Updated: December 4, 2018
The Shape team is still unpacking everything stuffed in our brains and suitcases from our visit to Vancouver, B.C. for Unbounce's CTA Conference. The full-stack lineup of expert marketing speakers spanned SEO, PPC, CRO, social media, copywriting, design, analytics, machine learning, and more.
Since Shape strives to help PPC analysts, teams, and agencies be more effective and save time, we smashed together our favorite notes, photos, and tweets to create the following 63 actionable PPC takeaways:
Data-Driven Design by Oli Gardner (Unbounce)
Marketing teams are broken and can be repaired by employing a collaborative process informed by data (not just trends).
1. Before launching a campaign, collaborate and consult the Data-Driven Design (3D) Playbook and Worksheets with team members (such as your ad designer, copywriter, and project manager). Inform strategy with data for more effective outcomes.
2. Get Oli's 3D Playbook and 3D Process Worksheets: http://oli.unbounce.com/cta-conf-2017/.
P.S. Check out the inside scoop Oli gave Shape to get great tips for making the most out of CTA Conference.
How to Read Your Customers’ Minds by Joel Klettke (Business Casual Copywriting)
Voice of customer is powerful and should be collected and used in brand messaging.
3. Test using voice of customer in ad copy and on landing pages using the actual words customers use to describe your product or service.
4. Your reviews and testimonials are marketing gems. Use them in ads or on your PPC landing pages. Interviews, surveys, reviews, testimonials, and chat logs provide a goldmine to use in your advertising campaigns. Find the recurring themes and use them!
5. Use the same sources in #4 to understand what people are saying (negatively) about your competitors. Emphasize your strengths.
6. Market benefits over features.
7. Get Joel's CTA Conference resources and tools: http://businesscasualcopywriting.com/ctaconf/.
Everything Has Changed & Nothing is Different by Scott Stratten (UnMarketing)
There will always be new tools in the industry, but business is built on relationships. Ethics are important and integrity is not a renewable resource. Be authentic as a brand. Don’t get distracted by vanity metrics when interacting with your community.
8. Don’t associate your brand with irrelevant topics just because they’re trending (i.e. celebrity deaths and tragedies).
9. Don’t use vanity metrics. Understand what differentiates a mediocre engagement from a quality one (i.e. Facebook video view = 3 seconds versus 10 seconds; video watch with sound on versus sound off). Use the right metrics that bring money to the bank.
10. Listen and subscribe to the hilarious and informative UnPodcast: A Business Show for the Fed-Up.
You Can't Convert What Your Prospects Don't See: Turbo Boosting Your Email Conversion Rate by Jessica Best (Barkley)
Email marketing can be a high return on investment channel to communicate your message but you must verify emails actually get to your audience.
11. Scrub and segment uploaded email targeting lists to ensure you’re reaching the most relevant audiences.
SEO Gentrification: Breaking the Silo Between CRO and SEO To Make BIG Wins by Wil Reynolds (Seer Interactive)
Don't forget about the human element in marketing. Strive to figure out how people work (feelings/problems) not just Google's algorithm.
People who search are trying to solve a problem. Help them feel smart by solving their problems the best.
Brand trust is built by providing the best answers most consistently.
12. Build brand trust by creating ads that help users solve their problems (not always just sell/convert)
13. Use Google Instant results to see what else is suggested when users search for your content. Understand how they modify their searches and adjust your strategy from those user signals. Look for clues to build better hypotheses for tests by understanding how users modify their queries.
14. Use sitelinks to address user mindsets. For example, provide links to comparison content for users searching on "best (product or service name)."
15. Use guidance queries (“what is”, “who is”, etc.) to discover which sites provide the answers to those queries. Aggregate those URLs and target your brand's ads on those sites using the Google Display Network since those sites are on your customer’s journey.
16. Use review extensions to leverage the powerful benefits of voice of customer marketing and increase brand trust.
Show Dogs & Dead Horses: How to Edit Your (Own) Copy to Effectiveness by Lianna Patch (SNAP Copy)
First drafts are always poo. Ask the right questions, write, and take time to edit copy to communicate your message most effectively.
17. Ensure every word in your copy is serving a purpose and has meaning.
“Kill/Murder your darlings” = Be clear and specific, not fluffy. Use the words your customers use.
18. Write creative ad copy in the morning. Edit in the afternoon (but never when hungry).
19. You’re done editing when: if you remove, edit, or change one thing your entire message falls apart.
Designing World Class, High Converting Landing Pages For Your Clients and Their Customers by Allison Otting (Disruptive Advertising)
Design your landing page experience to meet and exceed user expectations by answering their questions and solving their problems.
Exceeding expectations can lead to huge jumps in conversion rate by being relevant and transparent and by rescuing your user.
20. Strive for "Ultra Message Match" by ensuring your entire landing page experience is consistent and meaningful even if a user only saw the middle of the page.
21. Don’t cut corners on photos. Be real and obvious so as not destroy your credibility. Invest in specific imagery that supports the copy.
22. Create as much value as possible by visually representing what your users will be getting (i.e. eBooks) even if it’s not a physical object.
23. When provided a huge screen use your Unbounce Presenter Diva Request to play Mario Kart:
Winning Facebook Advertising Strategies: 5 Powerful Ways To Leverage Your Results & ROI by Mari Smith
Facebook is running out of ad inventory. The majority of Facebook and Instagram ads are now shown on mobile advertising feeds which have finite inventory. It's getting more difficult to “cut through” to targeted audiences.
24. Video is largely underutilized on Facebook and earns three times the engagement of typical ads. Use videos in the News Feed (versus links or photos of videos). Before you boost your posts, spend time (1-24 hours) building organic reach.
25. Facebook knows when you’re an experienced advertiser versus a new advertiser. Experienced advertisers get more lift. If you don’t have a ton of ad history, make sure you:
Use Facebook's "Traffic", "Conversions", "Products", or "Leads" objectives
Use Ads Manager/Power Editor
Use Custom Audiences
Have installed the Facebook pixel and have implemented standard events
26. Use square videos. On average, they perform 20% better on Facebook and Instagram.
27. For great video ads, ensure your ads are:
Quality from the first frame
High energy, entertaining
Designed for sound off
Why We Can't Do SEO Without CRO by Rand Fishkin (Moz)
To achieve your business objective, your optimization goal should be to help searchers accomplish their objective.
28. Help the searcher accomplish their task. Align the business's and searcher's objectives, then optimize.
Provide links to help users achieve the next thing they are most likely to do (so they don't have to go back to Google)
Curate your list of searcher expectations and what is prohibiting them from accomplishing their objective.
29. Visit the competition. What tasks are they helping searchers solve?
30. Weave how your offering can solve their problems throughout your marketing, onboarding, customer experience, etc. to win.
31. Rand's On-Page SEO checklist can be utilized for campaigns and landing pages to improve click-through rates and quality scores.
A Roadmap To Remarkable Influencer Marketing by Tyler Farnsworth (August United)
When done right, influencer marketing can improve authenticity; drive brand buzz; provide access to new and hard to reach audiences; create engaging and unique content; support key brand initiatives; and convert prospective customers with targeted calls to action.
32. Ensure your targeting, amplification channel, content, and call to action align with your brand and audience.
33. Amplify influencer content with paid social ads to boost reach.
34. Create retargeting audiences based on Facebook video engagement.
35. Leverage influencer content in targeted display ads.
36. Run YouTube pre-roll ads to target and reach relevant audiences.
The PPC Performance Pizza by Johnathan Dane (KlientBoost)
Keywords and search terms are like icebergs. The keywords you’re targeting are the tip of the iceberg. You know which keywords you're targeting (those "above the surface"). But keywords represent a small subset of the search queries your ads will trigger for. Search queries represent the body of the iceberg underneath the water: massive and unwieldy. It's unclear what search queries will trigger your ads until you’ve already hit/been charged for them.
37. Addressing the iceberg:
For Search: use single keyword ad groups (SKAGs). Why: higher CTRs, higher QS, Lower CPC, and lower CPA.
For Display: extract contextually relevant placements. Why: more consistent conversion channel.
For Social: reduce amounts of audience layers. Why: identify individual audiences with the highest ROI.
38. Test multi-step landing pages. Don’t be aggressive asking prospects for all their information up front. Ask them for one piece of information across multiple pages.
39. Use pivot tables to find actionable data cohorts in Excel. Analyze, test, implement.
40. Match the intent of your visitors to what you’re asking them to do. Understand what their intent is based on the channels they’re using and then ensure your marketing and CTAs are aligned with where your prospects are in the sales funnel.
41. Facebook tips:
Exhaust all custom audience builds (prospects, converters, customers, etc.)
Dark post as many ads as possible using evergreen content. Build up shares, likes, etc. and then reuse. Historical social engagement metrics will remain and help boost effectiveness of ad.
Preload content and ad types: carousels, videos, standard ads, etc.
42. Hyper-locality: insert local parameters in ad URL. Use dynamic text replacement on landing pages to boost relevancy to visitors (especially for local services).
43. Smoke Test: test various offers to see which one is most effective before putting marketing all in on your proven offer.
Out With User Personas: Creating Compelling, High-Converting Campaigns Using Jobs To Be Done by Claire Suellentrop (Love Your Customers)
Stop advertising to personas. The information that appears in a persona doesn't tell us why he or she was motivated to buy a thing at a specific time. Instead, use the Jobs to be Done framework.
44. Utilize Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) Framework:
Template: When (event that triggers the struggle) occurs, help me (struggle/job) so I can (have a better life/ be done).
Example: When I am launching my own consultancy and working long hours, free me from the responsibility of keeping my home clean, so I can relax and recharge when I have downtime. Product: Roomba.
45. What imagery appeals to or creates emotional connection to prospects? Find ways to integrate and test JTBD messaging in ad text and imagery.
Super Advanced Content Marketing: Publish More and Rank Higher Through Top-Secret Ninja Tricks by Andy Crestodina (Orbit Media)
Create content more effectively by leveraging existing content to maximize the impact of your actions.
46. Be relevant and helpful. Google has 2000 engineers on staff trying to help you if you’re relevant. If you suck, Google has 2000 engineers trying to stop you.
47. Emails = content. Save answers to questions you’ve answered over the years to create content (blogs, videos, etc.) and/or share when asked the question again.
48. SEMRush. Run Quora through SEMRush. Find every phrase that Quora ranks for, and then filter based on your topic, product, or service. Note what terms Quora ranks for on page one that are related to your topic. Write the best answer for that question, respond on Quora, and promote it.
The Customer Disconnect: How Inside-Out Copy Makes You Invisible by Amy Harrison (HarrisonAmy Copywriting)
A disconnect happens when you focus on what you want prospects to do but forget why prospects want to do it. Does your marketing/advertising promise satisfy the prospect? Or just you?
49. People want a transformation not a transaction. Create a series of ads to tell a story about the problem they’re trying to solve by using a workaround (which is a terrible idea). Empathize with why they’re doing it and offer a better solution. Use ad series to highlight the problem and guide audience to the better solution. Example:
Here’s whats happening in your world prospect. Here’s what hurts you.
You're stressed managing campaign budgets across multiple platforms while preventing clients from over- or under-spending.
You may have tried to solve this (but that is a terrible idea).
Workaround: You use Excel to manage ppc campaign budgets.
It makes sense!
Excel is cheap and flexible.
But it does have limitations (pain).
No insurance or alerting about over/underspend
Manual errors, template mistakes, looks unprofessional
Complications with sharing and collaboration
Easy to make mistakes
We have an alternative and we can prove it works. Here’s what’s possible and can eliminate your hurt. Let us show you how we can make it easy for you.
We have training videos, a live demo, and access to a free trial to alleviate your problem (naturally leading the prospect to your product).
Reports That Matter by Dana DiTomaso (Kick Point Inc.)
Good reporting is essential. Reporting quality can make the difference between keeping your job and getting a raise. Ensure you’re displaying your efforts effectively.
50. Tag everything and create goals based on things that make you money. Do not create a goal based off “dwell time. Track it as an event but not a goal. Goals should be attached to actions. “Will it make you money?”
51. Analyze events based on paid traffic and build feedback into ad copy. For example, if “how to” guides receive more downloads from paid traffic, try testing campaign messaging around that event.
52. Measure landing page engagement with Luna Metrics Google Tag Manager recipe: http://www.lunametrics.com/labs/recipes/scroll-tracking/.
53. Improve lead tracking by taking merging users identified in Google Analytics system with their records in your Customer Relationship Management system. Use this to identify how leads, sales qualified leads, and customers behave on site: https://www.upbuild.io/blog/crm-data-google-analytics-measurement-protocol/.
54. Super bonus API idea:
Get list of everyone tweeting at your competitor.
Put their Twitter handles through BuzzSumo’s API to find which sites they’re tweeting about.
Put those URLs into an Google Ads script for display placement.
Put ads on sites where those users visit.
55. Use Google Data Studio to calculate custom metrics:
Unbounces = Sessions - Bounces
Analyze if there is an event that runs more often for those who bounce versus "unbouncers."
Profit per click = (Total Conversion Value*0.2)/Clicks
Report profit by campaigns. Conversion rate and gross value alone doesn’t show you which campaigns are most profitable.
“This is what gets you raises.”
Master Customer Marketing By Watching Romantic Comedies by Alexa Hubley (Unbounce)
It’s possible and important to create close relationships with your customers at scale.
56. Segmentation helps build intimacy. Scale customization through small strategic tweaks based on your audiences/cohorts (i.e. personalized video thumbnails for videos).
57. Build trust into campaigns by using consistent storytelling across all mediums (video, LinkedIn, email, postcards). Consistency builds trust.
58. Reciprocity works best when you don’t expect anything in return. Build value for your customers and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations.
Obviously Awesome: How To Make Your Product Distinct and Desirable In Noisy Markets by April Dunford (Sprint.ly)
Boring products can be “sexy” if positioned correctly and turned from awful to awesome. Context is everything.
If people don’t understand what you are, they will likely ignore you and hope you go away (you don’t want that).
59. New products require new thinking. What’s awesome about the thing you’ve got? Build context around that.
60. Identify the unique features customers in specific niches get excited about. #sparklefeatures
Target your messaging and ads to that audience to differentiate your product/service.
61. Repositioning process:
Let go of previous thinking.
Isolate competitive differentiators.
Position yourself in a market where your unique value is obvious.
Use competitive differentiators in messaging.
Target ads to the audience where your unique value is obvious.
Your Brain Is Lying To You: Become A Better Marketer By Overcoming Confirmation Bias by Michael Aagaard (Unbounce)
Challenge your hypotheses. Be bold enough to accept you could be wrong. Seek to disprove yourself to get information, not just confirmation. Get outside the marketing bubble or risk designing experiences for yourself.
62. Talk to your customer success, support, and sales teams to get voice of customer gems to use in messaging.
63. Discover customers’ pains, evaluation processes, and aha moments for stronger hypotheses to test.
Problem + evaluation process + aha moments = hypothesis
*Bonus Idea #64 - Unbounce for PPC Agencies
Get early access (limited to the first 100 registrants) to Unbounce's recently launched program Unbounce for Agencies. Get started with dedicated landing pages so you can improve conversion rates, amaze your clients, and deliver more results.
Looking for more actionable takeaways from marketing conferences? Check out:
Shape’s PPC platform adapts to how you work and reduces the time you spend budgeting so you can test these ideas out. Give us a try. You'll be up and running in minutes with the free trial and we're always here to help.