How To Improve Your Adwords Campaign

Whether or not your website is getting a high level of traffic through Organic SEO, Google AdWords is a quick way to further increase brand awareness, target new locations and expand your marketing reach. Setting up an effective ad campaign can be tricky and can cost you a lot if done improperly. let’s go over the basics and learn how to define your goals, build landing pages, select good keywords and more.
1. Define your goals/budget.

Get in the habit of producing SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-bound. Your campaign success should be defined in specific, measurable terms. Avoid vague goals like "increasing brand recognition", and instead focus on something concrete like "increase sales by 10% with $2,000 budget during a specific timeframe".  Don’t shy away from using keywords that aren’t searched as often as more popular keywords. More often than not if you are using a super specific keyword that also specifies a location (e.g. teeth whitening in aurora) the search frequency may be lower, but the conversion rate will be higher since those are typing in a specific keyword are farther along the sales funnel [ related blog post: Most Valuable Keywords ]

Don't get too caught up on getting quick results as keywords have varying levels of popularity and search frequency, which affects the time it takes for actionable data to accumulate. For example, with niche keywords (see Tip 3) you will want to set a longer goal time-frame.

You can gain insights on keyword projections by using the Keyword Planner Tool, which provides historical statistics, ad group ideas and more.

One of the most important steps in setting up a campaign is defining your budget. If you're new to AdWords, you may want to try running a series of brief campaigns with different budgets to find which works best for you. Make sure you spend enough that you have a significant population to draw your conclusions from and run the campaigns long enough to eliminate variables like day of the week, weather, etc.

2. Target your Landing Page

One of the most common mistakes with AdWords is linking your ad directly to your website.  No matter how cool you think your Flash homepage is, you need to make an AdWords optimized landing page to improve your Quality Score.

Your Quality Score is measured by how relevant your page is to the text ad and the specified keywords. With a high Quality Score you will be favored in keyword bidding, allowing you to spend less money per click to get more out of your budget. 

You’ll want to make a specific landing page for each ad you’re creating to ensure the content focuses exclusively on the product/service the ad is marketing.  This saves you money and saves the user from accessing pages that don’t apply to their needs.
3. Keyword Selection

A key element to your campaign is how you select your search keywords. These are the terms users will search to trigger your ad to appear. What keywords you choose will determine which type of user you'll be targeting and whether or not they'll convert. Choosing the wrong keywords or choosing overly broad keywords are easy ways to waste your money and burn through your budget.

Targeting niche terms is a good strategy as they generally have a lower cost-per-click (CPC) and are easy to address when optimizing your landing page. Think about the meaning and context of your keywords -  do they have synonyms or multiple meanings? A term like "apple deals" can appeal to both a fruit farmer and seller of Mac products. This is where Negative keywords come in – terms relative to your product or service that you don’t want to trigger your ad.
Google offers a great Keyword selection resource to help you come up with your list.  There are also tools for researching traffic, cost, and search trends of any keywords you’re considering.
4. Ad copy

Your ad copy will largely determine whether or not users will click on your ad. Write carefully and keep improving on your ad copy and testing out variations of phrasing. Write in the active voice and highlight your call to action.  Whether you want users to “Call Now!” or “Email us at”, a successful ad needs a call to action. Instead of "A variety of widgets are offered here" try "We offer a variety of widgets here" or even better "Buy from our wide range of widgets". It is important that you naturally incorporate the desired keyword into the ad copy.

Place yourself in the point of view of your customer, what are they thinking when they entered their search term? Someone searching "cheap widgets" might be more amenable to clicking an ad that shows the discount or price offered. A niche search term like "abc cellphone model" can have an ad that features more technical language with copy like "Find digitzers, screen replacements and other parts for abc cellphones". Be as specific and knowledgeable of your product or service as the user is with their search phrasing.
5. Tracking/Testing

The most important element of your ad campaign is knowing whether it worked or not.  With Google AdWords it is important that you take advantage of the tracking tools available to you. Tools like Google Analytics and Web Master Tools are great for measuring conversions and analyzing user behavior through session duration, pages per session, etc. These tools will allow you to figure out your return on investment (ROI) and ultimately decide ways to move forward. As your skills (and budget) in AdWords increase, you can incorporate more complicated tests like Ad Schedules to get the most out of your campaign. Start off by testing one thing at a time, in very minor iterations: change an adjective, plural vs singular, your CTA, one by one and allow your copy to follow the data.
These tips will give you a head start on your AdWords campaign. The Google AdWords Help Centre is also a great resource. Have questions? Contact us to learn more. Good luck!