Skip navigation
SearchLeeds takeaway: PPC

SearchLeeds takeaway: PPC

By Lia Baker

June is one of my favourite months for many reasons – one being SearchLeeds! This year I finally attended the fourth edition of the North’s largest search conference SearchLeeds 2019. It was a jam-packed day of learning with free coffee, tea, beer, bananas and even doughnuts that disappeared quickly.

From a PPC perspective, here are the highlights and my key takeaways:

All things mobile in a mobile-led world! Optimise or fail

By Jon Myers, Ascending Media

Consumers now spend more than 5 hours a day on their smartphones. As marketers, we need to embrace mobile and drive performance and ROI from it.

·        Voice search: Amazon is winning in the home. However, its main areas are not very commercial. Alexa users mainly use voice search to play music and add something to a shopping list. By 2020, it’s likely 50% of all searches will be carried out by search. Nevertheless, for PPC marketing, a big issue for voice search is that search queries with 10 words or longer ignore negatives. This is because Google only reviews the first 10 words of a search query for negative broad and negative phrase match keywords.

·        Mobile SEO: Google is well on the way to transitioning to a mobile-first index. To grab the clicks where 55% of all clicks go to the first 3 organic search results, you should optimise for mobile SEO.

·        Mobile PPC: Organic search results continue to be pushed down on the SERP. It’s interesting that in the Wayfair PPC account, organic CTR loses 25% of click share on desktop and 55% on mobile.

To give you some ideas on mobile optimisation, Jon provided some actionable tips:


-        Message extensions (now it can deliver to an email address or a phone number)

-        Google Maps promoted pins

-        Google shopping product cards with swipe-able carousel

-        Google shopping local inventory ads. One of the exciting features is product search from local knowledge panels.


Put your money where your mouth data says

By Samantha Noble, Biddable Moments

This the talk was about how Google Data Studio can save your time on reporting. Samantha asked 450 people which platforms they use for reporting. 34% use Excel, 22% Google Sheets, 34% data studio and 10% use other tools. It’s interesting that the number of marketers using data studio is similar to those using Excel! Here are the introductions from Samantha on data studio:


·        The GDS Connectors: There are free Google connectors like Search Ads 360, Google Ads, Google Analytics and Google Sheets etc. Free community connectors and paid partner connectors are also available.


·        Live dashboards: You can set up your website reporting suite for top stats and split each channel’s data in the dashboard. It’s easy to add monthly commentary and unlock the insights of data with interactive live performance dashboards.


·        For paid search: Auction insights can be seen in data studio in the form of table and graphs. Some other useful and visually attractive graphs include ROAS insights, impressions by quality score over time, and an interactive map of location performance. MCC hook-up also comes in handy when you don’t want to go into Google Ads directly to view all your accounts one by one.


·        Conversion windows: Using the individual channels for reporting skews the data in favour of that channel as the vast majority use last click as a default attribution model. Therefore, there is a need to deduplicate conversions in a single source.


·        Key takeaways: Get data studio setup for one website. Spend some time working around the platform. Put together a template you can use and adapt. Then you can re-invest wasted hours into something valuable!


One Search – combining your organic and paid strategies for greater effect

By Sarah Barker, Stickyeyes

Brands are still approaching search marketing as two separate channels, organic and paid. But in modern search, is this approach delivering the best possible return? Sarah covered how you can become successful with collaboration between SEO and PPC to make sure you never spend a pound more than you need to. Some key takeaways:

·        A strategy tried and tested at Stickyeyes to drive overall search efficiency: pause PPC brand keywords when they rank position 1 organically as there is no search competition. As well as this, shopping results are not displayed; activate PPC brand keywords when they don’t rank position 1 organically, there are search competitors present, or shopping results are displayed. In this way, they’re not losing to competitors.

·        Generic keyword clustering: to reduce cannibalisation and encourage incremental volumes, making SEO and PPC complement each other.


-        For high volume keywords: long term SEO and no/moderate PPC

-        For core long tail keywords: aggressive SEO and short term PPC

-        Fore other core long tail keywords: no SEO and long term PPC

-        For seasonal keywords: aggressive SEO and seasonal PPC


·        Messaging testing: using PPC headlines to gather data to trail SEO feathers such as page titles. A/B testing in PPC ad copy can help with SEO title-tags and meta-descriptions.

·        Integrated content strategy: there are two factors to consider when choosing the content to prioritise: organic rankings + PPC keywords = priority content, using the granular PPC keywords data for organic content.


The multi-million-pound keyword

By Hannah Perry, Manchester Airports Group

When a single keyword drives over 60% of your revenue, what do you do? Hannah discussed how they gain control and optimise it by segmentation and automation to grow their market share and increase profitability – all through optimising just one keyword.

[Manchester Airport Parking] as a single keyword contributes 60% of their parking revenue. However, this brought challenges due to lack of control.

Hannah’s answer to gain control over this one keyword was segmentation. They discovered the click-through rate (CTR) had been significantly different amongst age groups. She took steps to split this campaign into different ad groups targeting each age group precisely. They were:

·        Split your core term out at ad group level by Google defined age groups

·        Target each group by the specified age

·        Remember to exclude all other ages in the ad group

·        You will need an ad group for age unknown

CPC at ad group level: they started to test lowering each max. CPC to find the threshold of position 1.0 for each different age group.

Ad copy: they tested different ad copy for different ages. For younger ages, it highlighted cheap prices and for older ages, the ad copy highlighted premium services.

The results of this segmentation were outstanding: CTR increased 11% YoY, clicks increased by 43% and CPC dropped 22%.

Another answer from Hannah was automation. They used their software to reduce the CPC of this important keyword while maintaining average position 1.0. Year-on-year performance has been efficient: revenue increased 60%, cost of sales decreased 29% with saving a cost of £320k+.

Hannah’s next steps are to tailor customer journey by age on the landing pages, booking engine and extensions. They will move their strategy over to absolute top impression share based on Google’s metric update.

Here are my key takeaways:

·        Segmentation is a great way of gaining control, suitable for any size business. This is especially significant to your most conversion-driven campaigns/ad groups/keywords.

·        Never underestimate the power of ad copy

·        Always check you’re not overpaying for position 1.0

Don’t hang about. Use the key points we highlighted above to act now and dominate the top of the SERPs with your PPC ads.



The Author

Lia Baker

Lia Baker

Junior PPC Executive

Lia has a Master’s degree in advertising and marketing from the University of Leeds and has experience in both the UK and Chinese market. Lia loves working with data, analysing trends and results, while thinking creatively about improvements and strategies.