Managing AdWords Campaigns is a Hands-on Process

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 4:21 PM

Originally Published 2007-08-22 18:17:09

Despite the fact that google tries to make it easy and has packed billions of dollars worth of intelligence into the adwords platform, including dynamic pricing, dynamic ad rotation, keyword selection tools, and, of course, the one tool we all love as web entrepreneurs, analytics (which you don't need to have an adwords spend to use), the entire process is still very hands-on.

I don't really want to take the time right now to write a primer on this (been remarkably occupied of late, as you're all aware of from my posting infrequency), but here are a few quick notes on things to pay attention to when managing your adwords campaigns:

Mind Your Conversions

The single greatest feature of web marketing is the quantifiable ROI. If you aren't converting ad dollars into sales, you need to get a new job. Furthermore, if you aren't converting your ad dollars into profitable sales, you've got a lot of work to do -- either figure out how to turn a higher profit or spend less on your advertising.

Top Placement Usually Isn't Worth It

If you pay attention at all to adsense monetization on your own content sites (whether you make $20 a month from your blog or $50K a month from your free dating site), you know that there is a wide disparity between ad #1 (which is more or less the price that google recommends as your "Max CPC", incidentally) and ad #2.  Sometimes, especially on higher cost keywords, this disparity can be over 100%. So the $2 a click you need to spend to guarantee top billing on every search your potential customers perform could drop to under a buck if you let your standing drop to #2.

This begs the question, of course, of whether or not paying for the top spot is worth it at all. It probably is in some very distinct circumstances. If a client is worth thousands of dollars in revenue and your using geo-targeting to focus on specific markets, for instance.

However, if your product or service is at all commoditized and your sales are primarily online in nature (meaning you never meet your clients face-to-face, and the relationship is thus not based on your ability to schmooze), then the probability is significantly higher that your customers are going to shop around anyway. So spend your time (and the associated money) on writing compelling ads and fortifying your web presence so that those costly clicks convert. Don't double your ad spend getting to the top of the list when your customers are going to click the back button and do some comparison shopping anyway.

Use Your Thesaurus, the Nearest Five-Year-Old, and Your Generation-Y Ambassador.

Getting in the minds of your customers can be tricky. You know what you're selling, but it takes some creativity to get anywhere on that proverbial long tail. If you're part of the ipod economy, for instance, "ipod" is the obvious high-traffic keyword. And I'm sure you can get the next 50 or so variations -- anyone can come up with "apple ipod", "ipod accessories", "buy ipod", etc. But even aside from the slight variations, e.g., "after market ipod", consider the other options just for the word "buy". A quick browse at returned 20 variations within the first entry alone, including everything from "acquire" to "peddle". Should you put those into your adwords campaign? I would. I'd also dig deeper into that thesaurus and think outside the box as much as possible. I didn't see "procure" or "pick up" on that list, but I bet those two get impressions, too.

After you've satisfied the English Teacher buried deep inside you, grab your nearest kindergarten pupil and have them spell your major keywords. Sweet treats will probably help :-). This exercise will easily double your number of keywords, because as much as we all like to think we're literate, there's quite a few folks out there who would spell "purchase" with two Es.  Then there are the homonyms, like by instead of buy. While you're doing this exercise, also consider the mistypings. I bet "ipodd" generates a pretty large number of impressions in its own right, for instance.

Finally, tap a 20 year old and do the same exercise. How would you say "ipod" on facebook, to your best friend, or in a text message? This is probably not the best example, because iPod is such an icon across both culture and generations, but I'd put the shortened term "pod" in my campaign nonetheless. Don't forget the hip-hop based urban slang, either.

Monitor and Adjust

Again, the beauty of web marketing with AdWords (and its competitors) is that you can monitor your return on investment (ROI) in near real-time. Watch your spend, mind your conversions, and analyze your ROI often.

You'll also want to make use of Analytics for this, because the Traffic Sources > Keywords section. Export this list, which represents how users are already finding you, and you'll have a great starting point for your keyword list.

(Yes, I've left out landing pages and content relevance from this discussion. I'll cover that another time. It's a big topic, after all!)


On 2007-11-14 03:52:23 Free Forex Tips said:
Definitely agree that top spot isn't worth it. With a lot of keywords you can get a no.4 or 5 spot for a fraction of the cost and this is proven to be one of the best spots because search engine users will often browse the top 2 but by the time they reach the lower ad spots, they are ready to buy.

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