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10 Tips and tricks for google adwords and google adwords conversion rate averages by industry
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ErrolFord,France,Professional
Published Date:03-08-2017
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The Ten (Or So) Most Serious AdWords Beginner’s Mistakes In This Chapter ▶ Split-testing snafus ▶ Campaign calamities ▶ Ad agonies ▶ Keyword, er . . . problems dWords can have a steep learning curve, as well as an expensive one. AIn this chapter, I quickly run through the most common and expensive mistakes I’ve seen as an AdWords consultant and fixer. Neglecting to Split-Test Your Ads Even the world’s best marketers are wrong more often than they’re right. If you run a single ad, the chances of that ad being the best of all the possible ads in the universe are laughably small. When you compare two very different ads head to head, one of them will almost always be better than the other — more compelling, more attractive, or more in tune with the innermost desires of your market. When you’ve run the test long enough to have statistically significant data, you gracefully retire (or unceremoniously fire, whichever you prefer) the losing ad and put up another challenger. You continue the process, directing the survival of the fittest ad until you find the one unbeatable control that maximizes your business goals. In the old pre-Internet days, split-testing was complicated and expensive, a high-level business process reserved for huge companies with giant mainframe computers and millions of dollars on the line. Now, Google AdWords makes split-testing as easy as sending e-mail; when I see advertisers neglecting this fundamental improvement strategy, I feel like the mom telling her kid to eatPart VI: The Part of Tens 372 his peas because there are children starving somewhere else in the world. I want to shake them and shout, “Don’t you realize how lucky you are to be able to split-test so easily and cheaply and achieve such quick and conclusive results?” If you aren’t split-testing at this point, contact my office. I’ll pack my WrestleMania Split Test Avenger outfit, fly (business class only, please) to your place of business, and shake some sense into you. Practical advice: ✓ When you set up a new ad group, always have two different ads ready. ✓ Think of split tests as experiments you’re conducting to satisfy your curiosity. Keep a journal of questions, prioritize them, and always have another split test waiting in the wings. ✓ Split-test wide variations first, and then narrow down to smaller details. ✓ Check for statistical significance before declaring a winner. Don’t mis- take randomness for rock-solid trends. ✓ Split-test landing pages and e-mail sequences as well as AdWords ads. With the right tools, these split tests are almost as easy as the AdWords split-testing interface. See Chapter 13 for best practices in split-testing. Letting Google Retire Your Ads without Testing Another campaign setting that you need to override is the Ad Serving option in the Advanced Options section. From your campaign management console, click into a campaign and then click the Edit Campaign Settings link near the top. On the next page, Campaign Settings, find Ad Serving under Advanced Options (on the left). Do not optimize ad serving. Do not let Google show better performing ads more often. Instead, select the radio button next to Rotate: Show Ads More Evenly. If you’re split-testing, you have two goals: You want to identify the winner as quickly as possible, and you want to learn something from the test that will help you connect better with your market. When you let Google take control behind the scenes and quietly retire your low-CTR ads, you allow tests to drag on unnecessarily. It’s like holding a race, not specifying its length, and running it until the winner is miles away and the Chapter 17: The Ten (Or So) Most Serious AdWords Beginner’s Mistakes 373 losers are gasping for breath at the side of the road. A much more efficient method is to establish a finish line and identify the winner as soon as the tape is broken. When Google retires your ads behind your back, you lose the market intelligence that your split tests often provide. Finally, as I show in Chapter 15, the ad with the best CTR is often the least profitable. Yet Google chooses winners based on CTR, not conversion. The only exception is when you turn on the Conversion Optimizer tool — in that case, you must keep the Optimize setting in your campaign. Split-Testing for Improved CTR Only Ads that generate high CTR can be wonderful. They attract more visitors to your site at lower cost, and rank higher than other ads bidding the same amount. They also teach you about your market’s desires and fears. But when you split-test two ads and choose the winner based solely on CTR, you are in danger of worshipping a false god. Understand that the AdWords game is based on one rule: Get more outputs for your inputs than anyone else. Okay, CTR is a key throughput — but leads, customers, and dollars are what you’re after. A mention of Paris Hilton in your ad text may generate a high CTR, but just like the old magazine ads with the four-inch red headline of the word “sex,” she may be attracting eyeballs belonging to nonbuyers. Remember that lots of clicks translate into lots of money for Google, not for you. Getting the right clicks is more important than getting lots of clicks. When you split-test your ads, make sure you run conversion reports, and don’t rely on CTR alone. Creating Ad Groups with Unrelated Keywords The easiest way to set up an ad group is to write an ad, dump every keyword you can think of into that group, and send it to your home page. Heck, that should take you about 10 minutes of work if you’re using some of the powerful keyword tools I talk about in Chapter 5. It’s much more complicated and time-consuming to create tight ad groups, based on a narrow set of related keywords matched closely to the ads and the landing page. But your results will be well worth the extra time and effort.Part VI: The Part of Tens 374 Keywords unrelated to ads and landing pages produce poor CTR and conversion results — and cost a lot of money because of the poor Quality Score penalty. Remember that each keyword represents a mindset; take the time to group your keywords by similar mindsets, and write your ads and landing pages to address the desires and fears attached to those mindsets. You can tell when your ad groups are too broad if the CTRs of different keywords in the same group vary wildly. You may discover that the successful keywords are found in the ad headline and repeated in the description or URL. Peel the underperforming keywords out of that ad group and stick them into their own group, with an ad written just for them. Muddying Search and Content Results Many beginners rely on Google’s default settings when creating campaigns. Remember that Google’s defaults usually serve to simplify your account and to increase Google’s revenue. Sometimes those two goals are compatible with your goals, and sometimes they aren’t. One of the campaign settings you need to change right away, because you prefer profitability to simplicity, is Networks. (See Figure 17-1.) Figure 17-1: Separate content from search network from Google traffic on the Edit Campaign Settings page. If you run all three streams of traffic (Google, search partners, and content network) through the same ad group, you lose the ability to distinguish among the very different kinds of traffic. Content network traffic consists of people who were interrupted while they were reading or surfing or watching Chapter 17: The Ten (Or So) Most Serious AdWords Beginner’s Mistakes 375 something else. Search network traffic consists of people who are actively looking for your keywords. Not only do they arrive at your site driven by different motivations and desires; they respond differently to your ads and offers. In many cases, content traffic overwhelms search traffic. When that’s true, you lose the ability to split-test ads properly; your accurate CTR and conversion data from the search traffic is drowned by the flood of content traffic. Figuring out what your market is telling you is like trying to hear a cricket at a heavy metal concert. When you choose winning ads and identify profitable keywords based on poorly converting search traffic — and try to apply those lessons to your search marketing — in essence, you’re surveying penguins to try to sell to chimpanzees. The two market channels are very different, and should be studied and treated differently. See Chapter 7 for detailed instructions on how to split Google, search partner, and content network traffic into three different campaigns. Ignoring the 80/20 Principle The 80/20 principle, applied to AdWords, states that the vast majority of outputs (impressions, clicks, leads, sales, and such) are caused by a very small minority of inputs (ad groups, ads, and keywords). Instead of diffusing your efforts, focus on the vital few rather than the insignificant many. When you follow my advice and create Best Practice AdWords campaigns, you inevitably create a fair amount of complexity. With so many variables to monitor, juggle, and adjust, it’s common to become overwhelmed and wonder, “What do I do now?” I often see consulting clients spend days massaging an ad group that has no potential to make a significant contribution to their bottom line, while ignoring the big keywords in the important ad groups. Keep reminding yourself that the AdWords game is about maximizing outputs from fixed inputs. In this case, inputs are impressions and advertising cost. Spend your time fixing the things that will make the biggest difference: 1. Sort your campaigns by impressions. 2. Sort that campaign’s ad groups by impressions. Assess the ads in that group — do you have a clear winner?Part VI: The Part of Tens 376 3. Sort keywords by impressions, and look at the top five keywords. Are they making you money? Do you need to adjust their bids? Peel and stick them into a new ad group? Pause or delete them? Here the number of impressions is your limiting factor. If you have two ad groups, one with 50 impressions a day and the other with 20,000, a 50 percent improvement in conversion might translate into one additional sale per month for the smaller group and one to two more sales per day for the larger group. Where do you want to spend your time? One exception: you may be artificially limiting impressions in two ways: ✓ By ignoring potential high-traffic keywords ✓ By bidding for a position on page two or worse Make sure you check your average position for each keyword, ad, ad group, and campaign before assuming you’ve maxed out its traffic. Declaring Split-Test Winners Too Slowly Once you set up split-testing, you want to identify winners as quickly as possible, so you can learn and improve faster than your competition. If you can double your CTR and maintain the same quality of traffic, you get twice as many visitors for the same amount of money. When you double your Web site’s traffic, you can run your landing-page and sales-page split tests twice as fast as well. The faster you split-test, the faster you improve. I commonly look at new clients’ accounts and point out that they have been running a split test for weeks longer than they need to. Not only are they showing an inferior ad half the time, they’re also wasting the most precious resource of all: meaningful insights about their market. Set up reports to run on a regular basis that just look at ad performance. Make it a habit to run the numbers through the statistical significance tester atwww.askhowie.com/split and identify split tests that have yielded conclusive, action-producing results. You can automate this process and receive e-mail notification of split-test winners by subscribing towww.winneralert.com. Chapter 17: The Ten (Or So) Most Serious AdWords Beginner’s Mistakes 377 Declaring Split-Test Winners Too Quickly If your ad group receives a lot of traffic, your split tests may achieve statistical significance after only an hour or two. The problem with this speedy outcome is that the people searching during that particular window of time may be different from people searching at other times. If you choose a winner based on traffic from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Sunday, you may be picking an ad that has less appeal to people searching at noon on Wednesday. To be safe, run each split test for at least a week, so you don’t put too much weight into a cyclical blip. You can run reports by date and time to identify differences in impressions, CTR, and conversion by day of the week and time of day. If your weeklong split test threatens to become too expensive because of the volume of traffic, you can limit your traffic geographically by creating a campaign that targets a few low-population metropolitan areas but shows your ad 24/7. Forgetting Keywords in Quotes (Phrase Matching) or Brackets (Exact Matching) When you put a keyword in quotation marks, you tell Google that the quoted words or phrase must appear exactly as written somewhere in the keyword. Brackets are even more specific: They signify that the searcher must enter the keyword exactly as it appears within the brackets, with nothing added or removed. When you use broad match keywords only (putting no quotes or brackets on the keyword), you don’t really know what your visitors actually entered as search terms. You lump many different searches into a big vague basket and miss some valuable market intelligence. Phrase and exact match keywords often achieve higher CTRs than broad matches achieve because you can create ads that speak directly to the exact words and phrases that your visitors type.Part VI: The Part of Tens 378 Because of the hierarchy among broad, phrase, and exact match keywords, be aware that phrase match keywords cannibalize their broad match counterparts, and exact match keywords steal impressions from both. If the CTRs differ among the three match types for high-traffic keywords, peel the underperformers and stick them into their own ad groups. (See more about keyword matching in Chapter 5.) Ignoring Negative Keywords Negative keywords keep certain searchers from seeing your ads. If you get significant traffic from broad or phrase match keywords, you may find that Google is matching your ad to some irrelevant searches. If you want to deter tire-kickers from costing you clicks, you may want to add negative keywords likefree andcomplimentary. If you target upscale buyers, you can improve your ROI by eliminating discount andcheap, as well as certain brand names that have low-end connotations. If some of your search terms are ambiguous (for example, anthrax refers to both a disease and a heavy metal band) or could refer to two different niches of the same market (auto glass andplate glass windows), save your click money by adding negative keywords to your keyword list. Monitor your keyword-conversion performance over time to find new negative keywords. If you sell golf clubs and none of yourgolf instruction keywords convert, you can addinstruction as a negative keyword. Keeping the Keyword Quality Score Hidden Google introduced the keyword Quality Score in 2006, without much fanfare or documentation. It’s often not even shown in the default ad group Keyword tab screen. You must add the Quality Score column to the Keyword tab to manage this crucial metric. Quality Score tells you how much you must bid in order to show your ad for a given keyword. A low Quality Score puts you at a huge competitive disadvantage in your market; for this reason, I advise my clients to improve their Quality Scores before dealing with anything else on their sites or AdWords campaigns. Chapter 17: The Ten (Or So) Most Serious AdWords Beginner’s Mistakes 379 AdWords was the first advertising medium in the world to penalize advertisers for showing irrelevant content to their users. Their algorithms are based on years of comprehensive data collection — the keyword Quality Score contains information based on far more than your measly account. Ignoring it means you are missing the opportunity to make your sales process more customer-friendly and effective. Activate the Quality Score column by clicking the Keywords rollup tab, clicking the Filter and Views button, and then selecting the Customize Columns link from the drop-down list. Check the box next to Quality Score in the Performance column on the left. If your browser isn’t wide enough to view the Quality Score column, you can click and drag the green Quality Score column up to the top of the green columns, so it appears next to Position Preference. Click the Save button to return to the keyword list. Spending Too Much or Too Little in the Beginning Marketing Consultant Joy Milkowski ofwww.getmoreaccess.com reminded me of another big beginner’s mistake: Over- or under-spending during the first weeks and months of your AdWords campaigns. If you open your wallet too much by specifying too high a monthly budget or daily spend, you’ll lose all your money before you have time to learn the ropes. When you figure out that something isn’t working, turn it off right away while you make changes. Chances are — even with this book under your belt — you’ll take some time to get the feel of AdWords and develop proficiency. If you rush, you’ll blow through your budget several times and walk away going, “This stuff doesn’t work.” If you ever took a driving lesson, you may remember that your instructor made you drive slowly for a long time, showing you how to steer and brake and stop fiddling with the radio dial, before ever letting you open up on a highway. Your AdWords budget is your MPH — take it easy until you learn how to drive safely. Other clients are so hesitant that they set daily and monthly budgets far too low to generate enough traffic. They don’t get enough impressions to split- test and improve their ads and keywords, and they give up in frustration. Without enough statistically significant data, they don’t know how to improve their campaigns and quit in frustration. That’s like learning to drive by never going faster than five miles per hour. The experience of going 55 MPH (or 85,Part VI: The Part of Tens 380 which I wouldn’t know about, especially not on I-95 in Maryland just south of DC, I swear) is qualitatively and quantitatively different from inching along in an empty parking lot. The super-slow experience just doesn’t transfer to the real thing. The happy medium involves setting a “learning budget” and sticking with it. Do your homework (see Chapter 4) to estimate the amount of traffic you can expect. Your advertising spend (as well as the daily or weekly attention you’ll need to give your account) depends on the velocity of that traffic. At first, don’t expect to make money, or even come close to breaking even. You’re not advertising to earn it back; instead, you’re running market tests so you can come out swinging when you open up your wallet and your traffic. Your goal is to get your ROI into the black within a few months.Ten (Or So) AdWords Case Studies In This Chapter ▶ Split-testing their way to success ▶ Dissecting ads that worked — and ads that didn’t ▶ Getting paid to generate leads ▶ Discouraging the wrong visitors ▶ Building tight ad groups he best way to see the strategies and concepts from this book in action Tis by viewing actual examples. I can’t show you all the details because successful advertisers guard their keywords, strategies, and metrics like the recipe for Coca-Cola. I’ve compiled case studies from consultants who hope you’ll think they’re clever enough to hire them, from clients who hope you’ll go to their Web sites and buy their products, and from friends egotistical enough to want to see their names in a book. Among these three groups, you’ll see enough gems to keep you busy for a while. Using Sales Conversion Data to Save 14k per Month A client who sells a consumer product online and doesn’t want to reveal its identity was spending about 35,000/month on AdWords. The client was tracking conversions but not the actual dollar amount of each sale. When we connected the shopping cart data to AdWords conversion tracking, we could now see the exact ROI of every keyword, site placement, and ad in the client’s account. We began collecting data on February 7, 2008. I started split-testing ads at that point. After 3 weeks, I ran a keyword performance report and paused negative ROI keywords. I ran a placement performance ad and excluded the negative ROI placements. I ran an ad performance report and deleted the inferior ads.Part VI: The Part of Tens 382 As you can see from Figure 18-1, the client’s AdWords spend dropped sig- nificantly, but their total sales remained the same. Before, they spent 35 to make 100. After, they spent only 20. In their case, that amounted to a monthly savings of almost 14,000. Figure 18-1: By deleting ROI-negative items, spending dropped dramatically without affecting sales. Here’s the really cool thing about this case study. Go back to the first paragraph and read carefully what I did. Notice: There was no creativity involved. No new ads. No clever keyword variations. No insightful market analysis. Just looking at each element and asking, “Is this paying for itself?” And when the answer was no, out came the axe. Going Global and Tracking Conversions with Analytics Shane Keller ofwww.gcflearnfree.org, a non-profit organization that offers free online computer, technology, and life skills training to help people improve their lives, visited my office on May 8, 2008. We talked for a while, I looked at his AdWords campaigns, made a few suggestions, and he left. Chapter 18: Ten (Or So) AdWords Case Studies 383 Shane shared his actions and results on August 15, 2008. Here are the relevant excerpts: After I met with you, I came back and we adjusted our campaign setting to target a worldwide market instead of just the US. The AdWord campaigns exploded into action. We started maxing out our budget by noon every day. Now, finally I could start to see how each test and adjustment affected the results. I worked the system — outlined in your book — each and every day and saw immediate improvements week after week. This led to a run of seven consecutive record-breaking weeks of stats for our website, the adoption of Google Analytics to track our conversion rate. Week of April 28–May 4 Week of June 16–June 22 Clicks = 3,935 Clicks = 7,177 Imp = 101,625 Imp = 80,639 CTR = 3.42% CTR = 8.93% We added Analytics the week of July 7th – July 13th. Now it was all about the conversions. We now have a conversion rate of 15.42% on our AdWords campaign. We are averaging around 6,600 new unique signups each week and we’re now heading into what’s typically the busiest period for us. Here is a screen shot of our website signup growth. (See Figure 18-2.) Figure 18-2: Account optimiza- tion led to a surge of new traffic for this client. And here’s what it did for our Spanish side of things (See Figure 18-3.)Part VI: The Part of Tens 384 Figure 18-3: The increase in traffic was even more pronounced for the Spanish language campaign. We now are trying to take everything we are learning from AdWords and utilize it in order for us to increase our organic search positions. Throwing a Bigger Party with Broad Match and Negative Keywords David Rothwell ofwww.adwordsanswers.com took over the AdWords account of a client,www.perforce.com, which provides versioning and collaboration tools and systems for software development companies. When David took over the account, the main challenge was the lack of traffic. Originally, the account had been set up with thousands of long-tail (three- to five-word) keywords to take advantage of the low bid prices. The trouble was, keywords like“embedded software development tool” and “software development management tool” were getting almost no searches. David relaxed the keyword specificity; began using more common, shorter- tail keywords, such asversion control,software configuration management, andsoftware configuration tools; and put them into lots of tightly focused ad groups. Because they were now bidding on common keywords in broad match format, they had to pay attention to the searches they no longer wanted. David did so by running the search query report on a regular basis, and adding negative keywords to the appropriate ad groups. For example, “kitchen design software” and “website design software” both showed up, so-kitchen and-website were both added to the software design group. Chapter 18: Ten (Or So) AdWords Case Studies 385 David reports that long-tail keywords, once a best practice, appear to be losing their effectiveness because Google prefers to show ads for keywords with significant search volume. After all, if nobody’s searching, then nobody’s clicking, and Google isn’t making money. Results: Perforce had been frustrated by their inability to spend more money on AdWords. As they offer a fully functional two-user free trial software download, the targeted search traffic they get converts quite well. Once David added conversion tracking and removed the negative-ROI keywords and ads, not only did the impressions and CTR increase, but also cost per lead went down. As an added bonus, the extra traffic now allows for more robust split-testing of landing pages, including new ones with video demos. Originally, the AdWords account had targeted only the United Kingdom. Perforce is building on the success of the UK-based campaign to roll out campaigns in Germany and Sweden. Getting Cheap and Hungry Traffic by Bidding on Your Own Brand Name Christian Bedard ofwww.calimacil.com sells high-end and high-quality form swords for live action role-playing aficionados. Christian thought he had tapped out all the potential keywords in the swords, shields, and live action weapons department, but recently, he had a brainstorm and bid on the keyword Calimacil and headlined the ad “Calimacil Official Site.” (See Figure 18-4.) Figure 18-4: An effective ad that capitalizes on searches for their own brand name. Part VI: The Part of Tens 386 He got this idea not from a competitor in his industry, but from copying the AdWords strategy of Dell Computers. (See Figure 18-5.) One of the smartest things you can do as an AdWords advertiser is to pay attention to what other advertisers are doing that catches your eye when you’re searching. Most innovation is just borrowing a good idea from somewhere else and applying it where it has never been applied before. Figure 18-5: Calimacil borrowed the idea for its ad from this Dell ad. Even though the Calimacil listing comes up at the top of the organic listings for the keywordCalimacil, the ad and organic listing combined generate more traffic and sales than just the top organic listing by itself. Rather than cannibalize the free clicks, the sponsored link reinforces Calimacil’s domination of the page. The ad’s CTR is 26%, with a very high sales conversion rate, and very low bid price because there are no competitors. Adding a Welcome Video to the Landing Page Ken Evoy, president ofwww.sitesell.com (a turnkey Web hosting and e-commerce business-building system), thought that he had fully optimized his Web site conversion process through years of comprehensive testing. Nothing he tried could beat his control site. But he found that adding a short, friendly Welcome to My Website video to his home page dramatically increased sales for his Site Build It service. The video helped increase sales by 30 percent by explaining the product and building an emotional connection with visitors. With the help of Web video consultant Joe Chapuis ofwww.webvideozone. com, Ken created a 3-minute video shortcut for the SiteSell homepage that walks prospects through a quick tour of his site and service. Ken explained, “Site Build It is a big product that takes a lot of words to explain. Video enables us to get so much more information across so much more efficiently.” Ken added the video to the top of his home page, using the Flash video player available atwww.webvideozone.com. Joe Chapuis explained the Chapter 18: Ten (Or So) AdWords Case Studies 387 importance of video placement: “If you want someone to watch your video, you need to have it at the top of the page where it will get noticed, as well as on a Web page that prospects are likely to visit.” Ken reported that sales increased by 30 percent since he added video to the home page: “Video is incredibly powerful, especially for a product like SBI. . . . We have never been able to communicate so precisely, effectively, nor with such emotion.” Getting the Basics Right Kelly Conway kindly saved me several hours of work by providing the following case study. Notice the simple steps that cumulatively produced stellar results. I met David O’Hara, a product-development expert, when he was looking for help in selling one of his products, the Breatheasy blood-pressure reduction system, via PPC advertising. David’s goal for this ad campaign is to drive visitors to a landing page where he makes a one-time sale of either a CD or downloadable product. Two landing-page examples includewww.highbloodpressurehq. com andwww.highbloodpressurehq.com/about_me.html The campaign includes 30–40 ads, which we continuously split-test. Examples include: 15 Minutes to Lower Blood Pressure - 6 Weeks to a Better Life Free from High Blood Pressure HighBloodPressureHQ.com 2,070 Clicks 3.49% CTR 0.12 CPC These Breathing Exercises Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally - Just 15 Minutes a Day HighBloodPressureHQ.com 220 Clicks 4.90% CTR 0.24 CPC How To Lower Blood Pressure - 15 Minutes/Day - 6 Weeks to Freedom from High Blood Pressure HighBloodPressureHQ.com 137 Clicks 6.82% CTR 0.23 CPC Lower Blood Pressure Start Immediately - 15 Minutes/Day Simple, Practical & Affordable HighBloodPressureHQ.com 101 Clicks 3.63% CTR 0.16 CPCPart VI: The Part of Tens 388 The state of the ad campaign, at the time that David contacted me, was similar to many other campaigns I’ve seen. He was bidding on 600–800 keywords, all of which were in a single ad group. None of the keyword phrases was making use of anything other than Google’s broad-match option. David’s initial request was to get the minimum cost-per-click of many of his keywords below the 1 and 5 Google was requesting. Improve Web Site to Increase Keyword Quality Score and Lower Bid Prices The campaign’s overall CTR had been around 0.50%. My immediate goal was to raise that number dramatically. I knew by doing that, I would be able to decrease the minimum bid and our average CPC. The initial cost per click was 0.23. However, David still had hundreds of keywords he wasn’t bidding on due to the 1 and 5 minimum-bid requirements. In addition, I recommended that David add content to his Web site so that Google would find his keywords more relevant. He went to work on that while I worked on increasing the CTR. Add Quotes and Brackets to Every Keyword First, I created phrase- and exact-match versions for every keyword in the campaign. Those keyword variations often have less competition, which means their bid prices can be lower. Additionally, they often attract better- targeted visitors than the broad-match versions of the same phrases. Delete Poorly Performing Keywords Next, in order to quickly raise the campaign’s CTR, I needed to delete the keywords that were performing poorly. I deleted phrases that, after 200 or more impressions, had resulted in no sales and had not achieved at least a 0.80% CTR. Interim Results after Two Weeks Implementing these strategies helped us increase the campaign’s cumulative CTR to 1.02% by the end of the second week. Additionally, we managed to lower our average CPC by nearly 10%, to 0.21, during that period. By the end of the first month, our overall CTR was 1.67%. Google reported our average ad position for the first month as 5.6; indicating that our ads appeared, on average, in fifth or sixth position within Google’s sponsored listings. Segment Keywords into Ad Groups The next step was to segment the keywords into groups of related phrases. This work was time consuming, but not difficult. I reviewed all of our keywords and identified 18 targeted groups. For example, a person searching for “hypertension cure” may have a very different mindset from someone who searches for“lower blood pressure quickly”, though both are good prospects for David’s product. Segmenting the overall market allowed us to write Chapter 18: Ten (Or So) AdWords Case Studies 389 specific ads targeted to the apparent internal dialog of each person searching for a solution. A valuable side benefit of this exercise was that the resultant shift in perspective from the market as a whole to market segments allowed us to unearth additional search phrases that doubled the size of our keyword list. Continued Split-Testing We had, of course, been split-testing ads all along. One particular ad (the first one displayed above) had consistently out-pulled all contenders. In the new groups, we split-tested that control ad against ones specific to each group’s market segment. In about half of the cases, the control ad still won; proving that you never know what will work best until you test. We continue to write market- specific ads and split-test them against the control, however, and new winners emerge each week. Discouraging Unqualified Traffic In the interest of increasing sales conversions, we took a few actions that reduced our CTR. For example, as soon as we got the overall CTR above 1%, we introduced several negative keywords (such as“-free”). This combination of forward and backward steps resulted in an overall CTR of 3.88% over the first five months of the campaign. At that point, several of our ad groups had achieved a CTR over 4%; the highest was 4.98%. Dozens of specific keyword phrases garnered double-digit CTR. Current Results In summary, over the first five months of this campaign, we increased the CTR by 597% (0.65% to 3.88%), while reducing the average CPC 22% (from 0.23 to 0.18) and maintaining an average ad position just over 5; as low as 3.5 in one ad group. Additionally, at the 5-month mark, no keyword phrase had a minimum bid amount over 0.40. As a result of all this work, David’s blood pressure is even lower today than when we started. You can find an expanded version of this case study at Kelly’s Web site, www.ctrexpert.com. 15-Cent Click to 1,700 Customer in Minutes Mike Stewart ofwww.internetvideoguy.com doesn’t spend hours creating new ads or designing amazing Web sites. He doesn’t research hungry markets or spend hours creating long e-mail follow-up sequences. He buys cheap clicks on AdWords on keywords related to recording teleseminars and phone calls. He split-tests his ads but doesn’t generate enough impressions to make significant changes very often.Part VI: The Part of Tens 390 Mike’s landing page (atwww.teleseminartools.com) features a prominent 2-minute video commercial for a home talk show recording studio priced at 1,695. The video cost almost nothing to make, compared to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for television commercial production. But the decreased quality doesn’t matter on this site, because the AdWords traffic is so highly qualified. A commercial airing during a break in The Office is shown to everyone watching the program; only a tiny percentage of the viewers will be interested in a given product at a given time. That’s why commercials on mass media need to be repeated so often. But a commercial on an AdWords landing page can specifically respond to the itch represented by the keyword. For the low-traffic keywordteleseminars and its variations, Mike generated 134 clicks at 0.15 CPC over a 3-month period, for a total advertising spend of around 20.00. These clicks generated 13 sales totaling more than 22,000 over the same period. Mike cautions that these numbers are possible for two important reasons: 1. The keywordteleseminars generates a customer who is likely to be qualified for the offer. 2. The product for sale lends itself to a video demonstration. Mike teaches others how to create inexpensive Internet commercials at www.internetvideoguy.com. Local Search with Video Web Site One of Mike Stewart’s clients iswww.carpetdepotdecatur.com, a local carpet store in Decatur, Georgia. The owner, Brad Flack, bids on about 30 keywords in the Atlanta market only, and drives traffic to a Web site that uses video to introduce the store and answer frequently asked questions. The ads are simple, and include the call to action, watch online video. The video on the home page features Brad introducing himself and explaining the benefits and dramatic differences of his store. He guides visitors to click the “Deal of the Week” video, view customer testimonials, and meet the staff. He also invites them to call and shows them where to find the phone number, and demonstrates how to shop on the site. The most significant call to action is for the visitor to view the “Measure Your Home” how-to video. Customers now come to the store feeling like they already know Brad from viewing several minutes of video. He has stopped running ads in the Yellow Pages because most customers use Google first and some rely on online search exclusively. Because none of his competitors is advertising with Google at this point (and he hopes they don’t read this book), his ad is the only one that prospects see. With no competition, clicks are cheap and his number-one position is guaranteed.