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Chandler Nguyen


Rockablepress.com Envato.com Š Rockable Press 2011 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or redistributed in any form without the prior written permission of the publishers.


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Table of Contents

Contents Introduction

7

What to Expect from This Book Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk for Free?

7 8

Get on the First Page of Google in Minutes

11

What is Google AdWords? How Does it Work? The Functionality Search Engine Marketing What Can AdWords Do for Me? Pricing

12 13 13 13 14 15

Keyword Research

17

Example One: ThemeForest Step 1: What is Your Audience Searching For? Step 2: List Potential Keywords Step 3: Build Up Your Keyword List Step 4: Add and Download a List of Keywords   You Want to Use Step 5: Checking Out the Competition Example Two: ActiveDen Step 1: What is Your Audience Searching For? Step 2: List Potential Keywords Step 3: Build Up Your Keyword List Step 4: Add Your List of Keywords Step 5: Checking Out the Competition Generic vs. Specific Keywords and Search Terms

17 18 19 20

Setting Up an Account with Google Sign up to Google AdWords Signing in to Your AdWords Account Creating Your First Campaign Campaign Settings

24 26 26 26 26 26 28 29 29

32 32 33 34 34


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Table of Contents

Ad Copy Making Your Ad Bold Google’s Ad Ranking Formula Understanding Quality Score A Note on Your Landing Page Select Keywords Billing Making Your Campaign Live

Navigating and Monitoring Campaign Performance

37 40 41 44 47 47 48 50

54

Creating Another Campaign Using the Campaign Tab Changing Graph Options Filter and Views Viewing Reports

57 58 59 61 63

Return on Investment

67

A Note on Conversion Tracking

69

The Google Content Network: Frequently Asked Questions

72

Why do other sites partner with Google? Which sites are in the Google Content Network? How can I put my ads on these sites? How much does it cost to advertise on the Network? How do I monitor my campaign’s performance? Can I stop my campaign? Can I use rich media ads?

73 73 74 75 75 75 75


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Table of Contents

AdWords: Frequently Asked Questions Can I purchase a higher placement for my search ads? How can I get my ads to display above search results? I chose postpay for payment. Can I change to prepay? How does Google decide the cost per click I will pay? Why do my ads only appear intermittently?

77 77 77 78 78 79

Pre-launch Checklist

81

Meaningful Campaign and Group Names Separate Campaigns for Google Search and Google Content Correct Target Market and Language Settings Correct Account Timezone Account Currency Daily Budget and End Date Other Campaign Settings Show Relevant Addresses With Your Ads Demographics Position Preference Ad Rotation Frequency Capping

81 81 81 81 82 82 82 82 83 83 83 83

Appendix A: The Google AdWords Editor

85

Appendix B: Further Reading

86

About The Author

87


INTRODUCTION


7 Introduction

Introduction

What to Expect from This Book There are two ways to get search traffic from Google. The first is to publish web content compelling enough for other sites on the internet to point readers to it through the use of hyperlinks. The more hyperlinks your content receives, especially if those links contain the words and phrases typed into Google by searchers, the higher your content ranks in the Google search results, increasing your traffic in proportion. The second, faster way to bring in search traffic is to buy it. By paying for Sponsored Results (ads) that display both above and to the right of the 10 “natural” search results on a Google page, you can bypass weeks or months of attempts to get your site to the top of Google. You can actually bid for search queries that people type into Google — anything from “yoga dvd” to “how to get out of debt” to “divorce attorney melbourne”. These search queries are generically referred to as keywords, and some keywords are more attractive to advertisers than others due to the number of times they’re searched, or by how likely they are to result in click-throughs to the advertisers’ websites. Keywords purchased from Google to trigger ads in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) or on websites using the Google AdSense program are called AdWords. This book will help those of you who are completely new to Google AdWords, to set up simple, water-tight campaigns to promote your own blogs, websites or businesses. You’ll get a comprehensive introduction to AdWords, and a thorough walk-through of how it works. You’ll learn all the ins and outs of setting up an account, getting it live, and reporting on your campaigns.


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Introduction

Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk for Free? Each page in Google contains 10 web page listings that achieved their positions by the first method of getting Google traffic. These listings are called organic results, since their positioning is the result of Google’s PageRank algorithm, and not purchased placement. The top listings are ostensibly the best or most relevant results for your search query, so publishing great content should obviate the need for spending on AdWords — at least in theory. Since Google AdWords costs money, let’s first address a valid question: Why you would pay Google money to drive traffic to your site when you can get free traffic from Google by just having a site out there live on the Internet, and letting people find it through natural “organic” search at no cost to you? It’s a question many have asked, and it’s a good one. Organic search traffic is important for your site, but relying only on traffic from organic search is putting all of your eggs in one basket, and can often take some time. Using Google AdWords is a reliable and measurable way you can source customers you can rely on. There are other reasons. Statistically, the #1 result in Google for a particular keyword gets 42% of the total search traffic for that keyword — the highest percentage you can achieve in the organic results. So even if your page is #1 in Google, you can augment your search traffic percentage by purchasing a sponsored result, giving you an additional opportunity to reach the 58% of searchers who don’t click on your #1 result. Furthermore, Google ads not only appear in search result pages, but on millions of websites using AdSense — sites collectively known as the Google Content Network. AdSense is the flip side of AdWords: advertisers bid on AdWords, and the revenue from


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Introduction

AdWords spending is split between Google and the websites in the Content Network. Even if you were to get top search listings for all of your keywords, topically related websites are powerful traffic sources that you should consider leveraging with AdWords. This book will help you understand the search behavior of your target market or audience. For example, what do people search for most often in your market? Does your site already rank well for certain queries? Is there a relevant query you aren’t yet targeting, but should be? If your website doesn’t appear on the first page of search results for queries you want to target, then you can’t expect to get real, worthwhile traffic from search engines. According to a study from iCrossing published in 2010, 95.3% of Google search traffic comes from the first page. Clearly, the first page of results is where you want to be, and not only the first page but preferably at the top of the first page. If you aren’t there, and most of us aren’t there yet, then Google AdWords may be the right solution for you.


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Get on the First Page of Google in Minutes

Get on the First Page of Google in Minutes A common strategy for bringing more search traffic to a website is to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the practice of making your website’s content more appealing to search engines for higher rankings. Unfortunately, SEO is not easy to implement, especially if you are new to the game. It takes time for your SEO work to be effective. Many say three to six months is the standard waiting time before you begin seeing results for competitive search terms. If you’re targeting keywords many other people are competing for, expect the going to be tough. The more valuable the keywords you target, the harder it is to get your site on the first page of results. Everyone else has heard the same statistics, and everyone else wants to be there too. Waiting for weeks or months for certain keywords to reach the first page of Google can be a serious liability if your keywords haven’t been tested in the marketplace. Some keywords get high search volume, but don’t “convert” well, meaning that some lookups are primarily for free information rather than something to purchase: e.g. “weight loss tips” vs. “weight loss system”. You might find that “weight loss tips” gets far more searches to your landing page, but that a much higher percentage of visitors from “weight loss system” search traffic actually click on your “Buy” button. Google AdWords offers a quick and relatively easy way to boost your targeted traffic. Compared to SEO, it produces results quickly. You can test conversion rates on different keywords, headlines and subtitles in one or two weeks — sometimes in a matter of days.


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Get on the First Page of Google in Minutes

What is Google AdWords? Google AdWords is a consolidated advertising platform that allows advertisers to reach their target audience in over 150 countries using English or local languages. The platform was originally created to serve text ads on Google Search results pages under the “Sponsored Links� section only (Fig. 1-1).

Fig. 1-1. This screenshot shows some examples of AdWords in the wild.

Over time Google AdWords began to allow advertisers to also purchase ads across the Google Content Network. The network is made up of millions of sites and reaches approximately 75% of global internet users. This Pay Per Click format, where advertisers pay for each click-through Google generates for them, has expanded to cover image ads, flash banners and video ads.

Google AdWords is often referred to as SEM (Search Engine Marketing), PPC (Pay Per Click) or CPC (Cost Per Click) advertising.


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Get on the First Page of Google in Minutes

Fig. 1-2. An example of a banner ad.

How Does it Work? The Functionality Google makes it easy to start using AdWords. Choose some keywords you like, write an ad, define your target audience and you’re ready to roll. Every time someone does a Google search using your keywords, your ad appears in the “Sponsored Links” section beside their search results. The concept is simple, but that doesn’t mean creating a successful AdWords campaign is easy. It takes effort and careful planning to help your AdWords campaign reach its full potential.

Search Engine Marketing The end goal of search engine optimization is to push sites to the top of the organic results in search engines. Search engine marketing (SEM) expands on this concept, encompassing not only organic search listings, but sponsored listings as well.


14

Get on the First Page of Google in Minutes

There are thousands of search engines in operation, from Google, to Baidu (China), to Naver (Korea), to Yahoo, to Bing. They all have one thing in common: people use them to find what they’re looking for. Because of this, SEM is a unique marketing strategy because consumers are already looking for the product or service right at the moment your ad is shown to them. While most advertising is interruptive, trying to grab the audience’s attention whether they want to give it or not, search engine marketing connects products and services with the people who are actually looking for them.

Google AdWords (or Search Engine Marketing in general) is effective because it helps advertisers reach interested audience at the precise moment that they indicate their need. We often refer to this as the “magic moment.”

What Can AdWords Do for Me? Let’s talk about the main benefits of using Google AdWords. • You reach the right audience. By selecting the right keywords, you can capture searchers who are already looking for a product or service like yours. For example, a searcher looking for a website template will probably search for “HTML template” or “CSS template”. • You promote the right message. By using a headline and two lines of descriptive text in your ad copy, you have the opportunity to communicate the main benefits of your website, service or product, to potential customers before they’ve even visited your site. • You only pay for engagement. You only need to pay if someone clicks on your ad, but your ad will still be displayed on search results regardless.


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Get on the First Page of Google in Minutes • Campaigns are easy to start and manage. Anyone with a website and a credit card can have their ads live on Google in 15 minutes. You can stop campaigns whenever you like and make changes and tweaks easily.

Pricing Text ads are charged on a Pay Per Click (PPC) basis. This means that every time someone clicks on your ad, you have to pay a set amount to Google. This ranges from $0.02 to over $100 per click, depending on your chosen keywords. You’ll always know what your cost per click (CPC) will be before you launch your campaign. Google’s PPC advertising has been enormously successful, unfortunately meaning that the CPC of many popular keywords has skyrocketed over the last few years.


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Keyword Research

Keyword Research The keywords you choose to target will determine who sees your ad. You need to pick keywords that are already being used by your target audience to look for websites, products or services like yours. This may sound a little like mind reading, but it’s not as hard as you think. First, let’s quickly go through the five key steps to picking the best keywords for your campaign: 1. If someone was using Google to look for your kind of website, product or service, what would they type into the search box? 2. What other searches could someone plausibly use? Each search, such as “low fares”, “cheap tickets” or “discount travel” is a keyword. List potential keywords to describe your product. 3. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to generate additional related keywords from your initial keyword list. We’ll walk through the Keyword Tool in-depth very soon. 4. Add and download the list of keywords that you want to use. 5. Scout your competition. In order to better understand the steps involved in creating a campaign, let’s go through a couple of examples.

Example One: ThemeForest Our first example is ThemeForest, an online marketplace for website themes. The themes are much cheaper than a unique web design and are ideal for website owners who don’t have the


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Keyword Research

time to create a design for their site, or the money to hire someone to do it for them. Aside from theme buyers, the site also tries to attract theme creators to sell their theme files in the ThemeForest marketplace. In this example we’ll set up a campaign to attract buyers of themes.

Fig. 2-1. ThemeForest.net

Step 1: What is Your Audience Searching For? We’re hoping to attract people who want to buy website themes —  in particular, “WordPress themes”, “Joomla themes” and “Drupal themes”. These are only the most basic keywords that a searcher might type into Google, but they’re a good starting point for further brainstorming.


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Keyword Research

Step 2: List Potential Keywords Next, begin listing keywords that describe your product and are likely to appeal to your target audience. Think of as many as you can, but if you’re having trouble, three or four different keywords or phrases should be enough to get started with. Our target market is most likely to be searching for the specific type of theme they want to find. Our example list of search phrases looks like this: • html template • wordpress theme • joomla theme • drupal theme Note that plural versions of the above search phrases are key­ words in their own right. There are many keywords whose plural version has a much higher or lower monthly search volume than the singular version. At the time of this writing, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool reports that “html template” receives 14,800 exact match searches per month (“exact match” means that only the keyword was typed into Google, with no additional words or characters), while “html templates” receives 27,100 searches per month. Never take small differences between keywords for granted. Consider the context: since searchers are looking for a selection of themes and templates, it would make sense for the plural versions to get more searches. Now, define the objective of your Google AdWords campaign. In this case, it is to attract potential buyers who are looking for cheap, high-quality website themes and templates. If your main goal was to sell WordPress themes you’d need to tweak your keywords


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Keyword Research

accordingly. Your keyword choices should always be guided by your campaign goals. Let’s make our list more specific: • cheap html templates • premium wordpress themes • premium joomla templates • best drupal themes We’re trying to make educated guesses about how searchers would most likely express their intent. One hypothesis is that people are more likely to enter “premium wordpress themes” into Google than “high-quality wordpress themes”.

Step 3: Build Up Your Keyword List We’re not search engines, so it can be tough to guess at the many hundreds of different search terms a person could use when looking for something like your product. Fortunately, Google has created their excellent Keyword Tool to help us. You can access it at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. Note that the default language setting and location in the Keyword Tool is English and United States. You can change these default settings by expanding the advanced options directly above the Search button. Click the “+” sign to the left of Advanced options to reveal these options (Fig. 2-2). Change the language setting if your audience speaks more than one language. To select multiple languages or countries, hold down ‘Ctrl’ or ‘Cmd’ as you click (Fig. 2-3). One quick way to generate a list of relevant keywords is to enter the URL of your closest competitor’s site into the Website field. While this can provide you with some good keywords, they’re not


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Keyword Research

Fig. 2-2. Your default language setting.

Fig. 2-3. Changing the default language setting.

necessarily the ones being used to capture search traffic in the site’s AdWords campaign. The competitor’s ads might use more unique keywords than the ones that appear on the site. In fact, the keywords used to trigger the ads might not even appear in the ads themselves. The competitor might bid on the search phrase “best wordpress themes” while displaying “premium wordpress themes” in the ad copy.


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Keyword Research

The more commonly used method for generating an extensive list of keywords is to enter your initial keywords into the Word or phrase field, then click Search (Fig. 2-4).

Fig. 2-4. Entering keywords to check their popularity.

This book will only use this more common method. Let’s say you want to see what the search volume is like for keywords related to “cheap html templates” and “premium wordpress themes”. The screenshot below is an example of the results you’ll get after clicking Search (Fig. 2-5). The search results provide us with a wealth of useful information: • The first column lists suggested keywords. They are sorted by relevance to the keywords you type in. • The next column indicates advertiser competition, i.e. the amount of bidding activity, in relative values for Australia (your target market). • The third column shows an estimate of how many Australiabased searches have been carried out for each term.


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Keyword Research

Fig. 2-5. Keyword popularity results table.

• The fourth column is an estimate of the global monthly search volume for all countries and languages. You can sort the data based on a particular column by clicking on the column’s header — the first click will sort in descending order, the second click will switch it to ascending order. You can also sort by clicking the button to the right of the Sorted by caption, which is necessary to return to sorting by Relevance (for which there’s no column header). The question mark icon next to each column header contains an explanation from Google about what that particular column means. In our case, the result shows that there are a lot of people searching for website templates in Australia and the competition among advertisers is fierce. One useful column to add that’s not visible by default is the “Estimated Avg. CPC”. Select this by clicking the Columns button, above and to the right of the headers, then selecting the Estimated Avg. CPC checkbox followed by the Save button. The Cost Per Click not only tells you what you can expect to pay to advertise on a particular keyword, but also signifies how valuable it is to other advertisers. In this niche of website themes and templates, you


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Keyword Research

should pay closer attention to the keywords with a CPC higher than $0.05, since they’re more likely to have commercial intent. If you see any keywords you like, click Add. The keyword will appear on the far right column under Selected Keywords (Fig. 2-6).

Fig. 2-6. Google’s suggestions for alternate keywords appears to the right.

If you add any keywords by accident, click Remove next to the keyword and it will disappear from the selected list.

Step 4: Add and Download a List of Keywords You Want to Use After adding in all the keywords you have for “html template” or “website template”, click Download ➤ All to save the results as text, CSV (for Excel) or plain CSV (comma separated values) format (Fig. 2-7). Though the demand for “website templates” is huge in Australia, the competition for this phrase is fierce. Researching more specific

Fig. 2-7. Download the list in one of several formats.


25 keywords can help you find choices which better target traffic and have less competition. In our case, we should do a keyword analysis for “premium wordpress themes”, “premium joomla themes” and “best drupal themes” to see how their traffic and competition compares. Let’s focus on Drupal themes and templates for the moment. The phrases “drupal theme” and “drupal template” yield the following results (Fig. 2-8): while the search volume is substantially reduced, so is the level of competition. Searching for more specific keywords is a great way to find new phrases for your campaign.

Fig. 2-8. Keyword results.

Keyword Research

It’s important that you download the selected keyword list after you’re done with each keyword topic, rather than trying different keyword ideas and lumping everything into one big list of keywords. If you don’t do this, it will be tricky to separate these mixed keywords into different ad groups later on.


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Keyword Research

After you have completed your analysis of local traffic (in this case, from Australia), you can move on to investigating your second or third regional market.

Step 5: Checking Out the Competition The Advertiser Competition column doesn’t tell you much. It won’t help you to find out who is advertising and what ads they are running. For this reason, it’s important to run your own Google search for your keywords and inspect the results. The results that appear under the Ads heading are your competitors.

Example Two: ActiveDen Step 1: What is Your Audience Searching For? Like ThemeForest, ActiveDen is an Envato Marketplace (Fig. 2-9). People use it to buy and sell royalty-free Adobe Flash and Flex files. The site is home to a bustling community of Flash designers and developers and has the largest Flash library on the web. In this scenario, we want to market the site to people in Singapore. We’ll assume that the most likely search queries won’t differ much from country to country: “flash templates”, “flash files” and “flex files”.

Step 2: List Potential Keywords Think of a few more specific keywords: “flash template library”, “professional flash templates”, “flash components”, and maybe “flex code”.

Step 3: Build Up Your Keyword List Using the Google Keyword Tool again, we type in “flash templates” to search for related keyword ideas. If your search volume is too


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Keyword Research

Fig. 2-9. ActiveDen.net

low, try broadening the search term. If the competition is too high, try getting more specific. As a general rule, broad terms go with high traffic and specific terms go with low competition (but usually lower traffic as well). Unlike our last case study, we’d select Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional), as well as English under Languages. Our keywords and advertising will only be in English, but keep in mind that the languages we add here refer to the language being used by the searcher’s browser software. We want our English language ad to be shown even if the searcher’s browser software language is set to Chinese.


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Keyword Research

Looking at the results (Fig. 2-10), not all the keywords are relevant, so we’ll have to pick and choose carefully. For example, we don’t want to attract people looking for “free flash templates” because they’re unlikely to purchase the paid templates we have on offer.

Fig. 2-10. Related keyword search.

Step 4: Add Your List of Keywords Keyword analysis should be done carefully, thoughtfully and accurately, but you can always go back and do another keyword analysis again whenever you want — nothing is set in stone. Don’t focus too much on perfection. Your goal is to find keywords you can get started with. You can (and should) refine your list of keywords later on.


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Keyword Research

Step 5: Checking Out the Competition For the ActiveDen example, we’d search for terms like “flash templates” and see who is advertising in the Ads section of search results.

Generic vs. Specific Keywords and Search Terms

Don’t ignore keywords that come back with “Not enough data” to estimate search volume. This often means the term is very specific and could be perfectly targeted to your site.

The Keyword Tool can provide you with so many good keyword choices that it can be overwhelming. Here we’ll talk a little bit about how to select a good mix of keywords. The purpose of keyword research is to identify the search queries your target audience is using to find products and services like yours. These keywords can be either generic or specific. Generic keyword terms, like “website templates” or “blog themes”, are very broad. These examples could refer to anything from an eCommerce theme to a blog layout. The more generic a keyword, the more search volume it has. Specific keyword terms like “premium drupal themes” clearly demonstrate the intention of searchers. But because there are fewer people who want “premium drupal templates” than those who want “website templates”, search volume and competition is lower. A well-formulated keyword list will contain a mix of generic and specific keywords. Specific keywords are important because your click-through rate will be higher (if your website is well-matched


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Keyword Research

with the keyword) and, because of this, Google is more likely to give your ad prominence in search results. The drawback with specific keywords is that you may not get the search volume that you need for a successful campaign because people with a general interest may not know the specific keyword that perfectly describes your website or product. A novice is more likely to look for “website templates” rather than “drupal themes”, and probably wouldn’t understand the benefits of typing in “premium drupal themes”. What people type in isn’t necessarily what they want in terms of how they search for it. That’s why combining specific keywords with generic keywords is a sound strategy. Generic keywords give you access to a higher search volume, though your click-through ratio on generic keywords may be lower. In some industries, like travel, consumer electronics and finance (from banking to insurance), advertiser competition can be extreme. The best practice is to start with very specific keywords in these industries. Click-throughs can be expensive when competition is fierce, so you want to make sure your ads are only reaching your target audience, and that your budget isn’t burnt up too quickly.


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Setting Up an Account with Google

Setting Up an Account with Google Sign up to Google AdWords The site is located at http://adwords.google.com/. Follow the signup process by clicking Start Now (Fig. 3-1). 1. Create a new Google Account or use an existing account.

Fig. 3-1. Where to start.

2. Select your time zone and country. Please choose carefully because you can’t change the time zone or the currency of your account later. The selected time zone will be used for your account reporting and billing. You will be making payments in your selected currency. Once you are done, you’ll see something like this (Fig. 3-2):


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Setting Up an Account with Google

Fig. 3-2. Dialog after creating an AdWords account.

Signing in to Your AdWords Account Take a few minutes to watch the tutorial video, Getting Started with Google AdWords (Fig. 3-3). It’s a useful introduction to the interface.

Fig. 3-3. The AdWords video tutorial.


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Setting Up an Account with Google

Creating Your First Campaign Once you are ready to create your first campaign, proceed by clicking on — you guessed it — Create your first campaign (Fig. 3-4).

Fig. 3-4. Ad campaign settings step.

Campaign Settings Before you go on to the next step you’ll need to take care of a few things. 1. Be as descriptive as possible for your campaign name. You could, for example, use your main keyword topic as the name of your campaign. If you advertise in multiple countries, you could also include the country code in the campaign name, such as AU, SG, US or UK.


35

Setting Up an Account with Google

Under Location, Languages and Demographics: 2. Select the targeted country or countries by clicking Select one or more other locations. Next, select your chosen languages for the campaign. 3. Networks, devices, and extensions. It’s important to choose the Network carefully because you don’t want to mix Content Network and Search Network. As described earlier, the Content Network displays ads on Google’s partner websites. The Search Network displays them in the Google search results pages. Uncheck the Content Network option (Fig. 3-5).

Fig. 3-5. Specifying your network.

If you choose Devices, make sure to test out your actual website on an iPhone or another smartphone before opting to display ads in mobile browsers.

4. Bidding and budget. Even if this is the first time you’ve used AdWords, choose manual bidding for clicks to give yourself a greater level of control over the campaign (Fig. 3-6). Knowing your cost per click ahead of time will allow you to determine whether or not your campaign is


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Setting Up an Account with Google

Fig. 3-6. Setting your budget.

potentially profitably, given the price point of your product or service. Allowing AdWords to automatically bid to maximize your clicks can lower your return on investment. To work out your daily budget, take the amount you are willing to spend per month and divide it by 30.

If you are not sure how much your daily budget should be, put in a low figure. Be safe in the knowledge that you can revise it upwards later.

Under Position preference, delivery method (advanced), don’t change anything for now. It’s not recommended to alter these settings until you are extremely familiar with how Google AdWords works.

Under Advanced Settings: 5. Start date/End date: It’s very important to set an end date because if you don’t your ads will run indefinitely — or until you max out your credit card! 6. Ad scheduling: leave it set to Show ads all days and hours. (Fig. 3-7) 7. Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping. Leave these settings at default. Click Save and continue, then click Create ad and keywords.


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Setting Up an Account with Google

Fig. 3-7. Setting your ad scheduling options.

Ad Copy Though we have the ability to create image ads, let’s stick to text for now. Each text ad has four available lines: 1. Headline: maximum of 25 characters including spaces. 2. Description line 1: maximum of 35 characters including spaces. 3. Description line 2: maximum of 35 characters including spaces. 4. Display URL: maximum of 35 characters. Destination URL specifies the page you want people to be taken to when they click on your ad. Though there are plenty of different ways to create a good text ad, common sense suggests that the ad should: 1. Be specific and relevant to search queries and the content of your landing page. For example, if someone searches for “free flash templates” they are unlikely to click an ad for “$49 Flash Components”. 2. Clearly and concisely explain unique selling points. What makes your product, service or website different from all


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Setting Up an Account with Google its competitors? Maybe it’s your super-fast delivery, high quality, rock-bottom prices, or your 100% money-back guarantee? 3. Be led by your current promo­ tions (if you have any). For ex­ ample, if you’re running a sale, you should mention you’re giving a 10% discount.

4. Be time sensitive, meaning the searcher will miss an opportunity if they don’t click.

Scout the competition to see what they’re using for ad copy. Pay special attention to the “Sponsored Ads” that appear on the left-hand side of search results. These ads all have a high Quality Score, meaning that they’re working well and generating good click-through rates.

5. Represent your brand accurately. The style and tone of your copy should reflect how the customer should experience your product or service. If your brand is serious and authoritative, don’t load your ad copy with smiley faces and exclamation points. 6. Comply with Google’s guidelines. In most cases you’ll satisfy this requirement without even trying, but if you’re unsure, make sure to read the guidelines for what is acceptable to advertise. In addition, your ad copy should serve as a filter for traffic. You pay for every click, so you need to get a return on your investment for as many clicks as possible. Don’t use cheap tricks to attract people to click, only for them to find your site, service or product isn’t relevant to them, or not what you advertised. You’ll only end up paying for clicks that don’t lead to purchases. Next, let’s look at some real-life ad copy. Go to the Google home page and type in “local florist”. You can imagine that someone would use that search phrase when looking for a service to help


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Setting Up an Account with Google

them find florists in their area. At the time of writing this, the follow­ ing ads appear on search results page for http://google.com.au (Fig. 3-8).

Fig. 3-8. Sample search results for “local florist”.

You can see that results are displayed more prominently at the top of the search results, and less prominently to their right. The ads at the top have parts of their title in bold, which is very good for catching your eye. They display their unique selling points clearly in each ad’s descriptive text: huge range, same day delivery, etc. On the right, we see another ad for the same keyword (Fig. 3-9).Unfortunately, this ad isn’t relevant to some­one in Australia searching for “local florist”. The lower

Fig. 3-9. An ad using the same keyword, but not quite relevant to this search.


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Setting Up an Account with Google

relevance of the ad copy would result in a lower Quality Score (see the “Understanding Quality Score” section later in this chapter), which might explain why the ad is stuck in the right-hand sidebar, rather than being displayed with the most relevant advertisers at the top of search results.

Making Your Ad Bold Words in your ad will appear in bold when they match or closely resemble the user’s search query. We searched for “local florist” and the headline for one of the ads was “Find Local Florist”. It displayed it as “Find Local Florist” because the words in bold were also in our search query. For the same search query, one of the ad headlines was “UK Florists”. Though we searched for florists singular, the plural version of most words will also appear in bold. If we accidentally searched for “shangrri la” and the display URL for one of the ads was “www.shangri-la.com”, this would partially display in bold. Common abbreviations and misspellings of search terms will also often appear in bold. A few things to note: 1. Taking advantage of the ad bolding feature is the only way for your ad text to appear in bold. You can’t manually create bold, italicized, underlined, or any other kind of formatted ad text. 2. Any part of your ad has the potential to appear in bold, including the title, body, and display URL. Your ad copy can strongly affect how likely people are to clickthrough to your landing page. Google has provided this helpful


41

Setting Up an Account with Google

table of suggestions for ad copy testing, and comparisons you can make to review your ad. Include special offers in ad text

Creative

Test brands in ad text

Creative

Test Dynamic Keyword Insertion/static in ad text

Creative

Test Call To Actions in ad text

Creative Creative Creative

Beginner

Creative

Test seasonal creative Match online and offline messaging Deep link to relevant landing pages

Creative

Relate the creative to the keywords

Seasonality

Have an annual seasonal plan

Seasonality

Have seasonal keywords and creatives ready

Creative Creative Creative Creative Creative

Include delivery details in ad text Intermediate

Creative

Test offline messaging in ad text Test prices in ad text Test number of products in ad text Include Third-Party Awards where possible Test capitalization variations Keep trialing different creatives

Creative

Test punctuation variations

Creative Creative Automation Creative Automation

Advanced

Creative

Test visible URL variations Automatically generate creatives: link creative generation with stock levels/prices Automatically flag creatives with poor CTR/Conv rate

Google’s Ad Ranking Formula Sponsored ads that appear above search results get more exposure than ads on the right-hand side. Because they appear above results, they seem almost like an extension of what is returned in the organic search listings. They also get a colored, shaded background, making them stand-out more in Google’s primarily white and blue user interface.


42

Setting Up an Account with Google

Here are a few facts about ads appearing above search results: • No one can guarantee your ad will appear in the main column of results. Google’s algorithm decides which ads appear on the left and which ads will appear on the right.

To learn more about Google’s Ad Ranking Formula, watch this video by Google Chief Economist, Hal Varian: Introduction to the Google Ad Auction ( http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=K7l0a2PVhPQ ).

• Whether your ad appears above the organic listings or on the right-hand side, you will only pay when someone clicks on the ad. You don’t pay a premium for having your ads displayed above the search results. • The maximum number of ads above the search results is three, while the maximum on the right-hand side is eight. Your ad automatically has a greater share of the space. Normally, sponsored links only appear on the right-hand side of results. In these cases, the ads are ranked 1, 2, 3, etc. (Fig. 3-10). When we have ads above results, the ads are ranked first above the search results, and then continue on the right. The highest ranked ads always appear above search results (Fig. 3-11). The formula is this: Ad Rank = CPC × Quality Score. • CPC stands for Cost Per Click. This is the value you put in the system under max CPC. • Google gives an individual Quality Score for each keyword in your account, rather than one Quality Score for each campaign, or each account. The Quality Score ranges from 1 to 10, in ascending order from worst to best.


43

Setting Up an Account with Google

1 2 3 4 5 6 Fig. 3-10. Sponsored links appear to the right.

1

4

2 3

5 6 7 8 9

Fig. 3-11. Ads shown above results have the highest rankings.


44

Setting Up an Account with Google

Understanding Quality Score Without a Quality Score, ad rank would be determined by CPC alone: whoever pays the most per click has the best ranking. Though this system might make Google more money on a shortterm basis, it goes against the company’s emphasis on providing the most relevant results for users, whether for organic search or advertisements. Quality Score is the way in which Google quantifies the relevancy between search queries, advertiser’s ads and their keywords. The higher the Quality Score, the more relevant your ad is to user’s queries from Google’s point of view. Quality Score is independent from bid price, so you can’t purchase a higher Quality Score. The next question we’ll consider is: “What affects your Quality Score?”. The following is an explanation from Google’s AdWords Help section ( http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/ ): 1. The historical Click Through Rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on Google. If the ad is appearing on a search network page, its CTR on that search network partner is also considered. 2. Your account history, which is measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account. 3. The historical CTR of the display URLs in the ad group. 4. The relevance of the keyword to the ads in its ad group. 5. The relevance of the keyword and the matched ad to the search query. 6. Your account’s performance in the geographical region where the ad will be shown. 7. Other relevance factors.


45

Setting Up an Account with Google

Basically, Google is letting users decide which ad is more relevant to a particular search query by looking at Click Through Rate as one of the main factors. • Click Through Rate (CTR): clicks per number of impres­ sions. An impression is counted each time your ad is displayed to a user. If users click on your ad 20 times instead of 10 times out of 1000 impressions, your CTR is 2% instead of 1%. People only click on ads that they find relevant to their search query. An ad with a CTR of 2% is more relevant than an ad with a CTR of 1%. The higher the CTR, the better the Quality Score. Other factors determining your Quality Score are the keywords in your ad copy, and the keywords in the landing page linked to from your ad. Let’s say two companies were advertising for the same phrase: “career advice”. Company A has a Quality Score of 5, and bids 50 cents for the keyword. Company B has a Quality Score of 8, and bids 40 cents. Which company will rank higher? According to the ranking formula, these are the results: • Ad Rank (A) = 5 × 0.5 = 2.5 • Ad Rank (B) = 8 × 0.4 = 3.2 Since 3.2 is greater than 2.5, Company B ranks higher than Com­ pany A even though they pay 20% less per click. The same goes for keywords with more than two advertisers bid­ ding on them. Google performs this ad rank calculation every time a search query is entered to determine who will rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on.


46

Setting Up an Account with Google

At this point, you may be wondering how you can get your ads featured above the results. But before answering that question, we’ll need to determine whether the top level placement is always the best location for your ad. • If what you want is traffic, ads above search results receive more clicks than those on the right-hand side. Eye tracking studies consistently show the top left quadrant of Google SERPs as the “hot zone” (for a time-lapsed heat map, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cwUxYvpmfw), so these ads are often viewed before our eyes reach the organic search results. • If what you want is traffic at the cheapest price, then it doesn’t really matter whether the ads appear on the left or right-hand side. Cost Per Click depends on your Quality Score and the level of competition only. • If you care about conversion rates (the ratio of those who perform your desired action after clicking on your ad, such as buying your product), recent studies from Google show that conversion rates are independent of your ad position, but you should do your own testing. Now, let’s move back to the question of how Google decides where to place your ad. For each keyword, Google has a minimum Quality Score and CPC threshold for the ad to appear on the left-hand side. The higher your existing Quality Score, the lower the CPC threshold required. This means that even though your Quality Score may be 10, your ad will never appear abovve the search results if your bid price is too low.


47

Setting Up an Account with Google

A Note on Your Landing Page While the content of your ad’s landing page doesn’t have as strong an influence over Quality Score calculations as Click Through Rates do, it does contribute to the calculation and, more importantly, affects the user’s experience. A generic or even completely unrelated landing page will cause any ad to convert poorly. If your search query and ad copy are about “productivity at work”, you should direct click-throughs to a page specifically about pro­ ductivity at work, rather than a generic home page. Your landing page should be specifically relevant to the keywords you are targeting. Make sure your landing page has a strong text element, which Google can use to find relevant keywords. Without enough text, Google may have a hard time concluding that your landing page is relevant enough to your keywords. Remember that Google will also have difficulty interpreting images and Flash content unless it has been carefully optimized.

Select Keywords Once you are done with your ad copy, enter the keywords you researched earlier. You should leave Advanced option: match types at default settings for now (Fig. 3-12). Next, put in your bid price: the maximum Cost Per Click that you are willing to pay for each click of your ad. If you’ve only entered a bid price for search, the content bid price should be grayed out (Fig. 3-13). Continue by clicking on Save and continue to billing.


48

Setting Up an Account with Google

Fig. 3-12. Keywords can be matched in variety of ways.

Fig. 3-13. Setting the Maximum Cost Per Click.

Billing First select the country or territory of your billing address (Fig. 3-14). After choosing your country or territory, you’ll have to choose your payment method (Fig. 3-15). You can choose to either prepay or postpay your AdWords cam­ paign. Postpay is a safer option until you get more experience with AdWords. It’s easy to stop a campaign at any time if you postpay, but if you prepay, you will be forced to use up all your clicks. Another potential downside to prepaying is that your ads will stop appearing if your credit runs out. This may happen at inopportune times — like when you’re asleep!


49

Setting Up an Account with Google

Fig. 3-14. Selecting the country or territory of your billing address.

Fig. 3-15. Setting up your payment options.


50

Setting Up an Account with Google

When you get more confident with AdWords and begin larger volume campaigns, you may decide to start prepaying. After choosing your payment method, you’ll need to accept the terms and conditions and enter your credit card details. Congratu­ lations — you’re ready to start your campaign!

Making Your Campaign Live Each time you create a new campaign, it’s a good idea to run through the following checklist before you make it live. Some of the most common mistakes in AdWords campaigns are addressed here: 1. Did you choose the right currency and time zone for your account? 2. Does your campaign and ad group have a meaningful, descriptive name? 3. Did you choose the right target audience and language for your campaign? 4. Did you uncheck Content network and choose only to run Search ads? 5. Did you set an appropriate daily budget for your campaign? 6. Does your credit card have a high enough limit to pay for your campaign? 7. Did you put in the correct landing page for your ad? There are two ways to see if your campaign is live. The simple, informal way is to visit the Google domain for your campaign’s target country and search for the keywords you have bid on.


51

Setting Up an Account with Google

The official, more informative way is to click on your AdWords account’s Campaign tab and choose Keywords (Fig. 3-16).

Fig. 3-16. The Keywords tab shows what keywords are currently running.

Move your mouse over the status icon and you’ll see the current keyword status (Fig. 3-17).

Fig. 3-17. Pop-up help on a particular keyword campaign.


52

Setting Up an Account with Google

Google’s system will tell you if your ad appears for a particular keyword. It also shows you the Quality Score for that keyword and tells you its assessment on your keyword relevance, landing page quality and landing page load time. If your ad is listed as not showing, Google will explain some possible reasons why (Fig. 3-18).

Fig. 3-18. If an ad is not showing, Google will suggest some reasons why.


54

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

Navigating and Monitoring Campaign Performance The basic structure of an AdWords account is represented in the following diagram (Fig. 4-1): AdWords Account Campaign 1

Campaign 2

Campaign 3

Ad Group 1 Ad Group 2 Ad Group 3

Ad Group 1 Ad Group 2 Ad Group 3

keywords, ad copy

keywords, ad copy

keywords, ad copy

keywords, ad copy

keywords, ad copy

keywords, ad copy

Ad Group 1 Ad Group 2 Ad Group 3 keywords, ad copy

keywords, ad copy

keywords, ad copy

Fig. 4-1. Keeping it organized.

You’ll want to create new ad groups for thematically related head­ lines that point to the same landing page. One ad group might be for “Mountain Bikes”, with individual ads for “Cannondale Mountain Bikes” and “Bianchi Mountain Bikes”, both pointing to www.YourSite.com/MountainBikes. Another ad group might target “Touring Bikes”, containing the ads “Cannondale Touring Bikes” and “Bianchi Touring Bikes”, pointing to www.YourSite.com/ TouringBikes. If you are not sure whether you need to create a new campaign or a new ad group, the following points should help:


55

Navigating and Monitoring Performance 1. You can only change the target market, target language and budget at the campaign level. If you want to try a new market, or set different daily budgets for different projects, you’ll need to set up a new campaign. 2. Always create separate campaigns for search and content. The two advertising methods work differently and your ads will need to be tailored to fit the one you choose. 3. If you are running short-term promotional campaigns, you’ll need to create new individual campaigns to more easily manage cost and duration. 4. If you want to promote different services, products or concepts, you will need separate campaigns.

Next, let’s take a closer look at the navigation for an AdWords campaign. As you might expect, most of the action is in the Campaign tab, where you can check keywords, ads and other campaign settings. If you need to make changes, you can add in new keywords, change existing keywords, and edit ad copy. Here, you can see how easy it is to add in a new keyword (Fig. 4-2):

Fig. 4-2. Adding new keywords to your campaign.

This screenshot shows how to add or edit advertisements (Fig. 4-3):


56

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

Fig. 4-3. Easily add or edit ads in your campaign.

This screenshot shows how to change your campaign settings (Fig. 4-4):

Fig. 4-4. Change your campaign settings when needed.


57

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

Creating Another Campaign If you only have one campaign, you will see the Create a new campaign button in the top left corner of the interface (Fig. 4-5). Google will present you with several options once you’ve clicked on the Create a new campaign button (Fig. 4-6).

Fig. 4-5. Create a new campaign by starting here.

Fig. 4-6. New campaign options.

From here, you can easily replicate the settings of your existing campaigns (Fig. 4-7). You can check your campaign’s performance at any time by either: 1. Using the Campaign tab. 2. Running a report under the Reporting tab.


58

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

Fig. 4-7. Replicating a previous campaign makes it easy to tweak settings.

Using the Campaign Tab The Campaign tab gives you an overview of your campaign’s performance.

Fig. 4-8. The selected Graph Options and Timeframe determine the extent of your graph.

All of your active campaigns will be displayed here. If you can’t find a particular campaign — perhaps because it was deleted or has ended — you can click Show All on the right, below the graph.


59

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

Take note of the timeframe you are viewing. To change the time­ frame, edit the dates in the top-right corner of the interface (Fig. 4-8).

Changing Graph Options To see different metrics or change your graph settings, click on Change Graph Options at the top left of the screen and you’ll be given the following options: (Fig. 4-9)

Fig. 4-9. Graph Options.

You can choose to view results for one metric over time by clicking on One Metric.


60

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

Metrics that often go together on a two metric graph are: • Impressions & Clicks • Clicks & CTR • Clicks & CPC • Clicks & Conversion • CPC & Avg. Pos. (average position in search results) Let’s revisit the definitions of the most important metrics for your AdWords campaigns. 1. Impressions: the number of times your ad is shown. 2. Clicks: the number of times your ads have been clicked. 3. CTR (Click Through Rate): the number of times your ad is clicked divided by the number of times your ad is shown in Google search results. Your ads and keywords each have their own CTRs unique to your campaign performance.

Keyword CTR is a strong indicator of the relevance of your keyword to the user and the overall success of the keyword. CTR is also used to determine your keyword’s Quality Score. A low CTR may point to poor keyword performance, indicating a need for ad or keyword optimization. —Google.

Since CTR is so important, it’s useful to know the difference between a good and bad CTR. Unfortunately, the CTR standards vary from niche to niche (i.e. some markets have audiences that are much less likely to click on ads, for whatever reason), though as a general rule, more specific keywords yield higher CTRs, while more generic keywords get more volume, but yield lower CTRs. For specific keywords, CTR can be as high as 8–10%. Conversely, if


61

Navigating and Monitoring Performance your keywords are broad, the level of competition is high, or your bid price is very low, your CTR could plummet to 0.5%.

In general, a campaign that starts with a CTR of 1.5–2% is doing fine.

4. Cost: total cost incurred for each campaign. 5. Avg. Pos.: average position. Don’t be surprised to see that you have an average position with a decimal point, like 1.5 or 2.3. If your position is 1.5, this means your ad usually appears somewhere in the top two positions.

Filter and Views Filter and views is a powerful tool available in the new AdWords interface (Fig. 4-10).

Fig. 4-10. The Filter and views menu.

Filter and views has the following functions: 1. Hide/show graphs 2. Customize columns 3. Filter campaigns, ad groups and keywords 4. Segment or hide segmentation


62

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

Since Hide/show graphs is self-explanatory, let’s look at the Customize columns functionality (Fig. 4-11).

Fig. 4-11. Column customization options.

Google divides each of these metrics into two groups: • Performance: these metrics reflect how your campaign performs in Google Search. • Conversions: these metrics are used to help you identify the Return On Investment (ROI) of your AdWords campaign. You can arrange the order of columns by dragging and dropping within the Preview section. Once you are done, click Save. The Filter campaigns/ad groups/keywords function allows you to get multiple filters at the same time so that you can zoom in on different areas of the campaign.


63

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

Finally, let’s talk about segmentation — the key to gaining action­ able insights from your data. Without segmentation, you could see that there have been five thousand clicks in your campaign over the past two months. Cumulative data like this doesn’t allow you to identify any meaningful trends. Segmentation allows you to break the data down by days in the week to understand if there is a pattern. Maybe the majority of your clicks happen on Mondays and Tuesdays, suggesting that you should allocate a higher daily budget to those days. After you have been running your campaign for six months or so, you can check how different months compared against each other. If you discovered that people searched more actively at the beginning or the end of the month, you could allocate a higher budget to that period.

Viewing Reports The reporting function is very comprehensive, to the point where it can seem overwhelming for people just starting out with AdWords. The best way to begin customizing your reports is to first gain an understanding of the different report types available to you. The 10 reports offered in the Reporting tab are extensive, and beyond the scope of a basic tutorial, but the best report to get started with is Campaign Performance. In the Reporting tab, click Create a new report, then select Campaign Performance. In the Settings section, Under View (Unit of Time), select Summary; under Date Range, select This Month; and under Campaigns, select All Campaigns. You can also view individual campaigns once you’ve familiarized yourself with the reporting function. The same applies for the Advanced Settings


64

Navigating and Monitoring Performance

(Optional) section. Leave the defaults as-is until you have a specific reason to omit certain criteria. Before generating a particular report, ask yourself the following questions: 1. Can the reports and graphs be generated under the Campaign tab interface? This section covers: Clicks, Impressions, Click Through Rate (CTR), Average CPC, Average CPM, Cost, Average Position, Conversion, Cost per Conv., Conv. Rate (many-per-click), View-Through Conv. and more.

If you don’t know the difference between any of these things — like Conversion (many-per-click) and Conversion (1-per-click) — you can customize columns under Filter and Views, select both metrics to be displayed, then click on the question mark icon next to the metric you don’t understand. Google will provide a concise explanation of what it is (Fig. 4-12).

Fig. 4-12. Pop-up explanation of the Conversions (many-per-click) metric.


65

Navigating and Monitoring Performance 2. Ask yourself “so what?” three times. I learned this useful concept from Avinash Kaushik in his book Web Analytics: An Hour A Day. Kaushik meant that before looking at specific data or running a report, we need to ask ourselves whether knowing this data will help us get better results. If no actionable insight can be drawn from a report, that report is not worth making.

Let’s say you run a report that tells you one of your destina­ tion URLs has more impressions than others. So what? If your answer is “nothing,” then move on to something else. It’s easy to get sucked into harvesting interesting but meaningless data — the “so what?” question can help you avoid this pitfall.


67

Return on Investment

Return on Investment Running AdWords campaigns is a constant balancing act between your ad spending and the returns you get on that investment. What are your customer acquisition costs? What is the value of the actions people take after they click on your ads versus how much you’ve spent to get them to take that action? These are important metrics to track, otherwise you can be running a loss-making campaign without even knowing it. Whatever metrics you use to define a successful “conversion,” tracking your results is essential. If you can’t do this with your current analytics provider, sign up for Google Analytics. It’s designed specifically to work well with AdWords campaigns. You can sign up for free at http://www.google.com/analytics/. If you use the same account for Analytics that you use for AdWords, your accounts will be linked automatically. You’ll then be able to use Google Analytics to view campaign statistics at a keyword level, such as revenue per keyword and cost per sale. The table below shares some of the more common metrics you will encounter in Google Analytics.

Metrics

Numeric Values

Formula

Total number of clicks

10,000

click

Average cost per click

$0.30

CPC

Conversion rate (Click to Sales)

2.00%

= sales / click × 100

Total number of sales

200

= conversion rate × click

Average basket value

$50.00

Total revenue Profit per sales

basket value

$10,000.00

= number of sales × average basket value

50%

percentage of basket value


68

Return on Investment

Total profit

$5,000.00

= percent profit per sales × total revenue

Total cost

$3,000.00

= CPC × click

Return on Investment Maximum Cost per Click

67% $0.50

= (profit − cost) / cost = total profit / click

• Conversion rate or onsite conversion rate is measured by taking the total number of sales or sign-ups divided by the total number of clicks and multiplying that figure by 100. Your conversion rate and your return on investment are inextricably linked. Comparing the difference in ROI between a 1.5% conversion rate and a 2.5% conversion rate underscores the significance of conversion rate optimization. Even a seemingly small percentage increase like 1% can result in a 60% increase in the revenue of your AdWords campaign, which can mean the difference between loss and profit. Your conversion rate is strongly affected by two factors: how well targeted your click-through visitors are, and how effectively your landing page converts. You’ll need to examine both of these factors to increase your conversion rates. • Average basket value: This is how much you make per conversion. This is the second of three ways to increase the ROI of your campaign (the first is to increase your conversion rate, which we just covered. The third is to increase your total volume of conversions). • Profit per sales: Though you may earn a certain amount per conversion, how much of this is actually profit, based on your campaign and other expenses? • Maximum Cost Per Click: This figure is calculated based on your total profit divided by the number of clicks. It’s the maximum amount you can afford to pay per click and still


69

Return on Investment break even. If you ever find yourself with underperforming ads and you want to increase your CPC to give them more exposure, make sure you have this Max Cost Per Click value in mind.

Once you’ve found a campaign model you’re happy with, monitor the campaign with Analytics to make sure the reality is matching up to your earlier predictions. At least once per week, start plugging in real numbers like total number of clicks, average CPC, total number of sales and total sales revenue to calculate your campaign’s return on investment. If you find that your initial conversion rate is surprisingly low, that you have a negative ROI — or worse yet, no sales at all — don’t panic. First, look at your eCommerce report in Analytics to see how your individual keywords are performing. You might find that some are performing well, while others may need to be culled or replaced. You may need to try using more specific keywords, tweaking your ad copy, or adding more calls to action in your ads — for example, using the words “Buy WordPress Themes” rather than just “WordPress Themes”. Now that you are carefully tracking your campaign metrics, the only way for your campaign to go is up. You can constantly finetune your keyword list and tweak your ad copy to improve results. Ideally you will have a high volume of clicks, low average cost per click, high conversion rates, high average basket value, a high total number of sales, a high profit margin and, best of all, a high ROI!

A Note on Conversion Tracking Google’s conversion tracking tools can help you measure how often visitors to your site perform the action that you ultimately want from them. This might be buying your product, signing up


70

Return on Investment

for your newsletter, or commissioning your services. Conversion tracking is free and integrated with AdWords. If tracked properly, you should know which campaign keywords drive conversions and how much each conversion costs you.


72

The Google Content Network: FAQ

The Google Content Network: Frequently Asked Questions We conduct web searches many times a day, but we want to spend as little time as possible using search engines. They’re a means to an end: finding exactly what we’re looking for. To provide options outside of search results, Google has partnered with hundreds of thousands of websites to serve ads on behalf of advertisers. This is Google’s Content Network: one of the biggest ad networks in the world. This section answers a number of frequently asked questions about Google’s Content Network. • Why do other websites need to partner with Google? • Which websites are part of Google’s Content Network? • How can I put my ads on these sites? • How much does it cost to advertise on the Network? • How do I monitor my campaign’s performance? • Can I stop my campaign at any time? • Can I use Flash banners and other rich media types as well as text ads? Let’s go through each of these questions.


73

The Google Content Network: FAQ

Why do other sites partner with Google? For revenue sharing vis-a-vis Google’s AdSense program. Web­ sites that partner with Google and become part of the Network are called publishers. Publishers make a commission every time a Google ad on their site is clicked. Google claims the remaining share of the revenue.

Which sites are in the Google Content Network? The best way to answer this question is to use Google’s Ad Planner. Go to http://www.google.com/adplanner/, complete the sign-up process, and log in. You’ll be greeted with the interface shown in this screenshot (Fig. 6-1). Select Search by audience, add your target territory, then go to Filter. Under Ad item select In Google Content Network and click OK. You’ll see all the sites that are under Google’s Content Network in your chosen territory (Fig. 6-2).

Fig. 6-1. The Google Ad Planner interface.

Google’s Ad Planner is a powerful tool. Experiment and see what you can learn from it.


74

The Google Content Network: FAQ

Fig. 6-2. Search by Audience in the Google Content Network.

How can I put my ads on these sites? You can get your ads on Google Content Network sites by setting up placement targeting campaigns in Google’s AdWords interface rather than using a keyword targeted campaign. However, the steps are the same as those for creating a campaign, except when you choose where to display your ads. Instead of selecting Google Search or Search Partners, you will choose Content Network (Fig. 6-3).

Fig. 6-3. Get your ads on the Google Content Network.


75

The Google Content Network: FAQ

It’s wise to set up search campaigns and placement campaigns separately. In the long-run, this will give you greater flexibility to add, remove or customize your different campaigns.

How much does it cost to advertise on the Network? You can decide how much you want to pay for your Content Network campaign and the metric you wish to use: impressions or clicks. You have the ability to choose the maximum Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) or Cost Per Click (CPC) you want to pay. This is a real-time auction system, so if your bidding price is too low your ads may not be displayed at all. As with most auction markets, prices are determined by supply and demand.

How do I monitor my campaign’s performance? A placement campaign, if you set it up right, has its own campaign name and you can view the statistics the same way you would with a keyword campaign. But remember: you can’t interpret the data in exactly the same way.

Can I stop my campaign? Yes. You can pause and restart your campaigns at any time.

Can I use rich media ads? You can also use any common rich media format, such as Flash ads, image ads and video ads.


77

AdWords: FAQ

AdWords: Frequently Asked Questions Though some of these questions have been answered previously, this section will help you review what you’ve learned so far.

Can I purchase a higher placement for my search ads? No, you can’t. Google’s formula is the only factor that determines how different advertisements will rank for the same keyword. Ad rank = CPC × Quality Score. If your ad appears higher than other ads, it means the product of your bid CPC multiplied by your landing page’s Quality Score is higher than the ad below it. However, you can’t be sure of higher placement all of the time for all your keywords, even if you bid with a very high CPC.

How can I get my ads to display above search results? Your Quality Score and bid price are the only deciding factors in ad placement. Having your ad appear above the highest ranking organic search result yields bigger CTRs. Because of this, Google wants to be sure that these ads are highly relevant to the search query (in other words, that they have a high Quality Score). Google doesn’t want to compromise the very reason people use their service: to find accurately what they’re looking for.


78

AdWords: FAQ

I chose postpay for payment. Can I change to prepay? Not at this time, though you can change to payment via credit card or direct debit for postpay, and credit card or bank transfer for prepay.

How does Google decide the cost per click I will pay? Google runs its Ad Ranking Formula to determine the Cost Per Click every time a query is searched. This is how it works. Let’s say Advertiser A and B both bid for the keyword phrase “best hotel package in Maldives”. For this keyword, Advertiser A has a Quality Score of 5 and bid price of $2.00. Advertiser B has a Quality Score of 8 and a bid price $1.60. Based on the ad ranking formula: • Ad ranking A = 5 × $2.00 = 10 • Ad ranking B = 8 × $1.60 = 12.8 Since 12.8 is greater than 10, Advertiser B will rank higher than Advertiser A. The CPC for Advertiser B is actually lower than $1.60. Google calculates the minimum CPC Advertiser B has to pay in order to outrank Advertiser A by one cent. If we take the ad ranking for A (10) divided by Advertiser B’s Quality Score (8), we get $1.25. Advertiser B will pay one cent higher than $1.25. This means $1.26 instead of $1.60.


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AdWords: FAQ

Why do my ads only appear intermittently? Based on your daily budget, the popularity of your keyword list and volume of searches, Google will display your ads intermittently to ensure the total cost of clicks won’t exceed your specified value. Technically, your daily costs can be up to 120% of the daily budget you set, but Google will make sure that you won’t be billed more than your monthly budget for any 30 day period. In most cases when you search for one of your keywords and your ad doesn’t show up, it means that your budget for the day is running out. You can check your account statistics to see how much you have spent on any given day.


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Pre-launch Checklist

Pre-launch Checklist Before you launch your newest AdWords campaign, make sure to run through this checklist of essential campaign elements.

Meaningful Campaign and Group Names Give your campaigns and ad groups meaningful names. Instead of generic identifiers like “Campaign #1”, use terms that correspond to the unique aspect of your offer, like “Dozen Roses”, or “20% Discount”. This will help you to understand at a glance which campaign or ad group you are looking at.

Separate Campaigns for Google Search and Google Content Whenever you set up a new campaign, Content Network is “on” by default. Check your campaign settings to see if you have accidentally activated a Content Network campaign by mistake.

Correct Target Market and Language Settings When copying the settings of a previous campaign to create a new one, your previous target market will be carried over. Make sure to check whether you need to update your target market for the new campaign.

Correct Account Timezone Once you choose a time zone you can’t change it. Your time zone will affect everything from the account’s date, month and year, to reporting and the billing cycle.


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Pre-launch Checklist

Account Currency Make sure that you choose the currency you want to use to pay Google. It’s a good idea to use the same currency as your credit card or bank account to avoid dealing with exchange rates. All AdWords prices, such as Cost Per Click, will be listed in your selected currency.

Daily Budget and End Date Setting a daily budget and end date will help you keep control of your AdWords campaigns. By default new AdWords campaigns are set to run indefinitely, so you’ll need to specify an appropriate end date. If you’re unsure of when you need your campaign to end, try setting a date 30 days from the start time. If you’re not sure what your daily budget should be, focus on the maximum amount you are willing to pay each month and divide the figure by the number of days in the month. But remember: your daily budget will affect how frequently your ads appear and how much traffic you get. For example, if you set your daily budget at $10/day and the estimated CPC is $0.30, you can expect to receive approximately 33 clicks per day or about 1,000 clicks per month.

Other Campaign Settings Show Relevant Addresses With Your Ads This option allows you to display additional information about your physical address within your AdWords ad. This is not recommended unless you want people to visit a physical store location.


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Pre-launch Checklist

Demographics This option is only available for Google’s Content Network and in selected countries. Google allows you to select who will see your ads based on factors like gender, education level, income level, and so on.

Position Preference This option allows you to choose the position range in which your ads will appear. If your ad position is out of the range you specify, your ad won’t show. Beginning AdWords users should leave this at default settings.

Ad Rotation You can choose between Optimize, show better performing ads more often and Rotate, show ads more evenly. If you have more than one ad in an ad group and want to test out which one works better, choose Rotate.

Frequency Capping This is only available for the Google Content Network. If you run an image ad campaign with the purpose of raising brand awareness, you may want to limit the number of times the ad is shown to each unique user. This means your ad impressions will be spread across as many unique users as possible.


APPENDICES


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Appendix A

Appendix A: The Google AdWords Editor Once you’re familiar with how Google AdWords works, you should download the AdWords Editor ( http://www.google.com/intl/en/ adwordseditor/index.html ). It’s a free tool developed by Google that allows you to create and edit AdWords campaigns within a desktop client, then upload them to your AdWords account. It’s much more robust and efficient than using AdWords’ standard web interface. I use it almost exclusively now to check statistics and manage and optimize my AdWords campaigns. Visit Google’s YouTube channel to see lots of great videos that teach you how to use the AdWords Editor ( http://www. youtube.com/results?search_type=search_playlists&search_ query=adwords+editor&uni=1 ).


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Appendix B

Appendix B: Further Reading Congratulations — you’re at the end of this book, and you’ve already learned enough about Google AdWords to drive traffic to your offers in a cost effective manner. This list of resources will help you take your knowledge to new levels. • What better way to learn about Google AdWords than from Google itself? Take the time to visit the AdWords Learning Center ( http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/static. py?hl=en&page=examstudy.cs ) • Google’s Business Channel on YouTube contains lots of videos on how to optimize your campaigns ( http://www. youtube.com/user/GoogleBusiness#p/p ). • Google AdWords Blog: To keep you up to date with new AdWords developments ( http://adwords.blogspot.com/ ). • Search Insider from MediaPost: Writers on this site often discuss in-depth how to optimize your AdWords campaigns ( http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Archives. showArchive&art_type=30 ). • Search Engine Land has a fantastic Pay Per Click information section ( http://searchengineland.com/library/ how-to/how-to-ppc ). • Avinash Kaushik’s blog about web analytics. Your ability to analyze and interpret data will be a key factor in your success with AdWords ( http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/ ). • The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords, Perry Marshall’s classic eBook on AdWords is still as relevant today as when I first read it six years ago ( http://www.perrymarshall.com/ adwords/ ).


About The Author

Chandler Nguyen has worked in the online industry for the last several years, mainly focusing on Affiliate Marketing, Search and Web Analytics. He has worked on numerous projects specifically targeting the Asia-Pacific region for multinational companies like Apple, ClubMed, and Citibank. He also contributes regular articles to several magazines, and lectures at the BMG International Education in Vietnam, where he currently resides. You can check out his blog at: http://www.chandlernguyen.com/ or email him at: chandlernguyen@gmail.com 


In Get Going with Google AdWords, author Chandler Nguyen introduces you to the AdWords phenomenon, where you can bypass weeks or months of attempts to get your site to the top of Google search queries by bidding for keywords. This book will help you get started with setting up simple, water-tight campaigns to promote your blog, website or business. You’ll learn all the ins and outs of launching and reporting on a campaign, understanding the search behavior of your target audience, and how to generate more traffic to your site! Find out why and how so many people are using Google AdWords to help them get the measured results they want!


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