…or ask your agency to check
We spend a lot of time looking at AdWords campaigns some of which have been set up by AdWords agencies, and we see a lot of bad practices and poor campaign set-up.
Whether you plan to set up and run your own AdWords campaigns or whether you plan to get an agency to do it then the following list of things to ask yourself (or your agency) will be helpful.
1 Which Match Types are being used in my account?
A lot of campaigns I see are set up using broad match – this is simply wrong – all it does is get you thousands of impressions and a lot of inappropriate clicks– it’s best when setting up a new campaign to stick with “Phrase” or [Exact] match.
2 How Many Negative Keywords are in the campaign?
Not having negative keywords will cost you – big time. There are so many general negatives that should be in most campaigns (free, cheap, job, jobs, interview, discount, coupon, etc. Assuming, of course, that none of these applies to your products or services.
Then by the time you’ve added these plus a whole pile of industry terms that you don’t want to bid on then you should easily achieve over five hundred negatives minimum before your campaign goes live – a thousand would be even better.
I came across one guy who had spent £5,000 on his campaigns with only seven negative keywords in the account and (unsurprisingly) no results other than a lot of clicks for things he didn’t sell – by the way the campaign was set up by an “expert”.
3 What Geographic area is being targeted?
It’s better to start with a small area first to test the campaign. A lot of accounts simply use the Google recommended area which is the whole of the UK.
Now you may sell products and services to the whole of the UK, and possibly, further afield, but it’s a far better plan to start small – perfect the campaign then open it out to a wider geographical area.
4 What time of day and day of the week are you advertising?
If your call to action is a phone call, then its pointless bidding 24/7 if your phones are only answered between 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.
With a new campaign, Google will suggest 24/7 bidding – that, of course, is good for Google – but not necessarily good for you – the beauty of AdWords is you can be very precise about what ads you show to whom and when.
5 How often have you downloaded the Search Term Report?
The Search Term Report is an easy report to generate and is, without a doubt, the most important report AdWords generates.
This report will tell you exactly what people searching have typed into the Google search box and how much Google has charged you to have them click on your ad. Think of this as a receipt from Google for Stupidity Tax.
Make sure you look at this report every day (or make sure your agency does). The Search Term Report is also one of the best sources for negative keywords – i.e. identify those search terms where you have paid for a click for products and services that you don’t sell.
6 What are your keyword quality scores?
Quality scores (in most markets) of less than 5 indicate a lack of relevancy between the keyword, ad copy and the landing page.
Remember if your quality score is 10/10 (see last month’s article) then you get a 50% discount on the cost of your click against someone with a QS of 5. On the other hand, if you have a QS of 1/10 then you are paying five times as too much.
7 How many Ad Extensions are employed?
Ad extensions are now part of the ad rank equation (the formula which Google uses to work out which position your ad appears in the search results page). So your position on the search results page is now a function of your maximum bid, your quality score and your use of ad extensions.
Ad extensions now include – site links, call-out extensions, call extensions, location extensions and review extensions.
8 Are conversions being measured?
A classic mistake in most campaigns is placing too much emphasis on clicks and impressions and not conversions.
A saying amongst golfers is “drive for show, putt for dough”. With AdWords its “clicks and impressions are vanity, conversions are sanity”.
9 How optimised is the Landing Page?
A landing page is a page that your visitor goes to when they click on your ad. It needs to be highly relevant and optimised for the keyword and ad.
Finally, Google looks at nearly 70 things when it takes a look at your campaigns – and the two which most advertisers are unaware of are account activity – i.e. is the account actively managed?
The vast majority of accounts are set up and then left to run – Google doesn’t like that.
And also, how fresh is the website that the ads are pointing to? A website that never changes is deemed by Google to be unsatisfactory
Author: David Browne
David Browne’s Google AdWords campaigns have been described by the big cheeses at Google HQ as an “art form” – which would make David an artist. David honed his skills at the helm of the very successful Scottish Shutter Company, but having handed over the reins to his daughter and son-in-law he now runs his own digital marketing consultancy and is a co-founder of Barefoot Digital.