Category Archives for "Google AdWords"

Off Target on Geo-Targeting

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a number of Google AdWords Optimization Reviews.

Most of them have the common mistakes I usually see in AdWords accounts including:

  • Not separating Search from Display Networks in a campaign
  • Using too many Broad Match keywords as opposed to Exact Match (or at least Broad Match Modifier)
  • Not split testing ads
  • Not having Negative keywords in the campaign

However, in these campaigns, there’s another issue I’ve noticed that even really experienced AdWords advertisers may be missing.

It’s regarding a campaign’s Geo-targeting settings and where you ads are displayed.

Just because you select the U.S. as the region you want your ads to appear, doesn’t mean that people in other parts of the world won’t see your ads.

Why?

Well, it has to do with a setting advertisers should watch out for.

If you go to the Settings page in your campaign and go down to the Locations section, you’ll find “Location options (advanced).”

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Under “Target” you’ll see you have 3 options.

The campaigns I’ve been reviewing, like most campaigns, have the default (recommended) setting selected which is “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location”.

This option means that your ads can be shown to people outside your selected targeting area to people who “included the name of the location in their searches, viewed location-specific content, or specified the location in their search settings.”

So, let’s say you’re a financial planner in Boise with this default setting (and your location targeting is the Boise area) and someone in Seattle types “Boise financial planner” (a keyword in your Campaign) into Google. If you have the default setting in place, the person in Seattle could see your ad.

And, in that situation, using the default setting makes sense.

However, there are other situations where you don’t want this. The companies whose accounts I’ve been reviewing only do business in the U.S. So, if someone in Denmark is doing U.S. related searches or has a U.S. search/browser setting, it’s not a very relevant click/impression for these companies.

Instead, they should use the second Target option which is “People in my targeted location”. This tells Google that you only want people physically located in your targeted location to see your ads.

For most businesses, you can ignore the last option of “People searching for or viewing pages about my targeted location”. That might be relevant, however, for a hotel that wants out of towners to see their ads but not the locals.

These advanced geo-targeting settings may not be a big deal for most advertisers, but it’s worth double checking to make sure your ads are being seen by the people you really want them to be seen by.

3 More Ways To Sabotage Your AdWords Campaign (Part 3)

Google AdWords logoThis is the last in our series of mistakes that can sabotage your AdWords campaign.

The one we’re going to talk about today is the biggest blunder of all.

It can be a challenge, especially for local businesses to do, but the more you can do it, the better chance you have for success with AdWords.

What is it?

Ignoring conversions

Impressions, clicks, click through rates, etc. are all well and good. But AdWords success really comes down to conversions.

Would you hand your money over to a stock broker without having any goals or ways to track how your investments are performing?

Of course not!

Why would treat your AdWords account any differently?

Advertising is an investment. (Read that last sentence again, because most people don’t get that point.)

You should know what return you’re getting on your advertising dollars. And the only way to do that is to track the results of your campaigns.

Google makes this easy for you to do.

In AdWords, you can use conversion tracking. This is a code you put on your site to track sales, form completions, or other conversion events. Once the code is on your site, AdWords takes care of the rest and shows you which keywords, ads, etc. are resulting in conversions.

If phone calls are important to you, you can implement call tracking through AdWords which lets you track those who see your ad and then call your business.

The AdWords call tracking is a good start, but it isn’t perfect. It shows a unique phone number next to your ad on Google and tracks people who call that number. But if people click through to your website and call the number they see on your site (ie. NOT the number displayed next to your Adwords ad), AdWords can’t track that.

There are other, more comprehensive call tracking systems you can use if you need to boost your call tracking efforts. They are relatively inexpensive and will display unique tracking numbers on your website so you can tell which calls were due to AdWords vs. social media vs. direct traffic, etc.

You can also set up Goals using Google Analytics to track conversions. A Goal can be someone visiting a specific URL on your site (ie. the “Thank You” page someone lands on after making a purchase or filling out a form), how long they spent on your site, or an event (like a social recommendation or ad click).

Now not all AdWords campaigns are about the ROI. For example, the goal of your campaign may be to do some keyword and/or market research.

But most of the time, it’s about generating sales. And the more data you have about conversions, the more you can measure the true effectiveness of your AdWords campaign.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve shared 6 ways you can sabotage your AdWords campaign. There are certainly others, but these are some of the Biggies I see on a regular basis.

Now that you know what they are, there’s no excuse to have any of these mistakes in your campaign!

And if you need some help identifying the ways you’re sabotaging your AdWords campaign, check out our AdWords Optimization Review. It gives you personalized feedback about your campaign and highlights any ways you may be sabotaging it…as well as ways to do what you’re already doing well and do it even better!

3 More Ways To Sabotage Your AdWords Campaign (Part 2)

Google AdWords logoOne of the most powerful aspects of search engine marketing is that you’re reaching people who are actively looking for you.

These people have a need, a desire or a problem they need solved. When they type that search query into Google, it represents the single most pressing issue going on in their heads and they want a solution to it…right NOW!

That’s a highly valuable lead.

But in AdWords if you’re not careful, your ads may not just be reaching those actively searching for you which brings us to another way advertisers sabotage their AdWords campaigns…

Combining Search and Display Networks in the Same Campaign

There are two main networks where your ads can be displayed through AdWords. The Search Network and the Display Network.

Through the Search Network your ads can appear on Google.com, which is what most people think of when it comes to AdWords.

The Search Network also includes Search Partner sites. These are search engines like AOL and Ask.com that don’t have their own PPC program so they run Google ads to make money.

Then there’s the Display Network. This is a very different beast from search.

The Display Network is a network of websites ranging from small blogs up to highly popular sites like the New York Times that run Google ads on them (it’s a source of revenue for these sites…if you own a website and choose to put Google ads on it, you get a percentage of the revenue generated whenever a visitor to your site clicks on an ad).

Google estimates these sites reach about 80{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of people using the Internet.

On the Display Network, your ads can appear on web pages that are related to your keywords. So if you’re a jeweler in Des Moines, you can potentially have your ads appear on the New York Times website for an article related to jewelry (geo-targeting applies here which means you can configure things so your Display Network ads are only displayed to those in your local area).

The important thing to understand here is that, in contrast to Search, people on the Display Network are not actively looking for you. They are reading/surfing/gathering information and are generally not in buying mode.

This means the ads you write, the bids you set, the keywords you pick are VERY different on the Display Network than for the Search Network.

Because of this, you want to keep Search Network and Display Network campaigns separate.

The default setting in AdWords is to combine the two. A lot of AdWords advertisers, not realizing this, run up high tabs consisting of mainly Display Network clicks that have little chance of converting.

If you’re first starting out with AdWords, I’d highly recommend just sticking with the Search Network. Then, if you want to expand into the Display Network at some point, by all means do it. Just set it up in a separate campaign.

In our next post, we’ll cover the last of our 3 more ways to sabotage your AdWords campaign. And it’s the most important one of all.

In fact, in most cases if you’re ignoring this, you shouldn’t even be running an AdWords campaign.

3 More Ways to Sabotage Your AdWords Campaign (Part 1)

In the last post we looked at 3 ways to sabotage an AdWords campaign that were mainly related to keywords. Today we’re going to start looking at 3 non-keyword related ways you may be sabotaging your campaign. There’s a lot of stuff to cover here so I’m going to break this up into a 3 part series:

1. No Split Testing

If you coach a swim team, you want your best swimmers in the pool during competitions. To find your best swimmers, you have competitions in practice (or maybe more formal trials) where your swimmers compete to prove who’s the best.

And it’s not a one-time thing either. You’ll constantly have internal team competition going on so your best swimmers are in the water at the big meets.

Your AdWords campaign is no different. You want people to see your best ads because that’s going to get you more clicks, leads and sales.

To do this, you’ll have your ads compete in split tests.

Here’s how a split test works…

In each ad group (an ad group is a collection of closely related keywords in an AdWords campaign) you can have two or more ads running at the same time.

To keep things simple, let’s stick with just 2 ads in an ad group for now. In this case Google will show 1 ad half the time and the other ad the other half the time. Using the metrics provided in your AdWords campaign, you’ll be able to see which ad gets the best response.

Once you find the “winner”, you get rid of the losing ad, replace it with another ad and start the competition over.

This is a very powerful strategy that does a few very important things for your campaign…

Over time it can dramatically raise your clickthrough rates (a percentage that measures the number of times someone clicked on your ad compared to the total number of times your ad was displayed). This improves the results of your campaign by getting more people to click on your ads and come to your website.

It also helps raise your Quality Score. Quality Score is basically an algorithm in AdWords that measures the relevance of your ads. The more relevant your ads and the higher your Quality Score, the less you’ll pay for clicks (yet still have your ads potentially rank higher than your competitor’s ads).

It’s rare you’ll be able to write the best ads for your campaign right out of the gate. Consistent split testing will help you find the strongest ads and is one of the most powerful ways to improve the performance of your campaign over time.

Did you know when you set up an AdWords campaign, your ads don’t necessarily just appear on Google.com?

Most businesses don’t…and end up blowing a ton of money on clicks that are very unlikely to result in business. In the next post in this series, you’ll learn how to protect your bank account and focus your budget on the most relevant clicks.

Photo courtesy of Hidden Side

3 Ways To Sabotage Your AdWords Campaign

Google AdWords logoI hear it all the time from business owners…

Yeah, I tried AdWords but it doesn’t work.

Hey, I’ll be the first one to admit that AdWords doesn’t work in all situations.

BUT…when it doesn’t work, it may not be AdWords’ fault.

A lot of campaigns are set up and managed so poorly, they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding.

Here are 3 of the biggest ways I see advertisers sabotage their AdWords campaigns:

1. No Keyword Research

Keyword research is at the heart of any search marketing campaign. Quite simply, you need to know the actual keywords prospects are typing in to find your business online. (And not the ones you THINK they’re typing in…the ones they’re ACTUALLY typing in.)

Using a keyword research tool like the free one from Google or the ridiculously low-priced one from Market Samurai, you can unearth the most relevant keywords for your business.

If you’re already running an AdWords campaign you can mine it for new keywords too. Using the Search Query Report, you can see the actual search terms people have typed in before clicking on your ads. You’re sure to find some nuggets you can add to your keyword list in there.

Doing a little keyword research will go a long way in building a successful AdWords campaign.

2. Lumping Keywords Together

Say you’re running a sporting goods store. You have keywords in your campaign ranging from tennis racquets to baseball gloves to soccer balls to athletic supporters.

If your AdWords campaign has all those keywords lumped together into one big group, then someone searching for any of those terms will see the exact same ad. And that’s not what you want.

In AdWords, you can group highly related keywords together into Ad groups. An Ad group is a collection of closely related keywords that share the same ad(s).

By grouping your keywords together, someone searching for tennis racquets can see ads that specifically mention tennis racquets. That makes it much more likely they’ll click on the ad compared to a generic sporting goods ad or one mentioning athletic supporters!

Also, you’ll want the ads in each ad group to point to the most relevant page on your website which is generally not your home page. So those ads that mention tennis racquets should lead people directly to the main tennis racquet page on your site.

People are lazy online. If they don’t immediate see what they’re looking for, they’ll hit that back button faster than a Roger Federer serve.

Grouping related keywords into ad groups, writing highly targeting ads related to those keywords and pointing those ads to the most highly targeted landing page on your website will give you the highest likelihood of success.

3. Using Only Broad Match keywords

There are three main match types you can use in an AdWords campaign…

Exact match, Phrase match and Broad match

For Exact match, a searcher has to type your keyword exactly as it appears in your campaign in order for your ad to be displayed.

For Phrase match, a searcher has to type your keyword in the same order as it appears in your campaign in order for your ad to be displayed.

(Example: If your keyword is “lawn service”, your ad could display for the search query “lawn service in st louis mo” but not for the term “lawn and landscaping service” because the words “lawn” and “service” are not next to each other.)

For Broad match, you kind of leave things up to Google to decide. Broad match allows your ads to be displayed for “similar phrases and relevant variations” of the keywords in your campaign.

Problem is Google’s definition of “similar phrases and relevant variations” may be very different from your own. Here are some examples of Broad match keywords I’ve seen in AdWords campaigns and the actual search queries Google’s shown ads for:

Keyword: Solar panels   Search queries: solar system, solar batteries, solar energy

Keyword: Math tutor     Search queries: math teacher, safe private tutor, math tutorial

Keyword: Ear surgery    Search queries: hearing implants, otoplasty cost, ear implants

Broad match isn’t necessarily the worst thing for your campaign, but you have to be very careful with it.

Many advertisers only have broad match keywords in their campaign and end up spending a good chunk of their budget on keywords that are not relevant to their business.

Especially if you’re just starting out, I’d stick with Exact and Phrase match keywords, get comfortable with them, and then you can start carefully using Broad Match or, better yet, Modified Broad Match (which falls in between Phrase match and Broad match) to expand your campaign.

We’ve focused mostly on mistakes people make when it comes to using keywords in AdWords. But there are a lot of other ways people sabotage their campaigns. We’ll discuss three more biggies in the next blog post.

A Totally Foreign Way Of Getting More Leads From Your AdWords Campaign

It’s one of those AdWords settings you don’t think about much.

Languages.

For most of you reading this, if you’ve set up an AdWords campaign, you’ve just left that setting at “English” without giving it a second thought.

And, for the most part, that’s what you should do.

However, I have a client that recently used Language targeting in a creative way to get customers their competitors were missing out on in a highly competitive market.

We’ve done a great job optimizing his AdWords account over the last few years (though I am a bit biased there!) and, without a significant increase in budget, there’s not much room for improvement at this point.

However, his business is in a U.S. city with a decent size Spanish speaking population. So he set up a new Spanish language version of his website and we set up an AdWords campaign using Spanish language ads.

Before I give you the results of this campaign, here are a few quick tips for setting up a foreign language campaign in AdWords (I’m using Spanish as an example, but this applies to any other language):

1. The Language setting in AdWords asks you to select the languages your customers speak. Make sure you select BOTH Spanish and English as shown in the screenshot below.

 

The reason to do this is this setting targets users by the specific language setting they use on Google. What I’ve found is that a lot of people keep their language setting on the default of “English” yet they still type their searches in Spanish.

By selecting both Spanish and English, you’ll cover your bases and make sure your ads show up when someone types in a Spanish phrase no matter what their Google search settings are.

2. Converting English ads to Spanish can be a bit of a challenge because the Spanish translations are often much longer than the space allowed in an AdWords ad. You’ll need to work with a translator (or, as I did, rely on 4 years of high school Spanish) to tweak the ads enough so they’ll fit within the AdWords limits.

3. This should go without saying, but make sure you have someone on staff who actually speaks the language you’re targeting so you can actually help those who contact you through your foreign language ads!

The result?

  • The clickthrough rate is about 6 times higher than the English language campaign.
  • Th costs per click are about a half of those in the English language campaign.

Yes, the number of impressions and clicks are a fraction of what’s generated by the English language campaign but, for not much in ad spend, the Spanish language campaign is generating a solid ROI.

It’s often hard for small businesses to compete in highly competitive markets in AdWords. But that’s no reason to throw your hands in the air and give up.

You can out-think your competition and carve out small niches where you can win – just like we did here using Spanish language ads.

No, these Spanish language ads aren’t going to have a huge impact on the bottom line for this business. But they are generating an ROI and the client is getting a few new clients each month that he wouldn’t have had otherwise.

And, if you can exploit enough of these smaller niches (whether in AdWords or other forms of marketing), they can all add up to make a very significant impact on your business.

What is Google Remarketing and Why You Should Care More Now Than Ever

Imagine you run a bakery and a customer walks by your front window and stops and stares longingly at the goodies you have on display.

You watch them closely and can see the internal debate raging inside them about whether or not to walk in the door and buy something. After a minute, through a great display of willpower, they decide to move on without making a purchase.

But when they leave, you have a secret advertising weapon up your sleeve. You have special technology that flashes an image of that Bavarian Crème Pie they were drooling over on every billboard and bus stop poster they pass.

Gonna be hard for them to get that pie out of their mind, right?

Well, so far as I know, no technology like that exists in the “real world”. But online, you can accomplish the same effect through remarketing.

A remarketing campaign is run through Google AdWords.

Here’s How It Works…

When someone visits your website, they get a remarketing cookie placed on their computer. Then, when they leave your site, you can show ads to them that promote your products and services when they visit other sites around the web that display Google ads.

(Google has what’s known as the Display Network that allows websites from the New York Times down to someone’s small personal blog to display Google ads on them. These ads reach about 80{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of internet users. Remarketing ads are displayed through this network and can be text ads, image ads or video ads.)

Remarketing eliminates one of the big challenges with online marketing…mainly that most people will visit your website and leave without ever taking action.

Before remarketing, these visitors were lost and gone forever but with remarketing, you can create a campaign that keeps your company name and message in front of them to subtly (or not so subtly) remind them you’re still around.

And one of the coolest things about remarketing is you can target people who visit your site no matter what traffic source they come from. It could be from a PPC campaign, organic traffic, social media, or TV ads.

Doesn’t matter.

If they land on your site, you can reach them with remarketing.

Running Highly Targeted Remarketing Ads

And you can get pretty strategic about how you structure your remarketing campaigns.

Say you run a digital camera store. You can have a remarketing campaign that specifically targets people who visit Canon DSLR related pages on your site. The ads this group sees through remarketing could be for a coupon or special offer good toward the purchase of a Canon camera.

And you can have a separate remarketing campaign that does the same for those who visit Nikon DSLR related pages on your site, only offering a coupon for a Nikon camera.

You can also prevent certain groups of visitors from seeing your remarketing ads. Using the digital camera store example, you don’t want customers to see that coupon for a Canon DSLR after they’ve made a purchase. Remarketing lets you exclude those who have made a purchase so they won’t see your ads.

(Or, you could get really clever and start running ads promoting Canon lenses to people who bought a Canon camera from you.)

Until recently, remarketing required multiple codes (depending on your strategy) that you had to manually install on one or more pages of your site.

And It Just Got Even Better…

However, you can now run remarketing through your Google Analytics account. Doing it this way provides some intriguing advantages.

First, you just have to install one Google Analytics code on your site that can be used to control all your remarketing campaigns.

Second, and even cooler, is you can now use data from Google Analytics to get even more strategic about your remarketing campaigns.

For example, you can now decide to only show ads to people who visit certain pages on your site AND stay on those pages for more than 1 minute (indicating a higher level of interest compared to those who only spend a few seconds on your site).

In a recent article I wrote for the Daily Egg, How Remarketing Just Got Even More Remarkable, I outlined a number of different ways the Analytics–remarketing link can be used to help a website run a highly targeted remarketing campaign.

You want to make the most of the traffic you get to your website. And as PPC ads get more expensive, as the game is changing for SEO and other changes take hold over the online marketing landscape, that’s truer now than ever.

With remarketing, there’s no reason to let people who come to your site (indicating at least some level of interest in what you offer) to slip away without ever hearing from you again.

A Relatively Inexpensive Way to Boost Conversions

Because Display Network clicks tend to be relatively inexpensive and the traffic from remarketing ads is from “warm” prospects, I’ve found remarketing to be a very cost effective way to boost conversions for many of our clients. If you’re interested in giving remarketing a try or finding out more about it, contact us today.

Image courtesy of Mundoo

St Louis Meetup on Google AdWords

If you pay attention to what’s going on online, you know about the drastic changes that Google’s been up to lately…

The Panda and Penguin updates have been playing havoc with the organic search engine results.

Google Places has been replaced with Google+ Local.

Google Products is moving away from being free listings to all paid advertising.

And they’ve been some big, yet under-the-radar, changes to Google AdWords.

The full implications of all these changes, and more that are surely coming, have yet to be realized but one thing is certain…paid search on Google (which accounts for 97{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of Google’s revenue) is a big part of Google’s plans.

On September 13, I’m going to be speaking at the Where Is My Business Meetup run by St Louis SEO guru Will Hanke.

I’ll be talking about:

  • What AdWords is (there’s more to it than most people realize)
  • Why it’s becoming more relevant and more important by the day to everyone marketing online
  • How to use AdWords for so much more than simply driving traffic to your site (and how doing this can transform your entire business)
  • Common mistakes business owners make when running their own AdWords campaigns
  • How to make AdWords work, even if you’re on a tight budget
  • And, most importantly, I’ll be answering any and all questions you have about AdWords

There is a $10 fee to attend this Meetup and about half the spots have already been spoken for so if you’re interesting in going, head over to the Where Is My Business Meetup page and sign up today.

St Louis AdWords Expert Interviewed By Bestselling Author

A few months ago, I wrote about a book that literally changed my life forever.

It was the “Ultimate Guide To Google AdWords” by Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd, a bestselling book about Google AdWords that’s now in its 3rd Edition.

Recently, Bryan interviewed me about how the book changed my life and more.

In this 25 minute interview, you’ll learn:

  • How I initially discovered Google AdWords
  • Why I quickly realized AdWords is about much more than just driving traffic to a website
  • How even AdWords couldn’t save my previous business from the “Anti-Trifecta of Marketing”
  • My story about transitioning from running a small drug testing business to running AdWords campaigns for businesses
  • A few other key business and marketing lessons from both Bryan and me that apply to businesses whether they use AdWords or not
It’s a big honor for me to be interviewed by Bryan. Though I’ve never met him or Perry in person (though that will change next month), they’ve had a big impact on my career path…and not just because of the book. They put out a consistent stream of incredibly high-quality materials on AdWords, and marketing in general, that I’ve been able to use to help my clients grow their businesses as well as me grow mine.
There are very few people that I listen to in the world of online marketing these days but these guys have a well-earned spot at the top of that very short list.

 

An AdWords Ad That Stand Out From the Competition

While doing some research for an AdWords project for a client, I came across this ad when searching on Google for the keyword “wedding venues Chicago”…

Not making any political statements here (so please don’t leave any in the comments section).

I’m just holding this up as a great example of an ad that truly stands out from the competition. Ads like this have a much better chance of succeeding than the generic ads that try to appeal to everyone that most companies run in AdWords.

Being unique and standing out from the competition (in a way that meaningfully resonates with your target market) puts you at a big advantage when it comes to marketing your business.

Sure, the majority of people searching for wedding venues in Illinois won’t click on this ad. But if you want to plan a civil union in Illinois, this ad can’t help but jump off the page at you. I’m sure this venue dominates that market.

What this ad loses in overall traffic (ie. clicks), I’m sure it makes up for in a sky high clickthrough rate for its target audience and a conversion rate that trounces the competition.

And speaking of traffic and conversions, many business owners take a flawed approach in addressing those two things which kills the performance of their websites. It just so happens that critical difference is the topic of our next blog post.