At first blush, managing Google AdWords seems like a relatively simple concept: choose your keywords, make a few decisions, apply your funding and you’re off to the races! However, rushing into any type of PPC (pay-per-click) campaign is a big no-no, mostly because you’ll spend a lot more than you expected and are unlikely to drive the type of results you need to create a sustainable sales funnel. There are dozens of considerations for each AdWords campaign, including how to select keywords that are reasonably-priced yet yield results, A/B testing for headers and body text, audience targeting and more. Then, once you have everything tuned exactly the way you want it — your competitors enter the arena, steal your tactics and force you to adjust. Let’s face it, today’s digital advertising is a contact sport.
Optimize Your Targeting
Regardless of what you’re selling, you need to have a solid understanding of your core audience and any secondary audiences down to a very granular level. This includes everything from detailed knowledge of their needs and wants, their geographic location, the keywords that your audience is using, and even the time of day they’re most likely to be taking action from a search. A simple illustration would be for chain restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. You wouldn’t want to have advertisements targeting your audience at 8 a.m. local time with a dinner ad, would you? Of course not — you would go for a breakfast ad instead. Active campaign management ensures that all of these factors enter into the analysis to optimize your various AdWords campaigns.
Tighten Your Ad Copy
In order to get the best placement at the lowest price for your keywords, it’s important that customers find your ads to be relevant. Relevancy is a huge metric to Google, as the search giant is adopted in large part due to the exceptionally quick and applicable results that are delivered to users. Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is critical to ensuring that your ad copy is fully optimized. There are several components of your ad copy that you’ll want to consider during testing scenarios, such as headline, offer, display URL, description and ad extensions. Ad extensions are a relatively new part of your overall ad Quality Score as determined by Google, and are an important factor in determining the cost and location of your ads. Here’s what to consider in each section of your ad:
- Headline: As the first thing your prospects see, the headline should grab their attention and ensure that your ad is 100% relevant. Then, you want to stand out from the competition for the same keyword. Create several versions of the headline that all include the search term and test the ads against each other.
- Offer: Perhaps the most critical component of your ad, the offer is the hook that lets you reel in new prospects and shift them towards becoming a customer. Compelling offers means more traffic, less cost and a greater possibility of converting customers who come to your site.
- Display URL: Oddly enough, the display URL doesn’t actually link to your site. While you are required to have your root domain listed here, you can get creative or reiterate your offer or location through the display URL.
- Description: The headline is rarely enough to cause a prospect to stop scanning and start clicking, they need to understand the value of the offer first. Be sure your description details why your service or product is the best in clear language.
- Ad Extensions: Think of ad extensions as additional real estate that you can use for your ad, that have the happy side benefit of improving your Quality Score. You can add your phone number or Google business address, list the brands you sell, add bullet points to detail services, link up additional landing pages, and even reflect third-party endorsements or reviews. This is where you can truly get creative with your ads!
Active testing of each of these critical components of your AdWords strategy is a solid first step towards ensuring your ads are effective and represent an efficient spend for your organization.