Beware of The Phone Call From Google

If you are advertising using Google, you will likely at some point receive a call from a Google representative.

One way that Google continues to grow is by assigning representatives to advertiser’s accounts in the role of account strategist. Depending on how much money you spend each month, will determine how often a Google Account Strategist contacts you regarding well strategizing on your account.

Now, before I go into a tirade of how Google uses live representatives to convince their current advertisers to unnecessarily increase their spending, I want to talk about the positive side of advertising on Google.

I believe that Google is perhaps the greatest advertising channel ever invented!

That might sound over the top, but I really do believe it. Where else in the history of mankind can you reach so many potential customers where they have an interest to purchase? Regardless if you are a company offering roofing repair or a company who sells t-shirts, the ability to reach potential customers is incredible.

In addition, Google’s advertising platform continues to evolve. Google offers advertisers the ability to select where within the Google Network to advertise, using different keywords with different formats types all while being able to either manually or automatically control bids.

No wonder that with so many ways to optimize a Google Ads account, many advertisers do not take advantage of everything that would benefit their account.

Quick Analogy, then we will talk more about the Google account strategist.

Have you ever been to an all-you-can eat buffet?

At a good all-you-can eat buffet, there are going to typically be many more choices then you can possibly eat. Some of the options like the artichoke salad with fresh sardine oil may not look right for you. Maybe for some it is, but to most it probably would not.

Now what if there was ‘Buffet Strategist’ from the restaurant that came to your table, while you were eating and asked if you had time to discuss the buffet?

You probably would listen to what they had to say, right?

After discussing how to be go about the main dishes of the buffet like the roast beef carving station and the different pastas, the buffet strategist might ask you if you tried their new artichoke salad with sardine oil.

After you tell him no, he will tell you about the artichoke salad in how it was made, how good it is for you and how many other buffet goers have enjoyed it.

Now you may decide to try it. However, before you do would you want to know that the buffet strategist gets paid more depending on how many people eat this sardine salad? Would it change your level of trust knowing that is why he wants more people to try it?

I’m not sure if you followed my buffet story; however, let me plainly explain the point I’m trying to make.

Google typically changes representatives every quarter to managing different accounts. The goal of the Google Account Strategist is to increase spending in the quarter for their assigned accounts.

What is the best way for them to do this?

By having their assigned advertisers either:

  1. Increase spending on current types of advertising. (Eat more of the Roast Beef).
  2. Convince advertisers to expand advertising across networks not currently in use. (Try that artichoke and sardine salad).

As an official partner agency, Google rewards points based on how much money my clients spend and more points based on how well an account is optimized compared to Google’s automated metrics. In addition, an agency will receive additional points for having their clients spend more money on notoriously poor performing (at least profitability wise) channels such as Google Display.

These rewards have never meant anything to myself, although I redeemed them a few months ago for a shiny new Google decked bike that I tool around the neighborhood in. However, my agency first and foremost works for our private clients. They are number one with their goals of profitability.   

Now how much do you think these rewards motivate the Google Account Strategies that calls you on the phone? You and I will never know for sure, but it is something to keep in mind.

The first goal of the Google Rep – Increase accounts spending on current types of advertising.

This is where Google and the goals of its advertisers are joined.

If an advertiser is generating a healthy profit using Google Ads and they can fulfil all their orders, then an advertiser should increase their spending to garner more sales, don’t you think?

If advertisers are spending more money, that means more money for Google which means happy shareholders.

With so many different ways to tweak campaigns, this is where your friendly Google Specialist may come in useful. It is also why even I take their calls. They may have the insights of an expert looking at an account at an overview that you have missed working on an account on a daily basis.

Sometimes, you get too close to stuff and it’s great to get a birdseye view from an expert, wouldn’t you say?

However, do you make it a habit to look at Google’s automatic ‘Recommendations’ within your account?

If not, you should.

The Recommendations link is located in the left menu just below the ‘Overview’ link.

These recommendations are automated ‘Google Account Strategist’ and of course help an advertiser spend more money, but they also help advertisers ensure there is nothing negatively affecting their account.

Examples, of common suggestions and warnings.

– Warning regarding overlapping negative keywords.
– Suggestions for new keywords to add to a campaign.
– Suggestions on adding different ad types.
– Suggestions to add common ad extensions.
– Suggestions on adding new bidding strategies.

About a year ago, Google introduced a 0 – 100% rating on how optimized each account was optimized. An although I find this rating a bit arbitrary and meaningless, the percentage of increase percentage with each recommendation will tell you how important Google feels each change will be to your campaigns.

However, when reviewing you must realize that these suggestions are automated. Automated being the key word. Never blindly accept recommendations, in order to generate maximum results, you must know how these suggestions will affect your advertising.

Pro Tip – Even by declining the recommendations in the ‘Recommendations’ sections of your Google Ads account it will increase Google’s optimization score on your campaigns.

In addition, many of these recommendations Google automatically emails if you have selected to receive their customized help & performance suggestions.

Note, you can manage those email settings within your preferences notifications if you wish to receive or to stop receiving these recommendations.

Just like in within the account recommendations inside the account, Google commonly sends out are ways to increase your ad spend.

A favorite for them to do this is through adding keywords to your account. If you receive these ‘suggestions’, you need to be very careful because they are based on keywords your competitors are also advertising and may not be relevant to your account.

Come to think about it. It’s very smart for Google to let you know what keywords your competitors use as it inspires competition and increases the price for popular keywords! 

Another favorite of both the Google Account Strategist and the automated Google suggestions is the suggestions to either fully or at least partially automate your campaigns.

Through Google Shopping this means using Google Smart Shopping campaigns and in Google search it means using automated bidding strategies.

I have written about both smart campaigns and automated bid strategies and the drawbacks from using them quite a bit at blog.trueonlinepresence.com, if you are looking for more information on the pitfalls and exactly why you should not use.

However, in a nutshell what the biggest drawback of using is that these automated strategies take the control from the advertiser on how and where to spend their money. Instead advertisers blindly (in the case of Smart campaigns) and semi-blindly (in the case of automated bidding strategy) trust Google to make the best decisions with their advertising dollars.

Especially with Smart Shopping campaigns, where advertisers cannot see their bids, what keywords their ads appear for, what networks their ads appear in or in what device ads are running, this takes a lot of trust.

Trusting Google is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the hen house, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, Google wants its advertisers to be successful. If not, they will not advertise anymore. But there are different levels of success when it comes to advertising with Google. By reducing profitability just a bit while substantially increasing advertisers spending and testing different lesser used advertising methods inside Google Ads may make perfect sense especially if you are Google. But, does it make sense for you?

If the Smart Campaigns and automated campaigns performed better, I would have no problem implementing across all of my client’s accounts. In fact, it would make my life much easier and allow my team more time to work on other things to help increase client’s conversions. 

However, I’ve tested and the automated campaigns extensively and only once has an automated campaign outperformed one of our manually optimized campaigns.

Now granted, we are doing more than most advertisers optimizing accounts particularly using Google Shopping as I detail in my new book Make Each Click Count Google Shopping Simplified.

However, my warning is this when you are talking to your Google Account Strategist. They are getting incentivized to increase your spend and incentivized to have you switch to using automated bidding strategies (which also will increase your spend).

This fact you should keep in the forefront of your mind!

The second goal of the Google Rep – Expand advertising to networks not currently being used

This goal goes hand in hand with the first as it will help you spend more money with your advertising but is a bit different in how it goes about it.

Google offers five main networks – Search, Display, Shopping, Video and Discovery networks.

Almost all advertisers use the Search network. These are the traditional text ads that appear on Google.com or their partners when you search. Search ads are the original Google ad type.

In addition, the majority of eCommerce advertisers use the Shopping network. Shopping ads are the ads that appear with your product’s picture, name and price either on the main Google tab or within Google Shopping.

However, when it comes to Display, Video and Discovery networks those are used very little in comparison.

Display ads are ads that appear within the Google’s network. Commonly used display ads include retargeting ads, which I use. However, advertisers can also just serve their ads within the display network to users who have never visited their website.

These type ads are much cheaper to use, but they also have much lower conversion rates.

Video ads are just as they say. They are video ads that are served on YouTube and across the web.

Finally, there are Discovery ads. Discovery ads are non-video ads that run on YouTube, Gmail and Google Discover.

After your Google Account Strategist discusses why your account should transition to automation, the next topic will inevitably be expanding advertising to any of the networks that you are not currently using.

This is where it is important to know your goals in advertising using Google.

Is your goal in advertising doing it for profit or for brand awareness?

I love that term brand awareness. Brand Awareness means advertising knowing you are not going to get many if any sales. Instead, you goal is letting people know who you are.

And especially for those of you that are a small to mid-sized eCommerce company, who the heck cares they see your name if they aren’t going to buy?

Final Word

The more money you spend advertising using Google ads the more often you can expect to receive a call from a Google representative.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t pick up the phone and don’t take their calls. In fact, I always take their calls.

However, what I’m suggesting is to know their motivation is to increase your account’s spending and getting your account to advertise across different networks.

I am also suggesting to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER change how you are advertising a successful campaign without testing.

With search campaigns you can test by running Experiments in Google account. You can change variables within a search campaign, such as the bidding strategy, and actually test for a set time period and see what performs better.

Testing with Smart campaigns is a bit more difficult, but you can and should attempt different methods of testing. Whether it is side-by-side or testing different time periods, make sure you don’t make a change without testing.

By testing, you may indeed find that automated campaigns perform better. However, especially for those using Google Shopping that follow best-practices as detailed in my new book Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping, you will most likely find out that a well optimized manual campaign outperform Google Smart Shopping campaigns every time!

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 trusted by small to mid-sized eCommerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales. In addition, The Academy of Internet Marketing includes exclusive access to me, author of the Make Each Click Count book series.

The Academy of Internet Marketing

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 discover for yourself what makes us special. Together we will grow your business!

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, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, 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.

Google Ads Editor – The Difference Between Mastering & Being Simply Proficient

How do you determine the difference between a master and simply being proficient when it comes to managing Google ads?

For me, what constitutes a real master regardless of subject are these three things: knowledge; efficiency and quantity output.

Sound, right?

Although a proficient user can have all the knowledge on Google ads regarding how it all works and the most effective methods to optimize an account without using the Google Editor, these users will never be able to match the efficiency and quantity output of someone who relies on the Google Editor for making significant account changes.

What Is The Google Ads Editor?

Google Ads Editor is a free downloadable application for managing your Google Ads account. Once installed you can download your account or accounts and make changes to the account within the Google Ads Editor. The changes that you make within the Google Editor are stored ‘offline’ until you ‘Post’ the changes at which time they are uploaded back into your Google Ads account where they are immediately implemented live.

The Google Ads Editor has been designed to be easy to understand and will work even when you are not connected to the Internet.

A powerful resource for those wanting to improve their efficiency managing Google Ads, the Google Editor allows advertisers to quickly make changes in a fraction of this time it takes compared to making the same changes using the Google Ads interface.

Given the capabilities of using the Google Ads Editor, why is it then that more advertisers do not incorporate doing their work within the Editor?

My thought is that those advertisers that are not using the Google Ads Editor simply do not understand its capability or how using the Google Ads Editor will make managing their Google campaigns a whole lot more proficient.

In order to remedy this lack of understanding, I have listed the top time saving tasks that can be performed using the Google Ads Editor. There are many other ways to incorporate the Ads Editor into your optimizing of Google ads, but these should be enough to show you some of what can be achieved.

My Top Ways To Use The Google Ads Editor

1. Copy/Cut & Paste

Although there is limited copy and paste function within the Google Ads interface, the process is cumbersome and slow to perform. For example if you want to copy a search ad between ad groups, you must go to the ad (click copy under the more button); navigate to the ad group you wish to copy; go to the ‘Ads & extensions’ section of the ad group; click the more button and paste the ad.

If you are very quick, this process can be done in about 1-2 minutes.

If you want to copy an ad in the Ads Editor, you left click the mouse (click copy), click on where you want to copy the ad, left click your mouse (click paste).

If you are slow, this process can be done in about 3-5 seconds!

Being able to copy and paste is not limited to ads or even to Search campaigns. Whether modifying your Search, Shopping or Display campaigns, the Google Ads Editor can quickly copy almost anything from one campaign to another including ads, ad extensions, product groups, keywords, settings, audiences, placements and more.

In fact, you can even copy and paste entire campaigns or move ad groups from one campaign to another!

Needless to say, the ability to copy/cut paste can be a huge time saver when you need to copy or move elements within your account.

2. Bulk Changes

The Google Ads interface is extremely limited when making changes. Advertisers are limited to changes of one at a time or if very proficient making multiple identical changes to items within the same ad group (such as keyword bidding).

The Google Editor in contrast allows advertisers to use bulk edits to quickly make changes to multiple campaigns simultaneously.

The bulk editing tool allows you to search and replace text, move items, and undo or redo changes across multiple campaigns in a fraction of the time it would take using the Google Ads interface.

3. Import/Export

If you or someone on your team is more comfortable working making changes in excel rather than in the Google Editor, no problem. The Google Editor allows you to export data, make changes within excel and then reupload changes into the editor.

Once you reupload the changes, you can review all changes before approving them and sending them live to your Ads account.

Whether using excel or the Google Editor to make changes, one thing is for certain – both are a whole lot faster than making changes directly within the Google Ads interface.

4. Find & Replace Text

Using the find and replace text is geared toward working with Search campaigns. This feature allows an advertiser to quickly change text throughout ads.

During the holidays, I found the find and replace tool particularly useful when working on private client accounts, as I would change promotions and details fairly regularly.

Example, you want to change a sale from the 40% you were running during Black Friday to 20% for the rest of the holidays.

If you are using the Google Ads interface, you will need to navigate to each ad and manually make the change at either the ad group or campaign level. Depending on how many ads you are running within how many different campaigns or ad groups this type of change could take between minutes and hours.

If you are using the Google Ads Editor, you simply use the Find & Replace tool and the process takes a minute or two regardless of how many ads you are changing!

5. The Ability To Work Offline

With the Google Ads interface in order to be able to make changes you need to be connected to the Internet.

With the Google Ads Editor this is not the case.

And although typically most of us are not spending our days flying through the country on private jets without internet, occasionally this feature does come in useful. You never know when you may be unable to connect to the Internet, but still have changes to make to your Google Ads.

A few weeks back, due to some winds here is Southern California, my Internet was out of commission most of the day and during the holiday season. If I did all my optimizing exclusively in the Google Ads interface, I would have been dead in the water.

However, since I work so much in the Google Ads Editor, I was able to work in my private client accounts that had data downloaded, make changes and then upload them into their Google Ads accounts when the Internet was restored.

Final Word

Just because you have always done something a certain way, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the most efficient way of doing it.

I, myself, get into this trap of when I have been doing something for so long and it is working that it is difficult to evolve even if there is a better way.

I was recently at a marketing event and I was speaking to an individual that coincidentally also ran a Search Engine Marketing company managing private clients. When we spoke about the subject of maximizing time and using the Google Ads Editor he said, ‘I don’t need the Editor I do just fine making my changes directly within the Google Ads interface’.

All though you can work exclusively inside the Google Ads interface (as many advertisers do), using the Google Editor is going to make you a whole lot more efficient and increase your quantity output.

The top ways that I have listed above are some of the more popular ways of using the Google Ads Editor, but in no way is it an exhaustive list.

The Google Ads Editor can be used to make any type of change where you are currently changing using the Google Ads Interface and if you are making more than one change, probably much quicker.

If you aren’t currently using the Google Ads Editor, I encourage you to start exploring what is possible and making it an essential tool in your Google Ads management.

After all, by become proficient in using the Google Ads Editor you will be a step closer to becoming a true master in the realm of Google advertising. Well, maybe not a true master, but at least a whole lot more efficient!

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 twenty 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

Increase Your Conversions By Knowing Your Customer’s Location {revised 4/10/20}

Location, location, location, it is the well-known battle cry of real estate agents, but it just as well could be the battle cry of the savvy online marketer.

Depending on what products you are selling online, your conversion rates may differ substantially depending on which part of the country your customers live.

Imagine this scenario for the scuba diving retailer (I’m not pulling this example from thin air, I previously worked with a scuba diving retailer as a private client a few years ago).

As you can probably imagine, the users searching for scuba diving gear who live near the water – Florida, California, Texas, etc. had higher conversion rates than those not by the water – Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, etc. Meanwhile, the users searching in high income areas not by the water, New York, Denver, Chicago, etc. were somewhere in between – assuming they were planning their trips.

Therefore, to optimize the account, I used location bidding to bid more for areas by the water with the highest conversions; lowered the bid slightly for areas not by the water but with higher average income and bid substantially lower for areas not by the water with very few conversions.

What Does This Have to Do with You?

I realize you probably don’t sell scuba diving gear, but if someone asked you if your CPA (cost-per acquisition) was the same across all states would you know? Would you know which states are generating your highest conversion rates and at what CPA?

For each campaign?

That’s right, if you have followed best-practices and grouped campaigns into similar products then conversions rates may very well vary by location even within different campaigns.

If your campaigns are not currently optimized by location or you don’t know how this is done, then you should read the rest of this article.

Below we will reveal exactly how to dive into your Google Ads account to uncover this data. Once you can identify trends in user behavior based on their location you can optimize your campaigns based on historical data to increase your profitability.

Accessing Location Data

You can access location data at either the account or campaign level.

In order, to access you are going to click on ‘Location’ located in the left-hand menu.

Then, you will click on either ‘Geographic report’ or ‘User Location report’ located below the ‘Location link.

Geographic Report displays the location that triggered your ads to display based on both location as well as area of interest.

User location report displays the location that triggered your ads to display based exclusively on destination.

Which should you use?

If you are advertising a product or service that is specific to a geographical region – example Georgia football shirts, then you may want to use the geographic report to optimize bids as you would want to be able to subdivide data by both actual location as well as area of interest.

However, if you are selling an item with no geographic ties – example children’s tricycles, then best-practices would suggest using the user location report to subdivide and optimize on your data.

For the example below, I will use the User location report.

Once you click on the User location report, the report displays at the top level which is for country.

If you then click on the country, options will open including region, state, region, congressional district, county, municipality, city, postal code, airport, borough, city region, neighborhood university and district.

For my private clients, I generally will subsegment by state or even by city if there are substantial conversions to warrant.

Once you open the report, basics columns will display including clicks, impressions, CTR, Average CPC, Cost, Conversions, Cost/Cov and Value/Conv. You are also able to add additional KPIs by clicking on the column button on the report. You can also export the data into an excel file if that makes the data easier for you to work with.

Once you have identified some trends and are ready to either increase or decrease bids, you will click the checkbox next to the field you wish to adjust; select the edit button and choose Add targets and set bid adjustment.

Proprietary Best Practices For Adjusting Bids

Now that you know how to extract your data and how to either increase or decrease bids, the important question becomes when to make the bid adjustments and how much to adjust the bids.

This is up to the individual advertisers of course, but here are the guidelines that I use for the majority of my private clients.

First, I calculate the ROAS – Conversion Value / Costs. This can be done by exporting the data into excel and adding a column with the formula above to automatically calculate ROAS.

For items with traffic over a certain threshold (say 200 clicks over the last 30 days) I change the bids based on the following schedule:

ROAS 2-5 – Increase bids 10%
ROAS 5-10 – Increase bids 15%
ROAS 10-24 – Increase bids 25%
ROAS over 25 – Increase bids 40%

For categories, with certain number of clicks (say 100) and 0 conversions I would look at lowering bids.

100 – 150 clicks with 0 conversions – Decrease bids 10%
150 – 200 clicks with 0 conversions – Decrease bids 15%
Over 200 clicks with 0 conversions – Decrease bids 25%

If this is confusing, please download my Google Shopping Location Bidding Strategy Guide for a complete look at the bidding formulas and more explanation on each.

It is free to download.

Last Word

If you are not reviewing which location your conversions are being generated, you are most likely wasting ad spend AND not capitalizing on the ability to increase profitable conversions.

By setting up a schedule of when you review these locations, you can systematically increase or decrease your bids for areas that either historically either do or do not convert.

It is important to note for this method to be effective; you will need to ensure AdWords is properly tracking conversions – see Measuring Conversions – Implementing Proper Tracking.

However, if your account tracking is properly installed you will soon discover how effectively adjusting bids based on conversions can boost your overall account profitability.

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.

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.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

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.

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

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.

 

Professional Services Sometimes Need To Give Away The Sizzle To Sell The Steak

Most professional service companies including lawyers, dentists and real estate professionals that purchase paid traffic often struggle generating a profitable ROI.  The main reason that obtaining a positive ROI is difficult is because unlike an ecommerce company; professional service companies typically do not have a direct call to action such as an ‘Add To Cart’ button on their website.  Also, unlike an ecommerce company what the professional service company typically offers is some sort of intangible service that many times is not even purchased directly on their website.

Instead of a direct call to action, for many professional service companies, the only call to action visitors are offered is to either find a phone number and call or to locate the all too common ‘contact us’ link and complete a generic form.  With typically only those two options available for website visitors, it is no wonder that many professional service advertisers struggle with profitability when using Google AdWords to generate website traffic.

In this blog post, we will look at a way for advertisers to convert paid traffic into actionable contact information provided directly from website visitors.

Search vs. Display Ads

When using Google AdWords, professional service advertisers typically utilize either display ads or search ads.  Search ads are the traditional ads that most people picture when they think of advertising on Google.  It is when a user goes to Google and enters a search query and Google generates a list of results.  Generally, the top 2-4 results are going to be paid ads for most searches.

In this search example for the search term ‘family estate attorney’, the top results are 4 ads listed above the organic results.

Google Search Ads

Search ads typically provide better quality of traffic for advertisers than display ads as users are actively looking for a product or service for which they search. However, search ads can be expensive depending on the industry and the level of competition, which is why many times advertisers choose to use display ads.

Display ads are eligible to appear when a user is within the Google Network, which consists of thousands of websites, and is on a webpage related to an advertiser’s display keywords.  Like search ads, Google charges the advertiser each time an ad is clicked; however, display ads are much cheaper and in fact many times they are just a fraction of the cost of search ads.

Therefore even professional service advertisers with a tight budget can afford to run display ads.  Whether they are successful with their ads will depend on how they are able to optimize the traffic they receive.

Think of it like this. For professional service advertisers, display ads I commonly refer to as billboard advertising; while search ads are more like what yellow page ads were 15 years ago.

When generating business through display ads, it is essential for advertisers to go beyond the standard website phone number and ‘contact us’ link when directing paid traffic.  This is because when using this type of ‘billboard advertising’ an advertiser must have a call to action that is not only specific, but compelling. In fact, it is often a necessity “to give away the sizzle in order to sell the steak”.

What Is The Sizzle/What Is The Steak?Make Each Click Count

The sizzle is a lead magnet.  The steak is the service that the professional service provides. 

A lead magnet can be a number of different things, but what it is designed to do is to trade a piece of information for a user’s email address.   So whether the lead magnet is a free report, a whitepaper, a toolkit, a video or a free trial it must be valuable enough for a website visitor to leave their email address or other requested piece of contact information.

Once an advertiser has a way to contact an interested website visitor, it is up to the advertiser on how exactly to follow-up and market to each potential customer.  An exciting thought for advertisers, as the possibilities of how to market is endless, including my favorite – the email drip campaign.

Example 1 – Family Estate Attorney

I created this lead page for a family estate attorney.  The lead magnet gives away a free report: “What Will The Trump Presidency Mean For Family Estate Planning?”

What Will Trump Presidency Mean To Family Estate Planning

TIP: An effective lead magnet does three things: it solves a specific problem by offering a specific solution for a specific segment of the market.

This lead magnet solves a specific problem for those wondering how the new administration might affect family estate planning.  In exchange for solving this problem, the visitor must provide their email so the report can be sent. 

If what a lead magnet offers is of enough value to those viewing the page to leave their email address, it will have a strong conversion rate.  Make sense?

Example 2 – Real Estate Attorney

A real estate agent client of mine wanted to capture the physical home address information of his visitors, which is even more difficult to obtain than email addresses. 

In order to have visitors leave their physical addresses, we had to create a reason visitors would want to leave their address by providing it as a solution to a problem.

So here is what we did:

Letting Zillow Value Your Home

So most people who have purchased or even have considered purchasing a home have used the website Zillow.com and one of the main reasons people use Zillow is to obtain an estimate on a specific home value. 

However, the estimate that Zillow provides is seldom correct as it is based on fairly simple algorithm which is used to evaluate homes throughout the country. 

So in the lead magnet above, we solved the problem of providing visitors wanting to know the true value of their home a way to obtain their actual value.  In order for my real estate client to be able to valuate a home, he will need the property address which is what he wanted to collect from those visiting his website in the first place. 

Summary –

In an ideal world, professional service advertisers would simply drive paid traffic to their website and a reasonable amount of those visitors would pick up the phone and either call or fill out the ‘contact us’ form. 

In the real world though, very few (if any) visitors will call or fill out a ‘contact us’ web form.  Therefore, in able to capitalize on traffic, professional service advertisers can use a lead magnet to capture information from their web visitors, while solving a problem for their visitors.

Remember, an effective lead magnet will solve a specific problem with a specific solution for a specific person.  And in exchange, advertisers are rewarded with contact information from their website visitors. Using a lead magnet is an effective method for savvy advertisers that wish to expand their online marketing efforts in order to grow their business and a needed gateway creating the ability to directly market to website visitors.

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.

Good Luck & 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.

Individual Campaign Budgets Vs. Shared Campaign Budgets

Google allows advertisers to create daily budgets for their Campaigns thus limiting the amount of money that can be spent in a day.  This budget can either be determined for an individual Campaign or across multiple Campaigns using shared budgets.  Here we will discuss how advertisers create both individual and shared budgets and when it may be optimal to select one method over the other.

First and foremost, an advertiser’s daily account budget should never be higher than that Make Each Click Countwhich they are willing to spend.  Ideally, an advertiser will always be generating profitable clicks where it wouldn’t make sense to limit the amount of clicks; however, in reality Campaigns are not always created as profitable from inception which is a common example of where tighter budgets are useful.

In addition, budgets protect advertisers from unexpected surges in traffic.  A budget safeguards the amount an advertiser will spend in a day even if the amount of user searches suddenly and dramatically increases.

For example, perhaps an e-commerce advertiser sells a product featured on a national morning show, which creates a sudden increase is searches.  However, maybe those customers who take to the Internet to search for the ‘hot’ product aren’t converting instead they are just looking.  In this example, the advertiser’s budget could save the advertiser considerable costs.  However, if the surge of traffic was converting, the budget could also cost the advertiser profitable sales by restricting ads from running due to budget constraints.  Luckily, budgets are easily changed and optimized similar to most other features in the Google AdWords interface.

Individual Campaign Budgets

An individual daily budget is initially determined while creating a new Campaign along with the Campaign’s default bid and the bid strategy.

Creating Individual Campaign Budgets In Google AdWordsAfter a Campaign has been created, an advertiser can quickly change an individual Campaign’s budget in one of two ways:

The quickest and easiest way is to click on the budget column for the Campaign they wish to change.  A pop up help window will display that allows advertisers to enter their new daily budget and save.

Popup Budget Help Window - Google AdWordsAn individual Campaign budget can also be changed by clicking on the ‘Settings’ tab/’All Settings’ sub-tab and changed similarly to how the budget was initially created.

Google AdWords Settings TabCreating budgets are an essential safeguard to ensure an advertiser never spends more money than they are expecting.  However, what if an advertiser has hundreds or even thousands of Campaigns?  How can they possibly manage and optimize all of those budgets?

Shared Campaign Budgets

Shared daily budgets allow multiple Campaigns to pull from a single budget.  Ideal for advertisers with a large number of Campaigns or for advertisers looking to easily restrict their daily budget across an entire account, shared budgets can be used in numerous effective ways.

In order to create a shared budget, advertisers need to access the ‘Shared Library’ link in the left navigation bar.

Google AdWords Shared LibraryOnce inside the Shared Library, advertisers will need to ‘View’ the Budgets.

Google AdWords View Shared BudgetsThen, to create a new Shared Budget, click on the +BUDGET button. 

Add New Shared Budget In Shared LibraryA help window will then display prompting an advertiser to name the budget, apply it to campaigns (optional) and set the daily budget.

Create New Shared Budget In Google AdWordsMake Each Click CountOnce a new shared budget has been created, advertisers can easily apply it to existing Campaigns or add new Campaigns once created to an
existing shared budget.

In order to add Campaigns to an existing budget, advertisers again have two options.  The first option is to access the ‘Shared Library’ and clicking on the shared budget they wish to apply to a Campaign and then clicking on the ‘Apply to campaigns’ button.

Apply Shared Budget To an AdWords CampaignOnce the ‘Apply to campaigns’ button is pressed, a pop up help window will open allowing advertisers to select which Campaigns they wish to have their budgets replaced with the current shared budget.

Similar to adjusting individual Campaign budgets, in the second method advertisers can add Campaigns to a shared budget by clicking on the ‘Settings’ tab/’All Settings’ sub-tab and selecting ‘Apply a budget from the Shared library’.

Google AdWords Shared Library SettingOnce the ‘Apply a budget from the Shared library’ button is pressed, a help window will open listing available shared budgets and a partial list of what Campaigns are linked to each.

Shared Library Popup WindowTo add one of the shared budgets, an advertiser simply needs to select the radio button next to the shared budget that they wish applied to the Campaign and save.

Summary –

Creating budgets is an essential component to creating and growing a successful AdWords account.   A budget is good when it serves as a safeguard protecting an advertiser’s bank account; however, too low of a budget can be detrimental to an account by restricting conversions by limiting clicks and impressions. Conversely, too high of a budget could actually increase the cost per click if an account is utilizing automated bidding strategies.

It is important for advertisers to realize that creating a budget is NOT a one-time set it and forget it setting.  Finding the optimal budget for each Campaign should be fluid as it is an important factor in optimizing conversions throughout the account. Optimizing a Campaign for budget is similar to optimizing keyword bids in that an advertiser does not want to be too high or too low.  Furthermore, Campaign budgets should be reviewed (based on historical data) and increased or decreased as needed both for individual budgets as well as for shared budgets.

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

Google’s Display Network

When Google originally developed their advertising platform on www.Google.com, it was cut and dry.  Advertisers created one type of ad (a text ad) that would appear when a Google user did a search that contained an advertiser’s keyword.  That type of advertising still exists and remains the most common type of Google advertising (aka Google search). However, Google continues to evolve and today through the Google AdWords platform marketers have the ability to advertise across millions of websites found in the Google Display Network. 

Google Campaigns are centered on 3 different networks – the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network and Google’s YouTube Network. When an advertiser creates a new Campaign, the type of Campaign selected determines which Network or multiple Networks ads will be eligible for display.

The 3 Google Networks (Search, Display and YouTube)

Google Search Network – Google’s Search Network consists of Google Search (Google.com), Google Shopping, Google Maps, Google Groups and Google Search Partners. 

Google Display Network – Google’s Display Network consists of Google based websites including YouTube, Gmail and Google Finance.  In addition, Google allows non-Google based websites to join their Network through a program called Google AdSense.  Google earns money from advertisers that opt into the Google Network when a user clicks on a Google served ad, just like Google Search. The Network partner in turn receives a percentage of the money Google earns for ads on the partner’s website that they display and users click. The percentage varies depending on the traffic, but from an advertiser’s perspective it doesn’t really matter.  What matters for advertisers are results and ROI, not necessarily where ads are displayed.

Google YouTube Network – Google’s YouTube Network grants advertisers the ability to run video ads on YouTube and within participating Google partner’s YouTube channels.

Campaign Type Determines In Which Network Ads Will Display

To create a new Campaign, advertisers need to view the Campaigns tab and activate the drop down menu by clicking on the red +Campaign button. Once the drop down displays, advertisers have the following options for creating a new Campaign: Search Network with Display Select, Search Network only, Display Network only, Shopping, Video and Universal app campaign.

Google AdWords Available Campaign Types

Search Network with Display Select – Ads are eligible to display in both Google’s Search Network and Google’s Display Network. This Campaign type is going to reach the largest number of users and will trigger ads when a user performs a search for an advertiser’s keywords on Google.com as well as throughout the Google Search Network and relevant placements within Google’s Display Network.

Search Network only – This type of Campaign will limit ads to displaying when a keyword appears in a user search performed only within Google’s Search Network which consists of Google Search (Google.com), Google Shopping, Google Maps, Google Groups and Google Search Partners.  Note, advertisers do have the option to opt out of having ads display for Google Search Partners.  For more information on Google Search Partners, review the blog post – When Advertising With Google, Where Are You Really Advertising?

Display Network only – This type of Campaign only allows ads to appear within Google’s Display Network. The Google Display Network currently consists of over two million websites, videos and apps. For Campaigns using Display Network only, ads will NOT be eligible to appear within Google’s Search Network including user searches done directly on Google.com.

Shopping Campaigns using Google Shopping are eligible to show product Shopping ads within the Google Search Network including Google Search Partners.  Google Shopping is a type of Campaign worthy of its own chapter. For detailed information on Google Shopping, how to create and best-practices, refer to all blog posts under Google Shopping.

Video Video Campaigns allow video ads to be served within Google’s YouTube network as well as participating Google partners. Video ads allow marketers to convey more information than other ad types and are continuing to grow in popularity both with advertisers and users. Within the Settings tab for a Video Campaign, advertisers can select whether to have ads display on only YouTube Search or to be eligible to display on both YouTube Search and YouTube Videos including videos on Google partner sites, apps and the Google Display Network.

Universal App CampaignsThe least used of all Campaign types, the Universal App Campaign only displays ads exclusively on Android devices.  Ads from this Campaign are eligible for display across all Google Networks. The majority of settings are automated when using this Campaign based on initial Android app selections.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemAdvertising With Google’s Display Network

Throughout previous blog posts we have concentrated on Google’s Search Network.  This section will focus exclusively on Google’s Display Network in how to use along with best-practices.

Formerly, ads that displayed on Google’s Display Network were named content ads.  Content ads are a much more descriptive name that Display Network ads and although the name has changed the ads serve the same function.  Display Network ads are ads that appear alongside content within the Google Display Network, which currently consists of over 2 million websites, videos and apps.

Display Network ads use what Google labels ‘Placements’ to determine where ads display within Google’s Display Network.  Placements include specific websites or specific pages on a website, a mobile app or video content. Google uses their technology to associate placements with relevant website content within the Google Display Network to determine when ads are eligible for display.

Although the process sounds  automated, advertisers have the ability to control their placements by targeting relevant content in two ways: keywords and topics.

With keyword targeting, advertisers provide a list of keywords or keyword phrases relevant to ads being served. Google then matches those keywords to websites with content containing matching keywords or related keywords.  Note, Google also will display ads to users immediately after they have viewed a website with related content, but after they have navigated to a website where the content no longer matches an advertiser’s targeted keywords.

Topic targeting is similar to keywords targeting, except instead of listing keywords or keywords phrases an advertiser uses topics and categories of information to determine when ads are eligible for display. 

In order to manage keyword targeting, an advertiser must access a Campaign that utilizes either Display Network only or Search Network with Display Select. Targeting is then controlled within the Display Network tab (as pictured below).

Google AdWords Display Network TabDisplay Network Tab

Campaigns that advertise within the Display Network feature 6 subsection tabs (Ad Groups, Settings, Ads, Ad extensions, Dimensions and Display Network).  We will first focus on the Display Network tab as it is the only tab that is new compared to the tabs that also display for Campaigns running ads in the Search Network and it is the tab used for controlling Display Network ad placements.

The Display Network tab is broken down into 6 subsections: Summary, Display keywords, Placements, Topics, Interests & remarketing and Demographics.

Summary – Provides a snapshot overview of historical data within the Display Network.  Statistics contained in this subsection includes data for clicks, costs and conversions along with data for display keywords, topics and demographics.

Display keywords – Allows advertisers to add/remove keywords, manage individual keyword bids,  segment data, filter data, customize columns, edit status, change budgets, and automate by creating rules. In addition, advertisers can download reports and view Campaign change history.

Placements – Advertisers access the Placements subsection to view where their ad placements have historically occurred and to optimize results. Again, advertisers have the ability in the Placements subsection to segment data, filter data, customize columns, edit status and automate rules.

Topics – In the Topics subsection,  advertisers are able to target ad placements based on topics. In order to add, click on the red +Targeting button and select Add targeting by Topics.

Google Search Network - Topics TargetingNote, these are the same initial steps involved as when adding new Placements, Interests & remarketing and Demographics.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemGoogle opens a Topics Help Window that will assist advertisers in selecting topics to target. To proceed, an advertiser enters their keyword or keyword phrase and clicks Search. Google will return a suggested  list of related topics based on the keyword search that can be subsequently added to the Campaign.

Google AdWords - Topics WindowOnce topics have been added to a Campaign, advertisers can use tools in the Topics subsection to manage individual topic bids, segment data, filter data, customize columns, edit status and automate by creating rules.

Interests & remarketing – Advertisers have the ability to use the Interests & remarketing subsection to target placements and bids for past visitors contained within audiences, remarketing lists or users similar to existing remarketing lists.  In order to utilize remarketing list to control bid placements for Display Network ads, an advertiser will need to create a remarketing list.  For detailed steps on this process, review the blog post – Merging Retargeting With Search Campaigns.

Demographics – The final subsection of the Display Network tab is Demographics.  In the Demographics subsection, advertisers can control individual placement bids based on gender, age and parental status. In addition, advertisers can segment data, filter data, customize columns, edit status and automate by creating rules.

Display Network Campaigns

For Campaigns set to run within the Display Network, most of the tabs are the same as Campaigns set to run in the Search Network.  Besides the Display Network tab, which we just covered, other tabs that appear for both Networks include Ad Groups, Settings, Ads, Ad Extensions and Dimensions.

Ad Groups Tab – Ad Groups tab for Display Network functions the same as Campaigns running within the Search Network.  Ad Groups are subsections of Campaigns allowing for increased organization within a Campaign.  However, as previously discussed settings are generally controlled at the Campaign level.  Therefore, Ad Groups will typically have the same Settings which is another reason Ad Groups should be closely related when contained in the same Campaign.

Settings Tab – Identical to Campaigns displaying within the Search Network, the Settings tab for Display Network Campaigns is used to control budget, location, devices, ad schedule and an array of advanced settings. For best-practices, review the blog post – Proper Settings – The First Step of Successful Google Advertising.

Ads Tab – Again the Ads tab function is identical to Campaigns advertising within the Search Network; however ads themselves will differ from ads displaying in Search. 

When a user does a search within the Google Search Network that contains an advertiser’s keyword the user is actively looking for the product or service. Remember with Google Network ads, ads appear alongside content.  Users are NOT actively looking for product or services, but they may be interested based on the content in which they are viewing or have been viewing.

Ads therefore need to create an even stronger benefit and call to action than those ads used in Search. In addition, advertisers can generally expect a lower cost per click (CPC) and a lower click through rate (CTR) in Display Network. In addition, successful Display Network Campaigns will benefit from directing users to highly optimized landing pages focusing on specific conversion goals.

Ad Extensions Tab – Again the Ad Extensions tab is the same as for Campaigns running in the Search Network as it is for the Display Network.  Ad Extensions are extra pieces of information that Google allows to be appended to ads across all Networks.  Properly utilizing ad extensions is recommended.  For detailed information on what ad extensions are and how to create, review the blog posts – When It Comes To Your Google Ads, Size Does Matter.

Dimensions Tab – Once again, the Dimensions tab’s use is the same for Campaigns running in the Display Network as those running in the Search Network.  The Dimensions tab allows advertisers to analyze data with filters and customized columns in order to discover trends that lead to Campaign optimization. For more information on using the Dimensions tab, refer back to the blog post – What Is That Mysterious Dimensions Tab In Google?

Summary –

Campaigns that run within the Search Network are generating ‘red hot’ leads.  Users are actively searching for information and the goal of advertisers is to display ads for products and services that match the users search.  The more closely related the product or service to the search, typically the higher the conversion rate.

However, Campaigns running within the Display Network are serving users ads when they are not actively looking for a product or service and in fact quite often users are not interested. 

Here is an analogy for advertising in Google’s Display Network.  Display Network ads are much like billboards on the highway.  Many cars go by and although those in the car may be preoccupied, they often do in fact notice the billboards.

Now suppose the billboard is selling BMW accessories.  An optimized Display Network Campaign would be as if that BMW accessories billboard only appeared to BMW cars. Even though the drivers of the cars still could be distracted and are not actively searching, the billboard is highly relevant. Relevant enough to hopefully gain the drivers attention and detailed enough to generate profitable business through a percentage of the traffic passing by the billboard.

Display Network has the ability to drive high traffic at generally a lower cost per click than the Search Network.  However, whether or not a Campaign can monetize the traffic is what will ultimately lead to a Display Network Campaign’s success.

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.