Google Adwords is the most commonly used paid search platform (search advertisement) and while the system is great to get a lot of clicks and conversions almost instantly, there are enough temptations and loopholes in the system that can bleed your purse dry in no time. If you have recently started advertising on Adwords and is wondering whether you have sufficient budget to run the campaign, here are five points that will definitely deliver more bang for your buck.
Lots of Keywords
The most common mistake with new advertisers. You try to load up your campaign with as many keywords as you can under the assumption, more keywords = more clicks= more sales. No, the game is not like that. When you add more keywords to your campaign, here is what happens..
- You tend to add a lot of irrelevant keywords or broad keywords
- If the keywords are irrelevant – you do not get clicks on your ads, your CTR goes down, consequently negatively impacting your quality score and making you pay more in terms of CPC, even to retain your existing ad ranks.
- If the keywords are broad – You can either face the same consequence as explained above OR you start getting a lot of clicks and pay for them, but only a very small percentage of them converts, resulting in a lower/negative ROI for your Adwords spend. At the end of the day you want to run a campaign for conversions, not just clicks.
What should you do?
Select highly targeted keywords only and club them into closely related ad groups. Have a handful of keywords in each Ad group. This would allow you to customize your ad copies to the keywords increasing your CTR and eventually improving overall campaign performance.
Do you know you can actually see what are the most profitable keywords for your competitors and how much they are paying for it ? Surprised? there are tools that can get you all that data.
Lack of Negative Keywords
Often times you don’t add negative keywords to your account and that can deplete your budget pretty fast. For example, if you are a cosmetic surgeon advertising for cosmetic surgery related keywords, you would probably like to have the words “loans”, “financing” etc in your negative list – to avoid your ads from showing up when people search for cosmetic surgery loans / cosmetic surgery financing etc – which are also pretty popular and competitive keywords ( assuming you don’t offer such loans). This is also extremely important when you are operating with products that can have multiple meanings, for e.g “Java” – it could mean the programming language, it could be the name of the Island, it could also mean coffee. Depending on what you are advertising, you will need to have an extensive list of negative keywords to stop your ads from showing up in searches when people are looking for something different.
Where to look for negative keywords
Besides common sense keywords, Google also helps you to look for negative keywords. You should look for them in your Search Query Report.
Log In to Adwords > Keywords Tab > Search Terms- All
This would show you the exact terms that people are searching for which your ad showed up. Go through the list and it should be straight forward to identify the negative keywords.
How to Add the Negative Keywords
Scroll to the bottom of the tab and click on negative keywords, you will see the box to add them.
Fight for Ranking
Another very common mistake. The typical thought is that if your ads rank higher, it is better for you. Research have shown that it is often not so. Having an ad ranking higher, could mean more clicks but not always more conversions and at the same time in your attempt to beat your competitor and rank high you start paying extremely high CPC, resulting in fewer clicks and faster depletion of your budget.
What is the best position for my ads?
Do not fret over rankings. Study your analytics and try to figure out at which ad positions you are getting the maximum conversions, also look at the cost per conversion and conversion rate by ad position. Try to identify the ad position at which you are getting the maximum conversions at least cost per conversion and then optimize your account targeting the same.
You will notice in most cases the top positions aren’t the most converting ones, the main reason being ads in top position typically attract a lot of impulse clicks, where people click on ads even without reading the ad properly or judging whether what you are offering is what the need.
If you are a beginner you are almost certainly sending all your Adwords traffic to your home page and that is definitely not the right thing to do. There are two reasons why not to do this :
- Your home page might not be the most relevant page for your advertised product / service. Taking the above example of Cosmetic surgeon’s Adwords campaign, he might be serving an ad specifically targeted for silicon implants now won’t it be better for the user to come to a page on his website that talks onlyabout Silicon implants rather than landing up on his home page which could be a more general page talking about the various types of treatment he offers and his credentials ?
- Also if you have tightly planned ad group, landing them in the home page which is more generic in nature ( compared to product/service specific pages), would typically result in lower quality score and consequently higher CPC.
What to do ?
Have properly designed landing pages that are topically relevant and has good conversion mechanism in place. Having relevant content in your landing page is useful for your user as well as helps improve your quality score, which further reduces your CPC. On the other hand it is also important to have relevant call to action and conversion mechanism ( forms, buttons, contacts etc depending on your campaign objective) in place that persuades your visitors to take the desired action. Landing page optimization is a huge chapter by itself and beyond the scope of this article, but if you are interested and you should be, you can take a look at this list of highly optimized landing pages and how they are analyzed.
The other important aspect of landing page optimization is about testing your landing pages, but I will leave that for another day.
If you do not track your conversions how would you even know which keyword is working for you and which is not ? Unless you have proper conversion tracking in place, there is no way you can measure your ROI and you might be spending most of your budget going after keywords that do not perform.
How to track conversions?
Google Adwords offers conversion tracking feature in itself. Make sure you have the Adwords conversion tracking set up.
Log into Adwords > Tools & Analysis > Conversions. Follow the instructions to set up your conversion tracking.
But that is not it.
While Adwords conversion tracking works well, you should be taking a step forward and make sure your Adwords data is integrated with your web analytics. Most standard analytics like Google Analytics or Clicky would allow you to track your Adwords visitors in detail.
This integration would give you a lot more information to work with. It will not just track your conversions (provided you have set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics) but also tell you how Adwords visitors are behaving on your site, which pages are they viewing, how much time are they spending on the site, how many of them are bouncing off – a lot of invaluable information that would help you optimize your campaigns much better and get better ROI on your ad budget.