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Increase Your AdWords Conversion Rate by 126% in a Few Hours

Though I've had the data for this post for a while, I wanted to share it along with the results of the landing page contest that ran at SEOmoz. It turned out that my page was filtered, because "it got filtered out in the process."

At any rate, I want to share my experience from another project and some knowledge with you.

Earlier, I was working on optimizing Google AdWords performance to increase software download conversions. After I had tweaked the landing page, split the ad group in two and rewritten the ads, the conversions from search ads have more than doubled. So I thought I'd share the case with you.

Below you'll find a table, where the data is presented (the numbers are real, that's why the subject/client/page isn't identified). The data was gathered during two weeks (one week one group, another two groups). Below the table, you'll find details on what was changed and comments on the results.

Enjoy.

Table: AdWords conversion increase and cost reduction due to optimization.
Clicks CTR Conversion
Rate
Conversions Cost per
Conversion
Average CPC Cost
Content 1567 0.14% 8.58% 129 $0.48 $0.04 $51.36
Total 2589 0.23% 11.24% 291 $0.94 $0.11 $261.86
Content 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Content 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1101 3.60% 35.88% 395 $0.54 $0.20 $215.33
Content -1567
(-100%)
-0.14%
(-100%)
-8.58%
(-100%)
-129
(-100%)
-$0.48
(-100%)
-$0.04
(-100%)
-$51.36
(-100%)
Total -1488
(-57.47%)
+3.37%
(+1465.22%)
+24.64%
(+219.21%)
+104
(+35.74%)
-$0.40
(-42.55%)
+$0.09
(+81.81%)
-$46.53
(-17.77%)
Clicks CTR Conversion
Rate
Conversions Cost per
Conversion
Av. CPC Cost

(the increase percentage did not include the initial 100%. Thus, +20 from 100 is +20%, not +120%)

Details

Before

  • the "Before" data is taken from the week before the test was started
  • the conversion was a software download
  • the initial landing page has a 3 field form
  • the page listed features, along with a thumbnail of a screenshot, system requirements, etc (no benefits, though)

After

  • the "After" data is taken after a month has passed, during which the tweaks were done to the AdWords campaign
  • the landing page listed the the benefits the owner of the software would get
  • beneath them, shown were the ways how the software can help the owner and his customers to get the benefits
  • to download, the visitor would need to click on a Verdana 14pt blue underlined link (did you hover over or click it? it isn't a live link)
  • after the link, file size was shown (11Mb)
  • becides the header, the above described contents and the footer, the page didn't have any other elements (a more obvious click path)
  • during the test, content network was disabled, because it yielded absolutely no sales
  • in the AdWords campaign, an ad group was split in two to focus on two distinct kinds of visitors and keyword groups
  • along with the landing page, the ads were changed to reflect the benefits and the relevant keywords

Commentary

  • search clicks have increased due to a slight increase in CTR, most likely, since the search audience was the same
  • removal of content network resulted in:
    • less clicks (sales only went from search clicks, though)
    • relatively low total conversion increase, due to downloads from content network before the test
    • drastic total increase in CTR, since people don't click on content network ads a lot
    • increase of total CPC even though search PPC dropped by 5%
    • a total decrease in cost by 17.77% even though search costs upped by 2.3%
  • conversions still increased by 35.74% during removing content network, which means how powerful were the search clicks (+162.35% extra conversions from search)
  • overall, the pattern is this:
    • search clicks remained the same
    • conversion rate more than doubled
    • optimized search beat old search and content performance
    • cost per conversion was reduced almost by half (-50.77% in search)
    • search CPC even got lower, reinforced by increased CTR and conversions rate
    • even though search cost has slightly increased (2.3%), total costs went down by 17.77%

So, to me, this means that the generally known tips to increase conversions and reduce costs work:

  • make it easy to convert is the best way to increase conversions (who knew?)
  • focus ad groups, keywords and ad groups around very specific subjects/keyphrases
  • us keywords in ads, too, along with call to action
  • explain the benefits of the conversion (a page with plain added info was tested and didn't perform as well as a page w/o it)
  • test, test and test some more to increase maximum conversions

Read more about increasing AdWords conversions and reducing costs.

However, here's the thing.

The amount of attempted orders stayed the same or even dropped by a small margin (less than 10%).

This means that just tweaking the landing page and the ads won't help you sell if the intermediate conversion isn't a sale, but it will help people to go the conversion path.

To sell, you need to have all the information a customer might need on the website and an easy way to order the product, coupled with things that increase trust, such as customer testimonials, trust signs (there are many for various industries) and so on.

Rounding up

Increasing intermediate conversions may not help you with sales, if you don't make it easy and convenient to learn about your product and buy from you.

However, if your conversion is what you need and the visitors can get it from the page (free book download, for example), then even just landing page and ad optimization work like a charm.

Read the tips to improve AdWords conversions and costs from Search Engine Journal.

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Comments

Glad to see you back Yuri. I've been checking everyday to see when you'd be posting again.

It's amazing how much of an improvement you can get just by following the standard basic advice isn't it. I'm working on improving a small AdWords campaign at the moment where my ability to change things is limited. All I've really been able to do is divide one ad group into five more targeted groups and I was able to write new ads for each group to test against the old. Basic stuff.

So far it's too early to say anything statistically meaningful, but I am seeing CPC decrease while CTR is mostly increasing except in one of the ad groups.

Thanks for sharing the results of the study.

Yeah, I've been pretty busy on an offline project here.

And yes, it is amazing that simply following simple, basic rules can get you the results you can be proud of. Maybe no one knows the rules? :)

Hi Yuri,
I really liked your experiment and also the fact that after testing you brought down your cost per conversion by an average of 70%....brilliant!

Low cost per conversion is great, but the bigger picture is more important. If the AdWords campaign doesn't equal sales (the conversion has to be a sale or a sign up, at least), then it is useless.

In my case, the amount of software downloads didn't increase the sales, which probably means how the audience was targeted or how good is the software.

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