28 Tips For AdWords Beginners I Wish Someone Had Told Me – An infographic by the team at WhiteSharkMedia.com AdWords Blog
28 Tips For AdWords Beginners I Wish Someone Had Told Me
When you’re first starting out with AdWords there are so many things you need to know and understand that it’s almost impossible to grasp them all.
To help you get started with your new AdWords campaign I’ve written a list of all the helpful knowledge that I have compiled over the years. Granted, all these tips are not necessarily beginner friendly, but they’re good to know and you will one day find out why you needed to know them.
It’s Not Just About One Metric
When optimizing your AdWords Ad Copy it can be dangerous to look at only one of the key metrics:
- Conversion Rate
- Cost Per Conversion
- Avg. Conversion Value
If for instance you only look at CTR, then you will focus on the ads that draw in a lot of clicks. Many of my own ad tests have shown that the ads having the highest CTR don’t have the best conversion rate.
In order to convert the best you often need to detract some users who won’t be paying the price of your product or who are unable to get it delivered.
You need to take all the main metrics into account and get a great balance between high click volume, high CTR and a lot of conversions at a profitable cost per conversion.
Relevance is The Key
Working with AdWords is all about relevance. CTR (The percentage of people seeing your ad who end up clicking) is the key metric that determines whether or not your AdWords Ads are relevant.
Maximizing your relevance has several advantages:
- Lower CPC
- Higher CTR
- Higher position for a lower price
I advise you to read this post if you want to know more about how to increase your AdWords ad relevance
Remember a Call-To-Action
A Call-To-Action is something that you’re asking the user to do. It’s a term that you’ll hear a lot in advertising and particularly in online advertising.
Some of the most popular Call-To-Actions in AdWords ads are:
- Call Today!
- Order Now
- Get Your Free Estimate
- Book Your Trip
- See Pictures and…
- Find Out Why We’re Best
- Buy Online for Only…
- Contact Us Today
- Claim Your Promotion
- Search for your … here
Including a Call-To-Action serves two purposes:
- The user knows exactly what to do on your website
- The user knows exactly what can be done on your website. If the user is looking for info, then clicking a “buy x here” ad will be less frequent.
Use the Most Appropriate Landing Page
Ensuring high relevance between the search term and AdWords ad is just one part of the relevance game. Once a user clicks on your ad you need to take control and make sure that they’re taken to the most relevant page, where they can quickly locate all the necessary information they need.
Ad Sitelinks Are Mandatory
Ad Extensions were first introduced in the late 2009 (Beta tests were out before though) and have since become a crucial part to getting noticed.
The difference between having and not having Ad Extensions can mean a 100% increase in the real estate you occupy on the Google Search Results Page.
Always remember to include Ad Sitelinks.
Don’t Use Broad Match
Broad match is the most commonly used match type in Google AdWords. It’s also the most volatile match type.
You have very little control over what search terms your ads are actually appearing for when you use broad match keywords.
Looking through some of our Clients campaigns that have been using broad match keywords in the past, we found a lot of examples on how bad it can be.
It’s Not All About The Long Tail
Don’t get me wrong – The long tail is great and creating a lot of content to catch the long tail searches for your organic campaigns is an amazing strategy, but for AdWords you can afford to think broader.
By strategically using broad match modifier and phrase match keywords you’ll be able to discover the long tail keywords that actually have enough volume to be worth spending time on.
One-Worded Keywords Rarely Work Out
One-Worded keywords attract searchers so early in the buying funnel that they’re not worthwhile for rookies or even for intermediate AdWords advertisers.
You Can Add Instances of the Same Keyword in Different Match Types within the Same Campaign
Don’t skimp on match types when adding new keywords to your campaigns.
Add the keywords in all the appropriate match types and find out what match type works best for each specific keyword.
Negative Keywords Are Not a Choice
Even though I would like to say that opening new AdWords accounts without Negative Keywords is becoming a rare practice, it’s really not the case. AdWords campaigns lacking negative keywords still prosper in the SMB community.
Even though you can’t start an account without keywords, you definitely shouldn’t start a campaign without Negative Keywords.
Use the Negative Keyword Lists If You Have More Than One Campaign
The introduction of negative keyword lists means that you can add negative keywords that will apply toy our entire account.
Negative keywords lists can be a huge timesaver and will optimize all your campaigns in one go instead of having to do it one-by-one.
Your account structure is the foundation of what you built your AdWords campaign on. In the beginning you might be able to build whatever structure you like and it might work just fine.
But when you start adding more keywords, more ads and make your campaigns more granular you will start wishing to have built the right account structure from the get go.
Your Account Structure Should Be Focused on Keyword Themes – Not Products or Services
Your campaign comprises ad groups, which in return comprise keywords and ads. The healthiest way of building these ad groups is by focusing on themes.
Even though a single product might have several keywords representing a single product, then you should never put keywords bearing resemblance in meaning within the same ad group (unless you do it on purpose).
The reason to this structure is that even though two keywords might essentially mean the same thing, people who are searching for either keyword are though expecting to see different things:
Rodent exterminator and rat exterminator is basically the same thing. But if you search forrat exterminator and see ads for a rodent exterminator you might not click it.
Now add this to the fact that the other 8 ads on the site actually say rat exterminator. You’re 90% sure that the ad for rodent exterminators can get rid of your rats, but you’re 100% sure that the ad for rat exterminators can get rid of your rats.
This is why account structure is the key to success. The better your structure is, the better your ad relevance will be as well.
Align Your Account Structure With Your Website
When structuring your AdWords account you should try to mimic the same navigation and structure of your website. This is especially true for ecommerce websites.
You’re familiar with the way your website is organized and you can intuitively find a product without performing a search for it. By using the same structure in your AdWords campaigns you’ll be able to easily find the ad groups that represent certain products on your website.
One Keyword, One Ad Group Only Works for Professionals
You might have heard the old AdWords “rule” that the only true account structure experts normally use is to have one ad group for each keyword. Well, that’s not true.
Just because the experts might be doing this, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. AdWords experts have vast experience and intuitively know how to set up a campaign. Most experts even use proprietary or third party optimization tools that you don’t have access to or cannot afford.
The one keyword, one ad group approach is very nice in theory. In practice however, this approach turns out to be very time-consuming and depending on how big your account is and on how big return you get, the ROI on your time spent might be abysmal.
The AdWords settings panel has gone through quite a bit of changes the last couple of years. Here are some of the most important things to do or know as an option.
Search and Display Campaigns Don’t Go Together
They just don’t.
Even though I’ve seen them producing good results when I’ve taken over Clients who have built their own AdWords campaigns, it’s never the way to move forward.
Display campaigns are more of a push marketing channel and require completely different ads and setups to make them work optimally.
You can Dynamically Change Your Bid Depending on Date, Device, Location and Time of Day
Enhanced Campaigns have elaborated possibilities to dynamically change your bidding according to several factors:
- Day of the week
- Device (Phone or Desktop)
- Geographical location
- Time of day
Depending on what kind of campaign you’re running and what products you’re advertising for, chances are that you’re not seeing the same conversion rate on Saturdays as on Tuesdays.
Use the Dynamic bid modifiers once you got the hang of optimizing AdWords campaigns and you will be able to squeeze the last couple of conversions out of your account.
Choosing Your Locations Is More Precise Than Radius Targeting
When you’re using AdWords in a small geographical area it can be tempting to just set a radius of 50 miles from your company address. Even though it’s faster, in most cases it’s not better.
The radius feature is not as precise as selecting your locations. You can easily use either the bulk location uploader or select them on the map in AdWords.
Mobile Is No Longer a Choice
After the introduction of enhanced campaigns you’re no longer able to opt out of the mobile search market.
Mobile search is finally here and it’s a force to be reckoned with. Don’t ignore it.
Tablets Are Considered the Same As Computers
This is another thing that enhanced campaigns will be introducing. Tablets are no longer distinguished from Computers. This will bring some challenges as many of us formerly use device-specific bidding, as conversion rates tend to vary according to devices.
Search, Display, Remarketing, Product Listing Ads
AdWords is no longer “just Google.com”
The last couple of years Google has rolled a huge amount of new features to AdWords. These are some amongst many others:
- Product Listing Ads
- Google Mobile Ads
- AdWords Express
- AdWords Retargeting for Search & Display
- New Targeting ways for Display
- App Extensions
- Offer Extensions
- Email Extensions
No matter how you look at AdWords, the truth is that it’s no longer just AdWords. If you’re only focusing on getting the most out of AdWords in the regular sense, then you’re missing out on big potential.
Product Listing Ads Are No Longer Voluntary
If you’re an Ecommerce store, then you have the option to opt-in to the Google Merchant Center and show Product Listing Ads on Google.com.
Product Listings Ads are today such a big part of the Google Search Results Page for commercial searches that if your ad is not showing as part of a Product Listing Ad, then you’re missing important clicks and sales.
Google Mobile Ads
Ads Mentioning Mobile Specific Terms Work Amazingly Well
Always try to use mobile specific terms when creating your mobile ads. Mentioning that the user is on a mobile has proven to increase your click rate and conversion rate.
An example is: Use your smartphone and call now!
It’s All About the Top 3 Positions
In Google mobile ads you live or die by the top 3 positions. Even though you’ve always been able to get more clicks in the top 3 positions on a desktop as well, then mobile takes it to a new level.
Consider increasing your bidding if your clicks are low on mobile. Conversion rates on mobile ads are almost always better than on desktop for call-focused campaigns, so feel free to play with higher CPCs than the ones allowed by your desktop conversion rate.
Keywords Are Shorter
Using a smartphone is a lot different than using a computer. Mobile users tend to use abbreviations and shorter keywords in general. Think about this when setting the bid percentage for keywords on mobile.
Some keywords will simply never get traction in mobile due to their complexity.
Quality Score Is Volatile
Your Quality Score can change several times without even knowing it. The Quality Score you see on your dashboard isn’t necessarily equal to the Quality Score Google uses to calculate your ad rank.
This happens for several reasons, but just know that what you see is not what you get. Never stop optimizing for a higher Quality Score. Even the smallest and unnoticed change in Quality Score can allow you to get a higher ad position or pay less for your current ad position.
Quality Score Can (and will) Make or Break Your Campaign
Ignoring your Quality Score is the one thing that will always break your campaign in the long term. While there are a lot of things to know about Quality Score, you can’t ignore Quality Score or avoid optimizing it.
You need to invest time and effort in order to achieve the highest Quality Score for your campaign.
Your Accountant Will Hate You
The AdWords billing system has become friendlier as years have gone by, but it is still deeply annoying for first-time users. When you’re first starting out with your AdWords account your accountant will be the person you never want to meet.
Before your billing threshold increases, you will be getting bills for $50, $200, $350 etc. until you reach $500 in spend. If you’re spending $500 every couple of days, then yes – you will see an invoice every couple of days.
Unless you choose manual payment or get approved for monthly invoicing, then your accountant will hate you and will complaint.
You Can Get AdWords on Credit
The monthly invoicing option with Google isn’t one of the most known features for new AdWords advertisers, but if you’re planning on spending more than $5000 per month, then this will be your best friend.
If you spend more than $5000 per month and your business has been running for more than one year, then you’ll be able to apply for monthly invoicing with Google.
This will imply that you can pay 30 days later through bank transfer. Your AdWords spend in March will be due on April 30th.
Just know that you need to be on top of your AdWords spend, as you won’t have a natural reminder on how much you spend or any other limit than the one you set in your AdWords account.
AdWords Is About Much More Than Just A List
Successful AdWords management is about more than just knowing a few facts or being able to set a bid for x-amount of dollars.
The best AdWords managers develop a feeling for the market that guides them through optimizations, directions and strategies.
Once you’ve worked with AdWords long enough, all the items on this list, and many more, will be imprinted in your head and they will all work together to shape your AdWords strategy.
Until then, keep up with your lists and procedures and your AdWords campaigns will prosper.