Category Archives: ROI

AdWords Releases Advanced Phrase and Exact Match

AdWords recently released improvements to their advanced matching options, slightly expanding phrase and exact match, so that users that are typing in misspellings and very close variations of your chosen keywords will still see your ads. This change will help boost traffic on phrase and exact keywords without bringing in irrelevant queries like broad match tends to generate.

A lot of advertisers have been vary of broad match, because of the sometimes irrelevant expansions by the system and have chosen to use phrase and exact match instead of broad match altogether.

If you’d like to opt out of this new feature, you can do so in your campaign settings page, where you will now see a new section Keywords matching options. There. you’ll be able to select your preferences to include or prevent close variants.

I still recommend checking your search query reports to ensure you are utilizing the match options effectively and excluding those irrelevant queries.

How Long Does It Take For You To Covert a Customer? Find Out Through AdWords Search Funnels

A lot of advertisers I work with are not aware of how long their customers take to convert. However, knowing your sales cycle is important information for many reasons, including to better understand the results you are getting from your advertising efforts and to further optimize your campaigns and marketing efforts.

Some products, like lead generation websites, have faster conversion cycles since there is a less of a commitment on a user’s end. Others, like many e-commerce sites or B2B products, can have much lenghtier sales cycles.

To figure out where you stand, you can check out AdWords Search Funnels. You’ll need to have AdWords conversion tracking enabled in your account to access this information.  In your AdWords account, go to Tools and Analysis and select the Conversions sub-tab. Next, click on Search Funnels to get the following view.

On this screen, you’ll be able to see the average days to conversion, as well as how many clicks and impressions it takes to convert a customer. If you click deeper within the links below the overview tab, you can find out even more information and details, including how the various campaigns and keywords work together and relate to your conversions. Keep in mind that this information is, of course, specific to your AdWords account and that it’s likely that users from other traffic sources are converting a bit differently.

If your average visitor takes several days to convert, keep this path in mind as you analyze your metrics and launch new campaigns. It might take longer for you to truly understand the impact of any new promotions or optimization efforts, since your conversions are not immediate. You may also want to add in time sensitive offers to help speed your visitors along their decision process.

If you have lengthy conversion cycles, I also suggest you use remarketing to remind visitors of your brand. I suggest all advertisers try remarketing, but it’s an even more important strategy for advertisers that need to stay in their customer’s minds, as these customers take their time to make a decision and research further. You can read more about what remarketing is in my previous post and also learn about remarketing best practices here.

Boost Conversions and Increase Brand Awareness With AdWords Remarketing

If you are like me and have been doing a lot of online shopping this holiday season, you have probably been remarketed to. Have you noticed ads on random sites that seem to ‘know’ what you recently searched for or want to buy? Yep, that’s likely remarketing.

With remarketing, you can serve your ads to users who previously visited your website as they go on to browse the display network. Remarketing can be an extremely powerful method of reminding your potential customers of your brand or reconnecting with them as they click on your ads but navigate away from your website.

If you are advertising with Google, you can set up remarketing through your Google AdWords campaigns. To get started, you’d need to first define your audiences or who you’d like to target, create a separate campaign for remarketing, and you would need to place some code on your website. Below, I am outlining some basics about remarketing and things to keep in mind as you set it up.

Remarketing Costs

The costs are the same as for other AdWords campaigns. You only pay when someone clicks on your remarketing ads or sees them (depending on if you’re using CPC or CPM bidding methods) and you set your own bids and budgets. If you are direct response focused, I recommend going with CPC bidding.

Defining Audiences

Your remarketing ads should be different for the various segments and audiences you are looking to capture. So, the first step of setting up a remarketing campaign will be to define your audiences or who your ads should reach. Here are some recommended audiences:

  • All Visitors: Anyone who came to your site. This is the most basic way to set-up remarketing but also the least targeted.
  • Non Converters: All visitors minus those that purchased a product or became a lead. Targeting such audiences can remind your non converting visitors of your brand and entice them to come back to your site and convert. You could get really specific here and target visitors who saw a particular brand or product and then show them the most relevant ads highlighting that particular brand.
  • By Products or Services: You could target users who visited specific pages on your site with custom ads and messages.
  • Topic Layering: You could further subdivide any of your chosen audiences by adding in topics in AdWords. This would segment a given audience by type of site they are browsing on the display network. For example, you could chose to show your remarketing ads to all non converters who browse finance related sites.
  • Converters: You could target those who already purchased a product or became a lead and continue to nurture your relationship with these visitors. Most direct response focused marketers do not see this audience as a priority, as it is more of a branding strategy.
Customizing Ads

I recommend doing a combination of text and image ads for greatest reach. Your message should be customized to the audience you are trying to reach. For example, if you are targeting visitors who did not convert, your ads should remind them why they should go with your brand or you can offer customers special discounts for coming back.

After you set-up remarketing, continue to test and experiment with audiences and settings until you find a method best suited for your goals. It is a robust tool for both branding and lead or sales generation. As you tailor it to your many unique audience segments, you can make a powerful connection with your customers.


adCenter Launches Advanced Negative Match & Negative Keyword Conflicts

Microsoft adCenter just lauched advanced negative match, a feature AdWords has had for a long time now, to help advertisers better prequalify traffic.  Now you can set Phrase and Exact Match negative keywords in your adCenter campaigns for even greater precision in filtering unwanted search traffic. Previously, adCenter only allowed Negative Broad. For more information about negative keywords as well as how to use them, please see this post on negative keyword best practices.

Another new feature you may want to check out is their insights into keyword conflicts. Use the new Negative Keyword Conflicts report to learn if you have set any negative keywords that are same as your actual keywords. The report can help resolve any conflicts and help improve performance. It can also helo explain why some of your perfectly relevant keywords have not been getting any impressions.

Click-To-Call in AdWords Can Make Your Phones Ring

If you are a business that values calls more than website visits, you should be taking advantage of click-to-call mobile features in AdWords. With click-to-call, when people are searching on their mobile devices, they have the option to call you instead of clicking through to your website, thus saving customers an extra step and helping you get more engaged prospects.

To get started, I recommend creating a separate campaign that’s opted into mobile devices only. Next, you will want to go to the ‘Ad Extensions’ tab in your campaign management section, and select with ‘Location Extensions’ or ‘Call Extensions.’ The screenshot below shows an example of ‘Call Extensions’

You do have the option to enable the ‘Call-Only’ format so that only the phone number is clickable when your ad is shown on mobile devices capable of making phone calls. Please note that call-only phone extensions don’t work in conjunction with enhanced CPC or CPA bidding, so you should use Maximum CPC bidding if you’d like to take advantage of  this feature. There  are also  issues with call-only creatives showing on BlackBerry devices, so you might want to target iPhone and Android specifically if you go with the call-only feature.

The calls cost the same as a click, but make sure you increase your bids so that your ads are showing in the top positions for maximum visibility on mobile devices. I also suggest you consider enabling ad scheduling so your mobile campaigns only run when you have someone available to take calls.

Save Time By Taking Advantage Of Automated Rules in AdWords

Do you keep checking on your keywords and adjusting bids to make sure they’re showing in top position? Do you run time sensitive seasonal promotions that your ads need to reflect? Do you keep checking conversions and ROI and lowering budget on campaigns that are under-performing? Then you’ll love ‘Automated Rules’ in AdWords. With automated rules you can make changes to campaigns, ad groups, bids, statuses, ads, and keywords based on your custom requirements. You’ll save yourself time and optimize your account based on your unique goals.

Setting up automated rules is easy. In your AdWords campaign management tab, click to ‘Automate’ as shown in the screenshot below and select what aspects of your campaigns you would like to create a rule for.

Next, you’ll want to specify your criteria, such as what the rule will apply to, action, requirements for the rule to take effect, and frequency or when the rule should start running. In the example below, I chose to lower budget by 40% on all campaigns where cost/conversion went above $32. You can select how often you want this rule to run and receive an email with details. Happy automating!

Optimize Your AdWords Ads Automatically For Conversions

AdWords finally released a feature I’ve been waiting for for years, a setting which optimizes your ads for conversions. You can find it by clicking on your campaign’s settings, under the ad delivery section.

Previously the options were to have the system optimize ads for CTR or to rotate them evenly. Because ads with the highest CTR do not necessarily convert best, I used to recommend most advertisers to set their ads to rotate, then manually pause those ads that are generating a lot of clicks but aren’t converting. That process was  manual and time-consuming and AdWords has come up with a smarter way to optimize your ads based on what’s truly working for you.

To take advantage of this setting, you’ll need to have conversion tracking enabled in your account and you will want to create multiple ads per ad group so the system can run them against one another. The ad that is more likely to convert will start to be preferred by the system and will show more often. Have fun experimenting!

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