Resuming Paid Advertising In A Post COVID World

Over the last few weeks as areas across the country have begun to slowly reopen, many of my private clients who paused their online advertising back in March have decided to relaunch their Google Ads Campaigns.

I’m excited to announce that I’m seeing preliminary results based on advertising over the last few weeks and those results have been very good for business owners.

Each one of my private clients’ accounts has been more profitable during May than they were in February of 2020.

Here are what I believe to be some reasons for the increase in profitability using paid Google ads:

  1. Less Competition On Google

It is a fact that many advertisers paused their online advertising in March or April of this year.

Google works by displaying ads in the most prominent position based on a real time auction. When determining how high an advertiser’s paid ad appears within Google search results, Google uses a combination of an advertisers bid and other factors such as relevancy to the user search query to determine what is called ‘Ad Rank’.

The higher the Ad Rank the more prominent on the page an ad will appear. The more prominent an ad appears, the more likely an ad, whether a product ad like in Shopping or a text ad as in Google Search, is to be clicked on by a potential customer.

With less businesses advertising, it translates into less competition and cheaper bids for those who advertise meaning higher Ad Rank and more prominent positions within Google.

Right now, I have seen some of my private clients with their average cost per click 50% or less than what they were paying earlier in the year for the same search terms!

Combine cheaper bids with the relatively same conversion rates and it is no wonder that profitability has been substantially higher.

And although I’m not sure how long this phenomenon will last, current advertisers are certainly taking advantage of cheaper clicks thus reducing their costs per click thereby helping to drive their profit margins higher.

There is also an opportunity to reach more shoppers. Less competition online means less options for shoppers. This may not be a good thing for consumers, but it is a REAL good thing if you are one of the remaining choices.

Increasing Business In The Long-Term …

I always like to remind clients that advertising using paid Google ads is not a short game.

Not only is advertising in Google about optimizing profits per sale, but it is also about the average lifetime value (ALV) of a customer.

Advertisers are paying for that first sale, but how many future sales will an average customer make from your website after their initial purchase?

This is the data you need in order to calculate Average Lifetime Customer Value. Increasing the ALV depends on factors like staying in contact with past customers (how often are you emailing your customer base), how happy customers are with your products (are you doing everything you can to exceed customer expectations) and how smooth was the initial transaction (did they receive their order in the manner promised).

Combine good service with good products and you have the initial recipe for increasing your average customer lifetime value.

2. More People Shopping Online

What has happened in the past few months is like nothing we have ever seen. In California, we have been asked to stay at home for almost 3 months and counting.

That not only means that the grass in the backyard has been getting worn out, but it also means that personally I’ve been buying a whole lot of stuff online some I need, much I don’t.

Do you know what?

In the action of increasing the amount of shopping done online over the last few months, I’m not alone.

It isn’t just the people who are already accustomed to shopping online either that are increasing how much they are shopping.

Nope.

In addition to regular online shoppers, there are people that have never previously shopped online that have had no other choice due to stay at home orders.

Including especially some generation Xers and a whole lot of Baby Boomers, the stay at home orders has created a whole new wave of online shoppers and it is a big wave!

In 2019, online purchases made up 16% of commerce. Many experts predict that the COVID-19 pandemic will change the way shopping is done and specifically how online shopping is done forever more.

In 2020, online shopping could skyrocket to as high as 50% of all sales. As new shoppers become more accustomed to shopping online and become more adept at doing so, this percentage could increase even higher than 50% over the next few years.

If you are selling products online, you should be filled with optimism. If you are not selling products online, you should be thinking about how and where you can start.

3. People Ready For Normalcy

Let’s face it. After weeks or even months at home, people are ready for normalcy. And I’m not talking about purchasing that 10ft inflatable pool for the backyard, although yes I did recently order one or even that new videocam and yep I bought one of those too.

Instead, I’m referring of the new baseball batting helmet for little Johnny or a new volleyball for the beach.

Items that return a sense of normalcy even though the activity for which they are bought may still not be back at full capacity.

Demand has picked up online, due to what I believe is people’s desire for a sense of normalcy.

Combine this demand for normalcy with lack of competition and many advertisers are seeing more profitable sales even when logic may dictate that it would be better to hold off on resuming advertising for certain product lines.

Final Word

If you were using paid advertising before COVID, there is no reason not to resume advertising now. When I say resume advertising now, I’m not referring to next week or even next month, I’m referring to today.

If you are not quite ready to take a full plunge but want to just put your toe in the water, then you can resume on a limited basis.

Restart your advertising with just your best-sellers or restart your advertising bidding at reduced level (say 50%).

In what method you decide to restart advertising, know that the opportunity is high right now to see cheaper clicks and higher profit levels from your online marketing. The time for being timid with your ad budget is gone and customers are again wanting your products.

However, like that 48-hour sale at Macy’s, be warned that this sale (the Google ads sale on cheap clicks) may be over before many know that it even began!

Remember to stay safe and stay healthy!

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count book series.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Important Highlights from A Recent Google Account Review

A service that I offer through True Online Presence is a complete review of a company’s AdWords account. Coined the T.O.P. AdWords Assessment, this assessment includes having me spend 2-3 hours reviewing a Google Ads account structure and provide ratings on the account based on key metrics that I have found to strongly correlate with success.  

The key metrics that I use to rate an account’s health include: Match Type/Keywords; Adjusting Bids Device/Location; Segmenting Campaigns; Shopping Health (for e-commerce); Conversion Goals (for professional services); Activity Level; Ad Extensions, Ad Testing and Budgets.

Advertising on Google is unlike any other advertising medium as it can deliver red hot leads.

You can reach potential users while they are searching for an exact service or product. They can find you right in the middle of their buying process! However, like other marketing channels Google needs to be configured correctly and tended often to provide advertisers with optimal success.

A Recent Review

Last week, I had a company purchase an AdWords review. Due to my private client workload and running The Academy of Internet Marketing, I don’t accept too many T.O.P assessments anymore, but this was requested by a website design firm that I have known for quite a while.

They requested for one of their clients, a professional service company located in the Midwest spending about $200 a month in AdWords. Although not a huge monthly investment that still that comes to approximately $5K in the last 2 years and who wouldn’t want to make sure they are spending $5K prudently?

The reason that I choose to share this assessment was the due to the bare bones’ nature of their AdWords account which allows me to really detail in this article what is needed to run a successful Google marketing campaign.

First Some Background

The company, a legal entity, first started using AdWords 2 years ago. Professional Service companies are a bit different to evaluate than an e-commerce company as there is no add to cart button to press. Instead what is defined as a conversion is up to the advertiser to decide. This company had decided to define their sole conversion as phone call received.

Since inception 2-years ago, AdWords has generated 21 phone calls. For these call the company had paid $131 for each call generated (CPA – cost per acquisition).

Quick note, that with this sort of review I do not have the conversion statistics of how many of those calls became clients or how much a client is worth, I’m just looking at straight analytics based on data available and I am evaluating the account on the 7 key metrics listed above.

So, let’s get started…

Match Type/Keywords

One of the most important things a search campaign can utilize to be successful is the proper use of match type. Match type determines which keywords trigger an ad to appear. There are 5 match types – broad, phrase, exact, broad-match modifier and negative.

This account is using all broad match. Using broad match is going to bring in the most traffic, although also the most unqualified traffic. To be successful with eliminating unwanted searches especially with broad match, you need to be highly vigilant with the adding of negative keywords. Unfortunately, for this account there have been 0 negative keywords added.

Over the last 2 years, the broad match search terms ‘divorce & family law’ and ‘divorce and family law’ have racked up about $500 generating no phone calls/conversions.

These keywords in the broad match form has caused this attorney’s ads to appear for keyword searches such as ‘types of family law’ and ‘family law 61354’. With the average cost-per-click of about $4 it is important to not waste money on unrelated clicks.

I would recommend that this account change all their keyword match types to phrase and broad match modifier and use the search terms report to add negative keywords to block unrelated search terms.

For directions, I referred the company to the following articles:

Properly Using Keyword Match Types in Google Advertising

And

The Art of Adding Negative Keywords

Adjusting Location/Bid Device

This account is set to only bid in certain cities and counties where this firm offers services. When you look at a map this makes for an odd pattern. Unless they only can practice in certain counties, they may be better advised to add a search radius of X miles from a certain city.

For device, all 21 phone calls have been generated from mobile devices. Remember, the only conversion action being tested is phone calls.

I can see a phone extension for mobile ads, but not for desktop. They should expand the phone extension for desktop and may want to consider looking at a 3rd party phone tracking system such as Call Rail, so they can determine where not only Google calls are coming from, but all other phone calls generated from other marketing channels.

Segmenting Campaigns

A mistake that many companies make when creating their AdWords account is not having enough/segmented campaigns. This account is no different. There is only one campaign which is sending traffic directly to the home page.

This attorney offers custody services, divorce services, criminal law and other family law; however, all traffic is sending ads directly to the homepage regardless of which ad they click.

Making a user click around to find a specific service once they land on your website is a mistake. Related keywords need to be segmented into similar campaigns in order to have ads for specific keywords direct users to the exact service they are searching.

Conversions

The only conversion goal for this account is for a phone call.

If a user that clicks on the account and is not immediately ready to contact the attorney, they most likely will not make that call even if they may be semi-interested in the service.

Setting up different conversion goals such as a lead magnet will allow to capture contact information.

Examples would be offering a free report such as ‘The Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Divorce Attorney’ or ‘The Top 10 Mistakes When Filing for Divorce’. A lead magnet is a great way to capture prospective client’s email or phone number and enables an advertiser to open a line of communication with potential clients.

Retargeting is also another very effective way to stay in front of a potential client. When a user goes to a website a ‘cookie’ is automatically placed on the user’s browser. This allows both professional services and e-commerce companies to use retargeting ads to those users after they leave the website and are browsing throughout the Google Display Network.

Here is a great article that I wrote referring to lead magnets that I encourage professional services to read:

Professional Services Sometimes Need to Give Away the Sizzle to Sell the Steak

Activity Level

Running ads on Google is not designed to be a set-it and forget-it strategy. Monitoring an account needs constant revisions for adjusting bids, adding new keywords based on searches and eliminating searches through negative keywords.

An account that is well managed should see at least weekly changes to bids and keywords as well as testing ads (more on that in the next section).

Using the change history tool, I’m showing a grand total of 27 changes in over 2 years. This is a definite sign of neglect in this account.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are snippets of information that Google allows advertisers to append to their ads. Relevant ad extensions for professional services include sitelink extensions, callout extensions, location extensions (great for professional services), call extensions, message extensions, structured snippet extensions and price extensions.

Read all about extensions in my article:

When It Comes to Your Google Ads, Size Does Matter

And

Why Google’s Newest Ad Extension Provides A Competitive Advantage

At a bare minimum, all advertisers whether professional service or e-commerce should be using call extensions, sitelink extensions and callout extensions on every ad.

Ad Testing

Google first introduced expanded ads in 2016 and have since updated the amount of text even further.

Currently, advertisers are allowed the following character limits:

  • Title/Headline 1 – 30 Characters.
  • Title/Headline 2 – 30 Characters.
  • Title/Headline 3 – 30 Characters.
  • Description Line 1 – 90 Characters.
  • Description Line 2 – 90 Characters.
  • Display URL + 2 optional paths – 15 Characters each.

The more information you can provide a potential client or buyer the more successful your ads are going to be in generating traffic. It is a mistake to not take advantage of all of space that Google allows when writing ads.

In addition, each ad group should contain a minimum of 3 ads optimized for show best-performing ads.

Google provides the testing inside their system, but you need to be running multiple ads for it to take effect. Over time, ads with higher click-through-rates (CTR) will automatically be served more thus increasing your CTR and increasing your Quality Score.

Having a high-quality score can greatly reduce the cost of ads over time.

For information on quality score, refer to my article:

Why Google Advertisers Need to Know Their Quality Score

Budgets

Budgets

When determining your daily budgets in Google Ads, you need to make sure of a couple of factors:

  1. You are comfortable spending the amount you set your daily budget over the month. If you set your budget at $10, for example, your daily spend could be up to double $20, but your total will not exceed an average of $10 for the month or $300 total ($10 x 30).
  • Especially if you are running profitable ads, you want to make sure you are capturing all available traffic. One of the most effective ways to do this is by viewing your Search Impression Share; the Impr. Top % (which is the percentage of time your ads appear above organic results) and the Search lost abs. top IS (budget), which shows how often your ads were not shown above organic results due to a low budget.

By combining these 3-key metrics, advertisers can determine if they have a high enough budget in place to capture all possible leads.

Last bit of advice

Google AdWords has a lot of moving parts that need to be considered when running a successful advertising campaign. One thing is for sure is in order to have superior results, you need to make sure you are constantly monitoring.

The good news is that many of your competitors are probably not optimizing using all the tools Google provides, so by monitoring and being aware of the key metrics listed above you will more than likely have a huge advantage over your competition.

The key metrics that I dig into when reviewing an AdWords account are in no way an exhaustive list of what can and ultimately should be done; however, they are what I consider to be the most important metrics of a well-run Google AdWords account.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online destination for for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales. Plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for complete access for 2 full weeks.

Happy Marketing!

Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

Keyword Search Terms – Unlocking The Ads Puzzle {revised 4/8/20}

Regardless of which type of advertising medium you use to run your ads, one truth is essential to your success: you must be able to track response including when, where and how potential customers responded to your ad.

For off-line advertising this may be a bit broader, such as which magazine or newspaper on which date did a customer respond to you ad. This is traditionally tracked by using a special trackable URL or trackable phone number specific for each location the ad appears.

Fortunately, for us who advertise using PPC, tracking can be pinpointed down to the exact search terms a customer used to find your ad along with a slew of other data including the exact time your ad was clicked and the device the potential customer used to click on your ad.

To access this information in Google, one must become familiar with the Search Terms report.

Growing up, I loved working with puzzles with the challenge of having all the pieces fit together to create something that sometimes could be pretty amazing if I say so myself:>

Make no mistake, Google AdWords is a on-going puzzle and the Search Terms report for advertisers who discover which search terms are leading to their ads being shown it is a big piece of unlocking the AdWords puzzle regardless of whether your campaign is a Search or a Shopping campaign.

This is where you are spending the money, so you need to know on what. Think of advertising on Google as a purchase of sort, which in fact it is as you are purchasing traffic.

You wouldn’t go to the grocery store with a list and come out with a random bag of groceries would you?

Of course not, you need specific items.

Well, you are purchasing traffic and you want to make sure you are getting specific traffic and nothing else is sneaking into your bag (back to the grocery metaphor).

By reviewing your search terms campaign regularly, an advertiser can reveal instant information about the quality of their PPC traffic.

This information can be most useful to discover the following:

  1. What search terms are converting.
  2. Which search terms are receiving traffic but are not converting.
  3. Whether or not search terms advertisers feel are relevant are generating traffic.

We will review why each of the reasons is important along with what to do with what you discover, but first we need to see where to access the user search terms report that shows which terms are generating traffic to your ads.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open any campaign or ad group (note, keywords can be viewed at the account, campaign or ad group level).
  2. Click on ‘Keywords’ in the left menu.
  3. Click on the ‘Search Terms’ link below. (For Shopping campaigns, the sub-menu under Keywords only has Negative Keywords and Search Terms. For Search campaigns, the sub-menu under Keywords contains Search Keywords, Negative Keywords, Search Terms and Auction Insights).

Search Terms That Are Converting – Shopping Campaigns

The way to handle search terms that are converting is going to be different depending on whether you are optimizing a Shopping campaign or a Search campaign. It is also going to depend if you are looking at the Search Terms report at the Account, Campaign or Ad Group level.

In order to be the most beneficial, especially when there are a substantial number of conversions, you are going to want to look at the most granular data possible, which means looking at the Search Terms report at the Ad Group level.

One of the most effective ways to use the Search Terms report is in discovering which keywords searches are converting and for which of your products. You can also view your click-through-rate (CTR) of any keyword searches. CTR is calculated by diving Clicks by Impressions.

If you discover a search term that has conversions; however, it has a relatively low CTR this is a great indicator that you may want to consider changing either your product title or product description.

Since only the product title, image, price and retailer name is shown in a Google Shopping ad, modifying your product title to closely relate to the search terms that have historically converted will help to improve your CTR as well to help increase your conversion rate for those keyword searches.

Search Terms That Are Converting – Search Campaigns

Optimizing your Search campaigns using the Search Terms report is going to be a bit different since you as the advertiser determine which keywords your products are eligible to display.

When you discover a Search Term that has converted, you will want to make sure you are advertising on that search term using your desired match type.

For a review on search term match types, review my article – Properly Using Keyword Match Type In Google Advertising.

Typically for high converting search terms, you are going to want to set your match type as an exact match type. This directs your ads to show on this search term or close variant. You can then control the bid for that exact match type within the Search Keywords tab in order to control and increase your Search Impression share.

By adding the keyword as exact match, you can also work on the quality score of your keyword. Also, if you find a keyword that is a high converting, high earner, you may consider optimizing the product name, product description or both in order to increase conversions for those high performing keywords.

In addition, you may want to review your Search ads to ensure that these high-converting keywords are included within your ads as well as possibly within your sitelinks.

Search Terms That Are Not Converting – Shopping Campaigns

With Shopping campaigns, when your products appear in searches is based on Google’s algorithm that matches your item title and description along with your bid to a customer’s search.

This can lead to many times, your product ads appearing for irrelevant terms.

By using the Search Terms report an advertiser can easily identify those terms that are spending ad budget, but not converting into sales.

Once non-converting search terms are identified, advertisers can add these search terms as negative keywords at the ad group, campaign or even account level. In addition, non-converting search terms can be added to a negative keyword list making it easier to apply across multiple campaigns.

Just like search terms, negative keywords can be added in an exact, phrase or broad match type.

For details on adding negative review my article – The Art of Adding Negative Keywords.

Search Terms That Are Not Converting – Search Campaigns

Adding negative keywords to Search campaigns is going to be very similar to adding negative keywords to Shopping campaigns.

Once you identify non-performing keywords, you can add as negative keyword as an exact, phrase or broad match at either the ad group, campaign or in a negative keyword list.

However, there is one important difference.

Since the advertiser is bidding on specific keywords, you are the one who has made your ad eligible to appear for non-relevant keyword searches.

Therefore, besides adding the negative keyword you should figure out exactly why your ad appeared for an irrelevant keyword search.

Common reasons for ads appearing for a non-relevant keyword search can include using the wrong match type. Perhaps you are using a broad match type that is bringing in too generic of traffic. You may consider either changing or adding the keyword to either an exact match or phrase match. This would allow you to lower or pause your bid on the broad match keyword thus helping to reduce the times your ads appear for non-relevant search terms.

Are Relevant Keyword Searches Generating Traffic? – Shopping Campaigns

Assuming you have done your homework and researched keywords, the Search Terms report is a great place to determine whether researched keywords are generating traffic and whether they are generating sales.

If you have identified through keyword research a keyword that historically has quite a bit of traffic on Google but is not generating traffic to your campaign, there are typically two main culprits.

First, Google does not deem your product to be relevant to that search term. In order, to remedy this issue, you will need to either change your product title, description or both to be more relevant for the keyword that you are trying to gain traffic. By making your product listings more relevant for a targeted keyword, you increase the chances of your product ads appearing for a specific search term.

Second, your bid is too low and therefore not competitive. If your product is optimized for a keyword and is still not appearing or at least not appearing often, your bid may be too low. In order to see if this is the case, you can either use Google’s bid adjuster to see what Google recommends for a bid or you can view your search impression share for a particular product ad that you believe should be receiving more traffic.

Are Relevant Keyword Searches Generating Traffic? – Search Campaigns

Remember with Search campaigns, you control the keywords where your ads appear. Therefore, if you are not appearing for a specific keyword search, there are a few reasons.

First, you are not bidding at all or you are not bidding high enough on the keyword for your ad to display for that search term. If you are looking for traffic for a specific search term, consider using an exact keyword match type. This will help your ads appear for an exact search term or slight variant without appearing generating broad traffic.

Second, if you are still not appearing for a specific search term and are using an exact keyword match type, chances are it is because your quality score for that keyword search is too low.

Advertisers can bid on any term that they wish; however, if the ad or the URL where the ad directs is not relevant to the keyword they are bidding on, then Google will not show their ads for those keyword terms.

You can view your quality score within the Search Keywords tab by adjusting your columns and adding the Quality Score. Typically, advertisers should strive for quality scores on all keywords of 7 or above. If a quality score is below 7, advertisers should consider either moving the keyword to a different campaign or ad group that is more relevant to the keyword either through the ad or the URL it is advertising; pausing the keyword; or adjusting the match type of the keyword.

Final Word

Think of running a successful Google Campaign as a big puzzle. Trying to determine what you are spending money on; where you should increase what you are spending and where you should decrease what you are spending is a huge part of completing your puzzle.

By effectively using the Keyword Search Terms report, advertisers have a tool to complete this puzzle. However, the keyword search terms report needs to be monitored because keywords that convert can change and non-relevant keyword searches that cause ads to appear are an on-going issue within campaigns and ad groups.

The good news is that by monitoring your Search Terms report with an effective plan of action you can optimize for more profitability and effectively work to stay ahead of your competitors using Google Ads.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com) for exclusive video training, online courses, step-by-step instructions and exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.l

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If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Is Using Google Smart Shopping Campaigns Smart for Retailers?

Google has introduced a new way for advertisers to manage their Shopping campaigns aptly named ‘Smart Shopping campaign’.  However, who are Smart Shopping campaigns designed for and what advertisers would benefit from implementing “Smart” shopping campaigns opposed to Standard Shopping campaigns?

So, what is Google’s Smart Shopping Campaigns?

Google’s promotes their Smart Shopping campaigns as a way for advertisers to simplify their campaign management while maximizing conversion values and expanding their reach.

Campaigns that use the Smart Shopping setting are eligible to appear across

Make Each Click Count - T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords

Google’s Search Network, Display Network, YouTube and Gmail.

A Smart Shopping campaign will take priority over Standard Shopping campaigns. This means that if a product is listed in a Smart Shopping campaign as well as a Standard Shopping campaign, the Smart Shopping campaign is the campaign that Google will use to serve a retailer’s ads.

How do Smart Shopping campaigns work?

Google uses an advertiser’s existing product feed as submitted to Google Merchant Center and combines eligible products with Google’s machine learning to serve ads across their list of networks – Google’s Search Network, Display Network, YouTube and Gmail.

A merchant determines their budget and Google automatically tests ads for different combinations of products and keyword searches promising to deliver retailers the maximum amount of conversion value for their ad spend.

What is required for Google Smart campaigns?

Before an advertiser can setup Smart Shopping campaign, they will need to make sure they comply with some initial setup procedures that include:

  1. Conversion tracking will need to be configured along with transaction-specific values.
  2. The website will also need to add a global site tag to the website and have a remarketing list with a minimum of 100 active users.
  3. Finally, advertisers will need to meet all requirements for Google Shopping campaigns as well as follow the standard Google Shopping ad policies.

How can you tell if Google Smart campaign is working?

If an advertiser wants to test using a Google Smart shopping campaign, it is advisable to allow the campaign at least 2-3 weeks for Google algorithm to work.  Don’t turn off the new campaign within a day or two, give Google time to test their Smart Shopping algorithm to see if Google is providing desired results before evaluating performance.

Second, advertisers will want to make sure the budget and products are comparable to historic data from past Standard Shopping campaigns when evaluating.

Note, if using a ROAS goal, initially advertisers may see a decline in the number of clicks and impressions they are receiving. This is normal as Google tries to deliver conversions within the settings of the campaign’s profitability goals.

So, what is the upside of using Google’s Smart Shopping campaigns?

Make Each Click Count - T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords

Using Smart Shopping campaigns can provide retailers with extended reach beyond the Google Search Network. With Smart Shopping campaigns also delivering ads to the Display Network, YouTube and Gmail, retailers may find additional sales beyond the Google Search Network.

Also, for retailers with limited-time or knowledge to properly manage their campaigns, Google Smart Shopping campaigns are an ideal way to simply define what profitability they would like to achieve without the time-consuming task of optimizing for negative keywords, bids, device bidding and the many other factors that go into running a successful Google Shopping campaign.

What is the downside of using Google’s Smart Shopping campaigns?

Advertisers do not have control over where or how many times their product ads are appearing across different networks. Google DOES NOT provide data on what networks or keywords are driving conversions. 

Google’s Smart Shopping algorithm supposedly works by providing maximum conversion value, but Google does not provide specifics on the how, where, what and why. Instead they ask for retailers to give Google the blind trust that Google will spend the advertiser’s money efficiently.

This is kind of like putting the fox in charge of the hen house as Google charges again based on the bids that they are creating for the advertiser’s product listings without the advertiser having any control over specific bids or even being able to review where ads or showing or at what bids.

Additionally, advertisers are not allowed to opt out of certain networks making Google Smart campaigns and all or nothing proposition as far as where ads are eligible for display.

So, what is the bottom line?

Advertisers, especially those with limited-time or knowledge of how Google Shopping works may want to test to see if running Smart Shopping campaigns are more profitable than running Standard Shopping campaigns.

Being able to show ads across different networks, may be profitable for advertisers. However, be aware that you are giving up quite a bit of control and trusting that Google will be providing ‘maximum conversion value’ beyond what can be achieved running Standard Shopping campaigns.

Last bit of advice

For my private clients, I would advise that typically a well-run Standard Shopping campaign should deliver results and insights into their business that are not available with Smart Shopping campaigns.

With the proper use of negative keywords and the ongoing optimization of past results, the upside of being able to control where product ads are eligible to appear outweighs the promises of letting Google handle your account and letting Google control your bids and placements while trying to maximize your profits.

However, like anything there is no or at least, if you keep budgets low, little harm in testing.  I have seen results vary based on product line and there is the possibility of an upside with increased exposure across all Google networks.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com) for exclusive video training, online courses, step-by-step instructions and exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Author2.jpg

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

A Death By A Thousand Cuts Really HURTS…

What do you think is worse? Taking a strong punch to the gut or receiving a thousand of paper cuts? Truth is that both are probably very painful in their own way.  Similarly to a poorly optimized Google Shopping Campaign. 

Let me explain…

When it comes to a poorly optimized Google Shopping Campaign, typically it is more of the later. While there is not a single switch to turn on or off that which will stop the financial bleeding, there is an array of factors that generally causes the slow bleeding to your bank account. Those small cuts will eat into your potential profits when using Google Shopping every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

Like the title implies, there are literally thousands of paper cuts that can costs a Google account to bleed money; however, I don’t have time to go into all of them. Below are the 3 most frequent ‘cuts’ that I come across when performing personal AdWords Assessments for customers include the following:

1. Not properly implemented Google Analytics – Without Google Analytics or some other analytics program installed that properly tracks conversions and spend, it is nearly impossible to know key metrics such as ROAS and ROI. Why is this important? Because without being able to identify numbers, you cannot adjust product bids (either up or down) in order to maximize sales and minimize costs.

2. Not adjusting mobile bids. This is an easy fix if analytics is properly installed. It also, is a relatively quick fix. However, just because it is easy to implement, don’t think that means that it is not important. In fact, it is so important that I created an entire training video on the subject. If you haven’t seen it already – check it out by clicking on the link below:

[Bonus Training Video – The #2 Way To Increase Profitability With Google Shopping]

Mobile clicks seldom have the same conversion rates or the same average conversion value as desktop bids and bidding the same across all devices is one of those papercuts that really hurts!

3. Set It & Forget It – Just because you optimized your campaign fully last week, last month or even last year, in no way does that mean that your account is still running at an optimal level today. The bulls eye is always changing when it comes to finding the right bids on the right devices and using the right keywords when it comes to using Google and Google Shopping. Unfortunately, many business owners are unable due to time or due to lack of knowledge spend the time it takes to keep their account running at an optimal level.

I can’t remember seeing an AdWords account that doesn’t have room for improvement and typically lots of improvement. With so many moving parts, Google AdWords in particular Google Shopping can be difficult to manage unless you or someone on your team has spent years going through the ‘Google Learning Curve’.

Given my mission to help business owners stop wasting their money on poorly performing Google AdWords campaigns, I offer a complete personalized AdWords assessment in order to reveal what paper cuts are affecting your bottom line.

I only offer 10 of these assessments per month, so if you want to see increased results quickly, I invite you not to miss this opportunity.

Request A T.O.P. Complete AdWords Assessment

For a limited time, I’m offering a $100 discount on the assessment, plus the assessment is 100% fully guaranteed.

Don’t delay and let me reveal what can be done to immediately increase the profits in your Google AdWords and Google Shopping campaigns.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

 

Important Changes To AdWords When Adding Negative Keywords

Adding negative keywords to AdWords Campaigns along with adding new search terms that utilize various match types are important ways to improve a Google account’s profitability. These two issues are so essential to running a successful AdWords account that I have dedicated entire past blog posts to two different subjects. For a review of each, read The Art of Adding Negative Keywords and Properly Using Keyword Match Types In Google Advertising.

Make Each Click CountPreviously accessing the Search Terms report and where to add negative keywords was difficult as both were a bit buried inside the Google interface.  However, within the last few months, Google has made these fields much more accessible.  This blog post focuses on the location changes to these tools.  However, for a full review of the importance of negative keywords and why they are essential to an account’s profitability refer to the blog post, The Art of Adding Negative Keywords.

Adding Negative Keywords

As a quick review, negative keywords are a Google keyword match type that causes an advertiser’s ad NOT to be displayed.  Negative keywords are important for limiting ads from displaying for searches that have historically produced low conversions and a low ROI.  Negative keywords are eligible to be added and it is recommended to utilize them for both Google Search and Shopping Campaigns.

When adding negative keywords, advertisers previously needed to access the Keywords tab and scroll to the bottom of that page to access the ‘Negative keywords’ link. With recent Google changes, negative keywords can now be viewed and added by clicking on a new ‘Negative keywords’ subtab on the TOP of the page within the Keywords tab.

Google AdWords' Negative Keywords SubtabOnce accessed, the rest of the process remains identical to before.  By accessing this part of the AdWords console, negative keywords can be added for either the Ad group or the Campaign level.  In order to add negative keywords to multiple Campaigns, advertisers should continue to use the Shared Library link located in the left menu.  For a review on how to use the Shared Library for adding negative keywords, refer to my blog post, The Art of Adding Negative Keywords.

In addition to moving the Negative Keywords access, Google also moved where advertisers are able to access the Search Terms report.  The Search Terms report displays actual search terms that users performed which triggered an advertiser’s ad to display.  An extremely useful tool in adding both negative keywords and new search terms, the Search Terms report is also now much easier to access.

Previously buried under the Details subtab, this report can now be accessed simply by clicking on the ‘Search terms’ subtab next to the new ‘Negative keywords’ subtab.

Google AdWords' Search Term Report

The Search Terms report also has retained the ability to segment, filter and add or remove columns.  A useful report that savvy advertisers will use to determine which search terms are driving traffic, costs and conversions to their different keywords and Ad groups.

When looking at a Search Terms report, I typically review a few different columns some which will need to be added using the ‘Modify columns’ option located under the Columns subtab.

In particular, I pay close attention to which keywords in which Ad groups where attributed to different search terms.

How To Use The Google AdWords Search Term Report

Make Each Click CountFor search terms generating a large percentage of the traffic, I will want to ensure the Ad group contains the Exact match for these search terms.  Having an Exact match versus a close variant is another way to improve quality score and ensure that corresponding ads contain the most popular keywords inside the ads.  For information on why this is an effective technique when creating Google ads, refer to my blog post Creating Effective Ad Copy in Google AdWords.

Besides being a good source for adding keywords, the Search Terms report is essential to review in finding negative keywords that can be added to a Campaign or Ad group.  Search terms that have generated numerous clicks with little or no conversions make good candidates for negative keywords. It will be up to the account manager to ultimately decide, but using this report provides the insights needed to make an informed decision.

By frequently reviewing the Search Terms report in order to consistently add negative keywords that are under-performing, advertisers can increase both their ROI and their quality score.

Summary

Google periodically makes changes to their interface.  Some of the changes they make help accessing various tools easier and some are changes that advertisers may not necessarily like.  Moving the access to the Negative Keywords and the Search Terms report was a change that absolutely makes accessing these pieces of the AdWords interface easier.

And make no mistake.  It was not a coincidence that the Search terms subtab was placed right next to the Negative keyword subtab next to the active Keywords subtab.  By using all three in conjunction, an advertiser can work to quickly and effectively optimize AdWords Campaigns by adding new keywords and negative keywords based on historical data.  Savvy advertisers should spend time in the Search terms report on a frequent basis in order to view customer search behavior in regards to their Ad groups and optimize bids and search terms using this insight.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

Restoring Bid Levels In The New Year {updated 1/6/20}

The holidays have come and gone and if you are a 4th quarter seasonal eCommerce advertiser you most likely increased bids (if not, shame on you) to capture as much traffic and sales as possible during the Q4 crush.

Now that the holidays are over, your conversion rates will typically return to normal levels, yet your bids are still inflated.

So how should you restore your bid levels in the new year in order to generate maximum sales while also generating a healthy ROI?

It depends on your level of involvement in your Google Ads account, but typically you have two choices – either reviewing and adjusting bids manually or using Google’s automated bid strategies to adjust bids. This blog post will look at both options and let you decide on which or perhaps a combination of both will be best suited to re-optimize your account.

Manually Adjusting Bids

If you have sufficient time to dedicate to managing your AdWords account, I would recommend at least in part that you manually adjust bids especially for best-sellers and higher margin items.  By manually adjusting bids, advertisers can determine which campaigns are still producing a high conversion rate using seasonal bid rates, while also determining issues other than the time of year that may account for lower conversion rates. 

Examples, of issues that can negatively affect conversion rates include lack of inventory, competitor discounting and other on-page factors such as out of date pages or availability language.

By manually adjusting bids rather than relying on Google bid strategies, advertisers can account for these “other issues” when reviewing and ultimately determining whether to return bids to pre-holiday levels or leave bids at inflated holiday levels. 

A downside of manually adjusting bids is that advertisers need to have enough data in order to enact proper decision making.  While waiting for data to accumulate, CPA can sometimes increase much higher than in Q4.  However, waiting and incurring this cost can often be worthwhile in discovering items that will produce a solid ROI throughout the year despite continuing to use higher Q4 optimized bids.

Let’s look at an example from one of my clients:

During December because of optimizing and ultimately increasing bids, the Military Campaign for one of my private clients skyrocketed accounting for 87 sales cumulative $3,000 in revenue; a 5.5% conversion rate; $11.54 CPA and a ROAS (rate on advertising spend) of approximately 3. It also had an average cost per click of $0.63.

Note, in order to easily look at various campaigns it is a best-practice to clearly define each campaign and to properly segment campaigns in order to not only be able to easily view past results, but also to be able to adjust various settings. For a review on the importance of segmenting campaigns for Google Shopping Campaigns review my article – How Segmenting Google Shopping Campaigns Can Boost Profitability.

For this Campaign, I originally segmented it from the rest of the Google Shopping Campaigns in mid-September of last year.  Here is how it performed in October: 10 sales cumulative $402; a 2.18% conversion rate; $16.61 CPA and a ROAS of 2.4.  It also had an average cost per click of $0.36.

One would assume that once the holiday shopping frenzy is complete that it would make sense to decrease bids to pre-holiday levels for this Campaign ($0.36 vs $0.63). 

However, before automatically lowering bids, I continued to allow the Campaign to run as is for another 2 weeks after Christmas to see how it would perform post-holidays with holiday bids.  Here were the results: 14 sales cumulative $333 sales; a 4.73% conversion rate; $6.03 CPA and a ROAS of 3.96. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, an average cost per click of $0.29 (that is a lower CPC than before the bids were raised and optimized during the holidays).

So what happened?  By optimizing and increasing bids during the holidays for products within this Shopping campaign, those products performed so well that they began to receive clicks at a lower price than the bid.  Remember, Google’s quality score?  If not, make sure you read my article – Why Google Advertisers Need to Know Their Quality Score.

After the holidays, product ads in this campaign continued to receive clicks below the bid value and are still attaining click share and impression share at holiday levels which is helping to account for a conversion rate almost as high the two weeks after Christmas as the three weeks preceding Christmas.

What should we do with this campaign?

That is a great question and why optimizing campaigns is never dull and should never use a set it and forget it strategy. It will take deeper investigation to determine which products are performing well inside the campaign and to determine if there are any products not performing up to a desired level and adjust those bids accordingly.

However, one thing is certain; bids should not be unilaterally lowered on this campaign now that the holidays are over. In fact, it might be wise to test raising bids to gain even more click and impression share.

Google’s Automated Bidding Strategies

What should you do if you don’t have the time to dedicate to each of your campaigns or at least not to your “lesser important” campaigns? 

If advertisers don’t have the needed time to dedicate to each Google Ads Campaign, they have the option of using Google’s automated bidding strategies to help ensure their spend remains aligned with their ROI goals for both Search and Shopping Campaigns.

Another option is to simply migrate existing Shopping Campaigns into Google Smart Shopping Campaigns. However, before this is done advertisers will need to be aware of the pitfalls of using Smart Shopping Campaigns. You can read more in my article – New Google Smart Shopping Campaigns – What You Need to Realize

However, by using Google’s bidding strategies although advertisers will forfeit the ability to dive into what factors other than bid may be affecting ROI and conversion rates they will not lose the ability to eliminate unwanted searches through the use of negative keywords.

Even though not typically preferred in use with my private clients, a campaign optimized using Google’s ‘Smart’ technology is far superior to a campaign left unattended. 

For Search Campaigns, Google offers the following automated bid strategies: Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize clicks, Maximize conversions, Maximize conversion value and Target Impression Share.

Target CPA – Google automatically will adjust an advertiser’s bid in order to get as many conversions possible at the advertiser’s selected cost per acquisition goal.

Target ROAS – Google automatically will adjust an advertiser’s bid in order to get as many conversions possible at the advertiser’s selected return on ad spend goal.

Maximize Clicks – Google automatically will adjust an advertiser’s bid in order to get as many clicks as possible within an advertiser’s daily budget.

Maximize Conversions – Google automatically will adjust an advertiser’s bid in order to get as many conversions as possible within an advertiser’s daily budget.

Maximize Conversion Value – Google automatically will adjust an advertiser’s bid in order to get as much conversion value as possible within an advertiser’s daily budget.

Target Impression Share – Google automatically will adjust an advertiser’s bid in order to get the highest search impression share possible within an advertiser’s daily budget.

Automated bid strategies can be changed once selected through the settings link. However, it is advised to allow time (typically at least 2 weeks) for a bidding strategy to have enough data before judging its success or failure and definitely before making a change to a different strategy.

Automated Shopping Strategies

For Shopping campaigns, the automated bidding strategies are a bit more limited, although those available work in the same way.

Target ROAS – Google automatically will adjust an advertiser’s bid in order to get as many conversions possible at the advertiser’s selected return on ad spend goal.

Maximize Clicks – Google automatically will adjust an advertiser’s bid in order to get as many clicks as possible within an advertiser’s daily budget.

Note, currently there is not a way to migrate a campaign from a Standard Shopping campaign to a Smart Shopping campaign. Therefore, if an advertiser would like to test a Smart Shopping campaign they will need to recreate the campaign and select Smart Shopping during campaign setup.

Final Word

I hope you didn’t think that now that the holidays were over that you could put your feet up and relax? The fact is that the beginning of the year is a critical time to optimize your Google Ads Campaigns. Having a good start to the new year can set a successful tone for the entire year.

Remember that whether reviewing your campaigns manually or creating automated bid strategies that will allow Google to automatically optimize your bids, putting a plan in place is essential and should be done immediately.  Without a plan, advertisers will likely waste budget that can be used for additional advertising throughout month and throughout the year.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com

Geographically Targeting Google Campaigns

With any marketing, it is important to ensure an advertiser’s message is directed to potential customers who can use a product or service. For Google advertisers, this translates into geographically restricting ads when needed. If a Campaign is not changed from the Google default, ads will be eligible to display for users across both the United States and Canada when a Google user’s search matches an advertiser’s keyword. Restricting an account geographically is important for e-commerce advertisers, and crucial for professional services advertisers since they typically have a geographically smaller pool of potential users.

When To Use Geographical Targeting?

Here are examples for both e-commerce and professional service retailers of when it would be necessary to create geographical targeting for a Google AdWords Campaign.

Example 1: An e-commerce advertiser ships their products to customers only within the continental United States.  In this instance, the advertiser would want to implement Settings that restrict ads from displaying to users in Canada, Alaska and Hawaii.

Example 2: A professional service advertiser (such as a dentist) would like ads to be eligible for display only within a 7-mile radius of their office.

In both examples, it is critical to restrict where ads are eligible to display in order to avoid costs from users unable to become customers based on their location.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemWhere ads for a Campaign are eligible to display is controlled within a Campaign’s Settings.  The location setting can either be determined during the initial Campaign creation (see Chapter 4 – Proper Settings – The First Step of Successful Google Advertising for all Available Settings) or modified by accessing the Settings tab once a Campaign is active.

Creating Proper Location Settings

Google AdWords - Creating Location SettingsBy default, Google has ads eligible to appear for all users within United States and Canada. This Setting will have ads eligible for display within this Campaign to users across the entire United States and all of Canada. Other options advertisers have within the Location settings include: All countries and territories (ads are eligible for display worldwide), United States (ads eligible for display in the US only) or Let me choose. Note, by utilizing the Let me choose Location setting advertisers can either add or exclude locations where ads will be eligible to appear.

The Let me choose option is the option that both of the advertisers in our examples would need to select in order to implement desired settings.

E-commerce Advertiser’s Example

When the Advanced search link is selected, Google displays a location help window that includes Search, Radius targeting, Location groups and Bulk locations.

Google AdWords Location Help WindowFor our e-commerce advertiser, they would want to use the search box in order to add the United States and exclude Alaska and Hawaii.

When the search box is populated, Google displays matching results for the search with available options to Add, Exclude or Nearby. Once the advertiser selects one of the options, they can continue to modify with multiple rules to match their criteria.

Google AdWords Formating Location RadiusIn this example, the advertiser would need to Add the United States and Exclude both Hawaii and Alaska. Once they are finished, clicking on the blue DONE button will return an advertiser to the Settings page now listing the saved options.

Search Radius - Google AdWords Matching ResultsLocations are displayed as either Targeted locations (where ads are eligible for display) or Excluded locations (where ads are NOT eligible for display).

Professional Services Advertiser’s Example

Remember our professional service advertiser, the dentist?  He wanted to only display ads within a 7- mile radius of his office.

In order for the professional service advertiser to format this desired setting, they would need to select the Advanced search link just like the e-commerce advertiser, but this time use the Radius targeting.

Within the Radius targeting, advertisers can base radius on the name of a place, address or coordinates and select the radius.  In this example, I used zip code 91104 and selected within a 7 mile radius.

Google AdWords - 7 Mile RadiusGoogle displays a map of the eligible location based on the data entered. Google also includes overlapping targeted cities, which can be used to Add, Exclude or use Nearby to further refine the geographic target.

Other Location Targeting Options

We reviewed the use of the search and radius targeting in the two previous examples; however, Google also provides two lesser-used tools for geographical targeting – Location groups and Bulk locations.

Location groups – Location groups allow an advertiser to create Campaigns that display ads to customers based on types of places they visit, demographic location information or when they are in proximity to an advertiser’s location (works in conjunction with location extensions).

Bulk locations – Bulk locations allow advertisers to enter up to 1,000 locations and is used similar to radius targeting when advertisers have multiple locations to either target or exclude.

Changing Bids Based On Location

Once an advertiser has determined which location their ads are eligible for display and have enough data, it is possible to vary bids geographically.

In order for a Campaign to be eligible to change bids by location, a Campaign must enable the All types feature found within the Settings tab.

Google AdWords All Features SettingsOnce the All types feature is enabled a new Locations subtab will appear below the Settings tab.Google AdWords Locations SubtabWithin the Locations subtab, advertisers can view location information on their Campaign based on where ads are being served or where users being displayed ads are located. Advertisers can segment data, filter data, customize columns, change bids, download reports and view change history.

In order to view meaningful location data, advertisers will need to access the location report for either “What triggered the ad (geographic)” or “Where your users were (user location).”Google AdWords Location ReportOnce displaying a location report, advertisers can subdivide data based on State, Nielsen DMA region, Congressional district, County, Municipality, City, Postal code, Airport, Borough, Neighborhood or University.

Chapter-21-9a

By subdividing data, advertisers gain insights into what areas within their geographic target are producing sales and can optimize their Campaign accordingly by increasing bids where conversions are occurring and decreasing bids where conversions are not.

Remember like with all bid adjustments, location bid adjustments are done in terms of percentage. For example, increasing a keyword bid by 30% would change a bid to $1.30, if the normal bid on a keyword was $1.00. Review Chapter 11, Strategies for Determining Bids in Google AdWords, for detailed information and best practices when determining keyword bids.

Summary

Whether a professional services advertiser or an e-commerce advertiser, proper location settings are essential in the profitability of a Google AdWords account. Ads should not be displayed to customers who are unable to use a product or service due to geographical restrictions. Showing ads to non-relevant customers is a waste of marketing budget that will many times substantially lower an account’s return on investment.

Google location tools allow an advertiser to serve ads to potential traffic at a broad or a granular level.  In addition, through use of location reporting, advertisers can optimize bids based on historical results. Proper location settings are critical factors in all Campaigns and should not be ignored as incurring costs by displaying ads to users geographically unable to purchase a product or service could quite possibly be the fastest and is definitely the most wasteful way to explode a marketing budget.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

Reviewing Your Campaign’s Scorecard

Most seasoned AdWords marketers have a list of elements they implement when launching a new Campaign.  These elements commonly include ad extensions, negative keywords, mobile bid adjustments, etc.   However, how can a marketer ensure that they have added each element within every Campaign?

The answer is by accessing the Dimensions tab and reviewing the data contained in either the Campaigns details view or the Ad group details view. Through these two views advertisers have the ability to analyze data for a variety of attributes at either the Campaign or Ad Group levels. Sometimes referred to as ‘the Campaign Scorecard’, the Campaign details view can be customized to display up to 50 different attributes simultaneously for all Campaigns. Likewise, the Ad groups details view can be customized to display even more attributes.  In fact, the Ad groups detail view can display up to 65 different attributes simultaneously for all Ad Groups!

Accessing The Campaign Scorecard

In order to access the Campaigns detail view, first select the Dimensions tab and under the view drop down menu select either the Campaigns details or Ad group details.

Google AdWords - Accessing Campaign DetailsOnce in the Campaigns details, the columns can be modified by adding or removing columns as needed.  In order to modify the columns, click on the Columns button and select Modify columns.

Customizing Columns In Campaigns details viewWithin the custom columns window, advertisers have the ability to add/remove columns as well as to change the order in which columns display. To Add columns, advertisers need to open the metric list for the attribute they wish to add and select the blue Add text link.  In order to remove, advertisers need to simply click on the blue Remove text link.  To reorder the columns, drag and drop to the desired order and click save.

Customizing Columns WindowThe following metrics are currently supported within the Campaigns detail view.

Attributes – Campaign state, Campaign type, Campaign subtype, Labels, Networks, Bid Strategy and Bid Strategy type.

Negative keywords – Negative keywords (campaigns) and Negative keywords (shared lists).

Ad Extensions – Sitelinks: active, Sitelinks: disapproved, Phone numbers: active, Phone numbers: disapproved, Apps: active, Apps:disapproved and Apps level.

Bid adjustments – Mobile bid adj, Schedule bid adj and Location bid adj.

Performance – Clicks, Impr, CTR, Avg CPC, Avg CPM, Cost, Avg Pos, Engagements, Engagement rate, Avg CPE, Views, View rate, Avg CPV, Avg Cost, Interactions, Interaction rate, Invalid interactions and Invalid interaction rate.

Conversions – Conversions, Cost/Conv, Conv. Rate, View-through conv, Est total conv, Converted clicks, Cost/converted click, Click conversion rate, Conv value/cost, Conv value/click, Value/conv, Total conv value and Value/converted click.

The Ad group details view includes all of the attributes included in the Campaign details view listed above plus an additional 15 attributes.  These additional attributes includes Ads and Keyword metrics along with various other attributes within the above list categories specially referencing Ad Groups.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemWays To Implement The Data

The best way to utilize Campaign detail data or Ad Groups detail data depends upon each advertiser’s specific needs, but I will review some ideas of how I use the data to ensure all of my Campaigns contain key elements.

Campaign State metric

Typically Campaign state is the first column I add. When modifying the columns, I also make sure it is the first column listed.  I add the Campaign state column in order to sort for active Campaigns.  Optimizing an account takes time and I am only interested in working on currently active (enabled) Campaigns.

Sorting By Campaign StateNegative keywords metrics

The Campaign details view allows an advertiser to view negative keywords by the number of Negative keywords listed in in each Campaign or the number of shared list in a Campaign where negative list are being pulled. Negative keywords are one of the most effective ways optimize an account.  By ensuring that ads do not display for non-related terms, an advertiser can limit spend and increase ROI.  For more information on creating negative keywords and negative keyword lists, refer to my blog post – The Art of Adding Negative Keywords.

Negative Keywords Columns

Ad Extensions Metrics –

Located under the Ad Extensions metrics are the following attributes – Sitelinks: active, Sitelinks: disapproved and Phone numbers: active.  Sitelinks have been shown to substantially increase click through rates (CTR) and overall account profitability.  For information on creating sitelinks and their importance, review my blog post – When It Comes To Your Google Ads, Size Does Matter.

By utilizing the Campaigns details view, advertisers can quickly confirm that all Campaigns have a minimum of four Sitelinks and no disapprovals.  In addition, the Phone numbers: active attribute allows advertisers to quickly review all Campaigns utilizing call extensions. This view allows advertisers to ensure that call extensions are present in all campaigns where applicable.

Sitelinks Active ColumnBid Adjustment Metrics –

When using advanced techniques such as bid adjustments, the Campaign details view allows advertisers to view different adjustments for all Campaigns on the same screen. Reviewing the Mobile bid adj. metric is a best-practice to ensure that whatever mobile bid strategy an advertiser is actively implementing that it is being utilized across all Campaigns.  For strategies on mobile bid adjustment, refer to my blog post – Optimizing Google Campaigns For Mobile.

Note, that although advertisers can view the mobile bid adjustment they cannot adjust within the Dimensions tab.  In order to edit, it is necessary to first access to the Settings tab for each Campaign.

For Schedule bid adj. and Location bid adj., the Campaigns details view list either Yes or No to whether those adjustments are being utilized.  For details on exactly how each bid adjustment is being utilized, an advertiser will need to view details within each individual Campaign.

Bid Adjustment ColumnsThe above examples are some of the ways I use the Campaign details view to optimize accounts.  However, these examples are using only a handful of the available attributes.  Which attribute is going to be the most important to each advertiser will vary.  However, regardless of which attributes are used, the Campaign details view allows quick access to the data needed to increase account profitability.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

 

Merging Retargeting With Search Campaigns

Google Retargeting or Google Remarketing (the terms are interchangeable) is the process of using Google’s technology to advertise to customers who have already visited a website or a specific section of a website.  Generally, when an advertiser thinks of retargeting they envision those image ads for websites they have previously visited that ‘magically’ appear for a product or service when a user is surfing other websites.  This is indeed the most common use of retargeting and can be quite effective, see my blog post – Google Remarketing – What It Is, Why Use Google.

However, Google retargeting list (called audiences) can also be incorporated into search campaigns. By merging a Google search campaign with a retargeting list, advertisers can increase or decrease bids for their search ads when those ads appear to users that have previously visited their website. 

Why Is This Beneficial?

As we have stated previously, on average 97% of visitors leave a website without converting.  This holds true for ecommerce as well as professional service advertisers.  Many of these potential customers will subsequently return to Google and perform a related if not the exact same search. By merging retargeting with search, advertisers have the ability to increase their bids on these return searchers and thus increase their ad rank by targeting those customers who have previously visited their website. 

Customers who visit a website multiple times have been found to have a higher conversion rate.  In addition, ads shown to customers who have previously visited a website have also been found to have higher click through rates (CTR) which increases quality score, another factor in boosting ad rank.  For additional information on quality score, refer to my blog post – Why Advertisers Need To Know Their Quality Score.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemCreating A Retargeting List

The first step is to create a retargeting list. There are two ways to create retargeting list with Google, either by using the Google AdWords interface with Audiences which is found under Shared library or through Google Analytics.  Both will work and as long as Google Analytics is properly linked to an AdWords account. Once the retargeting list is created in Analytics the retargeting list will display in the Shared library in Google AdWords just as if it was created using Google AdWords.

Creating a retargeting list in Google Analytics I feel is more user friendly and provides a few more options, so for this example that is the method we will focus.

In order to create the retargeting list in Google Analytics, first open Google Analytics and click on the Admin tab in the upper menu.

Admin Tab In Google AnalyticsIn the second column, the Property column, click on Remarketing and then Audiences. An advertiser will first need to click on Remarketing which will drop down a secondary list that contains the Audiences option.

Google Analytics - Remarketing OptionOnce the Audiences window opens, an advertiser will need to click on the +New Audience button to create a new campaign or select an existing audience if they wish to make changes to an audience that currently exists.

Analytics - New AudienceThe first thing an advertiser will then be asked to select is which AdWords account they would like the retargeting list to be associated.  This is going to be vital for advertisers with multiple AdWords accounts. In addition, this process allows advertisers to ensure their AdWords and Analytics accounts are properly linked.

Linking Analytics & Google AdWordsAn advertiser is then directed to define their audience (retargeting list). Here, Google gives some common suggestions for use including: Smart List, All Users, New Users, Returning Users, Users who visit a specific section of the website, Users who completed a goal conversion and Users who completed a transaction.

Defining an Audience in remarketing listGoogle’s list is merely suggestions and will populate the first rule based on the criteria of list selected.  However, Google’s Audience Builder is customizable and allows all lists to be defined on a wide number of attributes including: Demographics, Technology, Behavior, Date of First Session, Traffic Sources and Ecommerce.

The Audience Builder also allows an advertiser to combine multiple attributes based on whom they would like to have included within their remarketing list.

Using Google's Audience BuilderBelow is a list I created for a client that contains All Users that have never made a transaction with a membership duration (how long a customer will remain in the list) of 30 days.

Google Retargeting - No Conversion ListDeciding on the attributes that will create a remarketing list can be challenging, yet fun.  Think of what type of potential customers you would be willing to pay more to reengage and test for results. The possibilities are only limited by your traffic and your creativity.

Once a new list has been saved, it is ready for use for traditional remarketing or it can be incorporated into bidding for Google search.

Incorporating Your Retargeting List With Google Search

Now that we have a retargeting list, let’s look at how to integrate it into a Google search campaign.  Note, a retargeting list will need to have sufficient members in order to be eligible for use.  If it is a new list, it will take time before the audience is eligible for use in search.

Assuming there is a large enough audience within the retargeting list to use in search, the first step is for an advertiser is to open the AdWords Ad Group they wish to apply the retargeting list and click on the Audiences tab.

Google AdWords - Audiences TabOnce in the Audiences tab, select the red +Remarketing button in order to add a remarketing audience.

Google AdWords - Adding Remarketing ListOnce this window opens, an advertiser has 3 options: Targeting, Ad group exclusions and Campaign exclusions. The Targeting drop down is what allows a retargeting list to be added in order to adjust bids.  The other 2 options will stop ads from showing to a particular audience, so make sure the Targeting drop down is selected.

Once the Targeting drop down has been selected a sub-menu will display showing Interests & remarketing.

Google AdWords Interest & RemarketingNext an advertiser needs to select the remarketing list they wish to adjust bids. By clicking on the double arrow next to the name, the list will move into a selected column displayed to the right of rest of the lists (if multiple remarketing lists are available).

Google AdWords - Selecting A Remarketing ListClick the blue save button at the bottom of the screen and voila, done.  An advertiser now has the ability to adjust bids to those users who are contained within a specific retargeting list.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemIn order to adjust bids, an advertiser needs to click on the dash in the Bid adj category and select the amount they wish to increase (or decrease) their bid to those customers.

Google AdWords - Bid Adjustment

Note, bid adjustments are done in terms of percentage.  For example, if an advertiser increases their bid 30%, a $1 bid will become $1.30 for customers in the retargeting audience searching keywords contained within the applicable Ad Group. Also note that bid adjustments done within the audience tab work in conjunction with other advanced bid adjustments including location, ad schedule and device. For additional information on adjusting those bids, review my blog post – Optimizing Google Campaigns For Mobile.

Summary –

Incorporating retargeting audiences into search campaign is an effective way for an advertiser to have their ads more prominently displayed to those users more likely to convert. By paying a fractional increase per click, advertisers can see dramatic increases in sales coming from those users that have previously visited their website.

In addition, adding retargeting audiences to search can provide advertisers with a competitive advantage over their competitors who simply bid the same for each keyword regardless of whom it is displaying.

As with best-practices when using an advanced technique, it should always be tested.  Test the audience and test the bid to optimize for maximum results. Through ongoing work with my clients, I have found that with the proper implementation and testing this advanced technique has the potential to provide a nice boost to a Google search campaign’s ROI.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.