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How to Improve Your AdWords Campaigns

ninja-master-costumeAre you an AdWords ninja?  Do you feel pretty confident about your paid campaign and are happy with results so far?  That’s great!  But did you know there still may be some room for improvement?  Here are a few tips to further optimize your account.  Keep in mind that it’s really important to look at these things over time.  If you look at only a week’s worth of data and make drastic changes based on that short period of time, you may be filtering out good results.  Instead go back further in time, a minimum of three months, so you are able to see patterns.

Search query

This one is probably my personal favorite and I look at it every single time I’m in a client account.  When you look in the Keyword tab, you’ll see a menu option called “Details.”  When you select that drop down and choose “Search terms – All” you will see the exact search terms people use when your ad is triggered to appear.  This data is an absolute goldmine.  By reviewing your keyword search terms within AdWords, you can determine which additional words to include exclude from your campaigns.

Let’s say your business offers “marketing training” and you have that as a broad search term, meaning other search terms can be included in a search query.  A visitor clicks on your ad after searching “marketing training webinars.”  What if webinars is the one type of training you don’t offer?  In this case, you paid for a click from a visitor who wants something you don’t provide!  (In the ideal situation, you would have excluded “webinars” from the campaign initially by adding it as an negative keyword but it’s easy to overlook every single thing about a new campaign so don’t feel bad if you’ve done this in your account!)  By looking at the report, you have a reminder that “webinars” should be a negative search term and you can modify your campaign accordingly.

Day of the week

Are your buyers on the internet Monday maybe doing a little shopping from work?  Or are they spending most of their time searching for your services and products on the weekends?  You can find out by looking at the Dimensions tab and choosing to view the data by the day of the week.   Based on what you find there, you may want to adjust the bid slightly, or maybe even pause it, for particular days that aren’t performing well.

Check your geography

Do you have a nationwide business?  If so, then it makes sense to target the entire United States.  However, it doesn’t mean the campaign will perform equally across those 50 states.  It’s important to check for differences in performance by location so you can make adjustments as needed.  You can check this under “Settings” and “Locations.”  Make note of the clicks and costs by location and investigate further as needed.  If a specific location is not returning good results, you may want to exclude it in your settings so your ads are no longer displayed in that area of the country.

Be careful about testing

Take a look in your campaign and check how many ads are in each group.  Do you have ten ads in a group that are so completely different from each other that you don’t know what’s working?  This can happen when people go overboard with testing.  The want to test the display URL, capitalization, the heading, synonyms, and many other factors which are all good things to test.  The problem comes when they attempt to test all of these things at the same time.  When this happens, you don’t know what worked!  If you in this situation, step back and pause the ads that aren’t performing well so you only have two running.  Are they pretty similar, with only one differentiator, such as the display URL?  If so, you’re okay running those two and seeing what happens over time with performance.   If there’s still a big difference in the ads when you are running the most similar two ads, you’ll want to pause one ad and keep the one that’s doing well.  Now you can make a copy of the ad that’s performing well and change only one thing in the text.  Watch how these two similar ads are doing for a while before you pause one and continue testing.

Try different messaging

Of course, the purpose of running a paid ad campaign is to convince someone to take action.  Play around a bit with that call to action.  “Register” or “Sign-up.”  “Buy” or “Purchase.”  “Cheap” or “Discount.”  You get the point.  Think about the terminology that works best for what you’re selling and for what you think speaks the best to your particular audience.  This may take some testing similar to what was mentioned above.  Here too, make sure you don’t go overboard and test one message variation at a time.

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