Are Buyers or Window Shoppers Clicking on Your Pay-Per-Click Ads?

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PPC (pay-per-click) advertising can be a very effective marketing channel for your eCommerce website. When you buy PPC ads, bidding on keywords that indicate buyer-intent is essential to reach people who are ready to buy rather than people who are still in research-mode. You know who your niche target customer is and you already have a list of keywords that people search on when they’re looking for products or services like yours. You’ve searched to see what ads your competitors are running. As you sit down and prepare to write that first ad, take another look at your list of keywords. Are you keeping your customer in mind? Do you want to pay for a click if someone is simply searching for information? How do you write copy for your PPC ads that targets the person who is ready to buy?

Recognize Searches Based on Buyer-Intent

We’ve all heard about the sales funnel where potential customers start the buying process by seeking out information and gradually work their way down to the point where they’re ready to buy. You know the drill. You’ve decided to buy a new TV. You start your search process looking for “flat screen” or “plasma”. After reading the pros and cons, you decide on flat screen TV and then start searching on specific brands. By the time you’ve read the reviews and narrowed down your choices. You’re ready to buy. So, you start searching on “buy 42 inch Sony flat screen tv”. The keyword that indicates buyer intent in this example is “buy”. Other keywords that can signify buyer intent include shop, order, purchase and sale.

Bid on Keywords Targeted to People Who Are Ready to Buy

One of the PPC advertising campaigns that I ran was for a product that targeted a very specific niche target market – virtual tour photographers. When I initially did my keyword research, I found that thousands of people were searching on terms like “rotating camera mount” and “stitching software”. So, the first ad copy that I wrote included those terms and I bid on those keywords.

I did get a good number of clicks on my ads. When I analyzed the traffic using Google Analytics, I quickly discovered that my “bounce-rate” (the percentage of people who immediately left my site after clicking on my ad) was very close to 100%. Naturally, I immediately paused my ads and took a better look at what was happening.

Most of the people who were clicking on those early ads weren’t ready to buy. They were looking for information. Several people who went to my website (and didn’t immediately bail) did call me for more information. I learned that most of them had no idea what a virtual tour was. These people were so early in the research process that I had virtually no chance of selling to them.

Adjust Your PPC Ads to Achieve the Results You’re Looking For

I researched keywords again and started looking for keywords that would be used by someone who already knew what virtual tour photography involved and was ready to make an investment in the specialized equipment and software that they needed. People who had already educated themselves on this type of photography knew that they needed a “pano head” and “PTGui” software.

After creating new ads with fresh copy and bidding on my new keywords, my 100% bounce rate dropped to 50% and less. My mistake had been that I initially was targeting my PPC ads to people in research-mode and ignoring buyer-intent.

Lesson learned – pay very close attention to the keywords that you bid on. Fortunately, I knew enough to track my results and I carefully monitored my ads. As soon as I realized that the terms that I was bidding on were targeting window-shoppers and not customers, I changed them.

So what are your experiences with pay-per-click advertising? What lessons have you learned? How do you include your keywords while still writing copy that packs a punch?

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Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

32 thoughts on “Are Buyers or Window Shoppers Clicking on Your Pay-Per-Click Ads?”

  1. People who’re looking for information may not end up buying the product. It’s good to note that a separate set of keywords thoroughly researched could capture the buying impulse generated after visiting a web site. Another area that need improvement is the landing page associated with advertisement. A well designed landing page should be able to quickly convert the interest into sales.

    1. Great points George! I learned the value of identifying targeted keywords that capture the buying impulse the hard way. When I first started running PPC ads (years ago), the type of traffic that I was driving to my pages was mainly people who were in the early stages of research. Once I changed my keywords to target people who were in the buying stages, I paid for less traffic but it was the right traffic.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Does Your Klout Score Fit Into Your Social Media Strategy?My Profile

  2. Hi Sherryl,

    I was also thinking if buyers would start typing their keywords so High PR domains with related PPC ads of the buyers keyword would come up. But then, if the High PR domain name is totally different from the buyers keyword, would be that affect their mentality that it’s a wrong site without even visiting it?

    1. If the higher PR domain name received the click and the visitor did not find the information that they expected, I believe they would immediately back out of the site. The person paying for the ad would be wasting their money. I can’t envision many (if any) conversions.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..6 Reasons to NOT Build a WebsiteMy Profile

      1. Makes sense.. I did not realized people don’t care what domain name will come up nowadays since they’re used to search for random domain names as long as Google provides it they would trust it.

  3. I am a Google AdSense publisher but I found that this article still very helpful. I can use the tips in this article to improve the AdSense CPC since I can choose the keywords that will deliver the traffic that ready to buy. Thanks.

  4. When i visit a blog, chances are that I notice that most blogs are amateurish. Regarding your blog,I have to say that you have done a good job here.

  5. Hey, Great article! I am having trouble getting my visitors to click on my PPC ads, don’t know why, maybe the ads placement on the site is not so good.

    All the best,

  6. These are the topics that I am exactly looking for. Reading your post refuels my mind on the Pay-Per-Click Ads and I felt so lucky that I’ve got the chance to learn something new. Thanks for sharing and Keep going. 🙂

  7. Very good article. I am new to PPC. I am looking forward for Google Adsense account. I thinks keywords bid management requires good research and it requires experience. There must be some tools for this. I don’t know about this. I am looking forward for your new posts about PPC. Thanks for updating me.

    1. Mat,
      If you like learning from books, I found “Search Engine Advertising – Buying Your Way to the Top to Increase Sales” (by Kevin Lee with Catherine Seda) to be extremely valuable.

      Thanks for letting me know that you found this valuable. I’m sure there’s more that I can share from having been “in the trenches” on this one.

  8. Thank you very much for this post, Sherryl. This an eye-opener for a lot of us who might have just bid on generalised keywords for our PPC ads. Your article will serve as a great resource for an enhanced PPC advertising strategy.

    1. You are very welcome. It was a rude wake-up call when I realized what I had been doing. After the light bulb went off and I had my AHA-moment, it just makes so much sense.

      I really appreciate your positive feedback.

  9. The one hard thing with doing pay per click in a down economy like this. Is that you get a lot of lookey lou’s that go fromm site to site looking for the best deal. Then the click the same ppc again and again looking around.

    1. Ryan, Unfortunately, that’s always going to happen when you’re competing on price. The only way I know of to get around that is to add extra value to your offer. Sometimes bundling another product or giving away something free can convince them to turn from a looker to a buyer.

  10. I’m very glad you found it helpful. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet but when you set up your ads, it’s best to click off “Content Network”. (I’m not sure if it still defaults to on but I think it does.)

    When you run ads that include the content network option, your ads get served up based on keywords within the content rather than on searches. It’s best to turn this off (at least for now) and concentrate on keyword searches.

  11. Additional bang-up and really attending post. I’d have elect worldwide keywords without yet regarding the investigator / customer manners.
    Thank you for portioning out your experiences so that all of us can uprise from them

  12. Excellent advice Sherryl. If and when I will post a pay per click advert I will contact you.

  13. Wow, another informative and very helpful article. Well I have chosen some general keywords considering the buyer’s modes. Thanks for sharing your valuable experiences with us here. Great recommendations!

    1. Thanks for commenting. I’m not afraid to share personal experiences (sometimes). 🙂 I think reading what someone else has gone through can be one of the easiest ways to learn.

      1. I’ve learned that the more specific keywords you use, the better, right?.

        Thanks for sharing your experience Sherryl (and how you solve it). Personal experiences is so much better than just ordinary information. We definitely can learn more. So, looking forward for more episodes of your personal experiences and how you solve those problems. 🙂

        1. Hi Val,
          Specific keywords as in long tail keywords? Your choice of keywords can really make a difference as far as driving traffic. Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers interchanging the keyword “marketer” for “marketing”. I did a little research and I wrote this article: I don’t know if you had a chance to read it but it started an interesting conversation in the comment section.

          I appreciate knowing that you like posts where I share from personal experience. I think that can be one of the best ways to communicate an idea. Someone is bound to be able to relate to it. Thanks for taking the time to come by and comment.

          1. Not really long tail keywords, just specific keywords like brand names or a “type” in a certain niche. I don’t really know what to call that. Example, like when you say entertainment, movies would be more specific. And when you say movies, a more specific keyword would be action movies.

            Thanks again Sherryl.

  14. Hi Sherryl,

    I had the same thing happen to me. I initally used keywords which people looking for information or free products used and wasted money. Then sat back and thought through what they would search if I was buying mode and also looked at the keywords people had used who had bought the product. We just used these keywords as a start for the new campaign.

    This resulted in using far fewer words that were very specific and sales increased as well the campaign was more cost effective.
    Susan Oakes recently posted..How to Confuse Your Customers in One Easy StepMy Profile

    1. Thanks Susan. I remember a post you wrote about customer needs not necessarily meaning they were ready to buy. I shared part of this experience with you then. We’ve walked down similar paths it seems. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  15. Another great and very helpful post. I’d have chosen general keywords without even considering the researcher / buyer modes. Thanks for sharing your experiences so that all of us can grow from them.

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