Are you maximizing your Pay-Per-Click campaigns? Responsive, Dynamic and Call Ads bring more possibilities than ever.

Are you maximizing your Pay-Per-Click campaigns? Responsive, Dynamic and Call Ads bring more possibilities than ever.

Pay-Per-Click Ads, Google Ads (formerly Ad Words), Paid Search Ads, it all means the same thing. Not only do these types of ads have a lot of names, but they also have a lot of new options to consider.  If you are currently offering these ads to your clients, or maybe just thinking about offering these types of ads, we have advice and best practices to help them be successful, as well as some useful tools to compile what you need.

Let’s start like we always do at Vici, with our one sentence description! What are Pay-Per-Click Ads?  “Showing your text ads on the Google Search Engine Results Page when a user searches keywords related to your business, across all devices.”

Pay-Per-Click Ads continue to evolve, and we here at Vici are excited to have rolled out some brand new super cool options for these types of ads.  We are now offering Responsive Ads, Dynamic Ads, and Call Ads. We also have a new PPC specific ad template to make ad creation a breeze.

These types of ads are often also referred to as Google Ads (that is their official name, formerly AdWords) however, Google Ads also refers to display ads across websites that are part of the Google Display Network. Sometimes these ads are also referred to as Paid Search Ads, Search Engine Marketing or SEM. They all mean the same thing – and we call them PPC (Pay-Per-Click).

There are now three different types of PPC ads offered by Google, and you may choose to run one or more of these three. Here are the short definitions and then I’ll break them down further in a minute:

Responsive Ad: These are the new default option for PPC ads. With Responsive Ads, Google updates the ad text based on what will perform best, pulling from the multiple headlines and descriptions submitted. A keyword list is created and given to the client.

Dynamic Ad – Google creates the headline and landing page URL that is displayed in the ad based on content from the client’s website, and serves ads when a user searches a keyword or phrase related to the titles and phrases frequently used on the client’s site. No keyword list is given to client. Sidenote: This type of ad preformed best on our beta testing.

Call Ad – These are designed to encourage people to call your business (rather than go to your website) and appear only on devices that make phone calls. When a potential customer clicks your ad, the ad places a call to your business from their device. A keyword list is created and given to the client.

Let’s dig into each option and start with Responsive Ads. Google has phased out PPC ads that show the exact same headline and description every time, so Responsive ads are now the default type of PPC ad. Google updates the ad text based on what will perform best, pulling from the multiple headlines and descriptions submitted.  Here is what is included in a Responsive Ad:

We think these are awesome because a machine learning model determines the optimal combo of headlines and descriptions.  Google says Responsive Ads have a 5% – 15% higher CTR compared to standard search ads.  When you submit all the required info, it means Google has over 43,000 different ad permutations! You will receive a preview from us on what it looks like, but in the wild, the ad will have different combinations of headlines and text.

When running a Responsive Ad campaign, here are best practices to keep in mind:

Keep copy as short as possible. Include popular keywords from your keyword list in your headlines.

Highlight something different in each headline & description.  Use different messages for the algorithm to choose from not just close variations on the same theme.

Spend time thinking about the headline. Google prioritizes headline over the description.

To help create PPC ads, we have created a super awesome new PPC ad template for our Vici partners that will help you build your ads while helping you count the correct characters! Mind Blown! Why? Because even though you don’t have to maximize all the versions of headlines, descriptions, and call-out bullets, you absolutely should. The more you provide the more combinations the Google algorithm has to work with and optimize. Also, the more information you provide, the more real estate your ad takes up on the Google Search Engine Results page.

When you must, you can also “pin” certain headline or descriptions to always show in your Responsive Ads, but please use caution on this one. Pinning allows you to ensure that a headline or description is always shown, but it takes away flexibility for Google’s machine learning to do its thing. We recommend only using this when you have strict regulatory or compliance reasons to do so. For example, if you need to show a disclaimer in every ad, you can write the disclaimer as one of the descriptions and then “pin” it. That way, all ads that are shown to customers will include the disclaimer in the first part of the description.

Next, let’s have a closer look at Dynamic Ads. On these ads, Google creates the headline and the landing page URL that is displayed in the ad based on content from the client’s website. This is all based on what a user searches for and how it relates to keywords or phrases frequently used on the site, all without a keyword list.

Here is what they look like:

These are cool because no keyword list needed. When a user’s search is relevant to the client’s product or service, Google dynamically generates an ad with a clear headline for the most relevant page on your client’s site – no guessing as to what the most effective headline is to write. Google also determines which page of your website is the best place to land the searcher. So, for example, if I’m searching for some new hiking shoes, Google could choose the ads final URL as  HOWEVER, they would land me at  in order to land me right on that page.

In our beta tests, we averaged a 58% higher CTR than our standard PPC ads!

Keep in mind, Dynamic ads are not for everyone. They are not suitable if using only a single website page URL or promoting something that only appears on one page of the website. Also, these are not a good idea if the website changes rapidly, (like for example if daily deals are offered). In addition, these are also not ideal if the website has a lot of Flash content like images, videos, or require users to sign in to access the majority of the site’s content.

Finally, let’s take a closer look at Call Ads. These are designed to encourage people to call your business (rather than go to your website) and appear only on devices that make phone calls. When a potential customer clicks your ad, the ad places a call to your business from their device.

Here is what they include:

These ads are terrific at driving phone calls as the primary optimization (rather than website traffic) and are great if a client says that is their main goal. Unlike a regular PPC ad with a Call Extension, with this ad the phone number always appears

Keep in mind and remind your client that Google Forwarding Numbers are used as a best practice unless you tell us not to. These serve to mobile devices only and you pay when the user clicks on the ad (whether the user completes the call or not).

That breaks down the big three options, now let’s take a closer look at how PPC Ads work overall, and the strategy involved.

To run PPC ads, we bid on keywords from a client approved keyword list or keywords Google pulls from your client’s website, if we are doing Dynamic ads. Text ads are then shown and only paid for when someone clicks on it – you do not pay based on impressions as you do with all our other digital products. The text ads could be positioned in one of the top four or bottom three positions on the search engine results page.  We cannot guarantee which position the client’s ad will appear in.  That is determined by Quality Score.

PPC ads have additional Ad Extensions you can also choose from so that your ad takes up more real estate on the Google Search Engine Results Page and makes the ads more user friendly and increases your Google Quality Score. Ad Extensions look like this:

You can choose as many extensions as you would like to use on Responsive and Dynamic ads, however, only location extension is available for Call Ads. Keep in mind, Google decides what extensions (of the ones you’ve selected) to show. Adding an extension doesn’t mean it will show with your ad all the time. Google can also sometimes add automated extensions when they are predicted to improve ad performance, like adding Google reviews to your ad. (We can disable this if desired).

A few more notes on PPC ads to ponder. When the ads are served, we are not able to guarantee position. Why? Well, because Ad Rank is determined by a lot of factors like:

  • Your bid versus competitors bids.
  • Your Quality Score which is Google’s assessment of the quality of your ads and landing page. Also included is the expected Click-Through-Rate, Ad Relevance, and the Landing Page experience.
  • The context of the person’s search.
  • The expected impact from your Ad Extensions and the contents of your ad.

As for what keywords we bid on, ads will show when a target consumer searches for a word in our list (or if using dynamic, then keywords from your website) and is within the campaign’s geo, and we win the bid on that keyword.  Google recommends we buy campaigns with “phrase match” for Responsive and Call ads, which means we buy your keywords and Google creates new relevant keywords in your target geo.  For hyper targeted campaigns we can use an exact keyword list. We can also un-target negative keywords to ensure the ads are not shown when certain words are searched. For example, if you are promoting eyeglasses, you would add a negative keyword like “wine glasses” and “drinking glasses” to prevent your ad from being triggered in those searches.

You may be wondering why we are only talking about Google? Google has 90% of the desktop search traffic and 95% of the mobile search traffic.

These ads aren’t for everyone, now! There are pros and cons to PPC.

Proceed with caution when you pitch pay-per-click (PPC), because it is not cost efficient for most local small businesses and not profitable for you!  When should you present PPC?

  • It is an emergency service like an urgent care, plumbing, HVAC, DUI lawyer, taxi services, or anything you could need last minute and will be effectively sold to in a text ad.
  • If the client has great branding and awareness already established.
  • Co-op that only accepts PPC ads.  Some co-operative agreements only allow for PPC ads.  A majority of co-op allow for all types of digital ads.
  • You have clients that have large budgets and are doing top of the funnel digital marketing and want PPC to round out their campaign (automotive, legal, higher education, HVAC, etc.).

Keep in mind, if you are doing PPC (or any type of advertising really) branding and awareness is going to have to be a HUGE part of the advertising spend as well. Why? Because the single biggest predictor of whether people will click and/or purchase is whether they’ve heard of you before.  Source:  Search Engine Journal article, “Surprisingly, Brand Advertising Drives More Conversions Than You Think!”

Think about how you interact with PPC ads. For me, the majority of the PPC ads I click on, I already know what I need and who I need it from, I recognize the name and the product or service, I’m usually looking for the address or phone number, or a specific piece of information. So remember, these ads are at the bottom of the funnel, the end user

More best practices!

Tell your clients NOT to search for their PPC ads! Why?  They are hurting their campaign!  Repeatedly searching for your ad and not clicking on it hurts your Quality Score. You may get your IP address blocked.

I’m also often asked “what if someone clicks on the PPC ads over and over, am I charged each time?” The answer to that is No. Google protects PPC accounts from this.  If the system detects click fraud when the same device and IP address is clicking on an ad over and over it refunds the money to your account.

You might be thinking this all sounds super cool and I can likely buy these myself. So, before you go that route, let’s address why should you partner with an expert for a PPC campaign knowing we will charge a management fee. Are you a Google Expert? If not, I suggest you step away.  If you are not a Google expert, consider your time.  Do you have time within your scope of work to monitor a Google campaign daily or know where to even start? Do you want you want be frustrated, waste-time and research this to death?

Chances are you (and your clients) would rather pay an expert who lives in digital advertising daily and will make sure your investment is well spent. Still need convincing?  Here are some initial benefits to consider, partnering with an expert.

Time- What is your time worth to you?

PPC campaigns take TIME. Initially, research must be done to determine the BEST keywords to bid on, the correct copy to use, and then there is the set-up. Once this is complete, it is a process of monitoring your campaign, adjusting and optimizing for the best results. Our planners review competitive performance and the performance of how your campaign is doing during certain hours of the day and days of the week.


Do you have the tools in place to facilitate bid management, competitor analysis and campaign optimization? Are you familiar in analytics to make educated judgments and decisions on a PPC campaign? Our campaign planners are steeped in the programs and knowledge to manage a successful campaign that yield results and take pride in it. They have first-hand access to the constant changes and developments in the PPC landscape and make this complex process look simple by responding in a responsive manner.


PPC is more than just understanding the tools and the platforms, it also takes a knowledgeable expert to put the proper PPC scope and strategy in place. Your campaign will be executed by a team that understands the importance of business principles in a highly competitive digital environment.

Here is a full list of what to consider:

The decision is yours, but we recommend just like most forms of advertising, that you partner with the best! Your business deserves it.

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