Whenever I receive a PPC account from a new client, I start by auditing the account. In some cases, the account has been managed by an in-house team member who set up the account and promptly forgot about it. In others, the business owners simply don’t have the time or knowledge to manage their PPC accounts on a daily basis.
This lack of attention leads to several gaping holes, causing advertisers to lose money on irrelevant clicks. There are several easy changes that small business owners can make to save money.
Let’s Break It Down:
Campaign settings are some of the first decisions you make about your AdWords or Bing Ads account.
1. Location: Target your ads only to the locations surrounding your business. It won’t do you any good to pay for traffic in California when your law office operates specifically in Little Rock, Arkansas. Google provides various options for location targeting. You can include locations by city, state, zip code, or radius from an address. There is some debate on the benefits of utilizing excluded location targeting. Personally, I find that a combination of the two is effective.
Note: If you imported your Google Adwords account to Bing Ads, you will need to manually adjust the location settings in that account, as they do not transfer.
2. Language: Unless you speak multiple languages and provide customer service in those languages, select English.
3. Network: I’f you’re not a graphics wiz planning to utilize the Display Network to its fullest potential, stick to the Search Network. If you want to utilize images and focus on branding over clicks, the Display Network may be for you. Whichever you decide to use, make sure that it is a conscious choice that matches your search advertising goals.
4. Additional Settings:
– Ad Schedule: Whether you operate a 24 hour emergency clinic or a dental office that is only open from 8-5, you can schedule your ads to meet the search needs of your customers. Perhaps you only want to show ads during your office hours when someone is available to answer the phone. Maybe you want to show ads only on the weekends. Whatever your scheduling desire, Google gives you the option to target your ads based on day and time.
Making mistakes in settings is completely normal for new advertisers. Fortunately, the campaign settings are easily editable.
One of the most significant issues I encounter with ad groups is the lack of a highly targeted theme. There is no worse feeling than logging into an account with a single ad group.
1. Create Themed Ad Groups: Your ad group is the place that connects your keywords to your ads. Using a single ad group means that Google can not distinguish which ads are most relevant to your targeted keywords. In this form, any ad in your account is eligible to appear with any keyword.
Suppose you are a law firm with practices in both family and criminal law. If you use only one ad group, you are potentially paying to show ads for a criminal defense lawyer to someone who is searching for a divorce attorney.
1. Avoid Single Keywords: I once hear of an account in which the advertiser was trying to acquire relevant leads for a children’s boutique by targeting the broad match term “kids”. The mistake here is two-fold. First, “kids” is a decidedly non-specific term. There are thousands and thousands of ways the word “kids” could be incorporated into a search term, and very few of them relate to purchasing quality children’s clothing from a local boutique. Second, using a broad match search term means that the keyword is eligible to appear in a variety of variations of that term. This contributes to a lower quality score and less relevant traffic.
2. Be Specific: As in the example above, non-specific keywords can increase your costs and lower your conversion rates. Long-tail keywords such as “motorcycle accident defense attorney in little rock” or “car accident injury attorney Ft. Smith Arkansas” are more likely to result in clicks than “motorcycle accident” or “accident attorney”. The more specific the search, the more relevant the searcher. Your potential customers should know exactly what you can do for them before clicking on your ad.
3: Include Geographic Keywords: If you are marketing to customers in a local area, including location keywords can increase your relevancy to searchers in those areas. For example, searchers may be more likely to click on an ad for the search “restaurants in St. Louis, MO” than “steak restaurants”. This local relevancy increases the odds of conversions for the searchers who select your ads.
4: Negative Keywords: If you’re not adding negative keywords, you should be. Inevitably, searches will slip through the cracks and you will find that your ads are showing for keywords that weren’t exactly what you had in mind. Negative keywords give you the ability to prevent your ads for appearing for these related terms. For example, for a client who is a wedding planner, negative keywords would include wedding-related items such as dress, cake, honeymoon, and more. While these words are all related to the general search topic of weddings, they are not relevant to the wedding planning business.
Bonus: Negative keywords can also prevent you from appearing for searches including your own name (Why pay for a click when they’re already looking for you?) or those of your competitors.
Wrap It Up:
These small adjustments that occur when you are setting up you account can save you money without excessive managent or data analysis. Working with a PPC Agency or Online Marketing Team can help you expand upon these basic principals, as well as break down the data to get the most conversions possible.