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6 ways to know if your AdWords (Search) account is being managed properly

Whether you run a small or large business, Google has become an essential part of your search marketing strategy. Google is the online street sign that shows your friends the directions on how to find you as they navigate the world wide web. Google can help your business effectively and efficiently boost your brand online, increase your lead generation and even promote your products or services to a highly specific audience, with the proper management of Google Adwords.

What does proper management really mean? How do you know if your account is getting the optimisations it deserves? At Digital Willow, we are often asked to review existing Google accounts so understand exactly what makes for an effective AdWord campaign. Not all are fruitful, and the success of an AdWords account is determined by the forward planning and quality of time spent on it (monitoring and making adjustments).

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Here are the 6 key things to consider when assessing your AdWords account:

1. Set clear objectives:

Sounds obvious right? Yet so often we find that Adwords accounts are trying to do too many things…. jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Take the time to review and confirm with your team what your objective(s) are for the business, as well as the focused Media Objective for each campaign. Are they on the same page as you? Business Objectives are likely to remain more stable over time, however a short-term Campaign Objective can easily vary from brief to brief. We advise that you are single-minded when setting a primary media objective. Even consider including the objective within the campaign name to ensure clarity and consistency for every person that works on it. 

2. Monitor account structure and activity

Does your Adwords account reflect your website structure? Having an account similar to your website structure not only makes it easier to navigate, but also helps when it comes to reporting and extracting information. Planning the right account structure is a key factor in determining the success of a campaign. Similar keywords should be organised into one Adgroup, for example: ‘Marketing services’, ‘Marketing consulting services’, ‘Marketing consulting companies’ will be clustered together. Whilst there’s no right or wrong answer, it helps to apply sensible logic and be prepared to adjust and refine the account structure. If you’re interested in checking whether any changes have been applied, Adwords has a change history report. Tip: create an easy to understand naming convention across your campaigns and Adgroups to ensure clear understanding of your account. A good taxonomy would look like this: ’AgencyName_Search_Google_Competitors_UK, ‘AgencyName_Search_Google_Brand’, etc.

3. Review the search copy in your ads

Are your Search Ads aligned with your chosen keywords and website landing page? When writing ad copy remember that the ads, keywords and landing page all form part of a single consumer journey.

For example, if someone searches for ‘Insurance quote for physiotherapist’, they are more likely to click on an ad specifically promoting ‘Insurance For Physiotherapists – Get Quotes Now’ and spend longer on a site if they have landed on a page providing quotes for insurance for physiotherapists. Make sure you include your keywords in the ad copy and use dynamic keyword insertion within your headlines or body copy, to increase relevancy. Digital Willow recommends always testing a variety of Search Ad copy, often referred to as A/B testing. In this manner, we collect as much data as possible on Search Ad variables and then optimise to the best performing combination of Keyword + Headline + Body Copy + Call To Action + Landing Page (as an example).

4. Identify the right (and wrong) keywords

Before creating your keyword list be sure to allocate sufficient time to do some keyword research. As a launch pad, we recommend trying Google’s Keyword planner. It’s really intuitive and free to use. Some keywords are very expensive to bid on which directly relates to whether they are in high demand from your competitors and the wider industry, for example: ‘travel insurance’, ‘credit card’, ‘cheap hotel’ have a high Cost Per Click (CPC). Make sure you are bidding on the keywords that your target audience actually uses. Bidding on unique and long-tail keywords rather than very common keywords is likely to be much cheaper. These considerations, as well as keyword Match Types, are important factors when establishing a campaign and its primary goal. For example, broad match can be inefficient from a cost perspective but generates more awareness or can help retargeting. Exact match or phrase match will be significantly more targeted. Tip: Run a search term report periodically to know which queries trigger your ads. Make sure to add negative keywords in your campaigns too: this avoids unwanted and irrelevant clicks.

5. Tracking and conversions

Track the actions that matter to you! Make sure your Adwords account is linked with your Google Analytics account; install your Adwords conversion tracking tags on your website. This linked process will help you to measure the impact of your campaigns as well as malleable variables, including bounce rate, time on site and the path your customer took before completing an action on your site. Tip: It’s also possible to set up a call tracking option from your Adwords platform, which is vital for businesses running call centres and/or providing an over-the-phone sales service.

6. Life exists beyond Google

Yes, there is more to search than Google! You might be surprised to hear that Bing commanded 26% of market share last August in the UK. Has your business considered using Bing for your search campaigns? When we refer to ‘other’ search engines, this typically includes Yahoo and Bing in the UK, as well as other country or region-specific offering, such as Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia. As each search engine still holds a sizeable audience it would be negligent to simply ignore them.  Google announced several years ago that we had passed the tipping point whereby the number of Mobile searches had taken over that of Desktop. Your Adwords campaign is probably running across desktop, tablet and mobile.  However, do you know if you are testing different strategies and ad copy tailored to each device? There are always additional avenues to explore with Search marketing! In summary, it’s important to be organised when using Google’s platform. You’ll also want to look out agencies that are Google Partner Certified, because it’s important that your AdWords operator has passed their exams and adheres to strict standards of excellence.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Amber Williamson .

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