We double Magnetic Clay’s PPC revenue, while simultaneously bringing ad spend down.
Health and wellness marketing expertise breaks Magnetic Clay out of the “low revenues vs. high costs” conundrum, and into the higher returns that come from a well-targeted search marketing campaign.
LL Magnetic Clay is a health and wellness niche leader, with a track record for discovering innovative health products, bringing them to market early and achieving leadership through solid marketing in key LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) offline media.
Magnetic Clay asked us to assess their existing PPC campaign and evaluate whether they were getting their money’s worth in their AdWords spend and PPC management services fees.
Magnetic Clay’s natural and nutritional product lines reside in very targeted niches with applications and terminology specific to the demographics and interests of their key customers.
Unfortunately, these niche health-related terms can be easily confused, and, in the case of Magnetic Clay, misunderstandings with both their previous search marketing manager and with Google itself led to significant bleeding of funds.
After taking control of Magnetic Clay’s AdWords account, we applied our insider knowledge of the health and nutritional products industry and reviewed each keyword manually, adding negative signals when necessary to steer PPC algorithms to correct interpretation.
LL Magnetic Clay’s PPC account went through three phases before finally realizing the gains truly possible in PPC advertising:
- The Classic “Perils of Managing Your Own PPC Campaign” Phase
- The Unfortunate “Managed By An Outsider” Phase
- The “Niche Expertise” Phase
The end results were impressive. Compared to revenues under previous PPC management:
- Revenue Was 147% Higher — 2-1/2 times previous figures.
- Costs Actually Decreased by 3%.
Removing irrelevant terms showed large immediate gains, as did our negative keyword list. But small changes through ongoing optimization continue to pay off. Take, for example, the following change to ad copy:
Before: “#1 Doctor Recommended Worldwide. Original Ancient Minerals® Brand”
After: “Recommended by Dr. Mark Sircus. Original Ancient Minerals® Brand”
- Click-Through Rate Increase: 62%
- Conversion Rate Increase: 196%
- Cost Per Customer Acquired: Reduced by 72%
Just two months after taking control of LL Magnetic Clay’s Google AdWords account we realized revenues 147% higher than those under previous management, at an advertising spend per month 3% lower.
How did we do it? What can we learn from the process?
Perils of Managing Your Own PPC Campaign
LL Magnetic Clay initially set up its own PPC campaign, and like many unsuspecting Google AdWords customers, trusted that the Google search engine — known as the most accurate search engine available today — would successfully match the meaning of their keywords to the customers seeking their products.
However, Google’s search product and their advertising platform operate on wholly independent algorithms. Trusting Google AdWords to interpret your key terms without human oversight is not a good idea — and this is particularly so in health products marketing.
During these early months of PPC advertising, Magnetic Clay was paying an estimated 1/4 of their advertising budget on irrelevant clicks. The AdWords campaign for their flagship detox health product, a bentonite clay added directly to bath water to aid in drawing out toxins, was costing them hundreds of dollars for broadly-matched variants such as:
- ceramic bathroom tile
- ceramic bird baths
- terracotta shower curtains
- ceramic baby shower centerpieces
- kids bath wraps
- wall mounted bath accessories
- (and my personal favorite) clay pigeon shooting in wittshire
Though you or I can clearly see that these terms have nothing to do with a health and wellness product designed for detox, Google’s automated bot simply checks word synonyms and makes best guesses.
Google and other keyword targeting tools succeed surprisingly well in many circumstances, but where they do not do as well is in the case of new and uncommon terminology, such as that found in trending nutritional products.
Managed By An Outsider: Even Humans Grapple with the Burgeoning Wellness Industry
At this stage, LL Magnetic Clay wisely chose to involve an outside PPC manager, who in fact made great strides cleaning up many of the unfortunate automated matches crippling their ROI.
But an advanced knowledge of AdWords does not equal an insider understanding of dietary supplements, health foods, and other natural products. Though the most obvious keyword perpetrators were removed during this phase, trouble still lingered, in the form of wasted dollars and lack of oversight.
Keyword areas that related to detoxification but did not overlap with Magnetic Clay’s product line remained in the account. Rather than evaluate these for relevance, Magnetic Clay’s chosen account supervisor used client funds to test them — Magnetic Clay’s funds. My investigations later revealed that these terms were clearly irrelevant, but the use of dynamic keyword insertion had misled ad viewers to believe that Magnetic Clay sold these unrelated products. This caused unfortunate clicks, ongoing client spend, and little ROI.
And just as troubling, a new element of automation caused a new set of problems. Campaign wide ROAS, managed by software, artificially kept bids low on some of Magnetic Clay’s historically most profitable, relevant, and competitive terms. These gems, nestled in a sea of unorganized and unprioritized key sets, were not being given the attention they deserved.
PPC Management Meets Wellness Marketing Niche Expertise
When we took control of Magnetic Clay’s account we capitalized on our existing knowledge of the health and nutritional products industry to immediately reorganize the account following best practices:
- Rather than a long list of untargeted keywords, we moved related terms into tightly-knit groups, allowing us to write relevant ads to each keyword angle, emphasizing appropriate product benefits and differentiators.
- We evaluated keywords individually, removing underperformers that did not relate to Magnetic Clay’s business.
- We implemented a tiered bidding structure, bidding low on discovery terms used to find unknown keyword opportunities, and bidding higher on known performers.
- We optimized not on one simple ROAS formula but a more sophisticated perspective on Magnetic Clay’s business as a whole, taking into account historical performance data, contribution margins and breakeven points, and brand leadership objectives.
- We added a significant list of negative keywords, generated in tandem with SEO work. Negative keywords are a PPC tactic necessary to refine an account, especially in niche markets, and our list eliminated overlap with industrial terminology, chemical and academic research, and household products.
- We implemented a more active ad testing campaign, exploring variants that increased CTR and quality score while decreasing costs.
Not all accounts will suffer from the same challenges Magnetic Clay faced, but by combining these best practices with insider knowledge of the customers in your industry, you’ll stand the best chance to reap the returns associated with PPC — placing the right message in front of the people who are already looking for you.