As a newly fledged PPC account manager I have put together a list of top tips for someone, whether they are in the same position as me, or simply want to advertise their own company on Google.
Here they are:
1. When setting up a key word list be thorough. A great way of doing this is in excel, set up a spreadsheet and then just input lots of little lists of key words with similar themes. For example, you can have one list with calls to action such as: buy, purchase, hire, rent etc, and then another list with types of product. Say you are selling TV’s, one list may have ‘high definition’ as a theme, and another may have ‘lcd’ as a theme. Creating your keyword list in this manor helps keep your campaign structured and will also help you to form decent, targeted ad groups.
A very useful tool for finding key words that you may not think of is the Google Key Word Tool, it also tells you how much competition there is surrounding a particular key word as well as the local (countrywide) and global search volumes.
It is also very important to know exactly who you are targeting and what the company you are advertising does. This is crucial to writing the right key words, and later, writing effective ads.
Ensure that all of your key words are in lower case, this helps to prevent any repetition. Also if there are any obvious negative key words then add them in now as well. I.e. if you are an office letting agent then you don’t want people searching for ‘office jobs’ seeing your ad. So ‘jobs’ would be a good example of a negative key word.
2. ‘A Stitch In Time Saves Nine’ is a phrase that fits very well to setting up a PPC campaign. In that it is absolutely worthwhile spending a couple of extra hours getting your campaign’s and ad groups structured as best you can before you set the campaign running. A bit more before you go live could save hours and hours of restructuring further down the line.
3. A very important part of every campaign is writing good ad texts, if you have a poorly presented ad, with, bad grammar and punctuation, then you are never going to get any clicks. It is also recommended that you know exactly who you are targeting, as certain demographics may respond differently to words and phrases, so it is important that you tailor your ads to your target audience.
It is often good practise to capitalise the first letter of every word, this looks good and is eye catching. It is also a very good idea, where possible, to include a call to action, such as ‘Find Out More!’ or ‘Buy Now!’ These are often very useful in attracting the undecided searchers.
One final thing to think about is including the keyword, that triggers that particular ad, at least once in the ad text, preferably 2 or 3 times. Once in the Headline, and then again in the description lines. This helps your ad stand out, as any words from the search term that are in your ad are emboldened. Making your ad look much more relevant, and therefore, more likely to get that all important click.
4. As with all things that are going to be read by others it is always a good idea to get someone else to look over your campaign before you set it live. This will help with picking out any spelling/grammatical errors that you may have missed. It is often easy, when you’ve written dozens, possibly hundreds, of ad texts, to overlook the most simple of spelling errors. They may also be able to come up with additional key words, perhaps different ways of saying things that you hadn’t thought of.
5. Once you have written all the key words and ad texts and you have uploaded them into your AdWords account (downloading the AdWords editor is recommended, as it is very useful when you want to make bulk changes to your campaign) the next step is to set up your goals in AdWords and analytics. There are clear and helpful instructions on how to do this in the Google online classrooms and forums. This is very important as if they are not set up properly you will get misleading statistics which may make your campaign look like it is running much worse or much better than it actually is. If possible, set a value for what a conversion is worth. For example, if you sell kitchen appliances then a conversion coming through a toaster ad group maybe worth a lot less than one coming through an ad group that focuses on fridges. This is important so that you can justify, either to a client or yourself that the campaign has been a success or not.
6. Final checks to make before you go live:
- Make sure you have budgeted correctly. A good way to calculate your daily budget is to take your total budget and divide it by 30.4 then add 5%.
- Ensure that you are advertising exactly where you want. i.e. ensuring that you are not advertising on the display network if you are just interested in search. You can also choose what devices to advertise on, mobiles or laptops and desktops or both. This is important to get right, as you may not want to advertise on mobile phones if your landing page is not mobile friendly.
- Check that you have set up your goals/conversions up properly in Google AdWords and analytics and that the codes are placed on the relevant thank-you pages.
- Schedule, make sure that you have set your campaign to run when you want it to, i.e. 24 hours a day, or 9 to 5 etc. You can set any combination of times and days. It is recommended that you start off by setting it to run continuously. Then if it transpires that there is very little traffic you can consider setting to just run on weekdays to try and maximise your exposure.
- Make sure that your ad settings are set to rotate not optimise, (optimise is the Google default setting).
- Make sure that you have all your keywords under a broad, phrase and exact match type. Unless there is good reason otherwise. For a large account you may need to call Google to get your account limits raised.
7. Once you have set it running it is totally normal to not see your ad consistently on Google when you search for one of your key words. Ads are usually shown erratically for the first few days while Google works out where you place and assigns quality scores to your key words. After a while it should start to settle down and your ads should be shown more regularly.
A very important tool to use is the ‘adtest=on’ tool. This will allow you to search whatever key words you would like as many times as you like without it skewing your statistics. It is implemented when you type a term into Google, then, before you press return, wait a couple of seconds and the URL bar should fill up with a string of characters. Scroll to the end of the string and type ‘&adtest=on’, then hit search. The screen should then display a typical search result screen but with the word ‘preview’ watermarked onto it. This will then display the search results and paid ads exactly as they would appear if it was a real search.
8. Once your campaign is live it is important to check it often, to make sure that it isn’t over/under spending, that it is getting the right traffic and that it isn’t cutting out before you want it to.
This is all part of the on-going optimisation process, which involves key word cleaning, adjusting bids and separating out high value terms so that you can write better ad texts for them.
9. If you are a PPC account manager it is very important to keep in regular contact with your client whilst the campaign is in its early days. They are likely to have lots of concerns and questions, and it key that you reassure them and assure them that they have to give it time.
10. Once a campaign has gone live, there is an ongoing process of optimisation. Remember, a campaign is never perfect, there will always be key word cleaning to do, key words to split out and ad texts to re-write. Your campaigns will gradually become more and more efficient as the weeks and months go by, and as long as you are thorough in your set-up there should be no need for any major restructuring.
Things to think about in the future:
Once your campaign is up and running there are a few things that you could think about which could help increase your exposure to the market, as well as increasing the number of conversions you make.
There are other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo which run similar advertising programmes which you may wish to take advantage of.
If you are getting lots of clicks and very few conversions across your campaign, it may not be down to your key words or ad texts. It may be that your landing page is not optimised for your needs, in which case it would be a very good idea to contact an agency and ask their advice on tailoring your landing page to be conversion orientated. This should increase your conversions and provide the return on investment you were looking for.
I hope these tips were useful and, as with most things, the best way to learn something is to try it yourself. Good luck, and happy advertising!