When set up correctly, AdWords can bring you a steady stream of leads to fuel your business. However, if you don’t take the time to learn how to make it work first, you will likely find yourself throwing money down the drain.
Whether you are a consultant that manages accounts for clients, or you are handling the PPC for your own businesses, you need to set the right goals from the beginning.
The first step is to make sure you ask the right question at the start- What are you trying to achieve? When you ask this question you are really trying to get to the bottom of the most important goal behind it all.
It is important to refine it down to the number one goal because you will often have conflicting goals that do nothing for you. So once you have a list of things that you or the client is trying to achieve, go through the list and work out which one is the most important.
Often, people will want to grow revenue and care very little about brand awareness. In this instance, a good strategy is to focus on keywords that are high volume, and ensure that you are consistently trying out new opportunities and quickly dropping them out if they don’t provide a return quick enough.
The second step is to work out how much room you have to manoeuvre, if you or your client wants to grow revenue by 20% but don’t have the correct budget to handle it, you are going to encounter issues further down the road.
Make sure you provide estimates for how much needs to go in, in order to meet the goals set at the beginning.
Thirdly, you need to decide if you are going to use analytics or AdWords to analyse the data, and make sure you have taken into account any seasonal jumps that might skew data.
During the Christmas period, the sales of toys naturally go up and that 60% increase to sales might not have anything to do with AdWords. Make sure things like this are accounted for at the beginning.
You also need to set a timeframe for how long the goal needs to be achieved by. If you have 12 months, your approach to AdWords will be entirely different to a timeframe of 3 months.
Finally, make sure that you review the goals every single week. If you are not constantly checking to see how far you have come, you will become unfocused and the goal will be less likely achieved.
Often, it’s the things that we say that we don’t have time to do that could provide the biggest benefit to our business. This is especially true in Google AdWords.
There is so many different variables that we could be split-testing, but we never seem to find the time to do it.
If we committed ourselves to testing these out, and actively checking the results on a weekly basis, you would surprise yourself at how much more money you could make from your ads.
Today, we are going to be exploring a few different things that you should definitely be split testing in AdWords to see which performs better. In doing so, you can potentially cut costs and increase conversion rates.
Title Case Or Sentence Case
The first split test that I advise you undertake involves something that appears seemingly small.
Sentence case is where the first word is capitalized, as well as all nouns. Title case is where the first letter of every word is capitalized, with a few exceptions.
Whilst this test may seem minor at first, you would be shocked at the way that your market responds differently to the different cases, so it’s definitely worth comparing both to see which one performs better.
Putting Questions in Ad Copy
This one is much more likely to result in massive differences in data in each different marketplace.
Using questions in copy is nothing new, but every market responds differently and you need to see whether yours respond well to questions or not.
Dynamic Keyword Insertion
When you use dynamic keyword insertion (often abbreviated to DKI), Adwords will automatically use the keyword targeted in the ad, as the ad copy.
It makes it much easier to create tons of ad groups without worrying about them not seeming relevant when they go live.
The target keyword will appear bolded, re affirming to users that your ad is what they are looking for.
It’s worth testing out both dynamic keyword insertion and normal ad copy to see which performs better, as you will be surprised at the differences.
Unless your web address is particularly long, there is a great deal of room after the URL to make your ad stand out from the crowd.
Normally, it makes sense to use a keyword after the dash to make your ads seem more targeted to what they searched. But, it can be worth trying different things out as well.
Price Range/Starting From
If you are using prices in your ads, then this is definitely a big one for you. There are two ways to display pricing, you could use a price range, or starting from.
Here’s examples of each:
Price Range – “Anywhere from £10 to £30”
Starting From – “Starting from £10”
Try both out, and see which one performs better.
With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s time to start looking at your ads and changing a few things.
People will often be searching in Google with Christmas in the back of their mind, and if you can do a good job at integrating a bit of Christmas spirit into your copy and landing pages, you will get much better results.
Lets take a quick look at some of the things that you can do to take advantage this Christmas.
Site links are a great way of directing visitors to a more specific page on your site. During the Christmas period, you can utilize sitelinks to send visitors to any Christmas offers that you might be running.
Last Year’s Data
If you have any data from last year’s Christmas, then you should definitely be taking advantage of that. People send to click on completely different things during Christmas, so it’s important that you know what people are clicking on in your market.
If you have any ads that performed particularly well last year, then now is the time to use that data to get even better results this year.
Compelling Call To Action
Having a compelling call to action is always important, you want to make sure you are enticing visitors to click and simultaneously encouraging them to convert once they are there.
During the holidays, you can use some Christmas related copy in the call to action to give them that little extra reason to click.
Switch Up Your Landing Pages
There is so much you can do with your landing pages to give it that bit of chrismas cheer, and it does a great deal towards boosting your conversion figures.
If you can get some attractive Christmas graphics designed to go on your pages, your visitors will be more likely to convert during the holidays.
Too often, business owners will dip their toes in the virtual waters of AdWords, only to be crushed, disappointed, out of pocket – and never to return again.
The thing is, if you don’t know what you are doing, you won’t ever have success.
You have too many competitors, and AdWords is a big complicated system that takes time to master- and is unforgiving to the newcomers.
But when you do figure it out and set things up correctly, it can be extremely lucrative. (Like a magic machine where you put a 1$ in and get $3 back)
Now I’m not saying that AdWords will work for every business- because it’s just not true.
But I am saying that it will work for most businesses, and there are two important mistakes that I want to discuss today.
These mistakes are the most common reasons why people give up on AdWords when it could have worked for them.
Not Differentiating From The Competition
On any query you are normally going to be competing with 10 other advertisers.
What have you done to make yourself stand out from everybody else?
The good news is that since everybody has hundreds (if not thousands) of keywords in their accounts, not many have spent the time to make their keyword and ad combinations stand out.
This means that you will normally find 10 ridiculously similar ads for every query.
Now, if you put the extra effort in to make your ad resonate more with users, you get the jump on the competition.
As a result, not only will you be getting more visitors to your site, but you will receive cheaper clicks as well. (The ads with the most clicks will be rewarded with a higher quality score-which means cheaper clicks.)
So to summarise:
Stand out from the competition by writing better ads > get more clicks > get cheaper clicks = Able to get more visitors & test more ads.
Targeting The Wrong Traffic
You might think it’s great that visitors are flooding through to your site from your ads, but is it the right traffic?
If I was selling red bikes, I could spend my entire budget on people searching for ‘bikes’ when I could make a killing if I just targeted people searching for ‘red bikes’.
Of course, it’s more complicated that that, but do you get the point I am trying to make?
Targeting the wrong type of traffic can be devastating, especially during the early days.
When you are first starting out, you want to begin with keywords that are laser targeted towards what you are selling. Then you can branch out and experiment further down the line once you are already turning a profit.
Also, make sure you are checking through your search query reports and countering searches that you don’t want your ads to show for using negative keywords.
And another thing – make sure you have conversion tracking set up properly. You can use the data to pause or delete keywords that are not converting enough to make it profitable.
AdWords can be a big complicated mess if you don’t know what you are doing. We train business owners and marketers to get it right the first time. Check out our free webinar here to learn more about AdWords.
Google has recently announced that they will be making a change to the ad copy across mobile ads in an attempt to improve performance.
The change is set to start on October 15th, and Google say that the second line of ad copy on mobile ads may or may not show- depending on how well the Google’s algorithms expect it to perform.
In cases where the second line of ad copy is removed, ad extensions will take its place. Google say that ad extensions will take it’s place, to give consumers easier access to different information about businesses.
The extensions will likely show information about specific locations of the business, as well as unique product offerings.
More info from the product manager at Google…
“By eliminating the second line of ad text, we give businesses another point of engagement with customers in their ads – in this case, it’s the additional location extension,” writes Senthil Hariramasamy, product manager at AdWords, in a blog post. “With just a single click on their smartphones, consumers can now directly engage with Flowers Forever in three ways: they can visit the mobile website, place an order, or get directions to visit the store.”
Google suggest that AdWords advertisers will see better performance on their ads because their products and services will be highlighted to consumers.
For people that are using AdWords, make sure you go through and ensure that the most important information in your ads is in the first 35 characters of ad text. (the top line).
That way, you can be sure that your ads wil have all of the information your prospects need when the change goes live.
It doesn’t matter how long you have been doing PPC. It doesn’t even matter if you become an expert capable of squeezing every last bit of profit out of any account…
…If you are launching a new campaign, you need a checklist to follow. There is simply too much that goes into a new launch to be able to keep a track of without some kind of guideline.
In this post we are going to be looking at the key areas of any new campaign and providing some basic guidelines that need to be considered for each area.
Let’s get into it…
• Double-check the campaign settings. E.G- Make sure you are targeting the right location and check ad scheduling to ensure the campaign will be live at the right time.
• Make sure your campaign is set to the right network. (Including the display network is a common mistake that people make)
• Check the daily budget. It would be painful to accidentally spend 10x what you wanted to by mistake on the first day.
• Watch out for duplicate keywords.
• Ensure that keywords are in the right ad groups.
• Make sure you are using the right match types.
• Don’t put too many keywords in the same ad group (It will kill relevance, which causes lower quality score and more expensive clicks.)
• Check the negative keyword list.
• Ensure that the headline of each ad matches the keyword in the ad group.
• Make sure you have mobile specific ads if it makes sense to use them.
• Always test 2 different ads against each other in each ad group. Check to confirm.
• Use a relevant keyword in each ad’s display URL if possible.
• Double-check that correct keywords and ads are in each ad group.
• Check the ad group default bid.
• Confirm you are happy with the naming of each ad group.
• Make sure every landing page has a powerful call to action.
• Ensure that the content matches the promise made in the ad.
• Make sure that keywords used in the ad are also used on the copy of the page.
• Check navigation and page load time.
• Make sure you have used every extension where it makes sense to do so. Every single one can be a benefit if used correctly and makes sense with your business. (sitelink, call extension, location, seller ratings etc)
• Make sure you have included a goal within your analytics which is tied to the ad. This, as well as adding the adwords conversion code to the thank you page is needed to track conversions.
• Make sure you have used the right tracking parameters to the destination URLs of the ads where required.
That’s everything covered. With so much to do with a new launch, it can be hard to keep track of everything. With this checklist, you will be able to set your new campaign live without having to worry about what you might have missed.
At some point in late September, there is going to be a massive change to close variant matching in AdWords; a change that will see everybody using it.
Previously, you had the option of turning it off (it is estimated that 3 percent of advertisers did so), but after September, there will be no option to turn it off.
Close variant matching was first introduced in 2012, and gave advertisers the ability to have their ads automatically matched to plurals, misspellings and close variants of their original keyword.
The vast majority of advertisers have close variant matching enabled across their keywords. (It’s the default setting) But the minority of people that don’t will be forced to use it too.
It’s easy to see why so many advertisers choose to use it; the old way of doing things took much longer….
…Including every possible keyword variation across multiple match types meant that we had ten times the number of keywords in ad groups.
…When it came to optimising our accounts further down the line, we had so many different keywords that things got incredibly confusing.
With close variant matching, we are able to minimize the number of keywords in our accounts, allowing us to expand our reach to long tail keywords that would previously be tagged as having low search volume, and would not show as a result.
There may be cases where advertisers would want more control over every individual keyword. For example the plural of a keyword might convert at a cost effective conversion rate whilst the original is leaking cash.
But these cases are the minority, and we will still be able to simply add an exact match negative keyword to the relevant ad group in order to ensure that certain keywords never show.
Overall, close variant matching is a massive time saver, and having the option to turn it off is not a big deal. Those that chose to turn it off will have to adjust to the change.
The change likely came about because Google is constantly searching for ways to increase revenues. With more advertisers having their ads showed to close variants, it will mean more clicks and more money for Google.
We rarely take a close look at the structure of the site when it comes to PPC, like we do with SEO. Despite this, it is just as important.
We are going to be looking at the 3 areas of your site that need to be structured correctly in order to get the biggest return out of your PPC.
If you have not setup your URL structure correctly, it can have a negative effect upon your remarketing.
Ideally, your URLs need to follow a cascading format. That way, you can easily add lists of URLs to be remarketed to, and correctly target a whole section of your site accurately.
Without proper structure, the process of tagging different URLs to be used in remarketing takes much, much longer.
Unique Thank You Pages
Similarly to the URL structure, there is an ideal way to structure thank you pages. Remember that the conversion code is placed on the thank you pages, and goals are registered in analytics using it.
Sometimes, the form will resort back to not having a unique URL, which is obviously going to cause problems when it comes to tracking your data.
So it is important to set up unique thank you pages in the correct form for the beginning.
You are able to target certain pages with your ads based on the page titles. For example, you may wish to send ads to very page whose title includes the word “holidays in spain”.
Having well written page titles will allow you to effectively target certain aspects of your site efficiently, allowing you to make the most from your efforts.
With PPC, there is so much work to do. So, being smart about the way you work and setting up your site for success for the beginning will save you a lot of time in the longrun; allowing you to focus your time on things that will have a positive effect upon your ROI.
There is a great deal of information inside Google analytics that can be used to help with your AdWords efforts.
Today we are going to be taking a look at 3 different reports inside analytics that can be used to get a better return from AdWords.
The devices report can be found by going to audiences > mobile > overview.
It will help you see the different devices people are using whenever they visit your website. (tablet, desktop, mobile)
You can use this information to give you an insight into your different visitors, allowing you to make structural changes to both your site and your adwords account to get better results.
The overall report itself shows various potential improvements. You can take a look at paid search traffic by clicking on “choose a segment”. From there, simply select paid traffic. You can also use this to make bid or ad adjustments for ad copy and devices.
The location report can be found by going to Audiences > Geo > Location.
It provides you with essential information about the difference locations that visitors are converting from.
You can see all of the visitors by country, and then clicking on each country will allow you to delve into further details like city or state.
Work out which areas are converting the best for you and make an effort to focus on those areas and ignore ones that aren’t performing as well.
You can even simply add a bid adjustment to increase top locations by 10%.
The landing pages report can be found by going to Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages.
You can acquire ideas for expansion with these reports by taking a look at the top visited pages on your site.
It’s also important to recognise that certain pages may have a very high bounce rate. (over 70 percent is worrying.) Note that these pages should not be sued as landing pages for AdWords, since the high bounce rate means visitors aren’t engaging well with that page.
Take note of the pages that have extremely low bounce rates and aim to use them as your AdWords landing pages. You will keep more visitors on your site, meaning better quality score, cheaper clicks, more sales etc.
That’s it folks. I hope you get some use out of these analytics reports!
We can all agree that the higher your click through rate is, the better. But with so many different factors determining CTR, it’s impossible to simply judge CTR without first taking those factors into account.
Before working out whether or not your CTR is good, lets take a little look at some of these factors…
Arguably one of the biggest factors, the relevance across your account will massively determine the strength of your CTR.
Ad copy needs to be relevant to keywords; keywords need to be relevant to the landing page.
This is the first place you should look before determining whether or not your CTR is as good as it could be.
You also need to take into account the fact that CTR differs from each device. Generally, mobile CTR is going to be much higher than desktop and tablet because the paid ads take up most of the screen.
Even if you do a great job with your account, you will sometimes find that your ad rank is causing your ads to appear far below the fold
This could be because the account is new, or you have made mistakes with it in the past.
Either way, this is going to cause your ads to show in a bad position, and your CTR will suffer as a result.
Certain terms are going to have tougher competition than others. For example, the payday loan market is huge, and extremely skilled adwords managers handle these accounts.
You are going to struggle to maintain a high CTR when you are competing in tougher markets.
If you don’t have enough data, your CTR is not going to be accurate. If you have 10 impressions on an ad and receive 10 clicks, that 100% CTR is going to be impossible to maintain.
Make sure you have enough data on your ads before jumping to any conclusions.
In the same way that mobile almost always has a higher CTR in comparison to other devices, search network text and google shopping campaigns will normally have higher click through rates than display.
With so many different factors affecting CTR, the true answer to the title of this post is really hard to answer.
There is no definitive percentage that marks a good CTR. Instead, consistently focus on these factors, and aim to increase your CTR wherever you can.
Over time, you are almost always going to find that the CPC on your keywords is going to go up, not down….
Bids get increased to keep up with the competition, the competitors increase theirs to overtake you, and new competitors enter the market…
A rise to your CPC is pretty much inevitable, right?
But instead of accepting the rise in costs, take a step back and make some a change to the way that you approach CPC rises, with these concepts:
Focus On Quality Score- Take it back to the basics and focus on increasing your quality score. This might mean putting certain keywords on pause, and spending time on ad improvements. Either way, make sure you maintain a high quality score throughout the account.
Search Through Your Search Query Reports- You may find that your most expensive keywords are actually being clicked on for irrelevant searches, and you need to counter them with negative keywords. You might also find certain keywords that are relevant, but are just costing too much to remain profitable in the account.
Go After The Long Tail- Take the time to do some thorough keyword research to uncover keywords that have less competition, and cheaper CPCs as a result. You might be able to get the jump on the competition and find some low-hanging fruits amongst the long tail.
Is Your Ad Position Really Helping You?- Often, you find that less experienced AdWords users are too focused on achieving a high ad position. Don’t fall into the same trap. It might actually be profitable for a certain keyword to remain in position 3, and unprofitable if it rises to position 1. Make sure you analyse your account to find the ad position that provides you with maximum conversions at the cheapest CPC.
New Traffic Sources- There will be scenarios where it is simply impossible for you to get CPCs down. More and more people are jumping onto AdWords every day. Instead, explore other sources of traffic like social, display or organic.
Adwords can be pretty complicated at the best of times. You have different metrics like quality score and click through rate to track. You have to make sure that you watch your account closely for any keywords that are draining your cash…
It’s tough right? And easy to make mistakes…
…Which is why today we are going to be taking a look at some of the most common mistakes that people make in their Adwords accounts.
Let’s get started!
Too Many Keywords In Each Ad Group
There is a metric called quality score in Adwords. Quality score is a score out of ten and it is given to each and every individual keyword.
The higher your quality score, the less you pay for clicks. The lower your quality score, the more you pay for clicks.
In order to get a high quality score, you need to maintain a high click through rate on your ads.
To get a high click through rate, your ad copy needs to match what the user searched for.
If you have too many keywords in each ad group, which is a mistake that most people make, it is near impossible to match the ad copy to what they searched.
So trim down the number of keywords that you put in each ad group to make the ad copy more relevant.
Setting It And Forgetting It
You need to remember that things in your AdWords account need to be tracked, and things need to be changed.
The worst thing you can do is set up some keywords to run and then not watch how they perform.
You need to closely watch the account, keywords may need to be paused, bids need to be adjusted, negative keywords need to be added and more.
Problems With Tracking Code
Google make it sound really easy to install tracking code properly, but it’s actually pretty technical. If you get it slightly wrong, your data is going to be completely skewed.
It is essential that you follow the instructions closely when setting up the tracking code. And if you are handling the AdWords for someone else and need them to install it, make sure you give clear instructions for getting it done.
No Conversion Tracking
Even worse than installing conversion tracking the wrong way is not even trying to get it there in the first place!
Without conversion tracking, you are optimising completely in the dark, and you will never get optimal results that way.
This is normally seen in AdWords accounts owned by old school business owners- they are too accustomed to traditional forms of advertising and don’t understand the power of tracking results.
Always use conversion tracking. You will make less money if you don’t.
Whenever you take on a new AdWords account, there are 12 steps that will help you be more productive and help your accounts perform better.
This list is more aimed at the PPC account manager- so if you are taking on PPC clients right now, this will help. However, there is still a ton to be gained for the business owners that are managing their own account.
Let’s get into this.
1) Set Clear Objectives
Having a set goal is a critical step because it allows us to implement strategies that align perfectly with the objectives of the company.
If the goal is to raise brand awareness, your approach with the entire account will be different to a goal of selling more products.
2) Work On Tasks That Give The Most Benefit
Due to the very nature of AdWords, there is so much to do. You can sometimes find yourself working on a task that is of less importance.
Create a list of everything that needs to be done, and make a prediction of how much benefit each task will bring when completed.
From there, you can focus on the tasks that will give the biggest return for your efforts.
3) Routinely Audit Your Account
You may often find yourself so involved in the nitty gritty details of an account that you fail to see the bigger picture.
That’s why it’s important to routinely take a step back and look at the overall performance of the account. Make an effort to identify areas of potential growth.
4) Automation Is Your Ally
It is hard to effectively manage AdWords accounts without some form of automation.
When used properly, automated tools, alerts and scripts can help you manage your account without you being there. Bids can be adjusted automatically and problems are spotted as they arise.
5) Track & Analyse Every Aspect Of The Account
There is so much data to analyse inside your account, yet I bet you are not paying close attention to as much of it as you should.
We need to know and understand everything that is going on if we want to achieve the goals that we laid out at the beginning.
The paid search platforms provide us with unique insights into the behavior of users, it is essential that we analyse and track that data if we wish to succeed.
That’s all of them. We will be covering some more concepts in another blog post this Friday, so make sure you take a look.
Adwords can be pretty overwhelming, especially for newcomers. There are different metrics to track, improvements to make, and constant learning to be made.
We are going to be looking at 5 different mistakes that marketers make when using Google AdWords.
This might seem like an obvious one, but you will be surprised how often the wrong destination URL can cause a problem.
Make sure you double-check them before putting anything live, especially if you are adding tracking to your URLs- these often cause problems!
Dynamic Keyword Insertion
If you are using dynamic keyword insertion, you need to be especially careful. A simple mistake can make your ad look completely ridiculous.
Make sure you take a moment to think about what your ad is going to look like with the dynamic keyword insertion in place. Otherwise, your ad is going to look funny, nobody will click it, and this will have a negative effect on quality score causing bid prices to raise.
If you are using search query reports often to come up with new keyword ideas and to add negative keywords (which you should), then you need to watch out.
You may accidentally add duplicate keywords to your account, and whilst this might not sound like it could cause much harm- it can.
The keywords will be competing with each other, which again will lower quality score and raise your bid prices up.
If you are adding new keywords from a search term report, there is actually a column, which should tell you if you have already added certain keywords to the account. Pay attention to this column.
It’s really important that you split-test your ads against each other, in order to keep improving upon the ads for better results.
When doing so, make sure you select the following ad rotation setting: “rotate indefinitely: show lower performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads, and do not optimize.
This setting will make sure that your ads show evenly, regardless of how well that they perform.
This is essential to ensure that your split-test is fair, allowing you to analyse the data effectively and properly decide which ad did better.
Forgetting Negative Keywords
The final mistake I want to talk about is neglecting negative keywords. Without properly negative keywords in place, you are throwing money down the drain.
Make sure that you add negatives for keywords that are not converting, for certain themes that don’t make sense, and for irrelevant queries.
That’s all folks. If you don’t want to waste money, make sure you don’t make any of the mistakes outlined in this post!