5th April 2016 Digital 0 comments

Running a good Google Adwords campaign isn’t just about loading up some random keywords into Google and hoping for the best: it's important to optimise your ad campaign frequently. Only by really tracking your campaigns will you be able to see where to best spend your money. From ad grouping to rewriting ads and optimising for your local target audience, here are our 11 key tips.

Divide keywords up into logical campaigns and ad groups

Setting up different ad campaigns and ad groups is great because it means that you can:

  • Manage your Adwords admin a lot more effectively
  • Put a lid on costs for different aspects of your Adword marketing
  • Reduce wasted spend

Best practice: An Ad group with more than ten phrases may need to be split apart, unless those keywords are very similar. This then means that phrases that are a bit different won’t all be showing up in the same advert.

Create multiple adverts per ad group

Each ad group should have multiple different adverts (four is a good minimum) and should only contain keywords that are similar. This helps to ensure that the adverts shown are as close a match as possible to what the user is searching for, and helps to increase click-throughs and quality scores.

Having multiple adverts lets Google decide which adverts are best at delivering traffic to the site so the most effective ad copy is shown more often.

Best practice: It’s worth writing a new advert for your ad groups every month or two, to see if you can find a form of words that attracts more visitors.

Insert keywords into your ad headings

The heading of adverts should normally reflect the search keywords being targeted in that ad group – users are more likely to click through when this is the case. Try to go as close to exact match as you can.

Build custom AdWords landing pages

Adverts should ideally click through to custom landing pages designed for Adwords visitors to maximise conversions. The landing pages should have few distractions and should focus on conversions i.e. getting the user to get in touch / provide you with their details.

Word of warning: Having a lot of individual landing pages isn’t always practical, and can cost a lot of time and money.

Utilise dynamic keyword insertion

Using dynamic keyword insertion (or broad matches) allows Google to show your adverts to more searches even when they aren’t strictly relevant; Google gets to make more money, but this tends to reduce conversion rates once those users arrive at your site as they are less well qualified as visitors. A good Adwords campaign generally uses lots of exact match and phrase match keywords, like this:

[exact match]  OR  “phrase match”

Prune negative keywords

Negative keywords are important – if Google finds these in the search phrase it will not show your advert. It’s worth on a weekly basis adding in your negative keywords, based on examining the actual phrases being used by searchers that show your adverts.

If you see a phrase which you can tell is not going to deliver a potential client, you can exclude it in negative keywords. Include it in quotation marks  to prevent individual words in that phrase being treated as negative.

Optimise your ads for local

You can create local ads with call extensions (such as using a Bristol 0117 number) if you want to encourage local business.

Ad groups and campaigns should always target appropriate geographic areas and be set to show at appropriate times of day (typically 6a.m.-midnight is a sensible range – people searching in the middle of the night are generally not such good prospects).

Track your conversions

If you measure your metrics right, tracking from clicks through to conversion goals on the actual website (such as submitting an enquiry form), then you can focus spend on phrases and ad groups that deliver visitors who are more likely to convert to customers.

Get your ad visibility right

Average ad positions should ideally be 2.5 or higher to ensure your advert(s) are prominent enough. Adverts that are lower down get clicked less often and adverts below the front page will normally not get clicked at all. You may need to adjust bid levels for some keywords to ensure they are visible enough.

The bid estimator tool in Adwords can advise how much extra traffic you are likely to get when you raise a bid or a daily budget limit, but be careful – sometimes you can drive up costs a lot without a corresponding increase in traffic. Where that is the case, then as long as you are on the first page of results you may not worry too much if you are a little less visible.

Get smart about your click-through rate

If you find certain phrases are leading to your adverts being shown lots of times but no one is clicking through (e.g. if you have a click-through rate of below 1%) then you may want to suspend that phrase, or write a fresh advert which is more focused on it.

If you try to have phrases in your ad groups that get good click-through rates (2% or higher) and adverts that click through to highly relevant pages, that will lead to a higher quality score in Google, and mean your adverts will be shown more often and you will tend to pay less per click. Those clicks should also then convert better on your website.

Go niche with your target market

The narrower niche you go for, the less you will normally pay for the keywords. It might be an idea to target a specific niche or set of niche keywords with a low bid to test the AdWords waters.