on advertising spend, or ROAS makes it worth your while.
So how much should you really spend on PPC? As much as you see fit, as long as it’s making you money. Don’t let it get you in the red. But don’t let opportunity slip because you're afraid. It’s a very fine line you need to walk.
What does it do: Excludes placements that bring low-quality visits from Display advertising.
Why is it effective: It automatically excludes placements that bring visitors who do not engage with your content.
Typically, you would examine display campaign placements by looking into the click-through-rate or conversion data. When a placement shows a higher-than-normal CTR, you might inspect it a bit more and try to figure out why that occurred. A higher-than-normal CTR should attract your attention.
And so should a lower-than-normal CTR or conversion rate. If you have a placement that hasn’t brought a single conversion in a long time, while accumulating costs, you will need to react. Often, the best reaction to this situation is an exclusion.
Google Analytics offers an average session duration metric. It has a big problem, though: Google Analytics needs a second interaction for its’ systems to record time. If the user doesn’t click onto another page or invoke any other event, Google applies a session duration of 0.
You can read more on Google’s approach to measuring time here. But it boils down to having an interaction A (visitors entering a website) and an interaction B (user visiting 2nd page during a visit) as a minimal prerequisite for measuring the duration of a session.
Our time counter is significantly more precise. It manages to beat Google’s simply by taking into consideration the actual time a visitor spends on a website. The session starts the moment they land on your landing page, and it ends the moment they leave the website.
When you have a time counter that measures the actual time visitors spend on your website, you can be more comfortable with using the time-on-site metric in your protection rules.
In the example above, we are excluding placements that are bringing at least ten visits that individually spend less than thirty seconds on the website within a day. When that occurs, ClickGUARD automatically excludes that placement for the campaign in question.
In this case, we’ve set the exclusion to last for seven days. After seven days that placement becomes active and can bring new visitors.
Display campaigns can be tough. If you are including mobile app and video placements, they get even tougher — those are the places where most of the ad-fraud happens. Having good behavior metrics as criteria for evaluating the quality of incoming traffic can be of tremendous help.
Time-on-site is one of the most useful behavior metrics. So, test this rule out. Use it for a while until you get results you can analyze. Then you’ll be able to see whether you can use it to reduce costs and lower the CPA. At the very least, it might simply improve the performance of your GDN campaigns.
Unfortunately for advertisers, it’s extremely easy to abuse ads on Google Display Network. With paid search, Google applies a certain level of protection to your ads, saving you from lots of headaches. But running banner or video ads on the GDN’s placements is a whole different thing.
You are usually left to the mercy of the website (or app) owners, so the only thing you can do is to hope that everything will be okay with your ads. We know, however, that letting things take care of themselves usually doesn’t yield good results.
That’s why we’ve recently updated our core functionalities. Our users are now able to protect themselves from low-quality, disruptive, abusive, and fraudulent clicks coming from display campaigns.
In display campaigns, a placement is what we call a traffic source. It could be an app, a monetized YouTube video, or any plain old website that runs ads via Google Adsense or DoubleClick. For the purposes of understanding the scale of the threat, one need look no further than the Google Play Store.
We read multiple reports of drastic, almost criminal activities that are happening daily on Google Play Store, usually in the form of malicious ad-clicking apps. Google has labeled these apps as PHAs - potentially harmful apps.
Before 2018, click fraud apps were not considered a PHA. It was shocking to see that once they were recognized by Google, they instantly became the foremost type of potentially harmful apps on the Google Play Store. Ad fraud PHAs simply dominate the ecosystem. They account for 55% of all PHAs.
But that’s not all. Think about all those reports coming from Asia about click farms where hundreds of mobile phones are re-programmed to click on ads, produce video views, or like Instagram or Facebook posts. You’ll easily understand why display campaigns, even though undoubtedly useful, are a potential source of trouble.
We listened to your suggestions and realized we needed more tools to fight click fraud on placements. So we created a placement as a source algorithm update which gives you more possibility to deal with click fraud. By adding placement as a source, we’ve enabled the creation of protection rules against placements, not only clicks, as well as post-click behavior analysis for each placement.
If you want to learn about the quality of traffic you’re getting from a placement, or whether you’re a victim of ad fraud, post-click behavior analytics data is where all the insightful information is stored. Looking through it is the only way we can be sure if a click was fraudulent or not.
There are two ways to get the data you need. You can use the tracking template that you put in the Google Ads settings, or you can use ClickGuard’s tracking pixel that lives in the source code of your landing pages. Either way, you get the information about, among other things:
All of this gives us an answer if the visitor is legit and is the placement sending quality traffic. Here’s an example:
The screengrab above shows a placement report. You can clearly see that a big number of placements brings a substantial amount of suspicious and flagged clicks. Every other click coming from the placement in the fourth row, for example, is problematic. That’s a prime candidate for exclusion.
IP exclusions have a limitation of 500 entries per campaign. When it comes to placements, the limits are much more generous. You can enter a maximum of 20,000 placement exclusions at a time, and a total of 65,000 exclusions per account.
This is fantastic news for you since it enables you to be far more restrictive when setting up protection rules. You can be comfortable with your ability to eliminate all sources of bad display traffic.
Now when a placement is defined as a source, you are free to use it in other types and categories of protection rules. A common use case might be: “If a placement brings more than 10 clicks from devices that don’t have a digital fingerprint, then exclude the placement”. Before the update, you were only able to count clicks which weren’t good enough to protect display campaigns.
Display campaigns are most sensitive to no-fingerprint and time-on-site rules, therefore placement as a source is the most powerful when used with those protection rules. As previously mentioned, please make sure to have ClickGUARD’s pixel and tracking template properly set.
This is a placement report for a single website/app. It’s the place where we can investigate the overall quality of a placement. Are visitors converting, are they staying on the website or bouncing straight away, what is the level of threat they are presenting? This level of detail was previously available only when looking at “click as a source”.
The idea of expanding your brand’s reach by placing ads on specific websites sounds inviting. From a simple remarketing to more advanced interest based targeting, display campaigns can produce great results. But they hold a ton of uncertainty, especially with increased ad fraud.
So, we invite you to test few protection rules. Once you get the hang of the basic setup, take a deep dive into the various capabilities and optimization settings. Add conversion based rules, time-on-site rules, and find the “sweet spot” of protection rules that gives the best results for your business.
As always, we’re here to help! If you have any questions about Placement and Display rules, let us know in the chat below.