How to reduce your CPA with minimal effort

Forget about how great your click through ratio is and how many visitors your managed to get off that one keyword and take a moment to focus on your actual CPA, or Cost per Acquisition (a.k.a. Cost per Lead). This has become somewhat of a buzz word in the South African online advertising industry as of late, though it really should have been a key factor straight off the bat. Online agencies have been focusing their attention more on CTR’s and the sheer volume of visitors and have forgotten to focus on what really counts – you’re Return on Investment!

Reducing your CPA can take a lot of brain power, epic late nights and can add to your grey hair at a rate second to none. With that being said, I have decided to help you out with a series of tips to keep you “above the fold”. These tips will help you reduce your CPA in a matter of days, rather than months. The steps below are related to how you can optimise your landing pages in order to reduce your CPA.

Remove 99% of the links on your page

Depending on your product or goal of your landing page, ensure that you have removed any links that can distract the user from turning into a sale or a lead. If you have all the information that the user needs on your landing page, the user shouldn’t need to click on anything but the call to action you want them to click on. By simply removing the navigation and other distracting links from your page you will reduce the movement away from your page by up to 30%, which in turn can improve your conversion rate by 3% or more.

Optimise “Instinctiveness”

The user needs to instinctively know what to do on the page. Whether they need to fill out an enquiry form or add an item to a shopping cart, make sure that the CTA is as clear to them as a crack in their car’s windscreen. Make the CTA stand out by using different colours to that of your brand and layout. A study has found that a softer blue colour appeals more to users in the morning while an orange tone appeals more to afternoon visitors – fact!

TRUST

Trust plays a massive psychological role in the way a user interacts with your website or landing page. Ensure there are trust elements such as testimonials, SSL certificates and any other image, badge or message you believe will help the user trust your product or service. If you are using SSL, make sure that you have a big badge displaying the fact that the user’s information is secure – this will help increase your conversions by more than 5%

 

Optimising these three elements of your landing page could double or even triple your current conversion rate and thereby reduce your CPA with little effort. Remember to keep testing different variations of your landing pages in order to fully optimise your CPA.

Secrets of an awesome AdWords Campaign

How many of you actually know that you are running a truly awesome Google AdWords campaign? Not many, I presume. What’s even more frustrating is not being able to benchmark yourself against your competitiors or to be able to see how they’re running their AdWords campaigns and if they’re better than yours. Stop nitpicking and pull yourself together man, just follow these simple instructions below and before you know it your AdWords campaigns will be generating more return on investment than you ever dreamed of.

Split your Search and Display Network

I have seen many companies and individuals make the mistake of grouping the Google Search Network and Google Display Network together in one campaign. This is seriously not ideal as your quality score will be jeopardised due to Google’s Display Network’s inability to generate high CTR’s (this is not necessarily a bad thing – more on this in another article). By creating separate campaigns for both the Google Display Network and the Google Search Network, you are able to target specific areas of interest in a much more controlled environment.

Use Google AdPlanner in conjunction with Google AdWordsGoogle AdPlanner

If you are making use of the Google Display Network in your campaigns, you should be using it in conjunction with Google AdPlanner. Google AdPlanner makes it easy to target websites that are relevant to your areas of focus and allows you to filter your results to further increase the relevancy you are seeking.

Target a specific area

Location TargetingAs simple as this sounds, it can make a huge difference to your stats. Whether you are a company that offers nationwide services or an individual that sells pancakes on the street corner, targeting your specific areas will allow you to identify hot spots and cater for the areas that are lacking in interest.  For the bigger companies, targeting main cities (or even provinces) is a good idea. After a few days, you will notice a trend as to where most of the clicks are originating and at what cost. Use common sense to adjust your budgets and optimise for maximum conversions.

Forget about weekends

Depending on the type of business you are running, it may be a good idea to stop displaying your ads over the weekends. Disable weekends in the campaign settings tab. Its a simple step but can save you a lot of waisted clicks from irrelevant visitors.

Target specific hours of the day

This is another simple step that hardly anyone makes use of though its effectiveness cannot be stressed enough. By making use of data from Google Analytics you can target specific hours of the day whereby you can modify your keyword bids to ensure top placement during these hours. To get this information, go to your Google Analytics Dashboard -> Visitors -> Visitor Trending -> Visits page, click on the “Hour” option (top right of the graph) and ensure that you have the “Paid Search” segment enabled). To adjust your bid settings in your Google AdWords campaign, go to the campaign settings tab and click on the “Ad scheduling” edit link.

Use Ad Extensions

Let’s assume you have a Google Places listing (if you don’t, what is wrong with you?!?). You can link your Google AdWords campaign to the data on your Google Places listing which allows your Ad to display your address in certain instances. Not only can you display your business address to increase ad relevancy, but you can also opt-in to display your business number which can be incredibly handy for users on their mobile phones to make a click to call conversion.

Make use of Keyword Match Types

This is one of the most common functions within Google AdWords that not many amateurs know of and use. Many users just make use of the Broard Match type which is great for targeting every single phrase or keyword that contains your broad match keyword. For example, if you are selling blue boats and you use the keyword boat in your Google AdGroup, you’re not only target blue boats but also red boats, yellow boats, boats under the sea, boat, ship, shipping, shipping company, woman in shipping, sexy woman in shipping… OK OK maybe not that far but you get the picture right? There are 3 other match types that you can use (actually there’s 4, but thats a ‘secret’ for another day). For more information on these match types, check the official Google help page on keyword matching.

And lastly, create a compelling, well structured landing page FFS!

Google Website OptimizerThis is what it all boils down to chaps. At the end of the (PPC) line comes the landing page, the page that makes or breaks a campaign. You can have everything perfectly set up in Google AdWords and direct thousands of relevant users to your website but if you have a sh*t landing page, its all over. Converting users to into sales and leads is part art, part science and a dash of ingenuity. One of the best websites to follow to keep up to date with the trends in the conversion industry is ABTests.com. Remember to keep experimenting on your different landing pages. A great tool to use is Google Website Optimizer which allows you track the differences of your various landing page experiments.