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Life is not so easy for online business owners in today’s marketing landscape – or not as easy as it once was, at least. Gone are the days when a few hours of quick link building would get your website ranked on the first page of Google organic rankings for practically any keyword of your choice, and gone are the days where you’d pay no more than 30 cents for an AdWords click via practically any keyword of your choosing.
There are two big reasons for the added complexity in today’s online marketing world – 1. There are many more competitors in the online channel and 2. Business owners in general are quickly coming to the realisation that online is where the majority of consumers are spending their free time in today’s world, and thus online is where the majority of marketing budgets should be allocated.
The fact that Google’s search engine results are becoming increasingly competitive makes seeing success via SEM a lot harder than it once was; CTRs (‘Click-Through-Rates’) are lower, CPCs (‘Cost-Per-Click’) are much higher, and as a result positive ROI is something unseen by a lot of new advertisers. But does this mean that it’s impossible to see success with AdWords? Absolutely not! It just means that more attention needs to be paid to the finer details of your campaign. Below are some tips on ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your AdWords budget:
1) Ensure landing pages are optimised to convert. In a day and age when each click to your site can cost a significant amount of money, it’s becoming more and more important to do your best to make sure that every one of your AdWords clicks are as likely to convert as possible – This means having a landing page that answers every possible question your potential customer would be asking inside their head when considering purchasing from you. These questions will of course vary depending on the product and/or service being sought after, but will generally be along these lines of the following:
2) Your selling points must stand out from that of your competitors. Before investing even a dollar into an AdWords campaign, you should first do some heavy research into what kind of selling points your fellow AdWords advertisers are listing on their adverts & websites. These are the people you’ll be directly competing with, and due to the fact that a lot of your AdWords visitors will be doing some comparison shopping between you and your competitors, it’s vital to ensure that your selling points at least match that of your main competition.
3) Live inside your search query reports. A report found within your account’s ‘Keyword’ tab, the search query report is a report that allows you as an advertiser to see exactly what terms and phrases people are typing into Google to see your ads. This data helps you expand both your regular keyword list & your negative keyword list, and will help you identify whether there are particular terms which are generating traffic for you but not necessarily converting into paid work for your business. Keywords such as this need to be quickly added as negative terms to ensure that they waste no more of your advertising spend.
4) Monitor segmented reports regularly. Segmented reports allow you to breakdown your traffic data into almost any way you’d want to see it – You can break the data down by device (i.e. PC/Tablet/Mobile), traffic network (Search/Search Partners/Display etc.), Hour of day & much more. To make the most of the huge amount of control AdWords gives you over who and where you display your ads, segmented reports should be analysed very regularly. For example, you may look at a segmented report by location and notice that a particular state within your target country is generating 50% of your traffic, but only 10% of your sales. This state is obviously bringing down your conversion rate, so you’d probably want to look at either excluding this particular state from seeing your ads, or at least reducing bids for this state so that you aren’t paying so much for the traffic in the future.
5) Make use of newer AdWords features to ensure that poor performing keywords are identified quickly. There is an array of new features introduced by Google over the last few years that make it very simple to identify under-performing keywords within your campaign, and then take action to reduce their activity. Features such as “Automated Rules” and more recently “Scripts” are automatic features crawl your keyword data based on a set of criteria specified by you, and then make changes to the keywords that fit within your specific criteria. For example, if your target conversion rate is 5%, you could tell the “Automated Rules” feature to run a weekly report where it will reduce CPCs for any keyword that generated a conversion rate of less than 5% throughout the previous 7 days. Find a comprehensive guide on automated rules here.
Although there are literally hundreds of ways to optimise your AdWords performance, following the above points is a great place to start in ensuring that you see success with your campaign. Please feel free to leave any questions in the comment section below!
Jeremy Decker is the SEM Manager at one of Australia’s leading Search Agencies, Click Click Media. He has worked in paid search marketing for the last 8 years, having worked on a vast variety of campaigns such as PayPal Australia, Apple Australia, Yellow Pages & much more. http://www.clickclickmedia.com.au
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