AdWords is a complex system, and even experts have entirely different ways of managing it. The key is to managing AdWords effectively online is using the strategies, tactics, and procedures that have been proven to work. Here are some of ours:
If we’re going to discuss landing pages and ad relevance in relation to online AdWords management, we will need to touch briefly upon Quality Score.
Quality score is value between 1 and 10 that Google assigns to each keyword in a campaign. Quality score, in essence, indicates how relevant your ad copy, keywords, and destination landing page are, according to Google.
Quality score is important. Even if you are reluctant to crown quality score as the ruler of PPC campaigns,
it would be foolhardy in the extreme to dash off into the unforgiving world of pay-per-click advertising without at least taking heed of your Quality Score. For one reason, a good quality score means less headaches and a generally smoother running ad campaign. Google rewards high quality scores with lower CPC and a higher frequency of being shown, meaning that highly relevant ads often have a better return on investment than lower-rated ads.
Effective online AdWords management seeks to optimize for the maximum ROI. The optimal way to ensure a higher quality score and overall better ad performance is by optimizing your landing pages and ad copy.
First, ad copy should accurately describe your product or service, offer a benefit, and include a call to action. An accurate description of your product might not sound particularly entrancing, but it is what the vast majority of shoppers care about. If your product isn’t what a shopper is looking for, they shouldn’t click your ad. Beyond being descriptive, good ad copy should also highlight the particular benefit to the shopper. A call to action also helps spur shoppers to click, and defines a goal for the shopper once they reach your landing page. Ads should also contain strategically placed keywords in the headline and ad body. Be wary of overdoing it, however. Stuffing your ad full of keywords will make it unhelpful and ineffective at best, and annoying and unreadable at worst.
Second, landing pages should be quick-loading, accurate, and designed for your goal. Page load speed is increasingly important, even more so for the landing page of an advertisement. Ideally, your page will load in less than 4 seconds. After that 4 second mark, bounce rate skyrockets and page views drop.
Apart from speed, your landing page should be accurate. If there is an offer you are currently promoting, the details of that offer need to be exactly right on your landing page. Your landing page should also support your goals (the action that you suggested in your advertisement), with a clean design that focuses shoppers on the actions you want them to take.
Third, and most importantly, your ad copy and your landing page should be as closely related as possible. A disconnect between expectation and reality often creates disappointment, which, in the case of your advertising, is highly likely to result in a bounce, which in turn means an utterly wasted click (and however much you paid for it).
Overall, your PPC shouldn’t revolve around your Quality Score, it should be about delivering the best experience (even if that experience is clicking on an online ad) to your users. Creating focused and complimentary landing pages and ads is one way to help achieve that.
One of the enduring problems with online AdWords management is in the organization and utilization of keywords. As with all things related to Google, the best AdWords management focuses on relevance – not just in terms of quality score, but real user experience as well.
Organization of keywords and ad groups is complicated somewhat by the masses of conflicting information, some of it attributable to Google itself. One area in which many companies can improve their online AdWords management is in relation to the number of keywords they use per ad group. Google states that the most effective number of keywords per group is between 15 and 20. While this isn’t incorrect, it isn’t exactly the full truth either.
To be sure, a huge number of keywords in an ad group is almost always a poor decision. More keywords might seem like it would capture more interest, but in reality, over-grouping of keywords is almost certainly turning shoppers off. As the number of keywords in an ad group increases, it becomes less and less likely that the keywords being used will actually be actually relevant to the messaging and offer in your ad copy and landing page. Ad groups packed with only loosely related keywords are a major source of wasted advertising resources, and can mean your ads never, or rarely, benefit from message match.
Google wants searchers to be able to swiftly find the best possible result, even when it comes to ads, and message match helps that happen. Message match occurs when a search term matches with an ad and the copy within that ad is bolded automatically by Google to help it stand out. By using fewer keywords per ad group in your online AdWords management, you are significantly more likely benefit from the increased attention generated by message match.
Let’s return to discussing the right number of keywords. 15 to 20 keywords may be a much more reasonable number, particularly if your online AdWords management has been dealing with groups in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s (painful just to think about), but there’s another option as well. Single keyword ad groups, or SKAGs. Despite the somewhat off-color acronym, SKAGs can be incredibly effective. These ad groups focus on only the most relevant and effective keywords, and are optimized for almost perfect continuity between ad and landing page. With a single keyword, you can achieve a 100% message match between a keyword you are bidding on and the ad that you intend to serve them.
The tremendous amount of work that has gone into your online AdWords management could be wasted with poor bid management. The creation of ads and the optimization of landing pages could very well be the easiest part of managing AdWords. Or at least, it can seem that way when the time comes for managing bids.
Your bid is one of the elements that determines your ad ranking, or how high your result is displayed on the Google SERP, but it isn’t the only one. One of the best online AdWords management tips we can impart is the acknowledging the importance of iteration and optimization and incorporate these into your bidding procedure. Here’s how the process (in its most basic form) works:
Begin your new campaign by bidding high. Because ad rank is partially determined by your bid amount, this can help your ad get to the top (or near it) much faster.
While your bids are running high, focus on your ads copy and make them more relevant to your keywords. The intention here is to make your ad better match the search query of your (potential) shoppers, which will likely generate more interest and clicks in your advertisement.
With you ads pulling in more clicks, it is now time to optimize your landing page to be more relevant to your ads. As we discussed before, making these changes will help boost conversions. Split testing can help you determine which landing page is more effective, and that will be your winner (until the next round of optimization).
The last step in this process is to reduce your bid. You’ve jumped in ad rank and improved both quality score and user experience, now you want to be sure you aren’t wasting any money.
One caution we add when managing your bids is to not base your bidding overmuch on Quality Score. Quality score can be misleading. Sometimes specific long-tail keywords that have phenomenal conversion rates and prove enormously profitable may have an incongruously low quality score. Quality score is a guidance metric – something to be paid attention to, but not necessarily optimized for. It is not, in and of itself, a success metric, and so shouldn’t be the sole director of your bidding procedure.
If there’s one rule in PPC that we know will always be true, it’s that everything depends on the client. As great as these tips are, the best online AdWords campaigns are designed, managed, and optimized with care and attention not just to what the metrics say, but what the results are. Exceptional online AdWords management begins with understanding the fundamentals of that business. Audience, location, size, product, brand personality, and more all go into building an effective PPC campaign.