5 Musts for Lowering CPA and Raising Conversion Rates on the Google Display Network

By Marc Poirier, CMO/Co-Founder, Acquisio

Before you get started on the Google Display Network (GDN), or even if you’re already engaged in display campaigns there, it’s important to understand the five aspects of this channel that most greatly affect the outcomes of those campaigns, and to manage these aspects with precision and daily awareness.

1. Test Keyword Lists
It’s not enough to just test one keyword against another; marketers on display networks should be making lists of keywords to test against the others. These lists will consist of the keywords you are using to go after certain topics and groups of people, and when you test them against each other you’ll garner information on how well those audiences perform and meet your needs.

Keyword lists should contain at least 20 keywords, and should be run for a minimum of two days. This gives you time to gather some click data, which can be analyzed to determine the most effective formula. When you’ve found a winner, keep making groups and testing them. It’s something that needs to be done on an ongoing basis.

2. Manage Ad Placements
What we have found is that, every now and then, a certain domain or URL will come up as surprisingly profitable. The bulk of the time, however, those pages that relate most closely to the subject you’re advertising will have the greatest success.

Because ad networks, like GDN, are not perfect, it takes a lot of time to manage the placement of your ads, and to make sure that you’re not getting a whole lot of useless impressions or clicks.

Watch carefully for those pages that seem to be getting a lot of attention without performing, and be sure to eliminate them. Those that perform well can be added to your Managed Placements, whether at the domain or page level. Dedicating more resources to high-performing pages seems an obvious strategy, but it’s important to be watching out for the good and the bad in this area.

3. Configure Bid Prices
With good keyword lists and high-quality placements, you’ll be increasing your Quality Score, which will allow you to make better decisions when it comes time to managing your bids. With daily attention to finding the sweet spot for your bid prices, you’ll be able to lower your CPA sooner than you might think.

4. Ad Testing
With display advertising, good creative is key to engaging your audience. You should always be looking for the ads that attract the most clicks and are demonstrating good conversion rates on your landing pages. This is best done by running at least two per AdGroup, giving you the opportunity to test one against the other. It’s a never-ending process that needs to be managed on a daily basis, with low-performing ads eliminated from the equation before they start taking up too much of your resources.

5. Pay Attention to Daily Budgets
Your campaigns each have a daily budget, which is a part of the overall Account budget. Those campaigns that require budget, but don’t achieve conversions should be watched closely, and eliminated when they start keeping the high-performing campaigns from improving. With more resources dedicated to higher-converting budgets, you open yourself up to more working capital, and you have a chance to go after even more conversions at the same overall ad spend.

These are aspects of display advertising that need to be paid close attention to, and all of them on a daily basis. While tools that manage all of these things for you are available and can have a great effect on your advertising campaigns, it can be done by closely monitoring both the success and failure of these important aspects of display marketing.

Keep a close eye on the results, and you’ll lower CPA while yielding higher conversions.

Marc Poirier is a professional Internet Marketer with more than a decade experience in the Search industry. He is Co-Founder and CMO of Acquisio where he leads all sales and marketing activities. He often speaks at events like SES, SMX, Ad:Tech, TFM&A and OMMA, and writes columns and articles for various publications, including Search Engine Watch, Visibility Magazine, SES Magazine, and the Acquisio blog.

Prior to his position at Acquisio, he was founder and president at Canalytics, a boutique SEM and SEO agency which was widely regarded as one of the most active Google Analytics Authorized Consultants in the world. He also held various e-marketing management positions for technology and software companies that include Komunik – an email marketing software vendor, Cognicase – a Canadian leading IT consulting and systems integration firms, aside from being a strategic consultant at U.S. based marchFIRST.

Marc began his entrepreneurial career in 1996 while working on his Ph. D. in Cognitive Science. That’s when he co-founded Webaxis Alliance, an interactive agency that worked on major Canadian web sites such as sympatico.ca and canada411.ca.