Google AdWords is changing almost every day, giving greater power and control over campaigns than ever before. If you’re not paying attention and optimizing your Google Adwords campaign, you may be missing out on these benefits:

  • Serving ads quicker to potential leads
  • Higher ad ranking
  • Lower CPC costs

Unfortunately, an optimized Google AdWords campaign doesn’t happen on its own, as much as we wish it did. We all want big results, right? Following are essential tips and tricks to improve Google AdWords campaigns.

1. Clarify the Purpose

Few great things in this world happened on accident. Most successful people have a clear vision of their goals—and in the same way, a purposeful direction is key to a campaign’s success.

Start by asking: what is the point of the campaign? Is it to create brand awareness? If it’s an eCommerce website, is it to increase conversion rates? Or is your goal to hit a combination of these options?

2. Choose Your Network

Once the direction of the campaign is chosen, the next step is to choose the type of advertising network needed to reach the potential consumers.

Using “search network” advertising would be the best choice if you’re an eCommerce store and the goal is to increase conversion rates. Why? Because this makes your ad pop up on active search query phrases—and you want to catch the attention of people ready to buy.

red nike shoes: keyword search

Let’s say you specialize in the latest Nikes. If Bill the Buyer is currently searching for “Nike running shoes,” a targeted “search network” ad will be more likely to show up in the search results for that specific phrase.

On the flip-side, if the direction of a campaign is to increase brand awareness with no hard conversions tied to it, such as a direct sale or a newsletter sign up, then using “Display Advertising” makes more sense. Display Advertising does not target active searches, instead it shows up in similar content on related websites in the form of banner or text ads.

So, let’s pretend you’re starting a store that sells a line of clothing for llamas, called “Llama Label,” and you want to gain visibility in the marketplace. The Display Advertising network will place your llama ads on similar websites so you can start getting your name out in the right places. The next time someone needs to buy clothes for their llama, Llama Label could be the first place they look.

Once the direction of a campaign is decided and the advertising network chosen, the next step is to conduct keyword research.

3. Do your Keyword Research

When you do thorough and relevant keyword research, you’ll start seeing patterns in searched keywords and phrases. A huge bonus? You’ll be able to tweak your AdWords lingo to match and reach your unique audience.

For example, let’s say a brick and mortar specialty toffee shop, “Nonna’s Toffee,” has one location in San Diego. Their goal is to get local customers to sign up for their newsletter and drive traffic to their physical store because they don’t deliver or ship. What keywords should they use?

To start, they should research logical phrases based off the location. “San Diego” is good, and including the neighborhood, “Normal Heights,” is even better. Besides, they should stick to words related to their business and use long-tail keywords for better results (short phrases such as “toffee store in Normal Heights, San Diego”). In other words, they shouldn’t waste time using short keywords, such as “chocolate,” even if they rank higher. Targeting high ranking words, yet ill-fitting descriptors run the risk of losing credibility with their audience and their Google ranking.

Next, Nonna’s Toffee needs to ensure all of their keywords are consistent across the board for their campaign. Ad Keywords = Ad text Keywords = Landing Page Keywords. These need to be related to each other—consider using synonyms to cover all different user-lingo. Because interested potential customers are getting what they asked for in the first place, this will increase ad credibility and the likelihood of conversions.

After you’ve compiled a group of relevant keywords related to the campaign, it’s time to build and target the ads. But how?

4. Structure Ad Groups Based on the Structure of your Website

Structure your adwords campaign

Don’t make it harder than it has to be—even Google suggests you structure your ad groups under your campaign based on your website structure. It helps if your website UX makes sense.

Now that advertising networks have been chosen, keyword research is done, and the ads are built, it’s time to add the final part to creating a full AdWords campaign.

5. Target your Campaigns

The last step is to set up ad targeting—where you reach specific groups of people based on demographics, interests, and location. This enables the targeting of ads to a group or groups of people based on age, gender, or any number of factors. Beyond basic demographic targeting, AdWords allows for targeting based on interests and location.

6. Ask Yourself These Two Questions:

Who is a qualified lead?

Create and set-up affinity groups that will target the exact people for your business.

Let’s say you’re running a campaign for multivitamins, and you notice a lot of traffic to your site from health blogs. You can add specific urls from health blogs that you think potential leads might visit so that your ads will be seen by your target on their sites of interest.

Do your ads need national campaigns, local campaigns, or a combination of the two?

In the case of national vs. local, you must know your limits.

Let’s look at a scenario. A local auto repair shop needs clients to physically come in, so they’ll need to target people in the immediate area. In this case, they would use radius targeting (geotargeting) to target people within three miles of their store in San Diego for example, and hopefully, increase immediate conversions. We doubt anyone in Idaho would drive 15 hours south for a good deal on an oil change.

On the flip side, let’s say a luxury watch company is launching a national ad campaign, and they’ve noticed an increasing number of visits from people in Idaho. They can Geotarget their ads to display more heavily in Idaho, thus increasing visibility and conversions. If they want their ads to reach more Connecticuters, they can do the same thing. Their business is not limited by geographic location.

Follow these steps, and your ads will likely cost less, and will target the qualified demographic leading to higher conversion rates. But more importantly, well-thought-out campaigns will have a greater longevity and be effective in the future. When it comes to your business’s future, the CEO of Google, Larry Page, put it best:

“Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future. I try to focus on that: What is the future really going to be? And how do we create it? And how do we power our organization to really focus on that and really drive it at a high rate.”

The bottom line? It’s easy to set up sloppy AdWords campaigns. If campaigns are set-up the right way from the start, then more benefits will happen in the future.

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