The Ladder of Improvement: A Simple Technique that Can Dramatically Develop Your AdWords Plans
Have you ever felt like you are just trying random tactics, hoping that your AdWords plans get better? You may easily find articles with actionable tips that help you make optimizations, but you need to think about how you measure them.
You could be able to know what caused an expansion in conversion rates. It should not just happen by accident.
This is why we should have a systematic approach for our optimization efforts.
How a Systematic Approach Can Aid
One of the biggest advantage of using a systematic approach is the clarity that we get from our optimization efforts. We can begin to better see how even small changes, e.g. titles on our advertisements, affect our results. Our tactics & improvements then become reproducible.
Reproducibility is an idea from science that just means “an entire experiment or study (can) be duplicated, either by someone else or by the same researcher working independently”. Scientists do not hope their experiments work. They have to be able to know why they worked.
Being capable to reproduce your research means understanding all the factors that might have caused your results. One of the solutions to do this is by simply reducing the whole number of factors. Changing your advertisement title, advertisement description & the landing page at the same time will help it harder to know which of these 3 changes actually helped.
Using the Ladder of Improvement in Your AdWords palns
The Ladder of Improvement is a method that comes from the book “I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi”. In it, he accepts the “Ladder of Personal Finance” which helps people with steps, or “rungs,” to get their finances. The rungs go like these:
- Rung 1: Set up a 401(k) with your worker
- Rung 2: Pay off credit card & any other debt.
- Rung 3: Expose a Roth IRA.
- So on.
This technique gives you 2 benefits:
- It helps you prioritize where to spend your energy & money
- It helps you achieve small wins at every rung
Even if you only get through the first three rungs, you have still made significant progress towards developing your finances!
Ladder of Improvement in AdWords will look similar, so that you move through a progressive series of small steps to optimize your AdWords plans. We can begin by breaking it down into 3 core metrics:
- Click-through rate
- Landing page conversion speed
Firstly, let’s enter our current values for every metric & industry-specific averages for metrics like CTR & landing page conversion rate. WordStream has a good guide on what averages look like for different industries.
We could be working to improve any of these metrics. But some of these metrics are more necessary than others. For instance, you can increase the impressions your advertisements get but if your CTR is low, you are wasting all this traffic (lowering your Quality Score).
How do you decide what metric to concentrate then? We may compare our numbers against industry averages. If the CTR or landing page conversion speed is below industry averages, that is your first priority.
Once you know what metric to arrange, now you can try different tactics to develop it. While it can be tempting to develop all 3 metrics at once, you will have much better results if you tackle every one at a time.
How to develop Impressions Metrics
Low impressions may be a symbol that your keyword bids are too bad. You may need to change your geotargeting settings or improve advertisement quality. Get more suggestions on improving your impression share here.
How to Develop CTR
Low CTR is generally a symbol that your ads are not reading as relevant to searchers. This might be a keyword problem.
But to get great click-through rates, you have to write emotional advertisements that stand out and take advantage of every CTR-boosting features that Google makes available to you. You will find more tips here:
- Unicorn Hunting: The Secrets Behind Advertisements with 3x the Average CTR
- The 4 Emotions that Make the Best Emotional Advertisements
- 10 Dos & Don’ts for Sitelink Extensions
- Expanded Text Advertisements: 7 Best Practices
How to Develop Conversion Rate
A low conversion rate is often a symbol that your offer just is not resonating. To radically develop your conversion rates, you need an entirely different offer – something irresistible to your audiences.
You will find more tips on improving conversion rate:
- What is the Most Important CRO Metric? (Not Conversion Rate)
- 3 Ways to develop Conversions (Without a Single A/B Test)
- How to develop Conversion Rates Without Touching A Landing Page
How do you know when you might stop optimizing a specific metric? We can look at “good enough” numbers.
What is “Good Enough”?
This thinking of “good enough” metrics has been talked about by Michael Halbrook. He is a consultant for Adobe. He talks about his method in theater & “good enough” setups:
When I studied & practiced technical theater—lighting, sound and set design, which was the trade before I got into digital media & marketing and then measurement—there was a phrase in the scene: “Close enough for theater!” That mantra referred to the fact that on a 42- to 50-foot / wider stage, regardless of the design. You could often be a half inch or an inch off in construction & still be okay when everything fit together on stage.
Taking your numbers to hit industry averages is a good initial goal. Maybe you could do even better than the average. Otherwise, you have to spend too much time chasing minor improvements while you can be working on major improvements anywhere.
The Ladder of Improvement is a simple technique that you can consider using. The aim is to have something that helps you do 2 things:
- Prioritize where to spend your energy & money
- Know when your metrics are “good enough”