Multi-Channel Series Part 5: Why CRO, Brand & Design Should Love PPC

This post marks the fifth of a 6 part series on sharing insights across marketing channels focusing on the benefit of combining paid digital media with other channels in your marketing plan. Check out Part 1: Social, Part 2: Offline & Online, Part 3: Email & Paid Campaigns, Part 4: PPC & SEO.

HarmonyEvery part of the marketing organization faces their own unique challenges. For conversion rate optimization (CRO) it’s difficult to validate tests in an expeditious manner. For brand it can be difficult to measure results quickly. For design it’s difficult to see how actual customers may respond to different fonts, colors, or images.

With so many difficulties I would suggest that each of these departments make friends with their PPC teams. PPC can exist in a silo, but here is what your company could be missing.

How Conversion Rate Optimization Can Benefit

In my experience, the hardest part of CRO is implementing the technology to make testing easy and efficient. PPC can’t help you there. However, the next biggest issue is achieving validation of your results. This is where PPC is your best friend.

  • Volume – To validate a test you need a certain threshold of data. The on-demand nature of PPC allows you to get the desired volume of visitors to the test so that you can see how well they convert and achieve a statistically significant number of conversions to validate your test.
  • Quality/Segmentation – Because PPC allows you to choose demographic targeting (via social PPC) and search intent via keywords you can sent better quality traffic to your CRO tests. This leads to higher conversion rates, which means your test will validate sooner and you can spread those findings to other parts of your site quickly.

Another difficulty in CRO is testing significant changes. The running joke in the CRO world is that everyone wants to test button color. The reason it’s funny is because it’s based on truth. Too often businesses will dedicate large chunks of time and resources to CRO and then test something that may only produce a small lift or no lift at all.

Consider this: Test button color using banner ads in your remarketing campaigns. Test different calls to action (CTAs) using your text ads and image ads. Since the click is a conversion you can get valid results very quickly and at much lower cost.

How Brand Can Benefit

Brand advertising is often criticized for costing a lot and not being able to measure results. Let’s consider branded search. In this situation we know the search user has had some previous contact with the brand because they’re searching for the brand by name. Brand has done the work to generate this demand, now we have to harvest that demand. There are two scenarios; one where we let our organic listing do the work or two, where we use PPC as well.

Based on research done by BingAds on the financial services vertical in Q1 2014, the organic only listing captured 56% of clicks. That’s not very cool to think that they were searching for YOUR BRAND and 2 in 5 people clicks on something else. Ouch! But consider that when you have a PPC ad appearing in the main column, top position and you capture 88% of clicks (50% to PPC and 38% to organic). That’s 9 in 10 people who looked for you and you got them.

How Design Can Benefit

Has this ever happened at your company? You have a design done (logo, banner ad, website image, etc.) and people quickly begin arguing about the font, the spacing, the colors. The situation descends into a terrible fracas with hurt feelings and then the design gets thrown out because an agreement couldn’t be reached. Painful huh? PPC can help!

Now consider an alternative. You take the proposed design, let’s say it’s a banner that will accompany an email, and get feedback. As above, there are many opinions. You create a 2 or 3 variations that take the other opinions into consideration. You then place these banners in a remarketing campaign for a few days and then report back to everyone on which one got the best CTR. Now it’s not about who’s opinion was right, it’s about which one people clicked the most, which is aligned with the goals of the email team. Bam! Harmony now!

This same strategy can be used to test elements on a landing page, the homepage, emails, mailers, billboards…you get the picture right? PPC can quickly test design elements and get feedback on how potential customers like them. Powerful stuff.