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Utilizing Organic Search to Expand PPC Coverage



It’s easy to get tunnel vision when thinking about organic and PPC strategy. While they play in the same space, often different agencies (or people) are driving strategy and day to day tasks are very different. I’m sure you know the general statistics that they compliment each other but as PPC account managers, how often do you poke your head into the world of organic search?

Google has done research showing that paid search drives an average 89% incremental clicks over organic meaning you’re likely not going to cannibalize yourself. From the SEO perspective, Moz has a great overview of how organic and PPC interact in the SERP.

There is a whole lot to think about but there is one easy place you can start to start bridging the gap between these two online sources of traffic. This blog will cover a way to use your organic traffic as a source of new keywords to expand your paid coverage.

Finding Areas of Opportunity:

In Google Analytics, make your way down to the queries tab under Search Console. Here you’ll find a list of all organic queries driving traffic to your website along with impressions, average position, and clicks.

Navigate down to queries in Google Analytics

You’re going to see a lot of brand clicks and impressions but there is a lot of value when you start looking at non-brand terms. We’ll get into two ways to parse the data here in a moment.

Google Webmasters is another area you can explore if you have access to it (or can get the data sent over).

Supplementing a Strong Ranking:

When you download or sort your organic data by clicks, you’re finding areas that you are likely already performing strongly in. Think of these keywords as opportunities to complement a strong ranking. This gives users double the opportunity to click to your website. On competitive non-brand terms, this extra traffic can be invaluable in converting additional people.

While every industry can benefit from this, if you’re in a competitive market space (B2B SaaS, Healthcare) this can really pay dividends when building up your qualified sales funnel. Also, keep in mind the statistic that Paid Search leads to an average of 89% additional clicks.

Underrepresented Keywords:

If you sort by impressions, your goal should be to uncover underrepresented keywords. Here you can supplement your average or poor organic ranking with an ad in the paid search results.

This can give you visibility where you’re currently exposed, especially if you uncover some higher volume keywords that are highly relevant to your business. I would also place a priority on boosting your organic ranking to start tapping into the expected results mentioned above.

Final Thoughts:

Organic and PPC are often siloed but they can really benefit your digital strategy if you are working towards a common, greater goal. As a fellow Hanapin account manager said, paid and organic results are indistinguishable. Your goal should be increasing the bottom line for the business not just your channel.


7 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Ads for Peak Performance



7 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Ads for Peak Performance

LinkedIn has become the go-to resource for businesses looking to advertise to a specific targeted audience of professionals.

But as with any ad platform, you are paying to play, so you need to make sure you’re taking advantage of every feature, setting and strategy to get the most out of your budget. Lucky for you, that’s what I’ll be covering in today’s post.

Read on to learn why LinkedIn advertising is a top B2B strategy and how to optimize your campaigns to get the highest return on your investment.

Why should every B2B strategy include LinkedIn ads?

LinkedIn advertising is an effective platform for anyone looking to drive leads and sales. Before we get into the optimizations, let’s cover a few of the reasons why it’s so effective.

Reach a highly targeted audience

LinkedIn allows you to target your ads based on job title, company size, industry, location, interests, groups, company growth rate, and more.

This means that you can easily “hunt” for the right prospects that are most likely to be interested in your service or product. How could you pass on that!?

linkedin in ad targeting

Boost brand awareness

Yes I know, PPC is geared toward getting actual leads and not just increasing brand awareness. But increased awareness is a great by-product of a well-targeted campaign.

LinkedIn is an extremely popular platform with a huge user base, making it an unmissable channel to reach a wider audience and boost brand awareness.

Generate leads

Well, this one is just stating the obvious.

LinkedIn ads are designed to drive traffic to your website or landing pages, which can help you generate leads and sales. LinkedIn also offers lead generation forms, which allow users to sign up for more information or download either a whitepaper or some other resource directly from the ad.

Keep in mind, lead gen forms will get you more leads, but at a lower intent than those who will actually sign up directly on your website.

Track results

Data is everything. LinkedIn provides invaluable analytics and tracking tools to help you measure the effectiveness of your ads.

You can track:

  • How many people have seen your ad
  • How many have clicked on it
  • How many have taken a specific action, such as visiting your website or filling out a form.

While these are the basics of any advertising platform, with LinkedIn you can slice it by company size, job title, industry and other accurate targets that LinkedIn offers—which we will go through in this post!

Multiple ad formats

LinkedIn offers a variety of ad formats to choose from, including sponsored content, sponsored InMail, display ads, and sponsored job postings. This allows you to choose the format that best fits your business needs and goals, which depend on your product and target market.

linkedin sponsored content ad example

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How to optimize your LinkedIn ads

Bottom line? LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities, brand awareness potential, lead generation forms, and analytics make it a valuable tool for any business looking to grow and succeed.

Well now that we have that settled, the question remains: How to make this advertising platform successful?

Here are seven bulletproof ways to hack your LinkedIn campaigns for success.

1. Define and regularly update your target audience

Having a target audience is crucial for creating ad content that resonates and drives conversions. Here are some steps to define your target audience:

  • Identify your target market: Who is your product or service for? Consider factors such as age, gender, location, job title, and industry.
  • Define your buyer personas: Create detailed profiles of your ideal customers, including their needs, goals, and challenges.
  • Analyze your current customer base: Look at your current customer data to understand who is already using your product or service, why, and how.
  • Consider your value proposition: What makes your product or service unique and valuable to your target audience? And what keeps them coming back?

demographic targeting linkedin ads

Don’t forget to regularly review and update your target audience to ensure that your ad campaigns stay relevant and effective.

2. Create great ads (and I mean really great ads)

LinkedIn is a crowded network, filled with recruiters, salespeople, and advertisers. So you’d better make sure you’ve got winning ads!

Your ads need to stand out for all the right reasons, or they just won’t cut it.

Use compelling headlines and visuals as an effective way to capture the attention of your target audience and improve the performance of your LinkedIn Ads.

Here are some tips for creating great ads:

  • Use responsive design: Make sure your ad looks good on both desktop and mobile devices. LinkedIn offers responsive ad formats that automatically adjust to the size of your screen, so your ad will look great no matter how it’s viewed.
  • Use eye-catching visuals: Visuals are an important part of any ad, and they are especially important on mobile where people are more likely to scroll quickly through their feed.
  • Keep the ad copy short and to the point: Mobile users tend to have shorter attention spans, so use clear, concise language that gets your message across fast.
  • Make sure the ad is easy to read: Use a clear, easy-to-read font and make sure there is enough contrast between the text and the background.
  • Test your ad on different devices: Before you launch your ad, make sure to test it on a variety of mobile devices to ensure it’s readable and looks good.

Don’t forget to regularly review and optimize your headlines and visuals to make sure they’re effective at driving conversions.

Here’s a great example of an ad by Superlegal:

how to optimize linkedin ads - superlegal ad example

Why is this ad successful?

  • Eye-catching visuals: The creative captures the user’s eye while quickly browsing through their feed.
  • Concise copy: The messaging is to the point and keeps details on how it works to a minimum, generating interest. Less is more.
  • Benefit-focused: The messaging immediately tells the user what’s in it for them, and focuses on the why, not the what.

3. Test, test, and then test some more

Testing different ad variations allows you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your LinkedIn ad performance. Here are some things to test:

  • Ad copy: Try testing different versions of your ad copy to see which ones resonate most with your audience. You can test different headlines, descriptions, and calls to action to see which ones perform the best.
  • Visuals: Try testing different visuals, such as images or videos, to see which ones are most effective. You can also experiment with different image sizes and aspect ratios to see which ones perform the best.
  • Targeting: Test different targeting options, such as job titles, industries, or locations to see which ones perform the best for your business.
  • Audience sizes: You can also test different audience sizes to see if targeting a smaller, more specific audience performs better than targeting a larger, more general audience.
  • Ad format: LinkedIn offers a variety of ad formats, including sponsored content, sponsored InMail, display ads, and sponsored events. It’s important to test different formats to see which ones perform the best for your business.

Pro Tip: When launching a new campaign, make sure to set your campaign to rotate ads evenly to begin with, as this will give each ad a fair chance.

how to optimize linkedin ads - ad rotation

It’s important to regularly review and analyze the results of your ad variations to identify areas for improvement and don’t forget to keep optimizing your ads over time to maximize your chances.

4. Use LinkedIn’s targeting options

LinkedIn’s audience targeting options allow you to narrow down your audience and show your ads to specific groups of people on the platform. This can be an incredibly effective way to reach the right audience and improve the performance of your ads.

Here are some examples of LinkedIn’s audience targeting options:

  • Company growth rate: This one is actually very interesting. You can target your campaign to be shown exclusively to prospects who work at companies with a positive growth rate. So, if you provide recruiting services, you’d want to target the companies with a (very) positive growth rate and exclude the ones with a negative growth rate.
  • Job title: This one is probably the most basic targeting method on LinkedIn. Target specific job titles or job functions, such as marketing managers or sales executives. This can be especially useful if your product or service is only relevant to certain professions or job roles.
  • Company size: You can target specific company sizes, such as small businesses or large enterprises. This can be useful if your product or service is more suited to a particular size of company.
  • Industry: You can target specific industries, such as finance or healthcare. This can be useful if your product or service is specifically relevant to a particular industry for example insurance or tech.
  • Location: You can target specific locations, such as a specific city or country. This is useful for those whose product or service is available only in certain areas or if you are trying to reach a local audience.
  • Group: Target prospects who are members of specific groups on LinkedIn. This is a great one if you know your target audience is likely to have specific interests, passions,  and hobbies.

Pro Tip: Make sure to always disable the LinkedIn audience expansion from your campaigns. It will show your ads to a mostly irrelevant audience in most cases.

how to optimize linkedin ads - audience expansion

By using LinkedIn’s Audience Targeting options, you’ll make sure that your ads are being shown to the right people and maximize your chances of getting conversions.

Not to sound like a broken record, but keep reviewing and adjusting your targeting to make sure you’re reaching your ideal customer.

5. Use LinkedIn’s conversion tracking

To set up conversion tracking on LinkedIn, you’ll need to install a small piece of code, called the LinkedIn Insight Tag, on your site. This will allow you to track a variety of conversion actions like form submissions (like contact us or ebook download), page views (like for your product pages), clicks on a specific link, and more.

how to optimize linkedin ads - conversion tracking

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This will allow you to see which of your ads are driving the most conversions so you can optimize your campaigns accordingly.

For example, if one ad is generating a lot of clicks but very few conversions, you may want to consider changing either the ad copy or the targeting to improve performance. On the other hand, if an ad is generating a high number of conversions, consider either increasing your budget for that ad or creating similar ads to capitalize on its success.

Overall, LinkedIn’s conversion tracking is a brilliant tool for optimizing your LinkedIn Ads. By regularly tracking and analyzing your conversions, you can make data-driven decisions to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.

6. Use LinkedIn’s insights & analytics

In addition to standard metrics, LinkedIn offers advanced analytics such as demographic data, interests, and job functions. This data is extremely useful to help you understand who is interacting with your ads and how they are engaging with your content.

To access LinkedIn’s insights and analytics, you’ll need to have a LinkedIn Ads account. From the dashboard, you can view a range of data and metrics including impressions, clicks, conversions, and cost per action (CPA). You can also view data by specific campaigns, ad groups, and ads to get a more granular understanding of your performance.

By using LinkedIn’s insights and analytics, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your campaigns. If you notice that an ad is generating a high number of clicks but a low number of conversions, you may want to consider changing the ad copy or targeting to improve its performance. On the other hand, if an ad is generating a high number of conversions at a low cost, you may want to consider increasing your budget for that ad or creating similar ads.

LinkedIn insights are another great tool to get the most out of your LinkedIn campaign. Track, track, and track your data over time to get the most out of your LinkedIn budget!

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7. Optimize for mobile

Most people use LinkedIn on their mobile devices and spend significantly more time on LinkedIn while using their mobiles, so make sure your ads and landing pages look great on mobile!


Optimize your LinkedIn campaigns

So there you have it: seven bulletproof ways to optimize your LinkedIn ad campaigns and get the most for your budget.

  1. Define and regularly update your target audience
  2. Create great ads
  3. Test, test, and then test some more
  4. Use LinkedIn’s targeting options
  5. Use LinkedIn’s conversion tracking
  6. Use LinkedIn’s insights and analytics
  7. Optimize for mobile

All that’s left for you to do now is start implementing these tips and tricks on your LinkedIn campaigns and get ready for higher ROI!

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How to Create an Editorial Calendar (+Free Template!)



How to Create an Editorial Calendar (Tips, Tools, & Free Template!)

Being a content creator can be overwhelming. Keeping up with blog posts, guides, and everything else on the agenda is hard work!

Now, imagine a system that keeps track of all the content you want to create, all the steps you have to take when creating it, and where each piece of content is at in its creation process.

Sound like a distant dream? Well, it’s not. It’s called an editorial calendar and in this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to create one, with a free template too!

If you’re looking for a way to streamline and speed up your work flow, read on.

Table of contents

What is an editorial calendar?

An editorial calendar is more than just a schedule of your content. It’s a visual tool that lets one person or an entire team to plan, create, schedule, and promote content—for the next week, month, or even year. It includes the tasks, team members, and due dates involved at every stage.

Why use an editorial calendar?

The benefits of using an editorial calendar are many, but here are a few:

  • More cohesive content. When you plan out your content in advance, you can organize it into themes and create pieces that support one another each month.
  • Save time. You always know exactly what content to work on next, taking writers block out of the equation. Plus, all of your tasks are prioritized and streamlined. Some editorial calendar tools even have integrations where you can publish and promote across multiple platforms at once.
  • Stay on track. An editorial calendar ensures that you and every team member can progress along with the timeline of a project, and make sure no task is left undone or delayed.
  • Store ideas. Combining an idea bank with your content calendar is very effective idea capturing on the go, especially if you can access your calendar on mobile.

In my experience, using an editorial calendar has made a tremendous difference in the way I work and I have never looked back. Procrastination often occurs when we don’t know what to do next, and so we delay the work at hand.

But for me at least, when I know that all I need to do is conduct the different tasks listed in my specific checklists, I am more productive and I procrastinate much less. Now, I hope it can do the same for you!

Keep reading and I’ll show you how you can use a free template of a Trello-based editorial calendar.

How to create an editorial calendar

Here are some foundational principles to guide you in the process.

1. Establish a loose content strategy

While an editorial calendar can help you to refine your content strategy, you do need to have an initial framework to begin with. You can use our guide to creating a content strategy for a deeper dive, but here are some basic questions to start with.

  • What are your goals? Are you looking to increase organic traffic with blog posts, generate leads with gated content, produce sales enablement materials? This will help you answer the next question…
  • What type(s) of content are you making? For organic traffic, you’ll need SEO blog posts. For gated content, you’ll need to produce PDF ebooks. For sales enablement, you’ll need to create one-sheets and slide decks. For brand awareness and link building, you’ll likely need to write guest posts.
  • How much content do you want to publish? Based on the content type and team size, you should have some realistic goals and objectives for how much content you want to publish each week, month, and year.

editorial calendar - content marketing matrix

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2. Lay out your work flow

Once you have an idea of what content you want to produce and how much of it, you can lay out your workflow. This includes:

  • Your ideation process. How do you find, store, and manage your content ideas?
  • SEO optimizations. You’ll want to include keyword research and on-site and off-site tasks.
  • Lay out the different stages and specific activities of your workflow, and assign any tags, color codes, or labels that are important to visualize and maintain production timelines.

3. Choose an editorial calendar software

With an understanding of your strategy, workflow, and team size, now you’ll need to find out which software is most suitable for you and/or your team. Which is what this next section will cover.

editorial calendar example by monday

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Editorial calendar tools

There are several different approaches and tools you can use to create your own editorial calendar for free.

Project management software

Project management software like Asana and Trello are often the go-to for editorial calendars. My coworkers and I use the free version of Trello and we love it! With Trello, you have a workspace and within your workspace you can create boards. Within boards are cards where you can add descriptions, checklists, labels, due dates, attachments, and more. This makes it simple to keep track of various aspects of the content creation process.

trello editorial calendar template

You can also invite others to work on your boards. This is great for collaboration, but not the best for large teams since it can become quite messy with too many cards and labels.

You can upgrade to the paid version for more power-ups and powerful integration features.

Keep reading to download our Trello editorial calendar template.


Spreadsheet software like Excel and Google Sheets can be used for editorial calendars if you don’t have the time to learn new software, but they are more manual and not as visual. I have made an example in a spreadsheet to demonstrate what an editorial calendar in Excel/Google docs might look like. Feel free to make your own based on this suggestion.

editorial calendar template - spreadsheet

Regular calendars

Regular calendars like Outlook or Google Calendar can be good choices for visualizing and scheduling tasks fast and easy—plus you’ll get built-in reminders. Furthermore, you can create checklist templates with specific tasks across the different stages of the workflow, and paste them into the calendar note field to keep track of what you have done and what’s remaining.

Nevertheless, regular calendars might not be the best if you want to keep track of status in an orderly manner and see everything in one glance. Here’s a simple overview of how a month’s worth of planned content might look like in Google Calendar, with color codes used to identify the type of content and status.

editorial calendar example

Free Trello editorial calendar template

Ok! Let me share with you my Trello editorial calendar template. It works wonders for me in building out my content marketing funnel, so I want to share it with you!

Here’s the link:

Trello editorial calendar template

Here’s what it looks like:

trello editorial calendar template

And here are its three components:

  • Lists: The lists are used to represent the different stages of content, from ideation to promotion.
  • Checklists: The checklists are used to add tasks to cards.
  • Labels: Colored labels represent statuses, for example “Pending review”.

When you decide to make content on one of your ideas, simply move the card into the “date assigned” list and set a date for it.

The lists

This Trello editorial calendar board consists of 6 lists:

  1. Guest post ideas: Stores all your ideas for guest content
  2. In-house post ideas – Stores all your ideas for own content
  3. Date assigned – Content ideas that you have scheduled
  4. In progress – Content that are in the making
  5. Published – Published content
  6. Resources – Checklist templates and other resources.

As mentioned above, each list consists of cards, which are your content ideas. You can add checklists, labels, and dates to each card.

The checklists

This editorial calendar has several different checklists, each relevant to different stages of the content creation process. Alright, but what kind of checklist am I talking about here? Well, in fact, checklists for helping you along every step of the process!

  1. Keyword research – This is the very first checklist you conduct when creating a piece of content. Here you can choose between the free approach, or the paid approach using Ahrefs. I use both methods. I have made a post on how to do free keyword research.
  2. Review draft checklist: Title, content structure, call to action, images identified.
  3. Review checklist. Relevant when editing your first draft and getting it ready for publication. It’s basically on-site SEO stuff, optimizing for social media sharing, quality check etc.trello editorial calendar template - review checklist
  4. Publishing and initial promotion checklist. For publishing and promoting your content. It’s a list of several different channels to promote your content in.
  5. Follow-up promo checklist. Promotion activities one year after publication.
  6. Pinterest publishing checklist: Step-by-step checklist on how to make pins and schedule them for post promotion on Pinterest.

    To import any of these checklists into a card:

    1. Go to the card in which you want to import a checklist
    2. Click the “Checklist” option on the card’s right-hand side.
    3. Choose “Copy items from…” and choose your intended checklist from the menu.

    The labels

    In this template, I use labels for content type as well as status. This is great for staying organized and in control of your schedule.

    You can add new labels as well to customize it as you wish. Here are the labels I use for content types:

    • Blog post
    • Video
    • Email newsletter
    • Guest post
    • Freebie
    • Podcast episode
    • Passive income products

    Here are the labels I use for content status:

    • Draft in progress
    • Pending review
    • Scheduled (publish date)
    • Published

    trello editorial calendar template - labels

    How to get this free editorial calendar template

    Here’s how you get your copy of the board:

    1. If you don’t have a Trello account already, go sign up for Trello at
    2. Log in to your Trello account
    3. Once signed up / logged in, click here
    4. Now you should be inside the board. Click the icon with the 3 dots on it at the top right, and choose “More”.
    5. Click on the “copy board” optiontrello editorial calendar template
    6. Now go back to your workspace overview in Trello. You should be able to access your new editorial calendar from there!

    Pro tips for this editorial calendar

    Now I’ll leave you with some final tips for getting the most out of this template!

    1. Customize to your liking

    Note that this editorial calendar is a template, and you can edit it the way you want. The more detailed customization is added to it, the better. If it suits your needs as it is, great!

    2. Get Trello for mobile

    Download the Trello app on your mobile phone and use the widget to capture ideas quickly when you’re out and about. Here’s how

    1. First, download and install the Trello app from Appstore or Google Play
    2. Second, add the widget to your phone’s widget area
    3. Then, wait until you’re hit with a content idea. Now, quickly get your phone out and click the widget’s “Add card” button
    4. Choose the Trello board and the list that you want the card to be added to. This would be one of your idea lists. Like this:trello editorial calendar template -card example
    5. Finally, click the “Add” button, and that’s it! Your new idea has been saved to your idea list.

    3. Use the calendar power-up

    When the calendar power-up is activated in Trello you will see the scheduled posts in the Trello calendar making up to a month’s worth of content visible at a glance. Simply click the calendar power-up located at the top of your board.

    trello editorial calendar template - calendar power up

    Now you’ll see a calendar with all your cards visible at the assigned date, with its labels. I have done some demo scheduling with cards in all the different lists to show you how it looks like in the Trello calendar

    editorial calendar example

    In the calendar view you may click on the cards and view them directly from the calendar interface. Notice that all the status labels are also showing, which gives you a good overview of status of all the scheduled posts. The labels are explained in more detail below together with the other features of the board.

    4. Use Mammoth

    If you have a WordPress site and write your content in Microsoft Word or in Google Docs, you can use a plugin called Mammoth .docx converter to import a post from your writing client easily into WordPress!

    5. Use Yoast

    Now you can just do the tasks in this checklist and get the stuff done! The YOAST SEO plugin is very helpful when working through this list.

    Start building out your editorial calendar

    Using some form of an editorial calendar is a must for every content creator. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and that it has provided you with some constructive value.

    Enjoy this editorial calendar! I hope it makes a difference in your workflow efficiency. Please leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them the best I can!

    Thank you!

    About the author

    René Frydson is a 33-year-old passionate digital marketer, blogger, and productivity enthusiast from a small city called Forde in Western Norway. Alongside his formal education in marketing management with a specialty in digital marketing, Renè has 6+ years of experience from his own ventures online. He has hands-on experience from his employment in the marketing department of a large energy company in Norway. Join him over at where he publishes interesting and informative content within the digital marketing and productivity space.

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10 Ways to Optimize Your Performance Max Campaigns for Real Results



10 Ways to Optimize Your Performance Max Campaigns for Real Results

Google Ads’ Performance Max campaigns have generated a fair bit of noise among advertisers since their inception in 2021—from full enthusiasm to staunch opposition and everything in between.

The reality is, if Performance Max is right for your business, it can be a super effective campaign type if you know how to fully leverage it.

Image source

Which is what we’re going to cover in this post. Continue reading to find out:

  • What they are and how they work
  • The pros and cons of Performance Max
  • 10 ways to optimize them to get the highest returns.

What are Performance Max campaigns?

Google’s Performance Max campaigns, also known as PMax, were rolled out in all Google Ads accounts in 2021, making them a fairly new addition. This cross-channel, fully automated Google Ads campaign type allows you to show ads across all of Google’s ad networks in a single campaign, including Search, Display, YouTube, Discover, Maps, and Gmail.

The way these campaigns work is, you first specify your goal. Then, similar to building out a responsive display ad, you provide your assets like images, videos, logos, headlines, descriptions, and more. You can review ad previews to get an idea of how your ads will look. Once you set the campaign live, Google will generate ads across the applicable channels whenever eligible, using machine learning to serve the right ad at the right time with the right bid, to optimize for your goal.

Pros & cons of Performance Max campaigns

Like any campaign type, Performance Max comes with its pros and cons.

PMax pros

  • Full automation means Google does the work for you, but you’re able to steer that automation and performance with the assets and Audience Signals you provide.
  • You can reach new audiences across all of Google’s channels.
  • As goal-based campaigns, they are ideal for ecommerce and lead generation businesses.

PMax cons

  • You need to have full-funnel conversion tracking set up—both because it’s a requirement based on the way the campaign type works, and also in order to assess and optimize your performance.
  • While it can take work off your plate, automation comes with its own pros and cons. You will lack control over many campaign elements that you are normally able to carefully manage with standard Google Ads campaigns, including where ads are shown, creative combinations, keywords, and search queries.
  • PMax campaigns don’t provide insights into remarketed versus new customers or brand versus non-brand, within a campaign.
  • Performance Max campaigns require a wealth of creatives and assets to perform strongly, so you will need plenty to upload in order to get the most out of this campaign type.

10 ways to optimize your Performance Max campaigns

Although automated, there are still a number of ways to optimize your Performance Max campaigns for maximum success. Let’s take a look.

1. Commit to your campaigns

Being fully automated, PMax campaigns require sufficient amounts of data and machine learning to be effective. Be prepared to budget at least $50-100 per day for at least a month. In fact, Google recommends at least 6 weeks to allow the machine learning algorithm to ramp up and have sufficient data to compare performance.

2. Add as many assets as you can

The more assets you add, the better, because it will increase the chances of an ad being eligible to serve across all types of inventory. Note that if you’re using a Merchant Center feed, you don’t need to upload any product images. Instead, go with lifestyle or brand creatives that will complement product feed images.

If you only want to run Google Shopping campaigns, don’t add any assets at all and simply use your feed. This way, your campaign will deliver Shopping ads along with Display and YouTube ads but the latter will both be in Shopping format.

how to optimize performance max campaigns - shopping ads on youtube

3. Know the watchouts & workarounds

We’ve shared a full post on Performance Max dos, don’ts, watchouts, and workarounds, but some of them are worth repeating:

  • Bidding: For bidding strategy, you are limited to either Maximize conversions or Maximize conversion value, which makes sense given Performance Max campaigns are conversion focused.
  • Location settings: Like any other campaign, PMax location settings default to “Presence or interest.” If you only want to reach people in that location, switch to presence only.
  • Audience signals: With PMax campaigns, you don’t choose an exact audience to target. Rather, you provide “Audience Signals” which Google uses as a starting point. It’s similar to optimized targeting.
  • URL expansion: PMax also turns URL expansion on by default. Similar to Dynamic Ads, this feature allows Google Ads to send users to landing pages other than your final URL. If this goes against what you want to achieve, turn this feature off. Or, leave it on but use URL exclusions.

how to optimize performance max campaigns - final url expansion

4. Use the customer acquisition feature

Unique to Performance Max campaigns, this feature allows you to choose whether you want to serve the campaign to new and existing customers, or just new users.

5. Optimize your asset groups

When building a Performance Max campaign, you’ll add all of your assets into an asset group. An asset group is a set of creatives that will be used to create an ad depending on the channel it’s being served on. It’s best practice to organise asset groups by a common theme similar to how you organise your ad groups.

Once the campaign has been built, you can go back and add additional asset groups. Structure them in a way that makes sense for your business, which could mean separating them by products or services that you offer.

how to optimize performance max campaigns - asset groups

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6. Use campaign exclusions

The next PMax optimization strategy is to use campaign exclusions to prevent wasted budget and improve the efficiency of your campaign. This includes:

  • Product exclusions. On average, 17% of products in advertising catalogs are not available for purchase, according to DataFeedWatch’s 2022 Feed Marketing Report. So these items should be the starting point for catalog exclusions.

how to optimize performance max campaigns - datafeedwatch report

It also makes sense to exclude product variations that are relevant for the same search query, products that are not profitable or low margin, and products with a low conversion rate. To achieve this, you can use Listing Groups and exclude these products by Brand, Product ID, Category, Custom Labels, and more.

In addition to improving the efficiency of your campaign, these campaign exclusions will also minimize the number of products that Google will need to put through the learning phase, essentially speeding it up.

  • Keyword exclusions. Use negative keywords to prevent wasted budget on irrelevant queries.
  • Existing customers. As mentioned earlier in this article, you can exclude existing customers so that your Performance Max campaign focuses solely on new customer acquisition. When setting up the campaign, check the box ‘Only bid for new customers.’

7. Choose the right bidding strategy

When launching a new Performance Max campaign, you have two options for bidding:

  • Maximize Conversions to get the highest number of conversions for your budget.
  • Maximize Conversion Value to get the highest value conversions. You may get fewer conversions with this bid strategy, but the idea is they are worth more.

Once your campaign has a sufficient amount of conversion data, you can experiment with either Maximize Conversions with Target CPA or Maximize Conversion Value with Target ROAS bid strategies in order to take your campaign to the next level.

target roas option in the max conversion value bidding strategy in google ads

You do have the option to use Target CPA or Target ROAS from the get-go but it is a best practice to first gather all important conversion data when launching a new campaign.

8. Use ad extensions

Google Ads extensions (now called assets) allow you to increase your ad real estate and increase its relevance and attractiveness with additional information.

There are 14 ad extensions in total—reviews, locations, call, pricing, promotion, and more—but you should always consider using the following:

  • Sitelinks: These highlight and direct users to other relevant pages. For example, you could use an about us page, highlight relevant product categories, a pricing page, and more. There are plenty of options and they have a large visual impact on your ad. According to Google, by using the recommended minimum of four site links alone, advertisers can see a 20% increase in click-through rate on average by using this one form of ad extension.
  • Callouts: Small snippets of information, each 25 characters in length, which can highlight selling features or key USPs. Try to include a minimum of 8 callouts
  • Structured snippets: These are used to highlight specific products, services or features in a listicle format. For example, a bag retailer may include a Product Structured Snippet to highlight clutch bags, handbags, tote bags, backpacks, messenger bags, and card wallets

To illustrate how powerful ad extensions can be, here is an example of a Search ad without any ad extensions running alongside it:

how to optimize performance max campaigns - ad without extensions

As a comparison, here are two other Search ads that have served in the same auction showing numerous ad extensions. The Wolf and Badger ad features sitelinks, a promotion extension, and a location extension, while the Cambridge Satchel ad features sitelinks, a location extension, a review extension, and a price extension.

how to optimize performance max campaigns - ad with extensions

9. Ensure your data feed is up to scratch

This is relevant for advertisers submitting products via a data feed, using the Merchant Centre. Ensure you include as much information as possible in your feed and that it is up to date and relevant.

Important product identifiers that need your attention are listed below. The first three help Google to understand what you are selling and the last three are equally as important from an optimization perspective:

  • Brand name
  • Manufacturer part number (MPN or SKU)
  • UPC code (aka GTIN)
  • Descriptive titles
  • Google taxonomy/categorization
  • Product type

Your data feed will be the foundation of your PMax campaign and will have the biggest impact on results over anything else.

how to optimize performance max campaigns - optimized product feed

More tips on optimizing your product feed here.

Consider using a data feed management solution to get the most out of ecommerce advertising and for Performance Max campaigns. Feed management tools simplify and automate the nitty gritty feed work, which can ultimately boost online visibility and increase conversion rate and ROAS.

According to the aforementioned Feed Marketing Report, these tools are even more beneficial for certain ecommerce sectors, like automotive, fashion, and home & garden, that deal with a higher complexity of data feed management, due to the high amount of products and variations.

10. Optimize your audience signals

If you are not seeing the desired results after running Performance Max campaigns for a sufficient amount of time, one area to review is Audience Signals.

Tighten up Audience Signals by using your actual business data and prioritize this over using Google’s interests, which include the in-market and affinity audiences.

  • Customer lists should be your number one choice, providing you have enough customer data and the permission to use data for advertising purposes. Customer lists are powerful because they use your real-life customer data to help find new customers
  • Customer intent audiences take Google’s interests to the next level using relevant keywords
  • Website visitor audiences are also a good option, particularly if you are unable to use customer lists. Consider creating an audience signal based on website visitors, or website converters

Google’s interest-based audiences are still a great option but you should try out the above if you want to elevate your Audience Signals.

performance max audience signal setup

Start optimizing your Performance Max campaigns now

Performance Max campaigns unlock new opportunities for advertisers and businesses that have perhaps previously been missed, from cross-channel promotion and getting your ads onto new channels, to finding new customers and benefitting from Google’s automation and machine learning technology.

If you are an ecommerce and lead gen business, I would highly recommend experimenting with Performance Max campaigns and using the optimizations in this post! To recap, here’s how to optimize your Performance Max campaigns in Google Ads:

  1. Commit to your campaigns
  2. Add as many assets as you can
  3. Know the watchouts & workarounds
  4. Use the customer acquisition feature
  5. Optimize your asset groups
  6. Use campaign exclusions
  7. Choose the right bidding strategy
  8. Use ad extensions
  9. Ensure your data feed is up to scratch
  10. Optimize your audience signals

About the author

Jacques van der Wilt is a leader in the feed marketing industry and an entrepreneur. He founded DataFeedWatch (acquired by, one of the largest feed management companies in the world, which helps online merchants optimize their product listings on more than 2,000 shopping channels in over 60 countries.

Prior to that, Jacques has held leadership positions in both the U.S. and Europe. He is also a seasoned guest speaker at industry events and a mentor at Startup Bootcamp.

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