How to Use Ad Customizers to Decrease Cost-Per-Lead (CPL)

It’s no secret that I love ad customizers. They allow you to write dynamic ad copy that changes depending on who is searching. Even more importantly, they stand out from your competition. For example, if we know that a product takes longer to ship to Florida vs. California, we can customize the ads in each location to include the shipping time. Or, if our inventory always changes, we can customize our ads to show how many products are left. These are just a couple of examples of tactics we can utilize. Today, I want to share a unique ad customizer strategy we’ve been using and speak to the results.

PPC Bidding

We work with a property management company that represents hundreds of rental luxury properties. Our main goal is to have users sign up to schedule a tour. From the beginning of the engagement, we knew that we would have to take steps to better prequalify the users who clicked our ads. We were looking to attract people who would be willing to pay at least $2,000 a month on rent. To deter users that didn’t meet this threshold, we:

  • Implemented bargain related negative keywords such as “cheap,” “inexpensive,” and “discounted”
  • Used messaging such as “luxury” and “upscale” in our keywords and creative
  • Set increased bid adjustments for users with a higher income level

Though these tactics were a good first step, they wouldn’t deter all unqualified traffic. Thus, we needed to do something more. We wanted to include the starting prices within the ad copy. Users would see right away the starting prices of the properties. Our hypothesis was that users clicking these ads were more likely to convert if they knew the baseline price. Enter, ad customizers.

The Process

The first step was to create the business data feed, where all of our property information would live. We named the feed “Locations” and customized it to include the property name, overall starting prices, unit starting prices (i.e.: studio, 1 bedroom, etc.) and the target campaign they would be matched to. Here’s a sample of the feed.

business data feed

If the property didn’t have a specific unit type, that unit’s column would use $0 and wouldn’t be referenced in the ads.

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To cut out the middle man, we automated the feed upload. We provided Google with the source URL and credentials and requested a daily upload. In this case, daily was fine, however, you can ask Google to fetch your feed every 6 hours.

The next step was the creation of the ads. The way our account structure was laid out, every property had 3 campaigns. They were:

  • Location Keywords (i.e.: Bethesda luxury apartments, luxury Bethesda rentals)
  • Non-Location Keywords (i.e.: 1 bedroom luxury apartments, upscale studio apartments)
  • Brand (property specific keywords)

Every ad group received 2 ad customizer ads with the dynamic parameter in headline 2. Since the headlines stand out more, we wanted to be sure that the price didn’t get lost in the description. We used these 2 headlines for the location and brand campaigns.

Apartments Starting At {=Locations.Start_price}
Starting At {=Locations.Start_price}. See More

The non-location campaign utilized the unit specific messaging. For example:

Apartments Start At {=Locations.1BR_price}
Starting At {=Locations.1BR_price}. See More

This syntax told the ads to reference the “Locations” business data feed followed by the specific column. Here’s how the ads look in the interface.


Here’s an example of an ad customizer in the SERP.

woburn ad

Once the feed and ads were created, we were ready to launch.

The Results

From 4/23 – 7/30 (99 days), we ran the ad customizers in all campaigns. Before sharing the data, there are a few points that need to be kept in mind.

  • Ad customizers weren’t run in DSA and RLSA campaigns. Therefore, when comparing the data, no metrics are pulled from these campaign types.
  • All campaigns had ad rotation set to “Optimize: Prefer best performing ads”
  • Most campaigns had Enhanced CPC (eCPC) bidding running during this time period. Some campaigns were testing Target CPA and Maximize Conversions bidding.
  • Every ad group had at least 1 static ad running since ad customizers can’t be the only ads running
  • Normal optimizations (bid changes, pausing/testing new ad copy, running search query reports, etc.) were made during this time period
  • All data includes metrics from brand and non-brand campaigns, unless otherwise noted
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Let’s take a look at the data.

ad customizer data

The immediate metrics that stand out are CPL and conversion rate. CPL was $26.26 lower (a 34.8% decrease) with ad customizers while conversion rate was 29% higher. Other key findings include:

  • Ad customizers accounted for 26.82% of total conversions while only garnering 22.19% of the total clicks
  • Average CPC was $0.31 lower for ad customizers. Total ad customizer cost was 19.28% of the total cost, or about one fifth.
  • It’s not pictured in the table above, but ad customizer CTR was 7.67% compared to 7.72% on non-customizer ads. Even though we were OK loosing clicks to non-qualified users, CTR still remained relatively similar.

Now, let’s look at the conversion data for only non-brand campaigns.

non-brand conversions

The first items that jump out are the increases in CPL and decreases in conversion rate for both types of ads. We expected these fluctuations since we’re only looking at non-brand campaigns. Even with these jumps, ad customizer CPL was $27.92 lower with a conversion rate of 18.59% higher than non-customizer ads.

What Do These Results Mean?

Our hypothesis that users would be more likely to convert when seeing the price in the ad proved to be correct. We saw a significantly better CPL and conversion rate when utilizing ad customizers. Of course, there were ad groups where non-customizer ads performed better, but as a whole, the dynamic ads proved their value.

Perhaps most important is that higher quality leads were coming to the sites and scheduling tours. These converters were reminded twice, once in the ad and then on the site, that the apartments weren’t inexpensive. Hopefully, this reinforcement helped when these apartment hunters took their tours.

Moving forward, we’ll continue to setup ad customizers for every property. The improvement in conversion metrics more than makes up for the slight decline we see in CTR. These ads are resonating with users and significantly help to prequalify visitors before the click.


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