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PPC 19 min read June 9, 2020

How To Optimize Contextual Advertising: Tricks And Lifehacks

How To Optimize Contextual Advertising: Tricks And Lifehacks
Андрей Белоусов
Andrey Belousov
Growth Hacker at Serpstat
Due to quarantine, many businesses are actively turning to online sales. They now face the task of obtaining the same result with less money or compensating for the drop in offline demand without a significant increase in the budget. In this article, you will get some lifehacks in setting up contextual advertising, which will help you save the budget and make campaigns more effective.

A little about bid changes
Let's start with the bids. Changing bids in contextual advertising is quite simple. Therefore, the effectiveness of advertising is more correctly regarded as a curve. With an increase in CPC, the increase in clicks will not be proportional. The larger your CPC, the lower the number of clicks.
For example, if you increase the CPC by 1%, the number of clicks increases by S%, and S, in turn, is almost always less than 1. Increasing the CPC will double the number of clicks by less than two. For example, S = 0.5, then an increase in CPC by 20% will lead to a rise in the number of clicks by about 10%.

But here it all depends on how much stronger or weaker you are than your competitors:
If your bids are already several times higher than those of competitors (and the CTR is about the same), S will be very small. For example, S = 0.2 and an increase in CPC by 20% will increase the number of clicks by only 4%.
If your bids are several times lower than competitors, then S may equal 1. Increasing CPC by 20% will increase the number of clicks by about 20%.

Types of optimization of contextual advertising
Now let's think about what will happen if we double our reach, but the competition and CTR remain the same. With the same CPC, we will have twice as many clicks. This will apply to all CPCs, and the graph will be doubled vertically.
What happens if we suddenly get a 50% discount? With any CPC, we get the same number of clicks that we got with CPCx2.
Blue means reach is doubled. Red is equal to a 50% discount.

As you can see, at low rates, the efficiency is the same. But with high bids, the blue graph seems better. It is not only higher but also allows you to buy the same number of clicks cheaper.
All optimization methods can be divided into 3 types:
Discount effect: compress the graph along the X-axis. This is the adequacy of the bidding.
Reach effect: stretch the graph along the Y-axis.
The effect of discounts + reach: this is an increase in the return on displaying an advertisement, CTR, conversion, average check. If you double your clickthrough rate, you'll immediately begin to get twice as many clicks (the same as double the reach). After a while, when your predicted CTR is recalculated, the cost of positions for you will be halved, i.e., the same thing will happen as with a discount.
For example, by increasing reach by 6% and keeping the rest of the parameters at the same level, you can do the following:
Buy the original number of clicks 12% cheaper;
Get 4% more clicks on the same budget;
Get 6% more clicks with the same CPC.
If you increase the accuracy of reach by adding negative keywords, you will increase your CTR and reduce your reach. Therefore, you only get the discount effect:

Negative Keywords = СTR - Reach = (Reach + Discount) - Reach = Discount

Therefore, increasing the CTR by negative keywords is three times less effective than increasing the CTR by writing more relevant texts.

How To Launch A Successful Advertising Campaign: 10 Lifehacks of API Console

The process of optimizing contextual advertising
The optimization procedure follows from general to specific. First, we raise the reach and get statistics that are useful to us in the future. When increasing the reach, we make sure that there are not too many junk impressions or inadequate bids.

The advantages of this approach are that it's usually enough to increase reach once, but CTR, bids, and negative keywords can be improved indefinitely. Therefore, we will almost immediately get rid of one of the tasks.

If you have several advertising systems, then it's best to do this:
Increase the reach in the first system.
Increase the reach in the second system similar to the first.
We try to optimize the first system to the maximum.
We optimize the second system like the first.
However, if you are much weaker than competitors, then it is better first to fix the problems: low conversion or CTR, a high proportion of junk impressions.
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Strong methods
Strong optimization methods have two effects at the same time, as with reach and discount. But at the same time, they are about one and a half times stronger than reach, and almost three times stronger than discounts. Although at very high rates, their advantage over reach is not so great. All of these methods are associated with an increase in revenue by one impression without reducing reach.

These include:
Increasing CTR.
Increasing conversion.
Increasing reach.

Increasing CTR
The visibility of an ad depends on its size. It's worth filling out all the possible ad extensions, using the limits on the length of the title and text almost to the maximum. Big letters are more attractive than small ones. Of course, we cannot write announcements in the upper case, but we can replace all commas with dots and use the telegraphic style. Numbers, like capital letters, attract more attention. You can use capitalization in the headline in AdWords: make the first letter of words big.
It is better to end the text of the ad with a call to action: "Hurry!" "Try for free!" "Order!" "Sign up!". But don't use calls like "Click!", "Tap!" as they will not pass moderation.
It's better to use keyword substitution in the headline and ad text. This increases the number of words in the ad in bold. For some of the most common keywords, you can create an ad group and write a more relevant ad.

If you use substitution, add as many subqueries of your keyword as possible to the group. For example, you have the keyword "bag". As a result, out of 33 characters of the title, you use only 3. And if you add the subqueries "Buy a bag", "Buy an eco-bag," and "Buy a leather bag," then the length of the title and the amount of text in bold will increase.

To find subqueries you can use several tools:
Serpstat: Go to the main page, enter your keyword and go to the Keyword Selection report:
Or just enter your keyword here:
AdWords Keyword Planner. Please note that it doesn't show part of the words, often the words stick together. To use it, you need to launch ads in AdWords.
You can use these methods together to get the best result.
Also, studying the subqueries will help you understand what users care about (prices, guarantees, delivery) and collect negative keywords.

You can add multiple ads to the rotation. Google will choose the best ad automatically; ineffective ads will also appear, but less often.
The final CTR will be about the same as the best ad in the group. It, in turn, depends on 3 factors:
Average clickthrough rate.
Ad number.
How different are the ads.
It's worth adding at least 3 ads to each group. For groups with many impressions, it's better to add even more ads. If you decide to change the text of the ad, then create a copy and change it.

If you have another PPC specialists in your office, then ask them to write one ad per group. Do the same in return. Perhaps we will have new ideas that work better.
You can also borrow ads from your competitors. For example, from other regions.

You can do it with Serpstat. Go to Keyword Research → PPC Research → Keyword Selection. This report allows you to see the list of ads and paid keywords from Google top-100 results.
In Ads Examples report you can see the example of ads a domain uses in Google AdWords.
Next, go to Keyword Selection → PPC Research → Ads Landing pages if you want to analyze ads in contextual advertising. This report shows ads and keywords numbers along with their landing pages.

Increasing conversion
Recall that the conversion in advertising is the ratio of the number of users who came to the site from advertising (search advertisement or newsletter), to those who made the target action. For each site, the target action may be different, for example, placing an order, registering, subscribing to a newsletter, etc.
It is essential to lead customers to the correct landing page so that they don't get lost on your site.

To increase conversion, you must first study the competitors.
Competitor analysis
Competitor analysis is an essential step in a comprehensive niche analysis and keyword selection. We need to identify our competitors in paid search and check their keywords for contextual advertising. Enter the domain in the search bar and go to Domain Analytics → PPC Research → Competitors. Here you will see a list of domains that are your competitors in paid search. You can check their keywords by clicking on the link.
You can also study competitors in another region. After such an analysis, you can understand what elements should be on the landing pages and what to focus on.
Some companies make individual landing pages for PPC, and you can access them only through ads. To find them, you can manually enter your keywords into search engines or find all domain ads via the report Site Analysis → Domain Analysis → PPC Analysis → Keywords.
If you are not an online store, then you need to get segments. Using them, you can already understand which landing pages are required and which ones should be given more attention.

Example of segmentation by clusters:
There are several ways: you can do manual clustering or use Serpstat. Go to Tools → Keyword Clustering section. It is better to use a soft algorithm (Strength - Weak; Clustering Type - Soft) since hard is designed for SEO in complex niches.

You can also group data on landings and get data on traffic using API console.
Stop exit
Some scripts show pop-ups when the user is about to leave the page. The scheme is as follows: when the user moves the mouse cursor up to close the browser tab or switch to another, the corresponding pop-up shows up.
Usually, stop-exit forms with email request work well. You can also ask for a phone number with a promise to call back soon.

You can use two options for implementing pop-ups: use online services (for example, or write the code yourself and when the user exits, show the pop-up that already exists.

How To Get Ahead Of The Largest Advertisers In The Market: PPC SERP Crawling

Increasing reach
You can also significantly increase your reach by adding new keywords. For example, you can use synonyms for existing keys:

Serpstat report Keyword Analysis → SEO Analysis → Related Keywords can also help you. You can use filters to remove misspelled keywords and sub-queries of your keyword.
Missing keywords
With Serpstat, you can find keywords that competitors have, but you don't. Go to the report Domain Analysis → PPC research → Domain vs Domain. Enter your domain and several competitors. If 2 of your competitors use the same keyword, you should definitely add it to your semantics.
SEO Keywords
If some page in SEO shows a good conversion, it will also have a good conversion to the same requests in PPC. Therefore, using Google Analytics, you need to collect the pages with the highest conversion.

To do this, go to the report Behavior → Site Content → Landing Pages. It shows statistics on landing pages from all sources.
Next, click on the segment and select Search traffic.

Keywords by which this page is ranked can be found in the Serpstat report Site Analysis → URL Analysis → Keywords. You can also check missed page semantics. Therefore, we go to the report Site Analysis → URL Analysis → Missing Keywords.

Weak methods
Typically, these methods are two times weaker than reach. The stronger the advertiser, the softer these methods work. But weak advertisers can use them and perform just as well as reach.

Negative keywords
Be sure to work with negative keywords. Otherwise, 80% of your ad's impressions may be junk. You need to check all the subqueries of your keywords using the AdWords keyword planner.

The AdWords Keyword Planner hides some of the words, so you need to use additional tools. AdWords also doesn't understand the morphology of negative keywords.

A couple of weeks after the launch of the ad, look at which search queries your ads were shown. Thus, you will expand the list of negative keywords.
Read here how to collect semantics for advertising:

How To Do Keyword Research For Contextual Advertising And Get Maximum Outreach

Manual bids are usually worse than just setting equal bids to all keywords. A person understands where conversion will be higher, but overestimates the differences between the conversion of different keywords.

When you collect statistics, then you can calculate the bids based on it. For example, to optimize conversions, you can calculate bids using the following formula:

Bid = k × ((conversion +1.5) ÷ (clicks +1.5÷m))

* conversion is the average of the site.
* k is a constant, a common factor to fit into the conditions: if your goal is to maintain an average CPA, then k is slightly larger than your target CPA. If your goal is maximum profit, then k is equal to the conversion value.

We examined all the main ways to optimize advertising with an assessment of the return on them. This information will allow you to prioritize your work in contextual advertising to achieve better results faster.
There are many more interesting PPC articles on the Serpstat blog!

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