When taking over a client’s Pay Per Click Adwords or Bing accounts, we tend to see similar patterns in how they have set up their Adwords campaigns and are effectively wasting their hard-earned money.
It’s not their fault, Adwords management is not easy… especially if you are just starting out or trying to run a business at the same time. The learning curve is fairly long and you must spend time working on your campaigns, which we will discuss in a little bit.
Let’s not forget, Google and Bing are in the business of making money. Google made $ 33.3 Billion in revenue in 2012 and $32.2 Billion of that came from online ads! WOW! That’s about 97% of their total revenue. So it’s no wonder that if you follow Google’s suggested bid amounts and keyword options blindly, you’ll end up losing more than good ad positions.
Here are 5 simple steps you can take immediately that will help you improve your Adwords spend, improve your placement and save you money.
Bidding for the # 1 Position
I know… you want to be number 1. But the hard truth is that the number 1 spot is not always the best place to be. By checking your Google Analytics account, and please tell me you have Google Analytics set- up on your website, you can determine which keyword positions are performing best for you. In many cases, we see that the # 2 or # 3 positions get a better CTR (Click Thru Ratio) than the # 1 position.
As you can see from the graphic, for a specific keyword used in an ad, their best placements were the Top 2 and Side 1. By understanding these functions you can lower bids on keywords you are desperately trying to get in the number one position, and not only save money, but get better click thru ratios.
There are some additional factors to consider about ad placements, specifically conversion ratios. Which placement drives the most conversions? In other words, do you get a sale from the initial click on the ad. The Top 2 ad placement may drive the most clicks, but do they convert into a sales.
If you check your Google Analytics account (remember...I told you above that you needed analytics set up) and look at the keywords that were driving you traffic for any given period, you will likely see keywords that have nothing to do with your business.
For example, let’s say you are a wholesale distributor of novelty products. If you are bidding on the broad keyword, “wholesale distributor” you may find keywords like “wholesale distributor nfl jerseys” or “wholesale distributor of sporting goods,” that are bringing you unwanted traffic. These folks aren't interested in your novelty items. You’ll need to add those additional keywords, “nfl jerseys,” and “sporting goods” to your negative keyword list.
You don’t just want traffic, you want the right traffic. Identify if you are getting traffic from irrelevant keywords and get rid of them.
If you are a local business that has a limited geographic area that it services, then geo targeting is a must. Having your ads showing up in search results in Macon Georgia is pointless, if you are a plumbing business in Southern California.
Google Adwords allows you to show your ads around geographic areas that only apply to your business. You can break them down by State, City or Zip Code allowing you to truly target the audience that makes the most sense for your business.
You can also have your ads shown in these geographic areas at certain times of the day. This is called "Dayparting." Again, by looking at your analytics data, you can determine what time of day most people are searching for the keywords you are using. For example, you may think that most people would be searching online for you at 8am in the morning. If you check your analytics, you can quickly see that 7pm and 8pm get slightly better search results for you.
While the majority of people who are searching for your keywords are looking for you between the hours of around 10am - 6pm, you could change the times your ads are shown and avoid the 2am to 6am periods. This gives you more impressions in your optimum time slots and the potential for more clicks and visits to your website.
Spending Time Working On It
This is the # 1 reason why most Adwords campaigns fail. You first get excited about the possibility of driving traffic and leads to your website, so you set up the campaigns, do all the research on keywords, set your budget, and then sit back and let the good times roll.
You check on it from time to time and you see the CTR’s, Avg. CPC, Impressions, Quality Score and Conversion Ratios and wonder what to do next. That’s when you say to yourself, “I’ll get back to it later.” But later rarely comes, other duties take priority and before long you are spending $1,000 a month and have no clue what you’re doing anymore.
You have to spend time working on your campaigns and identifying wins and losses. If you don’t want to do it, then find someone who can. Otherwise, you’re throwing money away.
Mobile ad spending is expected to explode. According to eMarketer, mobile spend in 2012 was $4.36 Billion and is expected to rise to $35.62 Billion by 2016. At that rate it will surpass desktop ad spending!
Mobile search results are targeted around local services. They tend to convert quicker, especially if you have Calls-to-Action items like Click-to-Call buttons. Service businesses like restaurants, printers or plumbers, should take a very close look at mobile ads. Their cost per click can be a lot less than the desktop version of the ad.
Google now allows you to run mobile specific ads. Try running a few ads and compare the results. You may be pleasantly surprised.
There are many other areas of PPC management that you need to pay attention to…Landing Pages and the Quality Score of your keywords, to name a few. But, spending some time on just these five will help you drive more targeted traffic and improve the ROI of your Adwords spend.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!