Pay-Per-Click & Conversion Rate Optimization

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “PPC & CRO.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you define CRO (conversion rate optimization) in relation PPC? Why?

  • Treating customers like people not numbers. Treating prospects the way we want to be treated. Accountability beyond the click. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • PPC provides a controlled testing environment for CRO & LPO that can be applied to other channels over time with data. CRO for PPC is not just limited to LPs, especially w/ e-comm. You need to test/optimize the cart, etc for max ROAS. – Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
  • Treat CRO as back-end optimization (LPs, usability, site structure, etc.), but melds with PPC. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • CRO is CRO. Why would it be different just because the traffic is from PPC, except, of course, for QS factors. I don’t see why that changes CRO. You always consider the nature of the traffic when CROing. . – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
    • Agreed, I’m just saying that some CRO tests can be source specific. – Matt Umbro
    • Some people think this would only be for landing pages. CRO can be done pre-click to improve PPC results. – James Svoboda
  • Entirely depends on the business goals of the SEM program(s). “CRO” should mean “optimize for BUSINESS goals”. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • Not confusing the user and helping them find the solution to what they actually searched for. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Making strategic decisions for both pre click account management and post click landing experience to improve ppc results. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • CRO – Making decisions in an account to increase the quality (presupposing measured goals) of existing traffic. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • I believe CRO is mostly backend, but you need to direct relevant traffic to landing pages using. So PPC acts as a net to catch users, whereas as CRO is the vehicle to get them to convert. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • Also, the purchase funnel is directly tied to CRO. How does the CTA and UX change for top vs bottom of funnel? – Andy Groller
  • Digital CRO isn’t a story about getting users to do what you want them to do. It’s about allowing them to get what they want. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • Getting the click is only half the equation- to legitimize yourself as a PPC professional you have to care about the conversion. – Matt Umbro
    • Very true, and sometimes this means overruling the best click-through rates. – Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
      • Exactly, classic example is including price in copy – make mean less clicks, but more accurate ad. – Matt Umbro
      • Totally agree about sacrificing CTR. Lately I’ve been focusing on CRO and CPA has done great! – Erika Schmidt
  • CRO & PPC work together to reach the right audience and guide them to a user friendly page focused on keyword&copy congruence. – Ally Sabrowsky (@absabrow)
  • All ad components that can be leveraged/tested to increase conversion rate. It’s not always just about the landing page. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
    • Yes! sometimes CRO even means skipping the LP altogether and pursuing a call directly from the serp! Or, dare i say, training one’s sales team to convert phone call visitors. – Erin Sagin (@erinsagin)
  • To clarify, many people see CRO as back-end. Whereas front-end PPC conv. opt. is just part of PPC. They work together. – Jeremy Brown
  • CRO happens from the search term through the landing page to full conversion funnel. All parts of PPC are CRO driven. – Michael Knight (@MichaelAKnight)
  • What is your opinion on “sacrificing” ads with high CTR/low CVR for ads with low CTR/high CVR? – Matt Vaillancourt
    • I’m all for it, I want to ensure that the ad copy best matches the landing page/user experience. – Matt Umbro
  • Qualifying ad copy to eliminate the tire-kickers. Some non-Quals will still click however. People click on anything. – Jeremy Brown
    • They do, but less crappy clicks is always good. – Matt Umbro
  • Run small scale LPO/CRO w PPC’s silo’d traffic to get internal buy-in for larger, proper CRO resources. – Katherine Romero (@KatherineRomero)
  • CRO in the context of PPC is all about optimising your landing pages for the prospects you want, give them what they want. – Jason James (@Jason_A_James)

Q2: Should “CRO Specialist” be a separate position or does it fall under the PPC Manger purview? Why?

  • Depends on the testing strategy & channels involved. In a larger org, it’s prolly a separate position. – Andy Groller
  • Everyone should own this – design, development, content, PPC. – Jason Stinnett (@JasonStinnett)
  • Many parts of CRO should be covered by all, but can be supplemented by specialist role. – Jeremy Brown
  • CRO for PPC falls under the purview of PPC. CRO should be an integral part of all activities & should also be specialized. – Heather Cooan
  • Agree with Andy, it depends on the size, but leaning towards own position that works closely with the PPC manager. – Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)
  • Whatever works best. If you have stellar CRO who hates doing PPC, then separate. – Steve Gibson
  • Keep it together. They go hand in hand. Don’t need a separate specialist when we can all dominate by ourselves. – Joe Martinez
  • Here everyone from PPC to SEO has an eye on CRO and LPO opps for our clients. In-house would likely be different. – Andy Groller
  • Same Position. Quality Score is a measurement between KW, Ad & LP not just KW & Ad. – James Kravic (@JKravic)
  • If you can’t CRO you can’t PPC. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • PPC Specialist needs to be able to speak to CRO – he/she doesn’t need to be great, but needs to know terminology and ideas. – Matt Umbro
  • I’m leaning toward: do what’s best for your business/situation. Not practical for small in-house or agency to have both. – Kirk Williams
  • CRO isn’t a position, it’s a team effort. Whether it’s your ads, LP, CTA, or your sales team, you need to allign everyone. – Mark Irvine
  • Depends. If you have enough to do, then yes. If not they will likely get non-CRO stuff dumped on them like company tweeting. – James Svoboda
  • I think ‘CRO Specialist’ would only be required in a large organisation with the need for a dedicated member of staff. – Jason James
    • Yes, and even then there is a natural need for the “common class” PPCer to have an understanding of CRO. – Kirk Williams
  • I’ve seen only CRO Specialists, but if I was a company, I wouldn’t want to hire to separate entities. – David Prochaska (@DavidProHQ)
  • Even if it was a separate position, a PPC Manager should keep up with CRO as an investment in their client’s business. – Ally Sabrowsky
  • I think PPCers should know CRO and CROers know PPC. Don’t have to specialize in both, but know where to find info and ?s to ask. – David Prochaska
  • If teams are too small to afford a dedicated CRO expert, a focused day must be scheduled consistently to maintain testing rhythm. – Chris Haleua
  • Big Question: If CRO & PPC are different positions, how do you make sure they don’t work in silos? – Andy Groller
    • Run trainings, share decks, make sure PPC AM works with CRO specialist on preparation, etc. – Jeremy Brown
      • IMO, the CRO specialist must be accessing PPC accts on an ongoing basis to see what’s working, what’s not beyond just comms. – Andy Groller
  • PPC depts are so under invested. They can’t possibly run proper site-wide CRO. But should champion it w what they can manage. – Katherine Romero
  • PPC people should have a knowledge of CRO, so you don’t necessarily need a specialist, unless it’s an LPO specialist. – Erika Schmidt

Q3: Do you or your organization include CRO language in your contracts, specifically how CRO impacts performance? Why or why not?

  • I expect my vendors to address the issue, not necessarily include it in contracts. – Heather Cooan
  • Not sure if it’s in our contracts, but definitely a big topic during our sales discussions. – Erin Sagin
  • We talk about CRO and resources in onboarding survey and call. Also have separate CRO services. – Jeremy Brown
  • No. My job is to increase PPC performance. Any means necessary. There are times when I barely touch AdWords to increase goals. – Joe Martinez
  • Yes. We bake it in all of our campaigns. – James Svoboda
  • CRO and LPO are included as components of our larger strategy. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be truly serving our clients’ needs. – Andy Groller
  • We advise on the process. You can’t own CRO entirely unless you want to run their entire company. – Mark Irvine
  • Definitely want it as part of the initial / sales discussions – at the very least to make sure you’ve got ongoing permission. – Jason Stinnett
  • No. I wish I did. Seems like the two big levers have been quantitative bidding or qualitative CRO. Wish I had done more of both. – Chris Haleua
  • We dont based on the fact that some clients aren’t ready for CRO. Other things come first like helping clients field new leads. – Bryce Liggins (@BryceLiggins)
  • When I was in-house, no agency ever did. Would have given them mad props for doing so. Wonder why they didn’t? – Katherine Romero
  • I like it to, so that it’s fully understood what they’re getting and not to take it for granted. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • I will say this – if a client has a crappy website and no intention to change, all the ad spend isn’t worth the CRO headaches. – Matt Umbro
    • I have turned down clients before until website/LPs were fixed knowing it would be negative reflection on me/PPC. – Kirk Williams

Q4: What CRO metrics (aside from conversion rate) do you believe are most important to PPC managers? Why?

  • Abandonment rates is one that I think gets easily glossed over. Talking about multi-step forms / conversions here of course. – Andy Groller
  • Results matter. ROAS, qualified leads, etc. Not just conv. rate, but volume and quality too. – Jeremy Brown
  • Engagement is a huge metric when it comes to CRO. Especially when increased engagement leads to lower bounce rates. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
    • Yes, I think engagement can definitely be overlooked, especially if conversion rate isn’t increasing as well. – Matt Umbro
  • Bounce rate, time-on-site, etc. to show site engagement and where the user travels before converting or not converting. – Michael Knight (@MichaelAKnight)
  • Cost per conversion. If you have a great CR but the conversions aren’t profitable you’re doing it wrong. – Bryce Liggins
  • CPA, ROI, conversions paths, bound rates, engagement metrics, all that good stuff. – Margot da Cunha
  • Bounce rate, or where someone leaves the funnel, as this might pinpoint the exact headache for users. – Ally Sabrowsky
  • Value Per Conversion. Not all conversions are created equal and some indicate a different part of the funnel. – James Svoboda
  • Start w/ Rev per impression then dont let the avg lie. Find where the bottleneck is in CVR > TIme on SIte > Bounce Rate > CTR. – Chris Haleua
  • For one client, I added a sentence that increased avg order val by >30%. We measured conv rate & avg order value. – Steve Gibson
  • I don’t focus on CVR, I live & die by CPA. You can control costs and quality, but CVR can be swayed by influxes of new users. – Mark Irvine
  • Average Order Quanitity/Value, time to purchase, cart abandonment, plus conversion rate across New Vs. Returning, Device etc. – Jason James
  • Easy: ROI Tells whether or not PPC is sustainable, contributing to growth, or is a drain on resources. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Value per converted click. It multiple conversions by same ip doesn’t always equal more sales. – Tyler Purcell

Q5: What are some CRO tests that you like to run in conjunction with your PPC campaigns? Why?

  • HEADLINE. Generally the most important part on landing pages. – Jeremy Brown
  • I actually get excited when a client tries a whole new offer/product. You learn so much more about what people are looking for. – Mark Irvine
  • In ecomm campaigns, I like to try checkout page tests, ie: removing navigation, shifting sections, etc. – Matt Umbro
  • If changing ads is easier than changing site, test different tone of voice in ads then make landing pages match most successful. – Jason Stinnett
  • # of required form fields, color of CTA buttons, color of the design as a whole, CTA messaging, value message testing, more. – Joe Martinez
  • I love testing PPC where we can isolate the audience intent and measure influencing factors. ex: auto loans- rates vs images. – James Svoboda
  • I like to measure calls generated by SKU compared to CR. – Sam Gordon (@SamGordonPPC)
  • Same image on LP as in banner or social ad is a fun one. – Andy Groller
  • Can be interesting to test more aggressive vs. more educational top-of-the funnel offers to see what converts better. – Margot da Cunha
  • Lead campaigns: Number of form fields. Balancing client desired info with conversion goals. – Bryce Liggins
  • Most common conversion problems I see: Weak offer, weak proof, failing to tell the story, short copy. – Steve Gibson
  • Intent behind type of user interested in product/service – providing depth of information vs. quick synopsis. – Ally Sabrowsky
  • For ecommerce, test category vs product pages. Category can win more than you think. – Jeremy Brown
  • Landing page length: short form vs. long form? Some industries do better providing more information and vice versa. – Margot da Cunha
  • Thank You page tests “Thank you, have a free bonus catalog” “Ready to talk to someone now? Call xxx-xxx-xxxx” Helps close sales. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • When testing value messages make sure that message is visible on the LP and the ad. – Joe Martinez
  • CTA & offer tests seem to prove the most valuable. Product images are good too. – James Kravic
  • I think it greatly depends on industry as well, but I agree testing and evaluating the lead quality is critical. – Margot da Cunha

Q6: Do you believe the engines will eventually offer CRO/LP tools to use in conjunction with paid search efforts? Why or why not? And keep in mind that Google did at one point with Google Website Optimizer.

  • Yes! Google Analytics still has content experiments. It works well-er enough. They’re updating it also. – James Svoboda
  • I think they already do really with tools like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools etc. – Jason James
  • Yes, but I expect functionality to be lacking. That’s based on previous iterations. Unless they buy someone decent. – Jeremy Brown
  • They will but results will vary & 3rd parties will remain dominant. Google got smarter with GDN but still struggles w SMBs. – Mark Irvine
  • Absolutely. As usefulness increases, the number of advertisers increases = more revenue for Google. – Bryce Liggins
  • VWO was an excellent tool. Pity they scrapped it. Also, amazed just how bad analytics experiments was initially. – Steve Gibson
  • Google Analytics was their 1st CRO’ish tool. Helped increase AdWords adoption & reduce Click-Fraud Fear. I expect more to come. – James Svoboda
  • Probably not. Whatever Google can do to keep advertisers guessing/spending more money will probably be the direction they go. – Sam Gordon
  • Yes, If they can offer an optimized LP option for “profitable with unlimited budget.” Sorry, just renewed my cert. – Tyler Purcell
  • No. CRO doesn’t necessarily improve click vol or CPCs; no engine incentive. Goog would’ve kept Optimizer if it made them money. – Matt Vaillancourt

PPCChat Sponsored by

CallRail is a call tracking platform that brings enterprise-level call analytics to businesses and agencies. CallRail makes it easy to track which marketing sources and keywords make your phone ring. We provide call tracking, recording, and analytics for PPC, SEO, web, and offline marketing campaigns. With CallRail, you can create tracking phone numbers instantly, get reports in real time, and increase your advertising ROI by learning which campaigns and keywords deliver valuable phone leads.

CallRail

Resources

More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Ally Sabrowsky (@absabrow)
• Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
• Bryce Liggins (@BryceLiggins)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• David Prochaska (@DavidProHQ)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Erin Sagin (@erinsagin)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• James Kravic (@JKravic)
• Jason James (@Jason_A_James)
• Jason Stinnett (@JasonStinnett)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Katherine Romero (@KatherineRomero)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Michael Knight (@MichaelAKnight)
• Michael Knight (@MichaelAKnight)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Sam Gordon (@SamGordonPPC)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
 

Streamcaps & More Steamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sponsored By

Recent Tweets



    I am speaking at SMX East
    PPCChat.co was rated one of the Best PPC Blogs by Boost CTR