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The Care and Feeding of An Adwords Campaign

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Motarme Google Adwords maintenance

Google Adwords should be a good source of leads for B2B technology and industrial firms. But to succeed you need to give your campaigns regular care and attention.  That’s because after your new AdWords campaign runs for a few days you will see things that need to be fixed.

Typically some of the problems with a new campaign include:

  • Some ads are bringing in poor quality visitors who have searched on phrases irrelevant to your business.
  • Your ads are not being shown because your bids are too low.
  • People aren’t clicking on your ads.
  • People start to click but when these visitors arrive on your landing pages they don’t register or convert.

To fix these problems requires that you regularly review and update your campaigns to achieve your desired results – good quality leads registering on your landing pages.

This is how we recommend you do it. Use a systematic, iterative approach – you keep circling through campaigns, then ad groups, then keywords and then ad text, making adjustments in a logical order.

1. Choose a Campaign

Login to your Google Adwords account and choose a time period to review e.g. past 30 days.

Choose a Campaign you want to improve

  • Sort the Ad Groups in that campaign by Click Through Rate (CTR) – to do this click on the column marked CTR and it will sort the table from high to low.
  • Target the lowest CTR Ad Group – this is the first one you will either improve or delete

2. Select Ad Group within Campaign

Choose that Ad Group with the low CTR

  • In the Ad Group, first look at Keywords.
  • Sort the keywords by Clicks to see which keywords are getting most clicks.
  • Sort by CTR to see which keywords perform the best.
  • Look at the search terms that have actually triggered keywords in this ad group using the ‘Details -> Search terms – All’ button as shown:

Google Adwords keyword details

3. Revise Keywords Within the Ad Group

  • Remove any ‘broad match’ keywords – change them to ‘Phrase’ or ‘Exact’.
  • Look for keywords not being displayed due to low bids and either increase the bid, try a different match type, or a closely related phrase.
  • Look for keywords not being displayed because of poor Quality Score. Google thinks these keyword / ad / landing page combinations are not working so think why this might be the case. After 3 to 4 days either change or remove low QS keywords or they will damage the performance of your ad group and campaign. One option here is to separate low QS keywords into their own ad group where you can work on them in isolation e.g. give them special ad text and landing pages.
  • Consider whether more keywords can be added – click on the ‘Add keywords’ option or use the Google Keyword Planner to look for some additional ideas.
  • Check recent searches to see if some keywords should be excluded using ‘negative keywords’ – typical keywords to exclude include “free”, “jobs”, “vacancy”, “vacancies” etc.
  • Check the number of impressions for your keywords overall – are you getting enough impressions in this ad group? If the number of impressions is low then it means not many people are searching on your keyword phrases in your target geography. The choice here is to (a) add keywords or (b) change the campaign settings so your ads run in more geographies / countries.
  • Additional Keywords – do you have enough keywords in this group? Can you add more?
  • Too many keywords / Create New Ad Group – if you have more than 80 or 90 keywords in an ad group then they usually could be separated into 2 or more ad groups.  If that is the case then split some of your keywords into a new ad group.
  • Review the Relevance of your keywords – do you still think they will bring in your target buyers?  Are they too general – could they be bringing in unwanted traffic?  Alternatively, are they too restrictive? Could you be missing out on some potential customers who are looking for related but different terms?

4. Revise Ad Text Within the Ad Group

  • Next, look at your Text Ads for that Ad Group
  • Sort the Ads by Click Through Rate.
  • Ads with a click through rate of less than 0.5% are performing badly. (We look to get to 1.2% or above as quickly as possible).
  • A CTR this low indicates that (a) the ad text is simply not compelling and /or (b) the ads are not clearly connected with the keyword in the mind of a visitor – the visitor who searched on the phrase does not expect to see the ad you show in response so he doesn’t click on it
  • Have you got at least 2 ads running in competition in the ad group? You need at least 2 running in parallel in order to draw conclusions about what does or does not work.
  • Have you selected ‘ad rotation’ at the Campaign level so the ads are being shown evenly over time to enable you to measure one against the other? To use ad rotation, you may have to go to settings and beside the ‘Type’ setting, choose “Search Network only – All features”, rather than “Search Network Only – Standard Features”
  • Have you got more than 4 ads in the ad group?  Generally any more than 4 becomes difficult to analyse and manage, particularly in the context of a larger overall Campaign with many other ad groups.
  • In this ad group, take the lowest performing ads first – is there any obvious problem? Does the ad closely relate to the set of keywords it represents?
  • Is there a compelling offer, statement of value and call to action? Is there some other reason people might not click on it?
  • Can you do comparative searches in a target geography to see what other ads are displayed for your types of keywords? How do those ads compare to yours?
  • Are you using Keyword Insertion on any ads? If you try using keyword insertion, do those ads perform better than other ads?
  • Is the display URL that shows at the bottom of your ad clearly related to the keywords and call to action? E.g. www.mycompany.com/keyword-related-term

5. Revise Landing Pages Within the Ad Group

  • Click on the blue line at the top of each of each of your text ads to open the corresponding landing pages.
  • What is the Conversion Rate on your landing page – how many visitors register per 100?  As a rule of thumb in B2B web marketing, we want a 4% to 8% conversion rate for landing pages when they have been running and tested for a couple of weeks. That means for every 100 clicks through to this page we expect to see 4 to 8 people registering.  You won’t achieve this immediately but if after 2 weeks it is not working you need to reconsider the page and corresponding ads.
  • Is there a clear linkage between keyword -> ad text -> landing page?
  • Does the landing page header text clearly relate back to the ad and the keyword?
  • Does the landing page follow standard best practice e.g. ‘hero shot’ of item or document on offer, encapsulated registration form, directional cues, text on the download button, bulletpoint text, summary of benefits, customer or partner logos and other trust anchors, social proofs such as ‘100,000 customers use product X’ etc.

6. Repeat for all Ad Groups with Campaign

  • Repeat this process for all Ad Groups within your campaign, then move on to the next campaign.

7. Check Campaign Settings

  • Your campaigns settings control the overall budgets, default keyword bids and, perhaps most importantly, target geographies.
  • Periodically look at these settings to confirm they are still valid for your campaign.
  • You usually have to test and change geographies and budgets quite a lot in the first few weeks of a new campaign.

 

Search Engine Optimization Competitor Analysis using “AllInTitle”

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Competitor Analysis

When you are picking keyword phrase to target, using the “AllInTitle” filter can be a good way to assess the level of competition for a keyword. (We have a guide to Search Engine Optimization here ).

How do you decide which keyword phrases you should target with your website? When we do this for a client our first step is to generate ideas based on the products and services they sell.  Next, we use tools like the Google Keyword Planner to generate more ideas for keywords.  If the client has been running Google Pay-per-click ads for a while then we will look at these too, checking to see which keywords have good search volumes, good click through rates (CTRs) and good conversions (e.g. the percentage of people who register on a landing page after clicking through on an ad).

When you have a long list of candidate keywords, you need to whittle it down.  You can only target so many keyword – about 3 phrases per page on your website  -  so you have to make some choices.  We make the selection using 3 filters.

The first filter we use is search  volume – how many people typically search for this term month-by-month? Google’s keyword planner can give you a rough indication of search volumes for a keyword phrase. Generally you don’t want to target keywords that have a low volume of search traffic – if not many people search for the term there is no point optimizing your site for it.

The next filter is “relevance” – is the keyword phrase really closely related to what we sell?  Is it too generic? Could it be misunderstood as relating to another business?  We usually mark each keyword as High, Medium or Low for relevance so we can sort them later.

The next filter is “competition”.  This is one of the biggest factors in determining which keywords you should target.  If there are tens of thousands of other websites targeting the exact same phrase then it will be really hard for you to get to page one of the search results.

You can use Google’s keyword planner to get an idea of the level of competition for a particular keyword phrase. However, we also do a quick search on the phrase using ‘AllInTitle:keyword phrase’ in Google.  The ‘AllInTitle’ modifier tells Google to show you how many pages on the web have a Page Title tag that matches your search phrase. Since most people who are optimizing a page to target a keyword phrase will put that phrase in the Title, then the ‘AllInTitle’ search results give you a pretty good idea of how many people are trying to target the same keyword.

For example, if you enter “allintitle:tomato ketchup” into the Google search box, it will show you the total number of pages it finds with ‘tomato ketchup’ in the Title tag.

Our rule of thumb is that if there are less than 5,000 results using the same phrase in the title then you have a chance to compete for page 1. Between 5,000 and 7,500 is going to be tough, and more than 7,500 other pages will make it very tough.

If you build up a spreadsheet of keywords that includes the search traffic volumes, relevance and the number you get from the ‘AllInTitle’ search then you will start to see which keywords show the most potential. You are looking for keyword phrases with high search, strong relevance and low competition.

If you’d like to learn more about keyword competitor analysis, there’s a great article on the Wordstream blog.

Written by Michael White

Michael White is co-founder and Managing Director of Motarme, the Marketing Automation vendor. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

What Items Should You Include In Your Marketing Budget?

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Marketing budget items

What should you spend your marketing budget on?  In a previous post, “How much should I spend on Marketing?” I looked at how you can calculate your marketing budget based on industry averages and your own previous marketing expenditure and output. Once you have identified roughly how much you want to spend, the next question is what you should spend it on.

Here are some of the typical items you can include in a B2B marketing budget:

  • Website – updating it, redesigning and re-implementing it, adding new content or images
  • PPC ad expenditure – pay-per-click ads on Google or Bing
  • Search Engine Optimization – expenditure on tools and consulting
  • Content – Creation and design work on content by 3rd party (e.g. case studies, videos)
  • Graphics – web banners, infographics etc.
  • Events/ trade-show costs – e.g. pop-up banners, handouts, freebies, travel and accommodation
  • Company seminars e.g. hosting invite-only seminars at a city hotel
  • Display Ad and re-targeting ad expenditure
  • Video ads
  • Social Media tools and services
  • Social Media ads and paid promotion e.g. LinkedIn ads, promoted posts, Slideshare lead capture
  • Partner co-promotion e.g. seminars, other campaigns
  • PR costs
  • Distribution of white papers (e.g. TechTarget)
  • Analyst Relations e.g. subscription to Gartner, Forrester or similar
  • Telemarketing
  • Print advertising
  • Direct mail / direct marketing including print & postage costs
  • Marketing technologies – marketing automation, email marketing, SEO tools, web analytics etc.

Can you think of any other typical items of expenditure not included here?

Written by Michael White

Michael White is co-founder and Managing Director of Motarme, the Marketing Automation vendor. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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