A glimpse into how I optimize Adwords Campaigns

First Things First

Here are the high level things that I look at, many of which have been addressed in this video.

  • Spend
  • Clicks
  • Click Thru Rates
  • # of Conversions (people on website who took action, leads, calls purchases etc)
  • Cost per Conversion
  • Conversion Rate (%'age of people who took action)

First I look at the overall account then I look at specific Campaigns and Ad Groups w/in the account.

Focusing on What Really Matters

It would be foolish to spend equal time on all parts of the campaign.  For example some Ad Groups get more traffic than others.  It would be drive nuts to spend time refining ads for keywords that seldom get conversions.  Yes those conversions are still important BUT more effort is spent making sure that the 20% of the account that gets 80% of the results is properly doing it's thing.

What does this mean?

For starters what are the top ad groups & keywords that get most clicks, impressions, and conversions? These are labeled in your account, Adwords has a feature called "labels" that can be used for this purpose.

I go in and look at the data for at least 12 months and see what the top performers are.  The top performers get labeled because they need special attention.

IF something should happen to one of these keywords, the account as a whole could start under performing.

Here's what I mean.

Impression share could drop - meaning one of the top keywords could be receiving less traffic.  Why would this happen?

Seasonal Factors - think about how a keyword like "Gift for Dad" will peak around Fathers Day and Christmas and drop off the rest of the year.  Or how "Halloween Customers" will spike in October.

Under-bidding - what if a competitor comes in and bids more than you?  Well this is something I can prevent, by watching the campaign and making sure bids are high enough to get maximum exposure on the important keywords.

Then I look at ad copy - is ad copy effective at not only generating clicks but also converting them. And how much data do I need to look at in order to make statistically sound decisions about what to change - IF there should be a change or not.

And when I look at the top performing parts of the account I'm frequently comparing how for example, a top ad group is doing so far in Jan 2015, versus what it did exactly 1 year ago.

Obvious Chops

If a keyword or ad doesn't convert or converts at an expensive cost per conversion at a 30 day or larger time frame it gets cut. With keywords I'll also look at the "search details" meaning the actual words the person typed in that triggered the ad to appear.  Sometimes there's gold in there IF a keyword gets decent clicks and impressions.  Adding too many of these keywords clutters up the campaign with low volume keywords.  I'll also look at these search details to find keywords that contribute to higher conversion costs.

Managing Adwords isn't about doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff. Quality of work trumps sheer volume and "activity."

Knowing when NOT to speak can be more powerful than saying stuff.

A guitarist can shred along ripping through scales and arpeggios but play very little actual music - like memorable phrases and melody.  Sure testing is important, BUT one must be very smart about it especially in verticals where click volume is not abundant and costs are expensive which is the case for my legal clients.

You can't make changes in a law firm campaign and only look at say 30 days worth of data.  There's likely not enough.  One keyword or ad could have underperformed in that time frame, even the ones that perform well over the course of a year or more.

Similarly a keyword or ad may do great things in 30 days but overall in the span of a larger time frame, it doesn't work.

Since we're now in 2015 and have 2014 behind us - I've already gone ahead and done things like chop keywords, and ads that did not produce good results using at least a 90 day window.

And I've gone ahead and done the same thing in the Display Network.  If you're using Google's Display Network there are ads, keywords, and 3rd party websites that promote your business - and not all of them get the same result.

I won't get into writing ad copy as that could easily be another post...

But you can continue to get good results IF you use Adwords for it's intended purpose of getting conversions at an affordable cost.  Be willing to DIFFERENTIATE your business from the competition as well as selling the sizzle and not the steak.

In short, don't use Adwords to promote features but use it to connect with people emotionally.  People buy emotionally and back it up w/ logic.

This is sort of one size fit's all advice, I don't take this blanket approach with all my clients because each have somewhat unique goals.

That's all for now.

Eric

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