This article aims to give you some guidance on how to setup an effective Google Adwords campaign. It provides insight into how and why we run our campaigns on a specific way.
We often run small Google Adwords campaigns to help our clients bring immediate leads to their websites, and where as there is no guarantee this is going to convert into new business, we always suggest a structured thought through approach to help them get the best out of their advert spend.
For new clients Google often have introduction offers such as £80 free adverts when you spend £40 and these are great to look out for, to enable you to test the area in which you are competing for potential customers.
What is the purpose of the campaign?
When creating a new campaign you can set the objective of the campaign, do you want to sell products, attract leads or simply traffic to your site. For most of our clients they ultimately want to attract users to their sites who are likely to convert into leads, via a phone call or contact form on the site, so most of our campaigns are set with the Campaign Goal of Leads.
Google offers a range of campaign types, Search, Display, Shopping, Video and Smart. It is worth exploring these to get a feel for which are most effective for your business. To setup Google Adverts in the top of the standard Google Search rankings we usually stick with Search.
The next question they ask you is how you want to reach your goal. There are a number of tick boxes, and we usually go with Website Visits, Phone Calls and Lead Form submissions as these are the key behaviours our clients want from their campaign results. One thing to think about is that if someone calls you from a Google Advert, they will not have seen your website. So you wont see a click or a metric when monitoring and measuring your results. Most of our clients like this feature though as it gives them a direct content with a potential client.
You can create a name for your campaign. Try and make this campaign name meaningful. Remember you can start and stop a campaign whenever you like, so the same campaign can be used over and over again if you like. This may influence the name of the campaign.
Google offers you the choice of Networks. The search network is the listings on the google search page, whereas the display ads are often shown inside other website pages. We usually stick to the search ads, but this is something you can experiment with.
Where is are your preferred customers?
You can select where you adverts are shown. If you are a small business where your customers are typically within a x mile radius to you, you can set this as your preferred location. This means you are not wasting budget on users who like your services, but are so far away, are very unlikely to be a customer. You can specify this further to users who are in this location area, or people in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations. We usually go with the latter.
A couple of things to bear in mind here. First you can get really specific, restricting this to town names, and also excluding town names. However, the smaller area you target, the less number of people searching there will be, and hence the fewer times your advert will be shown. My thoughts are that it is wiser to use your budget slower on a target audience that is more likely to be a customer.
Who are you customers?
Taking this a step further, you can specify certain audience attributes. If you were a bathroom fitter for example, you may want to restrict your audience group to homeowners as it is a fair assumption that these are the most likely audience to want your services.
You can also target specific age demographics if you feel that specific age ranges are more likely to spend their money on your services. As a bathroom fitter you may think the 18-24 ages group range are also less likely to spend £20k on a state of the art bathroom installation. This obviously needs careful consideration and you don’t want to restrict potential customers seeing your ads, with incorrect assumptions.
Google typically works on how much do you want to spend a day, rather than how much you want to spend on a campaign. Things to note, is that if you were to set a £20 a day budget, it might not all get spent in a day if you don’t get the click throughs to your site. The other thing to bear in mind is that you can start and stop a campaign whenever you like. We typically approach this as by thinking about what our total budget is we want to spend, and then work out how many days we want to spend this over. For small clients starting off this maybe £10 a day, so they can see what volumes, and what cost per click (explained later) they are looking at. You can very quickly predict how many results you are going to get for your budget.
Google has a number of algorithms it uses to optimised how your budget is used and how it works out when to show your adverts.
For most clients we typically use the maximise clicks bid strategy, so that get as much relevant traffic to the website. In order to protect our clients media budget we set a maximum Cost per click (CPC) amount so that we never spend their budget on several high cost clicks.
When doing your keyword research (discussed later), you can see what the CPC are likely to be for certain keywords, so this can help you gauge your maximum CPC and this will often depend on how competitive your business area is. Setting a two low CPC will result in your ads not showing as they you will always be outbid. We typically find this is somewhere between £1.20 and £2.00.
Remember you don’t get charged for the impressions (the times your ads are shown). You only get charged when someone clicks on your advert.
Taking a test and learn approach
When it comes to setting up the keywords that you want to target, and the adverts that you create to engage and attract your users, we typically suggest a test and learn approach. You can burn a lot of time carefully selecting keywords and writing adverts that for whatever reason do not work as expected.
On this basis we typically setup several ad-groups. This allows you to test different batches of
keywords to see which are more effective. We also suggest setting up to 5 different adverts with variations in messages so that you can monitor which ones are most effective.
Once the campaign has been running for a few days, you can see which ones are working best and turn the others off potentially.
Google have a keyword planner tool. This is great for trying out keywords that you think your users are likely to be searching for. It shows you have many times these words are used in the Google search, how competitive these words are with other people also bidding for these words, and it gives you and indication on how much people are spending on these keywords.
You can start adding the relevant keywords to your keyword list. One important thing to consider here is how you create keyword phrases. Be default Google will create you a broad match phrase. If you entered a keyword as ‘spraying windows’ then anyone searching for ‘spraying’ or ‘windows’ would see your advert. This is a great way to spend money fast, or people who may be interested in ‘spraying cars’ and hence not a potential customer. We typically use a modified broad match keyword set of even a phrase keyword as these mean that we are targeting are customers with the correct intent more accuratley. A modified broad match looks like this ‘+spraying +windows’ and it means that both words must be in the users search string.
We always recommend setting up a negative keyword list. If a search contains a word in this list , Google will not show your advert. These are typically words that relate to people researching how to do things themselves. For example How do I spray windows, you may decide the word How is a negative keyword. We typically have a set of standard negative keywords we apply, and monitor each campaign. If we see searches coming up that are not relevant, then we can add these keywords to our negative list as the campaign runs. Doing this basically means we are not wasting money on users who are not likely to be leads, and we get more for our clients media budget.
Setting up your adverts
Your adverts are really important. So far you have spent money to get your placement in the top of the search listings for people who are searching for keywords relative to your business/campaign services. This is great. However, they still need to click on your advert to become a lead. Typically their are a handful of other adverts at the top of the google search all offering similar services, so it is really important to make yours stand out.
We start by carrying out our own Google searches for the keywords and creating a list of all the other adverts our competitors are showing. This enables us to think about what is there already, if there are good aspects, we can also learn from the things that look less attractive.
We typically then go to the landing page we are directing our adverts too (as if setup correctly) should also have our key messages on it, and we make a list of all the key selling points of the service and descriptions of how it is delivered.
When creating the ads, you only have 30 characters per text snippet, so you have to be quite creative to get the key points in. You also have a limit on two description fields. We tend to play around, with the advert text till we are happy that it looks great, is snappy quick to read, and delivers the key information.
You can see these in a preview mode as you are writing them.
You then need to consider your advert extensions. These are additional options that appear underneath your advert. We always implement callout extensions, call extensions & site link extensions (if other pages on the site are useful). A note to say these are great for making your advert stand out, but may not take the user through to the main conversation page on your website. Google will prompt you with recommendations on how to use these, and we sometimes trial different approaches to see impacts they have.
Measuring your campaign
We are nearly setup properly. When your campaign is up and running it may help with the monitoring to measure how many conversions you have. This could be as simple as someone visiting your website page, or could be someone completing your website enquiry or quote form. For small campaigns this extra setup process may not be worth it. However it is often interesting to know not only which keywords provided clicks to your website, but which keywords resulted in someone completing a form submission.
You can find out the latter by setting up a conversion metric, and getting two snippets of code to add to your website. One snippet goes on every page, and the other goes on the page which is shown after a form is submitted.
Setting and managing budgets
So everything is ready to go. When we are about to put our campaign live, we always set an end date. So far we have told Google we are happy to spend x per day. We calculate how many days we are happy to do this for and set and end date, which protects us spending more than we want to.
You can then start your campaign, and sit back to see what happens. Sometimes it takes a day or do for Google to optimise how it is going to show your adverts. You will start to see feedback on which keywords have low search volumes, which keywords and adverts are showing, and more importantly which have resulted in clicks and how much these cost.
We typically drop in every couple of days to monitor how things are going. We check whether we are spending our daily budget. We look for keywords that are not relevant and add these to our negative keyword list. We review adverts and keywords that are returning better click through rates decide whether to turn off the less successful ones, so our budget is spent on those that are the best value.
When running two ad-groups, we can also look to see if one set of keyword groups is working better than the other, and can also take learnings from this, and potentially turn off the one that is least effective.
We use the Google Adwords App to enable us to quickly checking on our campaigns, as the dashboard allows a quick overview of how the campaign is going.
Driving traffic to your site is great, but will cost you money. They still need to see your offering and want to call you or get in touch. Often a Google Adwords campaign can be successful but conversion rates are still low, and this can be because when the user lands on your website page, if they are not wooed with the service they are looking for they will go back to the results and click on the next advert or google link. Obviously this costs you money, but does not provide leads.
It is REALLY important that your landing page (be it the home page of your site) or the page you are driving the adverts to is designed to follow on specifically from your adverts. Google has a metric that is shows called your Optimization Score which it shows against your campaign. The higher this score is the more likely your adverts are to be shown, and the more effective it is in driving the correct traffic to your site. It is well documented that campaigns with a high optimization score tend to see lower cost per clicks on their campaigns, as Google believes that the adverts and service is actually what users are looking for. With this in mind, it is really important, when considering how to get the best out of your budget, and how to increase your leads to really look at the end to end process. What keywords are your users using in their search, are these in your adverts. and are these on your landing pages.
If you need any help with any of the above please feel free to get in touch and we would be happy to give advice and assistance. We can run small campaigns for you to help you find your way and to see whether this is a good way for your business to reach new customers.
Please get in touch if you have a project or would like some advice?