Traditional Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is not for the faint of heart. It takes significant time and money to build a profitable PPC campaign. I find it quite similar to playing slots. I feed the slot machine a coin (PPC campaign idea). I lose. I feed the slot another coin. I lose. Despite losing, I continue feeding the slot machine coins and, eventually, I win!
The difference between PPC and Slots is when you hit that winning spin, you don’t just win once, your profitable campaign pays out every day, for months.. even years.
Unfortunately, many businesses and startups simply can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars feeding the slots, hoping for a profitable campaign. I have good news, though. Over my short but sweet SEM career, I’ve uncovered 2 PPC tactics that almost always start off profitable!
1.Remarketing (Also Called Retargeting)
Remarketing is a fairly new Pay Per Click tactic that is taking the advertising industry by storm. It’s highly effective and incredibly easy to get started with. Here’s a snapshot from my biggest client:
The concept of Remarketing is quite simple. You install a snippet of code on your website. This code tags all of your visitors with a beacon. This beacon then allows you to advertise to your visitors throughout the internet. This is the primary reason why Remarketing is so effective. Your advertisements are only displayed to traffic who has visited your website in the past, which means:
- They are familiar with and probably interested in your product/service.
- They will probably recognize your brand.
The other reason why Remarketing is so powerful and effective is because you can advertise to your remarketing list anywhere on the internet, not just on websites related to your niche. Because of this, you can bid on very cheap inventory.
Let me walk you through an example:
Bob is a DUI Attorney.
With traditional Pay Per Click, Bob would either bid on “DUI Attorney” search terms, which cost around $10 per click, or bid on ad placements on websites related to DUI’s, which cost around $7-8 per click.
With Remarketing, Bob can bypass both routes and advertise to his remarketing list. Since Bob can advertise to this list anywhere on the internet, he doesn’t have to pay $7-10. Instead, Bob bids $0.50 per click. His advertisements display on news websites and blogs that have nothing to do with DUI’s, but he’s targeting visitors on his remarketing list. These visitors are familiar with Bob, through his website, and are probably in need of DUI consultation.
While Remarketing is very easy to get started with, I do have a few tips to help you setup your remarketing campaign properly.
Remarketing Tips & Tricks
1. Set your Bid Low- I highly recommend that you start off setting your bid below $1 per click, sometimes even below $0.50 per click. As I mentioned earlier, one of the big benefits of Remarketing is the cheap clicks. However, Google will charge you as much as you are willing to pay. Don’t set the bid to $5.00 at the start. A higher bid will get more total traffic, but the primary goal is to get the Remarketing campaign profitable.
2. Set Up Multiple Remarketing Lists - What’s more valuable, a visitor who read a few blog posts on an e-commerce website, or a visitor who went to a product page and added that product to his/her cart? The latter, of course. This is why setting up multiple remarketing lists is quite important. I don’t want to bid much for visitors to my blog, maybe $0.20 per click. I want to bid more for visitors who added a product to their cart, maybe $0.75 per click. I also want to run separate advertisements. This is only possible with multiple remarketing lists.
This is how I would setup a remarketing campaign for an e-commerce website:
A. Catch-All List - This list contains all visitors to generic pages on my website. Blogs/Homepage/Video Content.
B. Viewed Product Page - This list contains all visitors to product pages on my website.
C. Added Product to Cart - This list contains all visitors who added a product to cart.
D. Purchased Product - This list contains all visitors who completed checkout and purchased a product.
By splitting my remarketing campaign into 4 lists, I can target visitors at different stages in the sales funnel, so I can run separate advertisements and bid different amounts.
3. Setup Multiple Ads - Have multiple remarketing ads for each list, to reduce ad blindness and maximize the effectiveness of your campaign.
4. Use Multiple Remarketing Services - I primarily use Adwords for retargeting, but you should also checkout the following options:
Adroll – Adroll’s platform allows you to remarget to your customers on Facebook!!!
Retargeter – If you get a profitable remarketing campaign on Adwords, start a campaign with Retargeter to access even more ad inventory!
2. Advertise on Competitors Brand Terms
The title of this PPC tactic alone is probably enough to get some of you shifting uncomfortably in your seats, so let me preface this section.
Every major Retailer sells cheap generic products, stocks them on the shelfs right next to the more expensive brand name products, and slaps a big Call To Action on the front of the generic product’s label “Compare our CVS Detergent to Tide”. It’s the same thing, but cheaper! So no, I don’t have any issues bidding on Competitor’s Brand Terms, it’s a well-known tactic in the advertising industry.
So why is bidding on a Competitor’s Brand Term so effective? Visitors searching for a brand term are specifically looking for that product/service, which means they convert very easily. Here’s a snapshot of a conservative version of my Competitor’s Brand Term tactic for my biggest client:
Disclaimer: If you do decide to try out this tactic, keep in mind this will most definitely piss your competition off. A friend of mine received a C&D after aggressively bidding on his competitor’s brand term. C&D’s are usually empty threats, but my friend decided to take down the ads anyways. Having said that, I have a client who aggressively bids on five of his competitor’s brand terms and hasn’t had a problem. I also have multiple clients who use a low risk version of this tactic to avoid any issues.
Below, I’ve broken down three variations of this tactic by risk level. Start off where you feel comfortable! In the following examples, I will pretend to be Target bidding on Walmart Terms.
Low Risk - If you want to try out this PPC tactic, but you want to avoid any potential problems, this is the least aggressive way to bid on a competitor’s brand term. All you do is bid on the competitor’s brand term. Don’t use the competitor’s brand term in your ad copy. I usually take my top 3 best performing ads and move them into my competitor campaign.
Upside: No risk of C&D or issues from Walmart. Since I am not using their trademarked brand term, there’s nothing the Walmart can do.
Downside: If I bid on Walmart, but I don’t use Walmart at all in the Ad Copy, then the keyword Quality Score will be very low. A low Quality Score results in a high Cost Per Click and a low amount of volume.
Medium Risk - I work the competitor’s brand term, in this case Walmart, into the Display URL and the Landing Page. I still avoid using “Walmart” in the ad copy. This is because there is a lack of space in the ad copy to put disclaimers. On my landing page, I can put the trademark symbol next to Walmart and I can include a disclaimer to protect myself from legal issues.
Using Walmart in the Display URL and including it multiple times in my landing page will boost my quality score. This translates into a cheaper Cost Per Click and a higher volume of clicks from Walmart’s brand terms.
High Risk - I’m holding nothing back. My goal is to get the highest possible quality score so I can a ton of cheap clicks for Walmart’s brand terms.
As you can see, I now have Walmart mentioned three times in my ad copy. this will significantly boost my quality score. I will get more clicks for less, maximizing my return from this traffic.
Now, I call this form of bidding on Competitors Brand Terms “High-Risk”, but honestly how risky is it?
The only legal claim Walmart can possibly have is that i’m infringing on it’s trademark. This is obviously not the case. My ad copy does not deceive people into thinking I am Walmart.
Open your eyes at the marketing around you, I can guarantee you will see this advertising tactic used countless times.
Thanks to Adam Steele for helping me with this article.
Drop a comment, I’ll make sure to respond.