Search advertising can be a great way to develop new leads for your business, putting your website in front of people actively looking for your product. However, poorly constructed, untargetted ads can haemorrhage away your budget and significantly reduce your return on investment. Here are three ways to boost the performance of your Google Adwords campaigns:
1) Don’t advertise B2B products and services on the Google Display network
I recently saw an advert for a Birmingham-based marketing agency in a blog about how to deseed a Pomegranate. I’m not looking to hire an agency, so I’m not an appropriate target for the ad – and more importantly what relevance do Pomegranates have to marketing? The problem lies with the seductive promise of Google’s Display Networks.
Display Network ads appear in blogs and on Google properties such as YouTube and Gmail. It’s fine for general brand-building or advertising mainstream consumer products (e.g. lots of large retailers use them); advantages include the ability to include images or video in your ad – great if you’re looking to advertise a pair of shoes on a fashion blog.
Google tells you that by ticking that small, innocuous box – ‘Search & Display Networks’ – your ad will have the ‘best opportunity to reach the most customers.’ It will certainly increase the number of impressions that your ad receives, and therefore the reach. But unless the blog in which your advert appears closely correlates to the service that you’re advertising, you’re unlikely to increase the click through rate – and if you do, you’re more likely to receive unqualified visitors who will bounce away quickly.
If you’re marketing a specific Business to Business product or service, change your Google Adwords campaign settings to ‘Search network only’ and ensure that your ads reach only those who are specifically looking for them.
Nb. If you really do want to reach marketing decision makers via a blog that isn’t your own, a better bet is to advertise directly with professional marketing resources such as The Drum or Marketing Week.
2) Create an integrated campaign to improve the search result position of your ads
Bidding can be costly for competitive keywords (e.g. popular terms such as ‘bingo’ and ‘flower delivery’). But money alone isn’t the only way to muscle into the top spot for Google Adwords ads.
Your ad position – the spot that your advert occupies in relation to the other ads on the search results page – is influenced by your ad’s Quality Score. Google’s aim is to serve up the very best search results for its users that it can, providing a better quality set of search results than its competitors. Therefore it rewards advertisers whose Google Adwords ads reflect the keywords used, and penalises those who don’t. E.g.:
A Google Adwords ad optimized for a good ad position – Office Supplies
- Keyword used to trigger the ad: “Office supplies”
- Ad copy headline: “Office supplies”
- Ad copy description: “Fast delivery on office supplies – 15% discount on first order”
- Landing page: Links to a page with H1 “Office supplies”
Here, someone searching for ‘Office supplies’ sees an ad containing the copy ‘Office supplies’ and clicks through to a landing page which prominently displays the keyword; Google will reward this ad with a prominent ad position.
A Google Adwords ad that will achieve a poor ad position – Office Supplies
- Keyword used to trigger the ad: “Office supplies”
- Ad copy headline: “Buy Stationery”
- Ad copy description: “Buy your pens today – 15% discount on first order”
- Landing page: links to a page with H1 ‘Your local product specialist’
The keywords that you use to trigger your ad, the ad copy and the words used in the landing page for the ad must all match. If you can link up these three elements Google will reward you with a more prominent position in its Google Adwords advertising hierarchy.
It’s worth taking the time to set up several variants of your adverts so that each keyword (or combination of keywords) is included in both your ad copy and your landing page. Google Adwords adverts that achieve position 1 (the first ad in the top box on page 1 of Google search results) will be much more likely to achieve click-throughs than ads in spot 4 (at the top of the right-hand column) and below.
3) Link your Google Adwords campaign to your Analytics
One of the beautiful things about using Google Adwords is the ease with which it displays all of that fascinating data, showing you lots of lovely metrics such as the click through rate, cost per click and the average advert position of your ads. These data are great for showing to your boss to demonstrate how well their marketing investment is performing, right?
Wrong. You must link your Google Adwords account to your website’s Analytics to be able to make meaningful observations. For E-commerce sites the rationale is simple – you can calculate goal conversions and revenue. But for non-transactional websites – where the closure of the sale might take place offline, such as the purchase of consulting services, or a big one-off purchase – you need to be able to compare and contrast the data across your advertising campaigns.
Good housekeeping is key here: ensure that your campaigns are all well set up and appropriately labeled in order to determine performance. Even if your website isn’t transactional, you can still get valuable data on your Adwords performance by looking at the bounce rate (less that 15% is excellent), pages per visit and average visit duration (the longer, the better). Be ruthless with your ad spend and terminate any campaigns that aren’t sending customers to stay on your site.
If you would like me to review the performance of your Google Adwords campaign, please get in touch.
Image credit: adamr courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net