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Running a Successful Google AdWords Campaign
chillibreeze writer — Nandini Viswanath
Slogans, jingles, copy writing, creativity, new ideas, new ways of portraying old ideas- these are some of the common phrases you hear in the context of advertising. It is considered a creative occupation by many. Not accessible to all until you have the moolah to showcase your product to the world. Well, I have some news – good and bad. The bad news first: it is indeed a creative process and you do need smart thinking and brains to conjure catchy slogans and hummable jingles. However, the good news is that you don't need any of the advertising jargon to succeed online. Yes, you can advertise online without a slogan or a jingle or even great-sounding words. It doesn't even have to be perfectly ringed together. That is the world of online advertising. You just need yourself and your common sense working together to sell your business, irrespective of how small it is!
This article unravels the online advertising jargon into some simple rules you can apply to your Google AdWords campaign to make it more effective, and consequentially, more successful. There are four fundamental cornerstones of an AdWords campaign.
1. Ad Text
The first thing that any advertiser should do when he or she creates an AdWords account is to be familiar with the AdWords policies. That is half the battle won. If you create an ad with a landing page and keywords that are not allowed per Google AdWords' policies, your ad will be in trouble. It hinders all your plans and targets. So, it is advisable that your ads are flawless with respect to policy.
To understand how to write the perfect ad text, here is an example. We wear different clothes in summer and winter. Why? The answer is simple. The needs are different. Just as you do not want to wear any sweaters in the sweltering summer, you do not need an AdWords campaign that sells something that is not current. One of the most under-rated tips in online advertising is to make your ad campaigns seasonal. The user or the visitor is looking for something in a particular frame of time. Your ad text should lead the user to a website that sells something that he or she is interested in at that time. If your website is all about music downloads, then maybe this is the time to showcase A. R. Rahman! Use his name in the headline of the ad.
Headlines are the most important line in the 3-lined Google AdWords ads. The user reads that line first and that influences his interest in clicking on your ad. Use this line to talk about your website, or the unique element that your business offers – discounts or A. R. Rahman's music. Also, remember to use "most" of your keywords in your ad, if not all. This ensures that if the user types in the keyword you've chosen (more about this later!), that word is emboldened in the ad text. Now, you don't need this article and me to tell you that a user is more likely to click on the ad with keywords he or she has typed out!
Try using call to action phrases like: "Download A. R. Rahman's music for free!" (ONLY if this is true). Go for the jugular. Create ads that grab the attention of the user. Common-place ads are boring and repetitive. With the above line, "for free" could create a sensation prompting users to click on your ads.
Always remember that the objective of your ad on a search results page is NOT to convert necessarily, but to get clicked on. The selling of the product begins next with Landing Pages and their idiosyncrasies.
2. Landing Pages
The most significant tip about landing pages for ad texts is to make sure that there is a strong correlation between your ad text and your landing page. In the fleeting world of Internet, a user may leave your website, if he or she is not able to see what they are looking for: the same words or keywords. Using the same words from your ad text on your landing page convinces the user that they've come to the right page. For instance, if you used A.R.Rahman in your ad text, you can try showing A. R. Rahman's music as the main feature of the website for the season. The top half of the web page could be about quick downloads of songs from Slumdog Millionaire or Dilli 6. This means that both your ad text and landing page are tied to the ad text and this helps visitors make an instant connection with their need. They are most likely to click and move forward into your website. Always a good thing! This leads to my next point about making things easy for the user.
Once the user enters the website, its like the call for a job interview. It does not mean you've bagged the job! So, work on the website to make it user friendly. Some websites use software like Flash. Keep in mind that the user may not have the time to wait until the Flash presentation is over or even have a software to run Flash on their computers, for that matter! And then, of course, there are the forms and surveys. Take off those redundant forms or surveys and show what the user wants first. Research shows that users are more likely to give out personal information if they have been given some basic details about the product first. This seals another nail in the "conversion" coffin. This also means that the user is happy at the easy progression of reaching the purchase page of your website and may even reward you by answering your form or survey now. Two birds killed with one stone, there.
Now, coming to aesthetics, the font size has to be pleasing to the eye. You certainly want him to concentrate on the content, don't you? Make a decision, if you want a graphics/picture filled website or a content-driven website. This, of course, depends on your business. If you are in the photography business, then content surely means nothing, right? However, if yours is a recipe site, then both matter. Keep in mind your business objectives.
3. Keywords and their relevance
Experimentation is the key to a good keyword list. And experimenting in small tightly built keyword lists is better. You get the gist, don't you? The mantra is relevance and in short doses at that. First, for any ad, your keywords have to be relevant. They have to relate to the ad/product sold directly. For instance, for an ad for a T-shirt company, "T-shirts" is a good general keyword; however, "clothes" is NOT a relevant keyword. Even "T-shirt" for that matter has to be made more specific. You can use keywords like "Adidas T-shirt" with the brand name of the T-shirt or the size of the T-shirt – Plus size. What is important in an AdWords campaign is that the keyword ought to be divided into short lists with the luxury of a common theme. So, you could have one Ad Group (AG1) with emphasis on branded T-shirts and the other Ad Group (AG2) with emphasis on Plus size T-shirts. The keywords for AG1 should have keywords with brand names in it. List all the popular brands you sell and choose the most popular of them all in the market and make a list. The keywords for AG2 should be about Plus size. Talk about specific sizes like XL, instead of just saying: large T-shirts.
You need to understand your target audience before embarking on creating a list of keywords. Discuss the keywords with your employees, with your current users. What keyword will they use to search for your product? What keyword will your daughter use to search for T-shirts online? Will she search for brands or colors or sizes? Use such personal information, and voila! You have a strong keyword list.
Don’t use keywords that are one-worded. Users generally search for more than one word. Take this example: Users looking for A. R. Rahman’s music are most likely to search for "A. R. Rahman's music" or "Slumdog Millionaire's music." The chances of just looking for "A. R. Rahman" are very low. So, make sure to use multi-worded keywords. With regard to the different types of keywords, an important type is a negative keyword. Let’s assume for an instant that your website doesn't offer "free" downloads of A. R. Rahman’s music. You should use "free download..." as a negative keyword. This means that people looking for free downloads don't click on your site unnecessarily and cost you that click. Use various keywords types like Broad Match, Phrase Match and Exact Match. Depending on your sales leads, your business objectives and the unique aspects of your product, you can these wisely. If a keyword, however relevant you think it is, doesn't perform well, it’s time for its demise. Delete the keyword. Regular trimming of your keyword lists keeps it fresh and effective for the ad campaign.
4. Structure of your AdWords campaign
The structure of your AdWords campaign is much like the foundation of your building. You can construct a building with fancy glass walls that cost a lot of money, but if your foundation isn't right, it all comes tumbling down one day or chips away slowly. Similarly, to prevent your AdWords account from tumbling down, it is imperative you understand the role of structure in an AdWords account. You can create various campaigns with several Ad Groups within each campaign. You can even create different ad texts within each Ad Group. Let me give you another example of different groups of people looking for the same product online: phone. The different kinds of people are:
There is, obviously, a difference in what each one of them looks for, in a phone. The parent may look for a cost-effective, hardy phone for his or her teenage kid. They are not looking for expensive phones, camera phones or phones with features to check email and so on. Next, the average employed guy is looking for a good phone. He wants a camera and a music player possibly. The geek, of course, looks for new technology. iPhone, maybe? A phone that helps him access social media, maybe? Now, the question is whether you can cater to all these different needs with one ad. The answer is no. You need to have different ads, different keywords for those ads to make them relevant to that particular user. How do you do this? The answer lies in structure.
The solution to the above problem is this.
This is just an example and you can further refine this. Such specific structure helps you determine your traffic. You can also easily separate the keywords that work for you versus the keywords that don't. This helps you in further refining your keyword lists. Remember, it’s all about relevant keywords and effective ad text.
5. Your bidding strategy – where "your" is most important.
Money is everything in a business. You advertise to earn more money and the smart way to earn more is to spend less. Online advertising helps you do just that. You can narrow down specifics of locations and needs of users from general trends in user behavior. Advertising online allows you to reach a wide-range of people. So, bidding is an important factor in a good advertising campaign. And it is "your" strategy depending on your company's budget, objectives and the flexibility to experiment. If you are a small business and your budget is low, then experimenting with different keywords and bids may not be the best thing for your business. It is important to shortlist the keywords and decide on their bids quickly and set the ball rolling. While bidding can be tricky, it is not as devious as it is made out to be. Some tools like Google AdWords' Traffic Estimator give you suggestions on how much you should bid on a particular keyword to show in a particular position. The idea is to bid just right so that your ad appears on the search results page. The ad text and the landing page take care of the rest. If you bid too low, your ad may not appear, and if you bid too high, your budget may get exhausted sooner than you want it to. Simply put, you end up spending way more and way sooner than you receive any returns. If you find that you are bidding too high on a keyword, maybe it’s time to change the keyword – make it more relevant or delete it. If you are spending less and the keyword is still giving you the returns, you might want to think of expanding your keyword list. Add similar keywords and spend the remaining money on those.
Key factors that affect bidding include the Daily Budget and the Quality Score of your ad. If your daily budget is being reached everyday on a regular basis, then it may just mean that you need to increase it further or reduce your bids or even delete some of the non performing keywords. With Quality Score, the promise is simple. Make your ads qualitative and relevant and pay less. The ultimate combination for a successful ad campaign is a good eye-catching ad of great quality (that ties in seamlessly with its keywords and it landing page) and, of course, a daily budget that is just right to cover the ad’s running through the day.
Some other important factors that may help augment the effectiveness of your AdWords campaign include optimum use of the tools provided, optimization of your ads, landing pages and keywords and traffic analysis, made easy by tools like Google Analytics. The Google AdWords program provides many tools such as the Keyword Tool, the Conversion Optimizer, the "Reports" section of your account, the Cost-Per-Click recommendations etc. Make use of these tools. These are helpful in understanding how to choose good keywords and analyzing your traffic.
Similarly, Google Analytics makes a huge difference in understanding the location of your traffic sources; the pages visited most often, the kind of keywords used to visit your website etc. Such analysis helps you build a better website and make the user/visitor experience memorable. They also offer free optimization packages and tips. If you aren't comfortable or happy with most of the suggestions, it’s okay. However, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind these tips and apply them in your optimization efforts. Seemingly small factors like deletion or addition of keywords, changing words in your ad text based on optimization tips or understanding the kind of audience your website reaches out to contributes to an increase in the quality of your ad campaign. To be more specific, the Quality Score can be elevated with the knowledge and application of these factors and that will certainly make a difference to your conversion statistics, rank of your ad on the search results page and more importantly, on the return on your investments!
The key takeaways to build a cost-effective, relevant AdWords campaign lies in your efforts to understand your target audience through various tools provided by the Google AdWords program or other programs available online, making sure your ads are effective, adherent to the AdWords policies and more importantly are relevant to your product and business and how you intend to grow your business. Though it may seem like an art, a creative process, like I mentioned before, success in online advertising is a heady cocktail of some common sense, easy to use tools, some clear thinking and bold experimentation!
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