The team over at Google AdWords has made it extremely easy to create and execute Google AdWords campaigns. That’s Great news for companies interested in online advertising, but often their campaigns perform below their potential, or worse, actually lose money. Online advertising is a complex and fast changing world and Google AdWords is an incredibly robust tool. In order to truly make the most of it, I typically recommend that you have at least one member of your marketing team dedicated to online advertising.
Until you are ready to make that kind of commitment, here is a list of the often missed Google AdWords strategies.
When displaying ads to potential customers what language do they prefer? More importantly, what languages are you ready to support? If you’re going to pay for traffic you want to make sure that language barriers are not going to create additional friction for your visitors.
- Separate your campaigns by language. English ads should only be displayed to people that have their browsers set to English. Spanish ads to Spanish people, French to French, you get the point.
- Only advertise in the languages that your website support. If your website is only available in English, French, and Spanish don’t waste your money advertising to German speaking people. Trust me, take a look at the goal conversion rates of visitors by language. Looking at the chart to the right you can immediately tell that this website is only available in English.
A close cousin to target language is target region. Even if you’ve set a language preference, your ads may still appear to people who are outside of your targeted demographic. Why? Target language is implemented by looking at the preferred language settings on a person’s browser, regardless of what country they are in. That makes it possible for anyone to have their browser set to your targeted language even if they don’t speak that language. A real life example of this is, Vietnamese people from Hanoi seem to have their browser preference set to English, even though they don’t speak English – Lots of click-through traffic and ZERO conversions!
- Create a regional white list: For each language you are targeting you should identify which regions speak that language. My own white listing strategy reduced our ad spending by over 470% while actually increasing revenue.
- Cultural considerations: Language isn’t the only reason for filtering a particular region. For example, local buying preferences can have a profound affect on your visitors’ conversion rates. I still haven’t figured out why, but visitors from the UK convert at half the rate of other English speaking countries. Make sure to use your web analytics reports to identify the conversion rates of each region you are considering.
By default your Google Ad campaigns will display on both the Search and the Display Network. The Display Network are the thousands of websites that allocate advertising space to Google through their Google AdSense program. There are some amazing advertising opportunities on the Display Network but only if your ads are appearing on the right web sites.
- Create image ads: Text ads (the only ads available on the Search Network) will also show on the Display Network. However, a lot of websites don’t allocate space for text ads. What that means is, if you don’t add image ads to your campaign, your ads won’t appear on many high quality websites. From my own experience I’ve seem image ads outperform text ads by 300% on the Display Network.
- Monitor your campaign placements: In your Google AdWords account under Campaign/Networks/ you can see the websites (Placements) where your ads have been appearing. Click through to these websites and make sure that they match the interest of your target audience. If they don’t add them to your disapproved placements list right away!
The Page Rank of your website’s landing pages and the amount of competition for a particular keyword are two major factor in how much you pay per click and how often your ads will appear. The lower the competition and better your Page Rank, the lower your Pay-Per-Click and the better your ROI. You can’t do much about competition for a keyword but you can improve your landing page’s Page Rank.
- Keywords in your page title: As part the secret formula Google uses to determine Page Rank they look at how much importance your landing page places on those keywords. If your landing page includes the keywords in your title it tells Google that those keywords are VERY important to your page.
- Be helpful: Make sure that your landing pages have helpful information to people searching for that keyword. If your landing pages are not helpful don’t count on a good quality score.
- Be diligent: Sometimes even Google makes mistakes and can accidentally give your landing pages a poor Quality Scores. If you see a Quality Score that seems surprisingly bad, you should report it to the Google AdWords team.
- Hire a copywriter who understands Search Engines: Notice I did not say “Hire a search engine marketing expert” many of these “experts” will give you recommendations meant to game the system. You may see a quick bump in your page rank, but long-term this isn’t a good strategy. A good copywriter will help you create useful content and maximize the influence it can have on Search Engines.
Filter brand campaigns
Even if their brands rank in the #1 search engine spot, most companies include a Google AdWords campaign that targets their brands. The are a lot of good reasons why you should have brand name search campaigns but what most companies don’t do is filter them properly. Brand name click-throughs are important but more importantly is the referrer a person used before they clicked through your brand name campaign.
- Add a “no override” string to destination URLS. In your Google AdWords brand campaigns you can add the following string [?utm_nooverride=1] to the end of your destination URLS. What that will effectively do is prevent Google Analytics from overriding any previous referrer. This gives you the benefit of brand name campaigns while still being able to identify the original source of that traffic.