Before you launch your next ad campaign, take a look at these PPC tips to see how you can get a head start. While there will always be unknowns in launching a new campaign, there are things that you can categorically say you don’t want to click on your ads. Optimize from the outset by excluding traffic that you know won’t be beneficial to your marketing goals.
Protect Yourself From Non-Human Traffic
Let’s start with bots: they are never, ever going to convert and will cost you money. So, having the right protection in place to ensure they can’t target your campaigns is a quick way to save your ad spend for the right people.
Thinking that bots won’t target you or aren’t a big problem for your business is a little like setting your stall out, writing a sign saying “free,” and then wondering why people just come along and take stuff. Your ad clicks are valuable, so make sure you’re only selling to those who will give you something in return.
Modo25 saves an average of £90,000 a month from blocking invalid traffic, so don’t write it off before checking. Performance Marketing Manager Tom Pickard was surprised about how much of an impact fraud was having on their campaigns: “You always assume the numbers are going to be a little exaggerated. But this wasn’t the case at all – even now, our clients still see big savings.”
Identify The Repeat Offenders
If you’re planning on running display campaigns, there are a whole bunch of spoof websites and malicious publishers out there ready to deplete your budget. Our list of 60,000+ placement exclusions will give you a great head start on avoiding these – simply download them for free and add them to your exclusions list in Google.
If you want to go more in-depth and identify the unique IP addresses which are explicitly targeting your ads, you can discover them with our Free Traffic Audit. It’s an easy, no-obligation way to put your toe in the water of invalid traffic and see how it’s affecting your campaigns.
The Right Time And Place
Be sure to keep an eye on the geo-locations of your clicks. Just because you’ve set target locations for your campaigns doesn’t always mean your traffic will originate from there; a lot of fraudulent clicks come from IPs outside of your range. This happens because IP address locations don’t always match the user’s actual location, so it’s worth investigating where your clicks are actually coming from.
It’s also common for illegitimate sources to click your ads at unsociable hours, so if your traffic quality suddenly plummets at 4 am, just turning your campaigns off in the early hours could reduce the impact on your budget.
How Smart Is Your Smart Traffic?
You can’t block bad IP addresses from your smart campaigns, so to ensure your money is being spent on the right sort of traffic, you have to keep an eye on the legitimacy of your clicks. It’s worth doing some digging on the traffic quality of your previous smart campaigns to see whether they had high levels of sub-par traffic.
If your analysis reveals that the click quality was poor, then consider swapping this campaign to a standard campaign with invalid traffic protection in place and see if this outperforms your old results.
“If your brand campaigns and high-intent keywords are not seeing the results you were expecting, before you give up on them, check the levels of invalid traffic they’re receiving, or you could be optimizing off the back of bad data.
Having the right tech in place to monitor exactly where your traffic is coming from is what sets campaigns apart.”
Learn From The Past
Using data from past campaigns is standard practice; you take what worked before, replicate it, and continue to refine the results as you have more click data to work with.
The problem is: how good quality is the data you’re optimizing from? If invalid clicks are mixed in with the good stuff, they’ll be skewing the truth. Making future decisions based on flawed data isn’t going to get you the best results possible.
When was the last time you decluttered your traffic? If you strip out the no-value clicks and begin to optimize only from data that has value, you’ll inevitably see better results. It’s better to feed your campaigns less data of a higher quality than a massive amount of information that’s essentially useless.
Why not run two parallel campaigns: one with your current data set and another with data that has been cleaned and measure the results? You may find your control campaign has more clicks, but it’s highly likely that the campaign running on clean data will bring in more conversions.
Take Control Of Your Future Data
As well as looking at your past data, your current practices must set you up for future success. Everyone knows that the removal of third-party cookies is coming – but its impact on the world of PPC remains to be seen. What we do know, however, is that first-party data is more valuable than ever.
The problem with advertising networks is that they keep a lot of your data from you. Particularly as tech giants continue to push automation, more and more of what advertisers can control is being taken away. Many businesses are rightly wary about having to trust the platform’s algorithms to make the best calls for your business. Even small changes such as the removal of editing privileges to Expanded Text Ads show the direction Google is heading – a future where AI is in the driving seat and advertisers have to sit back and enjoy the ride (that they’re paying for.)
Having complete visibility and control over your data from now on is imperative. Not only that but owning first-party, usable data will enable you to push your campaigns forward, despite the disappearance of third-party cookies, on your terms.
It’s Time For A Spring Clean
You can think of invalid traffic as mold that’s grown in the corners of your house: easy to overlook, but ultimately not something you want hanging around. And, once you start peeling things back and trying to tackle the problem, you often find it’s a lot worse than you expected.
If you’re ready to de-mold your PPC campaigns, all the tips mentioned in this article are actionable from our Free Traffic Audit. The audit is really easy to get started with and makes zero changes to your Google account; all we do is monitor your traffic for two weeks and report back to you what we found. You get a load of free insights into who clicked your ads, who they were and whether we’ve identified them as legitimate, suspicious, or invalid, and why. This isn’t something Google does, so it’ll be shiny new data for you to get stuck into. We’ll also show you how much of your wasted budget you could have invested on better-quality clicks.
It’s then up to you what to do next. If you just want to take these insights away and use them to improve your performance, then that’s totally fine. If you’d like to protect your campaigns from the invalid traffic the audit flags up, we can begin protecting your campaigns at the flick of a switch.
So, whether you manually monitor your traffic quality or automate it through a platform like ours, make sure you’re optimizing your campaigns by excluding what’s never going to be right for you from the off.