5 Ways NOT to Manage Your Google AdWords’ Campaign

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Here are five ways NOT to manage your Google Adwords’ campaign if you expect to generate a return from your money:

(1) Creating campaigns and ad groups randomly and without deliberate planning.

Effectively setting up a Google AdWords program requires serious planning. Google’s quality scoring methodology used as a part of the bid position and price calculation requires relevance across the ad, keyword and landing page. If the campaign structure is setup incorrectly, the corresponding quality score will be poor and affect your bid position and click price. Not to mention potentially hurt your lead or sales conversion.

(2) Set Your Daily Budget below Google’s Recommended Daily Budget

Sure, you may have a monthly budget you have to perform within and you don’t want to go overboard. But by setting your daily budget below Google’s recommendation, you may be inadvertently hurting your campaign’s effectiveness especially if the daily budget difference is significant like $100 versus $1,100.

Google’s recommended daily budget (found under the “Edit Campaign Settings”) is based on a calculation of the impressions and an estimated click-through rate available for the keywords within your campaign. If demand is high then Google estimates that your daily click cost will cost a certain amount. If that amount is more than your daily budget, Google will only show your ad for a percentage of the time. If that percentage happens to be at a less than favorable period (like when your buyers aren’t the ones searching) then you could lose out on potential buyer opportunities.

If you have to keep a lower daily budget, then try removing some of your general, higher demand keywords. These are probably not going to be your best converting ones and it allows you to stay within budget without robbing you chance for high performance.

(3) Using position preference

Some companies insist on maintaining a top bid position which Google made easier to accomplish with their position preference feature. However, have you ever read the instructions on how the position preference works? Google basically states, “position preference does not mean that your ad will always appear in the position you specify. The usual AdWords ranking and relevance rules apply. Position preference simply means AdWords will try to show your ad whenever it is ranked in your preferred position, and to avoid showing it when it is not.” Do you really want that to happen?

Google also states, “Let us note that setting a position preference can sharply reduce the number of impressions and clicks you receive for that keyword.

Sometimes reading the finer print makes you realize that gaining position isn’t so important (or worth it) after all. Besides, in terms of lead or sales conversion, the first to third positions may not be the best bet after all!

(4) Adding keywords, matching options, and phrases without thinking through their interrelatedness.

During initial PPC “optimization” consultations I have seen a number of company campaigns where a large group of keywords share commonalities within or across ad groups. These commonalities can force keywords to compete against one another for a same keyword search. You need to carefully consider keywords and how they may compete against each other. If you leave it for Google to select which one to show, they probably will choose the with the highest click cost to you!

(5) Not tracking lead or sales conversions

I would like to think that I am preaching to the choir on this one but many companies still do not track keyword conversions. In the worse case, at least companies should be using the Google conversion tracking script. Sure it has its issues but some performance data is better than nothing at all.

How about one more “way NOT to manage?”

(6) Setting up Content Network within your Search Campaigns

I know Google separated content bids from search bids but ad and conversion performance still share the same tracking. If you want to use the content network just copy your search campaign and set up an entirely new campaign specifically for content. It keeps everything separate and enables you to specifically gauge all aspects of performance for search separately from content.

There are probably many more “ways NOT to manage” that I haven’t thought about while writing this post. Do you have any you want to add? Send me your comment.

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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4 Comments

  1. Great post, Kevin. I'd add another one: write only 1 ad for each ad group. Google makes it easy to write multiple ads, so why not test 2-3 to find with works best?

  2. Excellent comment Tom! Absolutely - testing different words within ads is very important. One word can immensely shift not only your click-through rates but also your lead or sales conversion. Besides just testing different words (like "proven" versus "trusted") test different offers, calls-to-action, positioning statements and other angles to attract qualified visitors with a higher propensity to act. Make sure to assess your competitors' bidding for the same keywords and watch what words and angles they take. Don't necessarily assume that your competitors' ads are better (they just might not be tracking their performance metrics) but it will least get your brainstorming session moving in the right direction. Just make sure that you track ads separately using distinct destination URLs. You need to identify which ads are generating conversions (not just which one is achieving a higher click-through rate.)

  3. And I'd add the selection of the "wrong" landing pages. Not related to the content or offer in the ad, not product-specific, not geo-specific, inappropriate link to home page, etc... there's a lot that can go awry when choosing the best LP for a given ad group! Plus, similar to the "enter multiple ad texts for testing," do the same with your LPs.

  4. How about broad-matching keywords? I have a hard time thinking of ways in which that can actually help anyone who wants to see any positive ROI on their campaigns.