We all love case studies, right? They are often irresistible when you see them: increase conversions by 500,000%!!!
Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But it’s not far from reality.
Unfortunately, these conversion rate increases are often a farce.
They either (1) are far from sustainable or (2) the numbers are slightly inflated for the purposes of marketing/clickbait.
But today, I’m not going to show you anything like that.
I’m instead going to show you real Google Ads campaigns that advertisers ran in this past year.
Realistic tactics that anybody can customize and implement to generate a great return on investment.
Let’s dive in the secrets of the 3 Google Ads that killed it in 2018, to inspire your 2019 strategy.
1. Don’t Neglect Your Landing Pages
Oh, landing pages, again! Wait… The subtitle of this section is:
How One Advertiser Generated a 23% Conversion Rate
Do I have your attention now?
Landing pages are 39% of the puzzle for a high converting Google Ads campaign.
Without a good landing page, you can’t expect to make a dime back from your ad spend.
When users hit your landing page, they need a few things:
- Instant value
- The ability to receive that value
- A matching offer to what your ad promised
In simple terms, those three steps equate to giving the searcher what they want.
And more often than not, it’s truly as simple as that.
But landing pages have long been the struggle for most advertisers.
They focus on the little things like A/B testing button colors or headlines.
While those can work, they should never be your first step. You should already have a high conversion rate and ROI before considering testing those factors.
More often than not, landing pages need to be simplified, stripped down, and focused on value.
That’s the exact approach one advertiser took to generate a steady, sustainable 23% conversion rate on top of the funnel traffic for their client.
Here I’ll break down the four steps they took.
Step 1. Ditch Stock Photos
Stock photos are extremely tempting to use.
In fact, there are countless websites dedicating to providing both free and paid stock photos.
Why? They are often extremely high-quality images (high resolution).
On top of that, they depict countless scenes fit for a business.
For instance, like any of these stock photos for a post about Google Ads:
Stock photos are often far cheaper to buy online than hiring a professional photographer to take shots of your business in action.
Plus, you can buy them instantly online instead of waiting days, weeks, or months to get your own shots taken.
So for those looking to run campaigns or landing pages ASAP, it’s often the go-to.
They look nice, right? Sure.
But do they work? Not really.
According to the latest studies on stock photos, they don’t work.
When MarketingExperiments tested the difference in stock photos vs a real company employee photo, the results were shocking:
Stock photos feel impersonal and can even be viewed as fake and scammy.
They look strung together and out of place.
Want to appear as more genuine, personalized, and authentic? Ditch your stock photos and opt for real images of your product, service, or company.
For example, here is a stellar landing page via Handy, an online cleaning service:
They could have easily included stock photos for cleaning. But, they didn’t.
Instead, they took a real photo of a cleaner wearing a “Handy” branded t-shirt with matching colors to their logo. Not only does this appeal visually, but it presents their service as far more legit.
Step 2. Focus on One Call to Action
Have you ever landed on a PPC ad and been met with multiple calls to action?
This is a common tactic for most companies advertising on Google.
But more often than not, it’s more distracting than it is helpful.
If you have properly analyzed the intent of a given landing page and keyword, you don’t need multiple calls to action.
You should already know what the searcher wants and expects.
For instance, if someone clicks on your PPC ad for “cleaning service today,” you shouldn’t have multiple CTAs.
You should have a single CTA that says “book my appointment today.”
Focus your efforts on a single call to action that matches the intent of the ad.
Step 3. Beautiful Landing Pages Are Overrated
Landing pages are meant for one simple task:
Educate the person landing on them so well that they can’t help but give you money for your product/service.
But sadly, beauty has been prioritized over function.
Glamour over conversion rate optimization.
Don’t get me wrong…
…I’m not saying that beautiful landing pages are inherently bad.
I’m saying that focusing too much on the aesthetics of your landing page can often hinder conversion optimization.
- More visuals = heavier page weight = slower loading speeds = higher bounce rates
- More time on visual production = higher costs = less profit
- More visual focus = less focus on CRO
Some of the most simple landing pages convert the best. For example, Neil Patel’s CrazyEgg landing page:
He reduced the length of content and images by 60% to get this shorter, less visually appealing page.
13% increase in conversion rate.
It’s nothing short of boring on the surface, but it provides immense value to users, and that’s all that matters.
Step 4. Perfect Your Lead Form
Forms are tricky to get right.
You want to offer enough questions to receive the key lead qualification information you need, but not too many that you scare people off.
Offering too few questions can give you more leads, but most likely you will be getting many who have no intention of buying.
Having too many questions will surely limit your lead totals, but it might provide higher quality leads.
The Paid Search Podcast tested it for their client to help drive a 23% conversion rate.
The key here is moving slowly and testing one question at a time to see how it impacts conversions.
This means testing both (1) existing questions and (2) the amount of questions total.
Are specific questions simply asking too much? Is the number of required questions too high?
These are key items to experiment with when perfecting your lead forms.
2. Combining Google Ads and Facebook to Net $70k in Profit
When picking an advertising platform or even a general marketing tactic, it’s commonplace to pit it against another.
For example, SEO or PPC? Facebook ad or Google Ads? Video ads or search network?
I’ll let you in on something crazy: why not both?
It’s common to want to compare multiple tactics against each other.
But the facts are: all of them can work for your business and you don’t need to pigeonhole your efforts.
In fact, not pigeonholing efforts is what allowed Jeff Baxter to generate $70,000 in profit from $10,000 in ad spend.
By utilizing both Facebook and Google Ads for their respective strengths, he was able to generate far better conversion results.
Let me show you an example of how this can work.
For starters, you can target new audiences or previously engaged traffic on Facebook that hasn’t converted yet. Target them with top-of-the-funnel, brand awareness ads that deliver value in the form of content:
Next, you want to capitalize on the brand awareness you are generating. And that’s where Google Ads come into play.
Advertising too much on a single platform to the same audience gets annoying (see: ad fatigue).
People are going to stop engaging if you bombard them with ads all over Facebook.
Let a few ads do the trick and then hammer it home on Google.
With Google Ads, you then want to run more conversion focused ads with the goal of getting them to opt-in or sign up for a trial, rather than to just visit your latest piece of content:
This is accomplished with RLSAs, otherwise known as remarketing lists for search ads.
They allow you to target your website traffic for given keywords on Google searches, rather than anyone in the world searching for that keyword.
This powerful combination of multiple platforms helps you avoid ad fatigue and convert users with ease.
Want to run this type of ad campaign? Here are three ways to connect your Facebook and Google audiences for easy wins.
3. Utilize Google Shopping for Dirt Cheap Acquisition
One online store in 2018 was able to utilize Google Shopping to generate $1,248.22 with just $87.96 in ad spend.
Over the course of the campaign (30 days), this furniture industry store generated 12 sales, totaling almost $1,300 in sales.
With an average cost per click of just 33 cents and acquisition costs of just $7.33, the profit is astounding for such a short campaign.
How did he do it?
If you are advertising products on the search network like this…
…and experience subpar results, it’s time to switch to Google Shopping:
Google Shopping listings display product headlines, images, prices, and ratings of the products.
Trying to cram all of that information into a search network listing isn’t gonna fly.
And, you can’t use images, a huge selling point for Google Shopping.
You see, displaying images upfront has a huge benefit;
You almost instantly qualify and disqualify traffic. People can visually see your product and decide if it’s compelling enough to click.
If they don’t, you don’t pay for squat.
If they do, you know they like the product look.
This eliminates tons of wasted ad spend that search network ads simply can’t. Search network ads without pictures will generate far more clicks and bounces when people don’t like the product look.
Google Shopping is the place to be for reducing your ad spend and therefore acquisition costs.
Want to take advantage of Google Shopping? Here are a few key tips to follow that can help you succeed in 2019.
Tip 1. Test different extensions
Most Google Shopping listings are complete with:
- Product name
- Store name
- Product image
But there are a few retailers using other methods like special offers and value propositions directly on their ads:
For example, “Special offer” and “Free shipping.”
Try rotating your extensions to see which generate the most activity.
Tip 2. Use high-quality images
Images are the lifeblood of successful Google Shopping campaigns.
If you don’t have a product image, you can’t have a listing. And if your product image is poor, nobody is gonna buy from you.
Make sure to take professional quality photos of your products.
Since you can only use one photo on the listing, choose the most flattering angle that showcases the product completely.
If the product can be showcased clearly in usage, that is a huge benefit:
For instance, with couches, the first three pictures above are by far the most compelling.
They show the product in use and in a real environment, giving users inspiration on how to style it in their own home.
The fourth picture is the wrong aspect ratio, making it difficult to see the actual product.
And the last one is the couch alone, giving no inspiration or direct look into how it looks in a real living space.
Use better images and you’ll get better results. Simple, right?
Google Ads case studies are often blown way out of proportion.
They are the 0.001% of instances where an advertiser got lucky and struck digital advertising gold.
In this post, I wanted to share with you three specific case studies that were realistic, achievable, and commonplace for advertisers who put the work in.
Ones that are really inspiring for your 2019 strategy.
In 2019, follow these three great campaign examples:
- Don’t neglect your landing pages — sometimes, keeping it simple and value-focused is all you need for success.
- Combine both Google Ads and Facebook advertising for big wins
- Utilize Google Shopping for e-commerce, the acquisition costs are dramatically cheaper than other ad formats on Search and Display networks
Ready to kickstart your 2019 Google Ads success? Implement these strategies that drove big wins for advertisers in 2018.