Conversions, conversion rate and cost-per-conversion are without a doubt the 3 most important PPC metrics. All 3 influence each other and together decide the profitability of your campaign.
Whether you feel you're paying too much per conversion or if you think you've hit that sweet spot, there is still always room for improvement!
Below are 8 ways you can improve your advertising ROI by lowering your cost-per-conversion:
1. Reduce Keyword Bids
Without making any changes to your website, this is one of the quickest adjustments you can make to reduce your cost-per-conversion. Before you get carried away and just start dropping keywords bids (which can harm your account), you may want to first run a Google Experiment at the keyword level to evaluate the impact of ad rank on click-through and conversion rates.
2. Pause Non-converting Keywords
Data is your friend here. You don't want to pause a keyword too early and risk removing a future winner. Before pausing keywords that are not converting, you should have a clear understanding of your target cost per conversion and website's conversion rate, and base your decisions with them in mind.
Enabling the new Click Assisted Conversion and Impression Assisted Conversion columns in AdWords can also help you evaluate the profitability of each keyword, even if they have not led to a direct conversion.
3. Review Keywords And Isolate The Top Performers
Drill down to the keywords that convert in each Ad Group. For keywords that convert at or above your target, you can use the Search Terms Report to mine for new keywords and alternative match types.
4. Review Search Terms For Negative Keywords
Finding opportunities to block irrelevant and unqualified searches can do wonders for your overall cost-per-conversion. Use the Search Terms report to find keywords to add that don't align with your advertising objectives. You will be shocked with how many clicks you can receive for irrelevant searches and the crazy searches some people make that end up clicking on your ads.
This should be done regularly, although you should find that over time you won't have to update your negative keywords as frequently.
5. Evaluate Performance By Network
With Google AdWords, you can segment your campaigns by Network to assess how Search Partners stack up against Google search. In many cases, choosing to only run on Google search can help reduce your cost-per-conversion.
6. Review The Dimensions Tab
If it isn't already, Dimensions should be your go-to tab. Below are a couple of ways to lower your cost per conversion by evaluating the best times to show your ads.
a) Analyze Conversions by Hour of Day
Depending on your business, showing ads 24 hours a day may not be necessary to reach your conversion requirements. In many cases, you should be able to find optimal times to bid more aggressively, drop keyword bids, and/or times you might be better off not running ads at all.
b) Analyze Conversions by Day of Week
Depending on your business and historical data, you can revise your ad scheduling to only run ads on certain days, like Monday to Friday.
These metrics can help with making these decisions:
Impressions: which hours of the day or days of the week are people searching for your service / products.
Conversions: which hours of the day or days of the week are people converting.
Cost-per-Conversion: which hours of the day or days of the week are conversions more or less costly.
Conversion Rate: which hours of the day or days of the week are people more or less likely to convert.
7. Review Current Landing Pages
Not every page on your website will engage and convert visitors at the same rate. Run a historical review of each landing page and make adjustments where you feel necessary. Where possible, test sending visitors to pages that have a good history of converting visitors and pages that have a clear path for visitors to convert.
8. Review Ad Copy
Make sure you are constantly testing new messaging against your current best performing ads. Small changes to ad copy and your call-to-action can help better qualify website visitors. You'll be surprised how action words, like contact us, book online and get a quote, can increase conversion rates and ultimately reduce your cost-per-conversion.
These simple changes can have a huge impact on your account's performance. Try testing some of these out for yourself!
Nick Supapol is Paid Search Strategy Lead (and consistently ranked #1 ping-pong player) at Search Engine People, specializing in Travel, Consumer Goods and Business-to-Business.