Think of Google AdWords advertising like owning a car.
What would happen if you ignored all the warning lights and skipped your scheduled service tune-ups?
Eventually your car would break down. Something would stop working and you would likely be forced to spend a lot of money to fix a problem that could have been avoided altogether if you had followed the recommended service schedule. In other words, it costs more money to ignore the warning signs and be forced to fix a broken car than it does to have your car regularly tuned up.
The same is true with advertising on Google AdWords.
However, there is one huge difference…
AdWords Has No “Idiot Lights”
We take it for granted now, but cars were not always equipped with self diagnostic tools and “idiot lights” to tell us there was a problem. Can you imagine if there was no “check engine” or “brake fluid” light? How would you ever know if your car needed a quick tune-up?
Most likely you would not know you needed help until it was too late and your car was stalled in the breakdown lane. Luckily all cars now come with plenty of warning lights so you don’t have to be a motor head to maintain your car.
But this is certainly not the case with Google AdWords.
There are no “idiot lights” that illuminate red when your campaigns are under performing to indicate you need a tune-up. Instead, you’ll need to do a manual audit. In this article, I put together a checklist that highlights some potential problems in your campaigns. Use this list to see if you have any flashing “red lights” indicating your campaign needs a tune-up.
Remember, it’s less costly to continually tune up your ads than it is to ignore them and later have to fix a completely broken down campaign.
The “Check Keywords” Light
The first warning sign is your keyword list in an AdWords Search campaign. The “check keywords” light will illuminate red indicating a problem if any of the following conditions are true:
- You’re using all Broad match keywords instead of Phrase and Exact match. This leads to poor AdWords Quality Scores, low ad rank, higher CPCs and wasteful clicks on irrelevant search phrases.
- You’re using some Broad match keywords with no Negative keywords. Again, this leads to poor AdWords Quality Scores, low ad rank, higher CPCs and wasteful clicks on irrelevant search phrases.
- All or most of your keywords are in a single Ad Group. This leads to poor AdWords Quality Scores and low ad click through rates because the ads are not 100% relevant for all keywords in the Ad Group.
If your “check keywords” light is on, then take action immediately to change your keyword match types, add negative keywords and restructure your ad groups. Until you fix this problem your ad campaign will struggle to get out of the breakdown lane.
Next, let’s move on to your ads…
The “Check Ads” Light
The second warning sign is your ad copy. The “check ads” light will illuminate red indicating a problem if any of the following conditions are true:
- There is only one ad in any Ad Group. This means you’re missing an opportunity to split test to find better performing ad copy. By testing multiple ads at the same time you’ll discover which ads get a higher click-through rate and a higher conversion rate, which ultimately leads to higher Quality Scores.
- You’re missing Ad Extensions. Every Ad Extension available should be used whenever appropriate to increase your response rates. Plus, missing Ad Extensions can lead to poor Quality Scores now that AdWords uses Ad Extension performance to calculate your Quality Scores.
- The ad copy does not match all keywords in the Ad Group. This leads to poor AdWords Quality Scores and low ad click-through rates because the ads are not 100% relevant for all keywords in the Ad Group.
If your “check ads” light is on, then take action immediately to add ads to your ad groups, set up all appropriate ad extensions and restructure your ad groups so that your ads are 100% relevant to all keywords in the ad group. By fixing your keywords and your ads you’ll ensure you’re targeting your ideal customers and driving as many prospects to your website as possible.
Next we need to review what happens when your prospect “lands” on your website…
The “Check Landing Pages” Light
The third warning sign is your landing page copy and layout. The “check landing pages” light will illuminate red indicating a problem if any of the following conditions are true:
- Your landing page is your homepage. This leads to low conversion rates because website homepages are too broad in scope. For example, homepages talk about every product and service offered and appeal to every different type of customer. In contrast, high-converting landing pages are laser focused on one product or service and appeal to the subset of your prospects that would be searching the keyword you’re advertising on.
- You’re using one landing page for more than one product or service. Again, this leads to low conversion rates because your prospect can get distracted or think your offer is not as relevant as your competitors’ offers that are more laser focused.
- Your landing page is not 100% congruent with your ads. This leads to low conversion rates because your prospect does not find the same offer and the same product or service promised in the ad copy.
If your “check landing pages” light is on, then take action immediately to create a unique landing page for each product or service you’re advertising, and make sure your landing page copy is 100% congruent with your ads.
At this point you know your keywords, ads, and landing pages are all set up properly to maximize your advertising investment. However, we’re not done yet. The only way to continually improve your campaign is to track your key performance indicators.
This brings us to the last warning sign…
The “Check Tracking” Light
The fourth and final warning sign is your conversion tracking. The “check tracking” light will illuminate red indicating a problem if any of the following conditions are true:
- AdWords Conversion tracking is not set up for webforms. This means you do not know when prospects click on your ads and then complete a webform. Therefore, there’s no way to optimize your bids to increase leads and eliminate wasted ad spend on under performing keywords.
- AdWords Conversion revenue tracking is not set up for shopping carts. If you have an e-commerce website, then it’s possible to automatically send revenue data back to AdWords so you can calculate your return on investment for each keyword. If this is not set up then again you can not optimize your bids to increase sales and eliminate wasted ad spend.
- AdWords Website Call Tracking is not set up. This means you do not know how many prospects are calling your business after clicking on one of your ads. Therefore, you can’t optimize your bids to drive more calls.
- Call Extension Tracking is not set up. This means you do not know how many prospects are calling your business using the phone number listed on the ad. Therefore, you can’t optimize your bids to drive more of these calls.
- Offline Sales Import Conversion tracking is not set up. This means you’re not tracking sales and revenue from prospects that click on an ad, complete a webform and then convert to customers via phone or in-person sales. Therefore, you can’t optimize your bids to drive more offline sales.
If your “check tracking” light is on, then take action immediately to set up webform conversion tracking (and revenue tracking if you have an e-commerce website), website call tracking, call extension tracking and offline sales import conversion tracking.
Does Your Campaign Need a Tune-Up?
Now that you’ve completed the 4 steps above, does your Google AdWords campaign need a tune-up?
If you would like hands-on help, click here to request a Google AdWords quote.
Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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