PPC Agency Hacks for SaaS: How to Optimize Your AdWords Account

Many SaaS companies are hesitant to dip their toes in the AdWords pool because of the ultra-high bid prices for software keywords. In fact, because of the intense competition, popular keywords can be upwards of $100. So why bother with SaaS PPC advertising if each click is going to cost you a Benjamin? Especially if you’re a fledgling company with a tight budget.

Well, what if I told you that with just a few tips and tricks, the cost of using AdWords for your SaaS marketing could be much more reasonable? And that these same tips could help you use AdWords to build your customer base and routinely generate thousands upon thousands of dollars for your business every day? Now that probably sounds much more enticing. Read on to discover our PPC agency’s best tips for overcoming those monster CPCs and leveraging the power of AdWords for SaaS.

1. Harness the Power of the Google Display Network

Remember those ridiculously high CPC bids that we talked about earlier? Well, those are actually mostly just an issue when you’re advertising on the Search Network. AdWords also allows you to run ads on the Google Display Network (GDN), a global network of millions of websites. If you reach your target audience this way, your CPC will be much lower.

The downside to advertising on the GDN is that your conversion rates may be lower than ads that run on the Search Network. This is because many people are accustomed to ignoring ads on web pages, and so many of them won’t click or even notice your ad. However, because your ads have the potential to be shown top people on millions of websites at a much lower cost, display ads are still well-worth the investment. Take a look at the image below for an example of a GDN ad on HowStuffWorks.com.

PPC Agency Hacks for SaaS - Google Display Network

Unlike Search Network ads, which are text-based, GDN ads use image banners and videos. While your image based ads use CPM (Cost-Per-Impression) pricing, you only pay for your videos when someone chooses to watch them. For this reason, you may want to include some video ads in your campaigns as well.

2. Adjust Your Retargeting Audience

Unlike ecommerce sites, which people often visit just to window shop, most of the visitors to SaaS sites possess a genuine interest. Because of this, retargeting campaigns can be especially lucrative since they allow you to keep marketing to people who have an interest in your brand but haven’t yet converted—a very effective tactic that can help you close a large percentage of would-be sales.

In AdWords, there are actually two ways to retarget consumers. The first and simplest way is to add a tag to your site, which AdWords uses to track anyone who visits your domain. There’s nothing catastrophically wrong with this tactic expect that it may not be as accurate as you’d like. Instead, you should create a new, custom audience that includes everyone who has already visited and converted on your site.

Once you’ve done this, use that audience as an “exclusion” in your retargeting audience. Since this method ensures that your ad will only be shown to site visitors who have yet to convert, you’ll reduce wasted ad spend and prioritize your budget for new customers.

3. Similar Audiences

Finding consumers who will be interested in your product or service can be difficult—especially for startups. The lack of client data can make it seem nearly impossible to find the right consumers online. However, AdWords has a unique tool that can help you overcome this dilemma: similar audiences.

Similar audiences work by finding new consumers based on remarketing data. In other words, AdWords looks at the browsing habits of your current prospects and uses that data to target similar consumers who are likely to be interested in your product or service. Because Google is able to identify new leads automatically, it helps you expand conversion potential while eliminating much of the guesswork on your end.

PPC Agency Hacks for SaaS - Similar Audiences

One of the most unique capabilities of AdWords is competitor advertising through Gmail. This feature allows you to display your ads in the inboxes of consumers who receive emails from competing SaaS companies. Because these consumers already have an interest in services similar to yours and because you can reach the same users from the Search Network at a much lower cost, this method can be a real goldmine.

So just how exactly do you go about this? The best way is to use domain targeting. By targeting your competitors’ domains, your ads will be displayed to any user who opts to receive their emails.

Another method is to use keyword targeting. Start by opting in for emails from competing companies. Examine their email communications and identify some of the words they use most often. You can then include these words as target keywords in your campaign. However, this method is not quite 100 percent foolproof, so it’s better to stick with the first method if possible.


5. Eliminate Useless Features and Extensions

Because AdWords is an amazing platform, it offers a wide variety of features. Unfortunately, not all of these features are going to be relevant to your needs or industry. Understanding which features you should and shouldn’t use can help make your ads more effective and cost-efficient.

For example, features like shopping campaigns and real-time updates generally aren’t necessary for SaaS companies. In general, these features are used for ecommerce companies. And unless you have a very expensive SaaS product that a potential customer may want to discuss with a salesperson over the phone, you generally don’t need to include call extensions either.

6. Keep Your CPC in Perspective

While a $20 or even $50 CPC bid may seem outlandish, you have to look at it in terms of how much future revenue that keyword could help you earn. Say you charge a monthly fee of $70 for your SaaS services and you spend about $150 to acquire a customer. Don’t look at that as a loss. Instead, think of the lifetime value of that customer. If they remain a client for months or even years to come, that $150 doesn’t seem so bad.

7. Use Competitor Keywords to Find New Customers

Because you can’t really get a feel for how a software will work for your business without trying it out first, most consumers expect a trial before making a commitment. In fact, many businesses who are shopping around for a new software will test out multiple trials before coming to a final decision.

But how does this play into your AdWords strategy? Well, by targeting competitor keywords, you can intercept these buyers before they commit to another software. While competitor keywords can potentially be high in price, they’re incredibly effective and well worth the investment.

When using this strategy, you can either use brand name keywords or target by keywords related to that brand. For example, take a look at this ad from Incapsula:

PPC Agency Hacks for SaaS - brand name keywords

Both Incapsula and Cloudflare are internet security companies that offer a variety of services including DDoS protection. This particular ad for Incapsula was triggered using the keywords “Cloudflare DDoS.”

Another example:

PPC Agency Hacks for SaaS - Use Competitor Keywords

Here, Incapsula’s ad is displayed to users who are researching Cloudflare’s prices.

Final Takeaways on SaaS PPC

Now that you know how to go about your AdWords campaigns for SaaS correctly, it should seem a lot less daunting. Using the tips and strategies outlined in this post will help you reach new consumers, close more deals, and boost your company’s revenue. Just be sure to test your ads along the way so that you can make continuous improvements.

For more information about AdWords for SaaS companies and other SaaS marketing tools, contact our PPC agency today to set up a free consultation. Our team is ready to take your SaaS company to the next level.

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