Having a successful AdWords campaign is all about managing your ROI. This means maximizing your exposure for relevant search queries and minimizing your exposure for poor quality searches that result in unwanted clicks.
I often review AdWords accounts where a lot of the ad spend has been consumed by relatively poor quality clicks. In most cases, it’s due to what I call The broad match effect. This is where Google displays your ad for synonyms of a broad-matched keyword that you never anticipated and would not have allowed if you knew you had paid for it.
Maximizing your exposure means choosing the right keywords and keyword matching options. Minimizing your exposure to poor quality search queries is also accomplished by carefully selecting keywords and keyword matching options, but also complementing them with an extensive list of negative keywords. This activity is what separates the novice from the professional AdWords campaign manager. To explain the details of how this is done, would be to explain how Google’s algorithm works. This has taken me several years to learn and it’s always changing. Google’s algorithm is their secret sauce and they are never going to tell us exactly how it works.
Poor quality search queries must be blocked from triggering your ad and causing an impression. Having too many impressions and not enough clicks, creates a low Click-Through-Rate (CTR). Low CTR creates low Quality Scores and low quality scores result in higher Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and lower Impression Share. When your existing campaign has a history of low impression share, it means that your ad isn’t displaying for some of your best prospects. Low impression share results from having a daily budget that is too low or ads appearing too low in the ranking.
It is possible to filter most of the obvious poor quality traffic by analyzing account history, assuming there is enough history, and by using various keyword tools. However, when that layer of poor traffic is peeled away, it only exposes another layer of offenders, hence my selecting the title “Peeling the onion”.
This situation exists when:
- There are only one or two words that form the core phrase of keywords that describe your product or service.
- There are a very large number of complementary words that significantly reduce the quality of the visitor / click.
My first pass at identifying and implementing negative keywords will be done early in the process of me understanding your business. Therefore, it will probably take several “peels of the onion” to ultimately optimize your account. My ability to maximize your ROI is proportional to:
- The time I have to work on your account (the research and fine-tuning process) and
- the level of cooperation I get from you, the business owner or manager.
It’s important to understand that this is an iterative process and no one ever gets it exactly right the first time. It simply underscores the importance of what I call fine-tuning a new campaign or ad group once it has been launched.
Conversion tracking allows us to tie a search term and keyword to your desired action, such as filling out a contact form. However, if your most desired action is a phone call, this presents another challenge. See my article titled Telephone conversions.
By using custom reports in Google Analytics, we can determine how well a keyword and search query are performing based on things such as; bounce rate, number of pages visited and average time spent per page. After analyzing this data, we can make further adjustments to keywords, matching options ad copy and bid prices.
Here is another important aspect of maximizing ROI. Some of your keywords need to be in the top positions, while others should be further down the ranking, depending on how valuable the query is to your business. In order to do this properly, I will need to have a good understanding of your market, your competition, your business and your products and/or services.
One last thing I want to point out. A search term that you paid $1 for with a broad match keyword, may cost you $5-10 when you specifically target that term with a more restrictive keyword matching option. That’s the downside. The upside is, your ad will now display for that term a lot more often (Impression Share), and you will have more control over where your ad appears on the page (ad rank). Once you have control of the term, you can create ad copy and landing pages that are much more relevant, which will increase your conversion rate. A higher Conversion Rate and a lower Cost-Per-Conversion is the key to maximizing your ROI in Google AdWords.