Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
A virtual high five will never replace the real thing but the sales team at Quality Voice Data has been dishing them out after we doubled the performance of their 6-figure paid search budget. This is a story about how we did it and how you can too. It took us less than 8 weeks to accomplish this without any fancy machine-learning models or sophisticated approaches (at least not yet…). Over the next 12 months we’ll continue to apply more sophisticated and complex measures to continue to find ways to build on our success.
Let’s Start At The Beginning
Quality Voice & Data (QVD) are experts in the telecom space. Their founders are well known in the industry, talk at conferences and have held seats on the board of national industry associations. They successfully generate leads through a number of different channels and they’ve given mindfulCONVERSION permission to talk about one of those channels – Paid Search.
It’s well-known in the industry that acquisition costs in paid search have increased dramatically from 2022 for most industries. At the same time, QVD has a number of new incumbents entering the space creating a much more competitive digital environment. Over the last 9 months they’ve quickly found performance from their Paid Search channel to deteriorate and their $150,000+ paid search budget just wasn’t generating as many leads as it used to in 2022. The well-respected agency managing the account was aware of the issue, but nothing seemed to get performance back on track.
After a brief conversation, mindfulCONVERSION conducted an account audit, identified opportunities and ended up getting hired to come on board to help get things moving again.
What We Achieved So Far
Before getting into HOW we were able to have so much success I want to shine a light on what we were able to accomplish. The fact is, B2B Marketing is not easy. However, day by day we continue to optimize performance and in just 7 short weeks here’s what we accomplished:
1. We increased the Qualified Leads per Paid Search Dollar by a whopping 97%.🚀
2. We increased the Qualified Leads from Paid Search by 36%. 💰
3. We increased the All Leads From Paid Search by 62% 🙌
Doubling the performance of a marketing channel is a MASSIVE win for any business and QVD is no different. With all the wasted spend set aside, we can now focus our efforts on continuing to increasing spend and improving efficiencies.
The best part of all of this is the lack of complexity. It didn’t take a team of 10 marketers, data scientists, ML engineer and analysts to pull this off. It’s about doing all the foundational things right and understanding all the important nuances of Paid Search before you even start to consider rolling out your own ML-driven bidding models and sophisticated omni-channel strategies.
How We Achieved What We Did – The Short Version
It starts with building a deep understanding of our client’s business. We attended sales meetings, met with the founding team often, and we did our own research on the industry and the competition. We did light on-page SEO audits of their competitors to understand what keywords they were targeting and then relied on some incredible tools to fill in the gaps – SEMrush, Moz, ahref, and so forth.
From there we conducted a thorough audit of their account and identified all the opportunities we knew we needed to tackle to optimize performance. We wrote down a list of 15 things we knew we needed to change to improve performance. More on this later
We then cloned their existing campaigns creating a competing campaign group to measure the impact of our changes. Finally, we went to work fixing all the issues we identified in the audit to our competing campaigns. We restructured keyword groupings, built out custom landing pages, applied audience modifiers, rolled-out simple bidding algorithms, aggressively added to our negative KW lists, and many other tactics to get our new campaigns performing at a high-level. Every day we continued to apply new changes and refine the campaigns and as performance improved budgets shifted to these new campaigns. Eventually, 100% of our budgets were in our new campaign set.
8 Changes WE believe led to the greatest performance improvements:
1. Understand The Business: We spent time with the team to learn QVD’s business, sat in on sales meetings, reviewed their competitors SEO/PPC strategies doing external audits and relying on incredible industry tools (shout out to SEMrush) and used that business knowledge to identify new keyword groups to go after.
2. Create Tight Keyword Groupings: We cloned every campaign in the account and created tighter KW-Ad Groupings to enable smarter bidding, and more relevant KW-AD-LP relationships.
3. Apply Negative Keyword: We added hundreds of negative KWs on day 1 to our universal negative KW lists and continue to add new KWs every day. [Google PMs, if you’re reading this: please give Advertisers the flexibility to turn off “close variant match”. At times, it’s not helpful]
4. Audience Modifiers: We applied audience targeting strategies to more push more competitive bids in auctions with high-value targets using historical data and “common business sense” to help inform our decisions. Note: this is very different than retargeting.
5.Custom Bidding Strategies: We created competing campaign clones with our own proprietary bidding strategies to compete against’ Google’s automated bidding strategies.
6.Fixed Conversion Signals: We adjusted the “conversion signals” based on discussions with QVD pushing conversion tracking higher up the funnel – this gives us more conversion data to use letting us be more data-driven about these bidding and bid modifier decisions.
7.Ran Ad Tests: We ran A/B tests with competing responsive ads including keyword-injection, fixed headline positions, and improved URL slugs to improve CTR and relevance.
8.Custom Landing Pages: We created ad-group specific paid-search landing pages cloning existing landing pages and tweaking the language. We did this for high-value keyword-groups to improve relevance – and note we did no design changes as of yet. We then installed advanced on-page analytic tools to record sessions and understand where and when users clicked/scrolled on the landing pages. We’re now in the process of developing new paid search specific landing page templates for the client that we expect to convert better than existing landing pages. We’re leveraging GPT to produce ad-group specific landing page copy so we can do this at scale creating a custom landing page for every single ad group.
[Bonus] …And there’s a lot of little things we did to help squeeze out more performance. For example – review device-level, day of week and time of day performance and apply modifiers to optimize your account performance (hint: If you’re not sure what a good modifier to apply is, start by thinking about the “revenue per click” of each segment and adjust your bids accordingly. For example, if you generate 40% less revenue for every mobile click a good starting place is probably -40%. As you start getting more sophisticated that line of thinking changes quite dramatically).
“That’s great but I want ALL the details…”
That’s all for now. Keep an eye for future posts that go into more depth about how we do paid search @ mindfulCONVERSION. Better yet, just shoot me an email and I’m happy to chat and share more.