When generating your SaaS PPC strategy, there are surefire ways to succeed and surefire ways to fail.
Once you understand what makes (and breaks) an SaaS PPC campaign, you can go about crafting and optimizing your ads in collaboration with a SaaS ppc agency to ensure they’re on the road to success each and every time.
We have put together an in-depth and easy-to-understand guide of all of the best tips and practices involved with SaaS PPC optimization, as well as why so many of these campaigns fall short – and what to do to make sure yours doesn’t.
Why SaaS PPC Campaigns Fail
As with all marketing, there are ‘dos and don’ts’ that need to be adhered to in order to generate success. Some of the reasons you might find your PPC campaigns miss the mark include:
Focusing on the Wrong Pain Points
One area many marketers miss the mark is focusing too much on ad optimization and not enough on landing page and website usability.
It’s all well and good driving ample traffic to your website, but you’ll do yourself a huge disservice if your website landing page isn’t up to scratch. The main problem being that the landing page is hard to navigate and doesn’t make it easy for the reader to fill in a form or purchase an item – or whatever your goal/call-to-action (CTA) is. Web users are impatient and lazy and they will not appreciate having to go searching for what you’re trying to offer.
This means ensuring that the CTA is easy to find, that the content is simple, clear, and concise, all relevant information in there in bite-size format, and that the landing page loads quickly.
Audience targeting is one of the most fundamental parts of marketing that can either make or break your success.
While over-targeting can hurt your campaign – so can narrow targeting. The incentives of the ad platform are designed to help you target accordingly, so going too low in your audience range will mean you miss the target with many of these incentives. The other side of it is targeting too narrow will cost you money in the long-run. This is because the ad should be garnering a certain amount of impressions, and if it isn’t, the platform will raise the cost of your ads – which effectively means you’re paying more money for less impressions.
To avoid this, you need to be more generous with your targeting and find a happy medium of audience access and cost per impression (CPM).
Premature Bottom Funnel Optimization
Optimizing your ads too early is counter-productive. This means augmenting your campaign too soon will mean the platform will not have collected enough data to understand the nuances between a ‘good’ click and a ‘bad’ click, which essentially means lead/click quality may vary – which you’ll be charged for – and a good return-on-investment (ROI) is less likely.
To remedy this, you should:
- Focus your optimization at the beginning (not the end) of the funnel, AKA, video views, blog clicks, etc.).
- Be patient. The platform needs a certain amount of time to ascertain the quality of a lead, which it will do so by monitoring the lead’s behaviour.
- Aim to create a campaign with a demo/trial-focused conversion goal.
Ignoring Critical Data
Another fatal error SaaS PPC marketers make is forsaking data that displays red flags. This means falling into the trap of thinking that immediate good data means your campaign is on the road to success. Your initial data shouldn’t be overly exceptional because it’s still early days, so if it looks too good to be true – it probably is!
Don’t always go by the dashboard report for your key performance indicators (KPIs). Always use Google Analytics instead. The reason being that clicks on a LinkedIn Sponsored Mail ad, for example, doesn’t mean your campaign is being responded to by readers – this is because the reader has to open it to mute it as a notification, so it’s far from genuine engagement – and it certainly doesn’t guarantee a conversion.
Remember – Google Analytics is your best option for accurate performance data, so keep a regular eye on it.
Remarketing Campaign Errors
PPC is a useful tool for remarketing campaigns, but one key error many people make is turning on the campaign before it’s had enough time to circulate and garner enough traffic, meaning the ad will under-perform.
Jumping the gun with remarketing sales content is counterproductive because it misses out on potential audiences at certain points in the funnel. The way to avoid failure here is to ensure there are enough signals (data points) below your custom audience, adding remarketing pixels before you launch your campaign, and being thorough with your target audience.
Also, it is wise to be mindful of your audience size. The smaller it is, the slower the platform is to run, so patience is key if your campaign is particularly niche-focused.
Absence of Account Lists (Custom/Matched Audiences)
Depending on your industry and how niche it is, you will very likely need to work with lists, which is one thing many marketers fail to do – and it comes at a cost.
Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that because LinkedIn often operates well without lists that you won’t need to go down this road when using other channels. It’s very likely that you will.
Also you need to make sure that the lists you do work with aren’t too small. If they are, you won’t receive enough clicks/leads – and the costs will be phenomenally high. A decent sized list will ensure ample brand growth and a harmonious collaboration between your marketing and sales department.
Even if your industry is on the niche side, meaning your audience size may be on the small scale, you will still need to operate with the same lists for both marketing and sales purposes.
Tips & Best Practices
During the optimzation process, the following tips will increase your campaign success.
Enhance Your Click-Through Rate (CTR) First
The best way to approach optimization is to increase your CTR before you do anything else, as it’s the most important part of the process.
The reason being is that the CTR is the most crucial metric that is most aligned with the incentives of the platform. A typical platform incentive will be monitoring what number of readers are actually clicking on your ad per one-hundred viewers (for example).
Once you’ve optimized your campaign to reach a prosperous CTR, you will find the rest of the campaign optimization process is smoother than it would be if you hadn’t. Failure to do so could mean the platform gives your ad a low quality score, which will mean you’ll be getting high charges for a lower number of impressions.
The CTR sweet spot you’ll want to aim for is between excellent targeting and excellent ad content. The latter of which means creating the perfect message that relates to the audience’s needs. If you achieve this the platform rewards you with higher-quality impressions and cheaper clicks.
Manage Your Budget Well By Adding Negative Keywords & Audience Exclusions
All PPC marketers will be familiar with positive key words and phrases, and of course, the audience-building process, but many of them miss a beat when it comes to adding negative keywords and excluding any audience areas that aren’t profitable.
For those unfamiliar, negative keywords are words and phrases that an advertiser wishes to add to ensure their ad doesn’t appear when punched into a search engine. Including these will mean you aren’t paying for potentially useless clicks by users who aren’t in-keeping with your ideal lead type.
These work in a similar way to negative keywords insofar as they tighten the belt on any old lead clicking on your ad. This means excluding subsets or groups within your target audience that have little-to-know likelihood of converting once they’ve clicked on your ad.
To identify the best negative keywords and audience exclusions, you have two options:
- Brainstorm the words a poor-fit lead might type into the search engine. These are words that you won’t want associated with your campaign. This should be done early in your campaign-building process.
- Monitoring clicks from leads who aren’t engaging or converting via your ad and study the commonalities between their audience factors and the keywords you’ve included that they are using. There will be patterns and similarities which will indicate what area of your campaign isn’t functioning as it should and you can optimize accordingly. This should be done later in your campaign’s life once the platform has begun to generate data.
Refresh Your Ads On A Regular Basis
This will help you avoid what’s known as ad fatigue. This is when an ad is displayed in front of an audience too frequently that it results in the lead losing interest in it. It is a particularly prominent problem for ads that target small groups (but have a large budget). A way to identify if this is a problem in your campaign’s life is by monitoring your CTR and seeing if there is a noticeable decrease.
To avoid ad fatigue, you will need to refresh and adjust areas of your campaign on a monthly basis. For example, by changing the images, headlines, and certain seasonal details (if applicable). Once you’ve done this, monitor your CTR to see if these changes have made an improvement.
Increase Your Budget For Top/Middle Funnel Advertising
This can be especially beneficial for brands with a high level of competition.
Most competitors are bidding on the same keywords, which increases the cost-per-click (CPC) rate. If you are creating a search campaign, you will find that your ad will be placed at the bottom of the funnel because your leads will already be aware of the type of solution they are after.
To remedy this you can look at creating a competitive search ad that is geared towards the top or middle of the funnel by focusing on social, video, or display ads. By doing so, you will find the CPC has not increased – no matter how competitive your market is. This is because there are far more options on audience-targeting on these platforms. And before launching your campaign, test these audiences to see how the ad is reaching per platform – and then focus on redirecting any strays with a remarketing campaign.
Keep A Close Watch On Your Competitors’ Campaigns
SaaS brands are notoriously competitive – for good reason – and marketers need to approach the subject of competitors’ campaigns in a different manner than they would any other brand in any other industry.
When it comes to targeting SaaS competitors, keep in mind the following:
- Decide whether or not a competitors’ campaign is even worth the time and money – because it isn’t always – and oftentimes, said time and money could be better invested into a different type of campaign. If you do decide to invest, you need to be completely thorough on the benefits of such a campaign and gather all of the necessary research and resources.
- Create a breakdown of your competitors and put them into tiers – and resist the urge to target every single competitor into one tier. Instead aim for one or two top contenders in your first tier, and create another campaign that targets the lesser competitors in tier 2/3/4/etc. This may seem long-winded and time-consuming, but it is the most effective way to accurately target everyone with different campaign content (and budget) geared to each tier.
- Get planning. Start drafting out blueprints of your budget per tier. It is generally recommended that you aim for 10-25% of Search Impression Share (per tier/campaign). This will ensure funds for each campaign are appropriate to go head-to-head with your competitors. Also, make sure you’re prepared for a higher cost-per-action (CPA) and a lower conversion rate (CR).
- When pitting yourself against a competitor in a campaign, resist the urge to name the brand. This is because it may lower the ad’s reach. Your best bet is to find a way that indirectly (but obviously) refers to them without using their brand’s name.
SaaS PPC advertising can be challenging, but it is also lucrative, providing the marketer is fully knowledgeable about the type of campaign they are crafting, ways to optimize both the campaign and the landing page, and their competitors.
If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through paid advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with someone on our team.
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