It’s been 14 years since I set up my first Google AdWords campaign.
The year was 2002, and I worked for a property fund in the UK. Our model involved buying commercial property for cash, which mainly relied on leads generated through traditional media. In the year before, we’d spent about £180,000 on advertising to get these leads.
Eager to decrease our advertising spend and increase our leads, I was tasked with launching our first Google AdWords campaign.
In the months following, we saw a profound difference – for £25,000 we generated twice the amount of leads. This step-change in effectiveness caused me to fall in love with digital marketing, and go on to found Pure SEO, fine-tuning the art of Google AdWords along the way.
For those of you looking to do your own DIY campaign like I did, here are a few tips to ensure you get the best ROI on your spend:
Create a relevant landing page. Vital to a good AdWords campaign is getting your landing page right. This affects your results in all number of ways, including your quality score and conversions. Make sure that the page relates exactly to the ad your prospective customer has clicked on, and its copy contains the keywords you’ve used for your campaign. For example, if you’re running AdWords on ‘men’s shoes’, and a click-through lands on the home page of your shoe brand, this will be far less effective than if it lands directly on the men’s shoes page. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here – just spend a few minutes clicking on the ads of good online retailers (or your hottest competitors), and see where these take you.
Measure so you can manage. Anyone looking to maximise their Google AdWords campaign absolutely must measure their conversions. Find a way to attribute value to your leads – how many of them will be converted? Of those which are converted, what’s the average lifetime spend? Work backwards from there, and determine how much you’ll be willing to pay for a lead. Pay less than this amount, and you’re running an efficient campaign. Pay more, and you need to keep tweaking.
Run split testing to learn what works best. Regardless of how good you get at designing AdWords campaigns, there will still be some factors you don’t get right each time. That’s why split testing (also known as A/B testing) is crucial – it helps you refine your campaign, and promote the aspects that produce the best ROI. This can be as simple as testing the difference between a call to action of ‘Join now!’ versus ‘Sign up today’ on your landing page. Run split testing early and often, with a clear hypothesis, and keep an open mind to the results. It may seem like you’re wasting time by running a path which clearly isn’t as successful, but it could very well save you money in the long-term.
Get smart with mobile campaigns. It takes more work, but every good AdWords campaign is different for mobile and desktops. Why? Simply because we use these devices in completely different settings. Mobile is more immediate – your customer will be standing in a store, looking to see if they can get a better price online; whereas desktop is more detailed – your customer will be looking to understand pros and cons before making a purchasing decision.
Each of these situations requires a very different landing page. Make your campaign mobile specific, and you’ll see greater conversion levels.
Make the most of free advert extensions. Those creating an AdWords campaign for the first time may not know that Google places extensions onto your adverts for free at times. These extensions show up below your ad, and can range from customer ratings (e.g. ‘4.7 stars based on 131 reviews’) to social engagement (e.g. ‘1500 people like this on Facebook’). Ultimately, what these extensions do is give your ad more real estate (your ad features more prominently) and block out the space given to your competitors’ ads. Given that these extensions are free, make sure to manually design as many as you can to maximise your ROI.
Be alert to negative keywords. Remember, in an AdWords campaign, you pay for every click. It makes sense you’d want every click to be highly qualified and relevant to your product or service – not those who have accidently clicked on your ad because they were searching for something similar. Avoid racking up a high bill for irrelevant clicks by specifying negative keywords. If you’re a boutique pottery seller, chances are you will want to classify the words ‘learn’, ‘class’ and ‘training’ as negative keywords, so that those searching for pottery classes don’t accidently click through to your product, with no intention of purchasing.
Get location specific with geotargeting. If you’re an Auckland plumber, it’s unlikely you’ll be eager to respond to a bunch of enquiries from Dunedin. Ensure your ads are only appearing in areas you can actually service, by specifying the exact parameters in your campaign using geotargeting. It goes without saying that this saves a significant amount of time and money – it’s a mistake you’ll only make once.
The proof is in the pudding
So, now you might be asking yourself how effective your AdWords campaign can be?
Here at Pure SEO, we’ve been running AdWords campaigns for close to a decade, and have the process well refined. For our $5000 monthly spend in New Zealand, we generate about 25 online enquiries per month. Of these 25 enquiries, we convert approximately 25 percent into paying customers, meaning the six to seven new customers our AdWords campaign produces each month cost about $800 each. This cost of customer acquisition is fantastic, given the average lifetime spend of a Pure SEO customer. Obviously if you’re selling a much lower value product or service, you’d be expecting a lower acquisition cost – that’s why it’s so important to be measuring everything!
If you follow the tips above, there’s no reason you can’t get maximum ROI out of your spend on Google AdWords.
Like me, you’ll soon fall in love with the results.