January 3rd, 2012 No Comments

5 Ways to Stop the Waste in Your AdWords Campaigns

Paid search is increasingly becoming the preferred option for businesses that aim to generate sales and leads online. Amazon is currently AdWords’ #1 advertiser with a spend of $51 million in a single quarter! So my guess it that, although you probably don’t have as much as Amazon to spend on your AdWords campaign, you still have a relatively substantial paid search budget you expect a return on your investment from. You also probably want a more stable source of traffic from Google because organic & local search appear to be highly volatile and dependent on Google’s ever changing algorithm and its result pages.

With this in mind, effectively spending and putting every single penny to good use in your AdWords campaign is ever so important! Several businesses choose to manage their Paid Search Campaigns in-house; although this is not usually the best option for medium to large sized organisations. Proactive monitoring of campaigns are absolutely critical elements to successful campaigns. If you insist on managing your business’s AdWords account on your own and do not want to thrown money away, then follow these five tips to help you get the best out of your campaign spend and time (these tips are not only limited to AdWords but also Microsoft AdCenter – which now covers Yahoo and Bing and accounts for 20-30% of search engine traffic).

 

Tip #1: Structure Your Campaign

Google AdWords Account Hierarchy

To create an effective AdWords campaign, you need to develop a list of core keywords (the most important) related to each product line and service of your business.

List each core keyword on separate columns in a spreadsheet and then list tightly related keywords under the core keyword list.

Extensively research related & core keywords using tools like SEMRush and the AdWords keyword tool.

Then, thematically create AdGroups that are based on the core keywords (at the top of each column on your excel spreadsheet).

This process creates tightly themed AdGroups.

Structuring Your AdGroups based on keywords and your products/services ensures that you can track highly profitable keywords and can granularly manage your campaign; so that you would be able to pause and increase your keyword bids more proactively where neceesary.

Also ensure your text ads are written tightly inline with not only their associated keywords but their corresponding landing pages.

 

Tip #2: Campaign Network and Device Settings

AdWords Network Targeting Menu gives several setting options; be very careful with network settings if you are on a shoestring budget because by default, it will target: Google Search, Google Search Partners (such as Amazon, eBay, AOL, Ask.com, etc) and Google’s display network (which pretty much is any website that allows Adsense, and has content that matches the keywords in your campaign). Although Google recommends you choose the ‘All Available Websites’ option, ignore this message and always select the “Let Me Choose” option, as you stand the chance of wasting funds targeting both display and search networks in a single campaign. I would always advice you split display campaigns from search campaigns.
Options for your device setting ares: Desktop/Laptop, Mobile devices with full browsers (i.e. Smart Phones) and Tablets. There are now further ‘advanced’ options for mobile and tablet targeting. Ensure you select the appropriate devices. I would prefer to setup a ‘tablet only’ campaign for instance and then measure conversion to see if vistors from tablet computer actually convert. You can even decide to be more adventurous by targeting iPads only for instance. Whatever, your strategy, ensure that you are in full control of the devices your campaign targets.

 

Tip #3: Campaign Location and Language Settings

For local and geographic specific businesses, location and language settings are probably the most important campaign settings. Location targeting can be country based, regional or bundle based, city/town based and radius based (around a city/town or country).
A good idea would be to split create campaigns targeting separate locales and set your maximum cost per click (CPC) based on business preference or local demand. As an example, I for UK wide campaigns, I tend to split each campaign be region and find that London targeted campaigns attract the highest average CPC (probably due to the size of London and the demand it would naturally attract).

 

Tip #4: Proactively Remove Negative Keywords with Real Time Traffic Tracking

GetClicky Real Time Traffic to Fuzz One Website

Most of you reading this article probably already use Google Analytics for tracking keyword traffic from your AdWords campaigns but did you know that Analytics has a reporting time delay of between 2-24 hours? When managing an AdWords campaign, real-time analytics reporting is absolutely essential to eliminating negative keywords in real time and saving you money. I have heard of sorry cases where people managing their campaigns check check their keyword traffic only months 6 months after their AdWords campaign was launched, only to realise that close to half of their AdWords traffic was irrelevant.
I personally use and recommend that all my clients use GetClicky to track traffic on a real time basis because:

  1. It provides an additional source of keyword traffic information in addition to Google Analytics
  2. It tracks up to an IP Address session level (which Google Analytics does not do at the moment) – the benefit of this is that you are able to track click-fraud a whole lot better
  3. It works in real time i.e. the second your site gets AdWords traffic, GetClicky reports it – GetClicky actually has a feature called ‘Spy’ that gives full info on who is on your site in real time!
  4. You can set up Goals and Campaigns from within GetClicky
  5. There is also a dedicated GetClicky iPhone app (in case you are OCD)

 

Tip #5: Landing Pages

There is a direct correlation between high quality landing pages and conversions. A poorly designed website weakens your ad campaign – I have refused to manage some AdWords campaigns as a result of poor landing pages. It completely negates the investment you make with AdWords. If it will cost an arm and a foot to redesign your website, create mini sites or singular landing pages for your campaign. You can also build small mini-sites on separate themed domains to do this.

Make sure that each keyword is matched to the appropriate landing page. Creating pages that match the keywords exactly reduces your CPC.

Don’t just stop on tidying up and setting up new landing pages; A/B split test versions of your landing page  in order to determine which elements on the page can boost conversions and overall performance. You may also use it to understand the behavior of your visitors better. Read a previous post titled: Dos & Don’ts of Landing Page Design – 7 Deadly Sins of Landing Page Design.

I really hope the tips above help your manage your campaigns more efficiently.

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