This blog post is long overdue.
Let me explain.
Recently, we’ve had a few situations with new clients who are working with us to get better results from Google AdWords. Specifically, after a month or so, they’ve voiced similar concerns about how their campaigns were performing.
This is a common occurrence with new clients unfamiliar with Google AdWords a.k.a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search engine marketing. In fact, many of our Toronto-based clients who are familiar with AdWords often have the same concerns (or misconceptions) when they first start working with us to optimize existing online marketing campaigns.
What Google doesn’t want you to know
Truth be told, it’s a hell of a lot of work to correctly set-up and manage a Google AdWords campaign. It also takes a combination of common-sense, marketing know-how, and analytical thinking to effectively optimize results and ROI.
The good news is, at Fruition, we have someone on our team who is dedicated to managing client campaigns and is Google AdWords Certified, which makes her an AdWords professional (or PPC ninja as I affectionately call her).
Diana (and the rest of the team) use the latest AdWords tools and best practices to effectively manage client AdWords campaigns. In fact, she was part of the Scotiabank team for over 8 years, where she managed a team responsible for over 6 Scotia-related websites representing thousands of webpages in both English and French.
When it comes to questions or concerns clients have about Adwords, Diana has heard them all. Therefore, she’s probably more qualified than I to write this blog post.
1. Focusing on the Wrong Metrics (when measuring success)
When we start managing a client’s PPC campaigns, it’s natural for them to be interested in the analytics. However, the metrics that most clients tend to focus on to gauge its success are incorrect or at the very least not good indicators of what’s really going on. These metrics are:
- Click-through rate
Don’t get me wrong. These are important metrics to keep your eye on, but the most important one we look at is always conversions.
Conversions are the name of the game
In the end, this is what every business strives for. Clicks, click-through rates or even cost-per-click are all meaningless if the campaign isn’t converting. Typically, the main reason why clients have not focused on conversions (prior to working with us) is because they have not set up conversion tracking code on their website. Stop and read that sentence again (it’s important).
One of the first things we do at Fruition is identify with the client what a conversion is for their business, we then track these conversions in Google AdWords (and Google Analytics if applicable).
2. No Conversion Tracking
Again, usually the main reason why people don’t focus on conversions is because they haven’t set up conversion tracking code on their website. This is a scenario we see time and time again. AdWords clients who don’t use AdWords Conversion Tracking. Conversion Tracking works by putting a little snippet of HTML code on the web page users see after they complete a valuable action on your site (purchasing your product, completing a form, signing up for your email newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, etc.) This tool within AdWords shows you what happens after a user clicks on your ad.
By knowing this, you’ll also know which keywords are good for your business, allowing you to invest more wisely and boost your ROI.
3. Not Using Geo-Targeting
Even if your market is as wide as Canada, North America or even the world, people still might want to use a local provider as much as possible (or at least a company that is very knowledgeable about their location and region). It’s just a psychological thing.
Google and other search engines allow you to geo-target your PPC ads (down to a few km radius if need be), which could increase your click-through rate (CTR), lower Cost-per-conversion (CPC), and thus a higher ROI.
4. Sending all PPC Traffic to Homepage
Another common mistake is to have all of your ads pointing to your homepage. If you are promoting a particular product or service, you should have your ads going to that product/service page directly. By doing so, you won’t lose any users who may not have the patience to navigate your site in trying to find the right spot.
The landing page also affects the “quality score” from Google. The more directly your landing page relates to your ad, the higher your Quality Score (a note that this is only one factor in the quality score algorithm). Quality Score affects placement of your ad (your ad will be placed higher on the page), and your cost per click amongst other things. A high quality score means a lower cost per click. This is Google’s way of rewarding advertisers who they see as providing the best experience for their users.
5. Getting Caught up in the Minutia of PPC Analytics
Since search engine marketing provides so much rich information and deep analytics, clients often get very caught up in the minutia of the metrics. “This keyword costs 20 cents more this month than it did last month, what’s going on?”
We often find that we need to go back and compare the original business goals to the overall trends of the campaign. “Yes, this keyword has gone up, but overall the click-through rate is also up and cost-per-click is down.”
This holds true when comparing PPC to other marketing efforts. Generally PPC campaigns cost a fraction of traditional marketing campaigns such as print, radio or TV, yet because PPC yields exacting results, which is why businesses focus a lot of attention on it.
Keep your eye on the ball
If you find yourself caught up in the numbers it’s good to go back to basics and look at your ROI and business goals. We tend to ask questions such as “What is a lead worth to you? Let’s look at the Google AdWords spend and see what a lead is costing and compare it to what a lead is costing for traditional advertising”.
When looking at the big picture of marketing costs per channel vs. ROI, pay per click almost always comes out on top.
Got questions? We’ve got answers.
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