Revenue is everything. Especially if you’re running ads. If you’re not achieving conversion rates that impact your bottom line, these two common errors may be to blame…

We’ve seen the following two mistakes sabotage conversion rates. And since we love to share our deepest insights with complete strangers so much, here they are:

Mistake 1) Being too intimidated or stubborn to try automated bidding

Automated bidding has been around for a little while now, and there are enough success stories to make it hard to ignore.

Automated bidding allows you to harness the power of machine learning, whilst using your own business intuition to guide it.

Play with automated strategies until they begin to produce better results than manual bidding ever did, and then decide how you feel about them.

What are automated bidding strategies & what do they do?

They are mechanisms built into campaigns that will automatically set your bids, to control how much you spend on each click, lead, sale or other metric, and help you focus budget on the areas that produce results. These strategies work by employing algorithms that read your performance data, and based on the target you’re aiming for (clicks, impression share, or CPA for example), calculate the bid needed during any ad auction (whenever a visitor searches Google) in order to increase the chances of attaining the goal.

As long as you watch them closely and train them carefully (by switching them on at the right times and letting them experiment with strategic campaign data) automated strategies can turn into powerful tools that save you time and get you the return you’re aiming for.

The different strategies are:

  • Maximize Clicks
  • Target Impression Share
  • Target CPA
  • Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC)
  • Target ROAS
  • Maximize Conversions

How to use automated strategies

Each strategy is meant for a different campaign objective. There are many situations you’ll find yourself in, depending on what goals you’ve set and how you’ve configured your ads. For example, you might not be seeing many conversions coming from your Google Ads visitors.You could then turn on the ‘Maximise Clicks’ strategy. This aims to get as many of your ads clicked as possible, given the budget you’ve set. As soon as you have a few conversions running through your campaign – Google recommends a minimum of 30 over a 30 day period, but it may start working above or below that number – then you can flip over to a smart strategy, and set a lead target, based on how much you have available to spend.

What’s great about smart bidding, that you don’t get from manual bidding?

Machine learning:

Smart bidding refers to a subset of the automated strategies listed above (the last 4 listed). This subset uses machine learning, which is a fancy term that just means that Google can learn on-the-move. As the program tests out bids, it learns which tactics work better toward achieving your goals, and begins to use those more often, until you actually achieve the targets you’re aiming for. It’s not perfect, but will be a huge advantage to anyone who is willing to learn how to make the best of smart bidding.

Contextual signals:

Smart strategies will read various signals from a visitor, which allows them to understand context, and play more closely to the visitors actual needs. Has the visitor seen your website already? Are they on a mobile device? It is the right time of day for them to purchase what you’re offering? Will they understand the language your website is written in? These variables all come into play when using smart bidding.

Remember that automated strategies are not completely automatic. They do not imply that you can just set once and walk away. You must experiment until you see the numbers sway in your favour.

We also highly recommend that you’ve planned out your lead funnel properly, and created good ads & landing pages, and selected appropriate keywords first, before venturing into smart bidding.

So why not just stick to manual bidding, it works for me?

Because you’ll never know how low that Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) can really go, until you try.

Mistake 2) Pointing ads at your website, instead of at purpose-built landing pages

Before I make any wild claims about the benefits of landing pages vs. websites blardy blah… let me just lay down what I actually mean. Let’s explain why this matters, with definitions:

The website

Many businesses don’t know at first how to cater to particular user-journeys. The most common, default choice when setting up Google Ads is to point them at your homepage. The next most common idea is to point them at a page that you think makes you look good, such as your ‘About’ page that lists your awards or whatever. If you’re really savvy you might pick the page most relevant to what the ad is offering. While this can be better than nothing, this strategy often misses many critical steps that would otherwise make for great conversion rates.

The single-stage landing page

Okay, so by ‘landing page’, I’m specifically referring to a single web page that is tailor-made for certain types of visitor. It’s purpose built to answer particular questions that visitor might have about a topic, then offer solutions to help them meet their needs, then place a means to contact you, or make a purchase, directly in front of their path.

CleverClicks has gathered reliable evidence that these types of pages tend to get better results than the general website.

Part of the reason for this is that you have full control with such a page to turn the reader from a curious browser into a solid lead, by presenting just the right steps, in the right order, leaving out everything else they don’t need at that point in their journey.

The multi-stage landing page

The multi stage, or multi-step form takes the concept of user-journey to the next level. While the standard industry viewpoint is that cluttered forms that require too much info tend to have higher drop-off rates, there are times and places where multi-stage questions can be more appropriate, and command more conversions than single stage forms.

Think about how many websites ask for the same info: names, email, address, phone number.

Are these a) the only things you want from the lead, and b) are they the right things to ask for first? Who knows? But you may with to experiment with creating forms that serve different purposes.

Have you ever needed to upgrade to a better Fibre internet provider, and the largest most dazzling item on their website is the tool that lets you test if your area is within their coverage range or not? Well, that’s an example of a first step in a multi-stage process. Once they answer that question, the person already feels they’ve leaped one hurdle. They have momentum. By the time they see a price, they are already invested somewhat, so that might just tip their decision toward continuing down your funnel and into your clutches!

Given the above, we at CleverClicks have found that at least switching from using your website product section to a single-step landing page with well placed, bold calls-to-action tends to convert much more often. Your website may be relevant, but is probably not designed as a conversion funnel.

Conclusion:

The above are just two of many factors that play into creating lead funnels and earning solid conversion rates, but they are pretty critical, if you happen to be getting them wrong.

 

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