The software as a service (SaaS) field has been growing consistently for more than a decade. By the end of 2023, it’s projected to be a $195.21 billion industry.
Every year, we see a rollout of hundreds of new SaaS businesses (and innovative tools they offer). Many of those tools grow at insane rates, attracting thousands (or even millions) of users in their first few months of operation.
How do they do it?
Obviously, most SaaS businesses use a combination of marketing, advertising, and sales strategies to see those kinds of results. But one of the most promising channels is pay per click (PPC) advertising, primarily via Google.
How do you optimize a PPC campaign for a SaaS business effectively?
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Before we can begin optimizing a PPC campaign for a SaaS business, we need to know what “optimization” truly entails.
Optimizing a PPC campaign simply means making it more effective, but how do we do that?
We’ll cover some of the specific tactics that can help us achieve this goal in the sections that follow, but ultimately, we are working in service of the following goals:
Target more valuable people. First, we want our advertising campaign to target more valuable people. If you target the most general possible audience, you could conceivably reach 8 billion people, but the vast majority of those people won’t be interested in using your products. It’s typically much more effective to target a smaller number of people, if those people are perfectly suited to your product. Reducing our focus on poor targets and increasing our focus on good targets should improve our overall results tremendously.
Before we get too deep into PPC optimization tactics, we need to establish a baseline.
Take a moment to consider:
Additionally, if you’ve practiced PPC advertising for this business already, gather up your existing data and perform an overall assessment. Have you been hitting your targets? In which areas does your campaign underperform or seem weak? Are there specific metrics that need to be improved?
One of the most reliable ways to improve your PPC ad campaign results in the SaaS industry is to better understand your target customers. With better market research and customer knowledge, you can target more appropriate keywords, improve your messaging strategy, and eventually make your efforts more cost efficient.
The higher your quality score is, the better. Without getting into the mechanics of this dynamic, higher quality scores are associated with higher ad rankings and lower costs.
One of the best ways to improve your quality score is to increase your clickthrough rate (CTR) for individual ads. Incidentally, these strategies tend to also be effective for making a better impression with new leads and prospects.
Start with these tactics:
Many new PPC advertisers make the mistake of thinking that optimization is a one-way street – a clear and specifically directed path to one destination. Once you get to that destination, you can run the perfect ad over and over again and continue to see great results.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
If you want your PPC ad campaign to remain relevant, you need to consistently create new ads and rotate them in. No matter how effective your previous advertising has been, it’s going to decline in effectiveness if you keep spamming the same people with it repetitively.
Cycling in new advertisements is a way to keep your ads looking fresh, a way to reach new types of people, and a way to effectively experiment and learn about potential new tactics. Never let your PPC ad campaign sit untouched for too long.
If you want to improve your targeting further, consider using both negative keywords and audience exclusions. Both of these features are designed to reduce the likelihood of targeting irrelevant people.
When it comes to negative keywords, include any keywords that might interfere with your goal. For example, if you’re trying to advertise your paid software, you might include the word “free” as a negative keyword. After all, people searching for a free solution to their problem probably aren’t going to be willing to pay for yours.
Audience exclusions are very similar, but it might take some finesse to figure out which types of audience members are best to exclude.
In any marketing or advertising environment, it’s important to be aware of your top competitors, so that you can effectively plan for them and differentiate yourself from them. On the simplest level, this can help you craft more unique, compelling advertisements that differentiate your brand from the other SaaS companies on your level.
You can also use this information to target people more strategically. For example, you can target people in a different phase of the sales funnel. It’s common for SaaS businesses to target people at the bottom of the funnel, since they’re much more likely to make a purchase. But if most of your competitors are targeting these demographics, your costs are going to increase. While it might mean targeting less immediately valuable customers, you can save a lot of money and make your advertising more effective by targeting people at the higher levels of the sales funnel.
Some of your most valuable prospects are going to be people who are already familiar with your brand and interested in your product. That’s why it usually pays to increase your remarketing budget, even at the expense of the rest of your PPC advertising campaign.
If you want to make your remarketing ads even more effective, segment your audience and use your ad copy to persuade them specifically. This is your chance to alleviate fears, address potential concerns, and speak to previous behavior you’ve seen from these users.
As you get more experience in remarketing, you’ll be able to increase your conversion rates steadily.
Finally, make a commitment to experiment, measure your results, and keep improving. There’s no surefire formula for the perfect PPC advertisement, and even if there was, it would quickly be rendered obsolete by changing audience attitudes, new market dynamics like emerging competitors, or new targeting or exclusion options available to you.
To be successful as a SaaS PPC advertiser, you need to keep moving constantly. The more you learn, and the more you optimize, the better results you’ll see.
Are you trying to scale up your SaaS business with the help of PPC advertising?
Do you need help optimizing or improving the effectiveness of your existing PPC ad campaign?
PPC.co can help. From conception to execution, and from experiments to solidified tactics, we’ll help you form and follow the best possible PPC path for your business.