It is mind-boggling to think that in October 23rd 2000, Google released an official press release announcing the release of AdWords. At this point, only 350 organisations were toying with the idea of using it, fast forward 15 years and over 1.5 million businesses are using Google AdWords to advertise their products and services.
85% of Google’s revenue comes from the AdWords platform and with a jaw dropping revenue figures in excess of 50 billion dollars a year, PPC is big business.
I was introduced to Google AdWords in 2005, and a typical ad back then looked like this:
The above was the top ad for the search term ‘current account’, today you search for the same phrase and an ad looks like this:
The difference from a user perspective in terms of the information provided, when they search, is remarkable. But from a marketer point of view, the options you have in terms of the type of ads you can create is phenomenal. Search, mobile, display, remarketing, video and YouTube are all at your disposal.
However for the purposes of this blog I would like to go back to basics. Although AdWords has been active for 15 years, advertisers and customers are still relatively unaware of its existence. For people who are relatively new to the PPC game, I would like to give a little guidance in what I believe are the 5 most important paid search tips for beginners.
As with most things, doing the basics well will put you on the right track for achieving great success. It is actually quite difficult to narrow this down to only five points and for this blog post, I will be just focusing on search ads as this is usually the first port of call for a new AdWords advertiser. So here goes:
Utilise Negative Keywords
Negatives are one of the most important tools to control when your ads are displayed, make the most of your budget and increase relevancy. Not only do you have to be mindful of what your ads should not appear for, adding variations of phrases such as plurals but also the ‘negative match type’ also needs careful consideration.
With a new campaign, it is good practice to add a list of negative keywords prior to setting it live, but as a part of your on-going campaign management adding negative keywords should be one of your main priorities. Use the ‘search term’ page to see what keywords have triggered your ads.
In terms of match types, I find that phrase matching your negatives is a happy medium, broad match can remove too much and exact match may not remove enough to shape your traffic, as you need. Depending on your situation and your client’s goals, test which method works best for you.
Avoid Broad Match
I have never been a fan of broad match; in my experience it is just too much of a scattergun approach with an even heavier reliance on negative keywords then normal. Again depending on your client’s goals, broad matching your keywords could provide the desired effect, but in general I would avoid it.
The main reason why broad match is quite ineffective is that it reduces the amount of control you have and places more emphasis on Google’s matching system, which more often than not gets it wrong. I would advocate creating targeted campaigns, only showing ads for keywords that are relevant to the business. Every irrelevant click is an opportunity lost, so ditch the scattergun and try the sniper rifle instead!
Get The Right Account Structure
Whether you are creating an account from scratch or working on a legacy account, it is important to create the correct account structure. The main reason why account structure is so important is that it will enable you to get the best relevancy and in turn will result in better quality scores.
In addition, it will save you tons of time when optimising your campaign. Try to replicate the website’s structure, focus on the products/services offered and take into account the geographic location of where you ads are appearing.
For legacy accounts use AdWords Editor to make bulk structure changes, in particular when you are dealing with larger campaigns.
Know your Competitors
Having a close eye on your competitors in general is essential in all marketing strategies and PPC is no different. What are they bidding on? How do they structure their ad creatives? What positions are they occupying? What is their main USP? What calls to action are they using? What landing pages are they using?
Knowing this information will not only give you a good outlook on the advertising space you are about to enter, but will give you a competitive advantage when you are setting up your campaign.
Many obsess too much over competitor ad positioning and get into a bidding war to occupy top spot. This can detract you from the ROI and the long-term value you need to gain from your budget. Instead, try to think more about what makes your offering unique and try to create ads (where possible) that are different and will stand out to entice a click. Worry more about creating a better landing page experience compared to your competitors and find gaps which you can take advantage of more effectively.
Test, Evaluate, Optimise & Repeat
An absolute must for paid search and all marketing efforts. There is always an element of trial and error, particularly when building new campaigns with no data to analyse. After a campaign has been live for a prolonged period of time, you will be able to make some informed decisions on what has worked well and what has not.
It is always good to keep an open mind and not to be afraid to test a concept. It could be a product, a new landing page, a new call to action, keyword match type, ad schedule and so on. More often than not you will have to take an educated risk to find out the information you need.
Which keywords have provided the best results? Which ads have received the most activity? What are the quality scores? Are you targeting the correct people? Is your ad schedule set correctly? The evaluation process is very important; sometimes you can get overwhelmed in the management of a campaign. Ensure you take time to step back and look at your campaign as a whole and use the data to provide you with your plan of action.
Repeat this process as often as you can or feel necessary, if you are new to AdWords then this process can seem a little daunting. However it is important to remember PPC is always changing; the environment is never at constant, running ads on a Monday will be different compared to a Thursday. Be daring, experiment with different approaches and use the data you receive to formulate your plan going forward.
In summary, these five points are scratching the surface of what has become a complicated but exciting industry to be in. That said for new marketers and even some of the more experienced (myself included), the above tips should set you on your way to successful PPC campaigns!
If you would like to discuss Pay Per Click marketing for your business, please get in touch with the StrategiQ team today.