AdWords has evolved from an early adaptation of Planet Oasis’s Online Advertising to the face of PPC Marketing in the last two decades. Google’s ad revenue also paced uphill from $0.07B in 2001 to a whopping $79.38B in 2016. The impetus for this trend, evidently, is the exposure AdWords provides to advertisers profitability. Thus, the number of advertisers using AdWords grew, so did the competition.
I am sure that you are well aware of the purpose of AdWords by now. Advertisers run ads using AdWords as a platform. But are you thorough with the working of AdWords? Let me take this opportunity to discuss some basics of AdWords and how you can stick to these basics and run effective AdWords campaigns.
I will be covering three different topics in this article, namely, Keywords, Ads and Landing Pages.
Keywords are the building blocks of Search campaigns in AdWords. It is a tad bit different for Display and Shopping campaigns. But it is safe to say that AdWords is a keyword-centric marketplace.
Choosing the right keywords is the very first and most essential step towards campaign creation. There are different tools and techniques advertisers use to target the right keywords. I will discuss them in the following paragraphs. But before that, I want to highlight the importance of choosing the right keywords.
Having right keywords in your campaigns has various benefits. The below mentioned are a few.
- Right keywords can lower your Cost-per-Click
- Your Quality Score will improve
- Bid Optimization can be done better
- Chances of missing out on potential customers is reduced
Tools and Techniques:
The foremost task is to finalize your root/parent keyword. A well-known practice is making a list of words based on your intuition. I wouldn’t say it’s wrong, but it isn’t the best approach either. Today is a data-driven world. Any decision that isn’t backed by data would be getting lost in the woods without a map.
A better approach is to do thorough research on keywords, a keyword research. Keyword research can be a complicated process, or it need not be. Here are a few ideas to conduct a keyword research.
Competitor Analysis :
Competitor analysis helps your understand your competitor’s business strategy as well as the current market trend. It is crucial because the insights you gather from this research are the most relevant to your business. Open-source data, most of the time, is generic. You can use various tools to conduct this research.
- SEMrush – SEMrush helps advertisers find the top organic and paid competitors for a particular keyword in Google Search. You can also use SEMrush to see your competitors based on your target keywords and their corresponding ad copies.
- SpyFU – Advertisers use SpyFu is to see or to “spy on” the keywords that competitors use. It helps them improve SEM and SEO strategies based on the competitors. You can view the cost-per-click and search volume statistics of keywords and use that data to approximate advertising budgets of different websites. You can download your competitor’s keywords and other reports too.
- iSpionage – iSpionage is an easy-to-use competitive-intelligence website. It provides accurate, information which is regularly updated. You can gain insight into your competitor’s keywords, ad copies, and ad budget.
Some businesses might not have a good competition or any competition at all. Competitor Analysis for such businesses isn’t very satisfying. But not to worry. You can use different tools that can help you build your own keywords list.
- Google Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner is a free tool for keywords research by AdWords. You can look for keyword and ad group ideas, understand how well a list of keywords would perform, and even create a new keyword list by integrating several keywords together. Keyword Planner can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use with your campaigns.
- Google Trends – Google Trends shows how often a particular search term is used by users relative to the total search volume across various regions of the world.
- Google in an Incognito – You can discover autofill opportunities while searching in an incognito window. This will bring up that all-familiar list of autofill options, many of which can help guide your keywords research. The incognito ensures that any customized search data Google stores when you’re signed in are left out. Incognito is helpful to see find out your ranks on the search page for different keywords.
Using these two approaches you can make an extensive list of useful keywords. Please note that these root keywords alone aren’t sufficient. You will have to build longtail variations of the root keywords. If you have time, you can do this manually. Otherwise, there are tools for this too. You can read more about long-tail keywords to get a better idea.
- Keyword Tool (io) – This is one of the alternatives to Google Keyword Planner. Keyword Tool helps to discover new long-tail keywords related to any topic.
- AdNabu Keyword Planner – AdNabu is more of an automated tool which recommends high search volume keywords for your website/landing page. And for these high search volume keywords, it also creates long-tail keywords and tests their performance regularly.
Like I have said earlier, the tools and techniques mentioned above are the basics of Keywords Research. If you get the keywords right, you are good to move on to the next step, ads creation.
Keyword Match Types:
Choosing the correct match types for keywords comes next after keyword selection. Match types help advertisers control searches on Google that can trigger their ads. There are four match types in Google AdWords.
- Broad Match – Broad match targets all variations that are related to a keyword. Even the least relevant search query can trigger an ad for a keyword under broad match. Broad match offers the highest visibility. All the keywords are set to broad match by default.If a keyword is shoes, broad match triggers ads for search queries including shoe, sandal, footwear, baby shoes, etc.
- Broad Match Modifier – Broad match modifier or modified broad match is similar to broad match regarding high visibility. However, advertisers can ensure that a particular word is included in the search query for it to trigger an ad.You are selling ballet shoes. Your ads will be useless for search queries like leather shoes, formal shoes or sports shoes. You can ensure that your ads are visible for queries that have ballet in them. To do that, you need to put a plus sign (+) as a prefix of the word. Your keyword under modified broad match will be +ballet shoes.
- Phrase Match – Phrase match keywords trigger ads only to those search queries that match the phrase you selected.Say your ballet shoes are handmade and hence expensive. You want people who understand this to see your ads. You set the keyword handmade ballet shoes under phrase match by using quotes (“handmade ballet shoes”). Now if a user searches for handmade ballet shoes for men, your ads would show. But if their search query doesn’t include your phrase match keyword in the same order, your ads won’t be triggered. Queries can have words before or after the phrase match keyword, but not in between. Handmade pink ballet shoes or handmade size six ballet shoes won’t trigger your ads. Whereas, pink handmade ballet shoes or handmade ballet shoes size six will trigger ads.
- Exact Match – The exact match is the most restrictive of all the match types. Keywords under exact match trigger ads only when the search query is exactly same.Instead of using handmade ballet shoes under the phrase, if you set it under exact match, your ads will show only for queries that say handmade ballet shoes. Anything before or after or on between the keyword won’t trigger ads. To set a keyword under exact match, wrap it with square brackets ([handmade ballet shoes]).
While AdWords is a keyword-centric marketplace, ads are the soul of AdWords. Web users interact with ads run by advertisers to inform themselves about products and services offered.
To reach different users who could be your potential customers, you should ensure that your text ads are specific, relevant, attractive, and empowering. I will share some good practices for writing successful text ads and some common mistakes you should avoid.
Hosting compelling ads has two significant benefits.
- A good ad copy can increase your Click-through Rate
- Overall Quality Score will improve
Honestly, many tools create ad copies for your AdWords campaigns. However, it is in the best interests to learn experts-suggested best ad creation practices.
- Always include your keywords in your ad copies. It would be better if you have unique ads for each of your keyword. And create multiple ad variations for each keyword.
- Highlight your value proposition. Custom made, free shipping, 24×7 support, etc. are some of the examples.
- Always include your prices, promotions or offers in your ads. These inclusions help users make a decision quicker.
- Call-to-actions have proven very effective. Pushing users to make a purchase or call your business can convert them into paying customers.
- Take advantage of AdWords ad extensions. Ranging from call buttons to location markers, ad extensions add a lot of weight to your ads.
- Your ad copy should resonate with your landing page. You can include a part of the text from your ad to your landing page or vice versa.
Mistakes to Avoid:
Every ad on AdWords goes through an approval process. Google has set specific guidelines on how ads should be. Violating these policies gets your ads disapproved. Not just that, a clumsy ad can also prove ineffective to capture user’s attention. Below are some common mistakes you should watch out for.
- Avoid using uppercase letters unevenly. Google doesn’t appreciate ads with all CAPITAL words or RaNdoM capitalisation.
- Use no more than one exclamation point (!) to highlight a piece of ad text and none at all in headlines. Irregular spacing of words/letters can lead to your ads disapproval.
- Repeating a symbol or a character (***, @@@@, !!!!) or using characters to represent something that isn’t their actual meaning (‘$’ for ‘S’ or ‘@’ for ‘at’) is against Google’s guidelines.
- Never include your phone number in your ad text. Google will disapprove your ads. You should use call extensions or call-only campaigns to show your phone number.
- All the ads in an ad group should have the same domain address.
- Keep your display URL simple. You need not include web protocols (http or https), exclamation points or any non-standard characters.
The internet is full of analogies and explanations helping readers understand what landing pages are. However, I would like to stick to an analogy of my own from a previous blog which will come later in this blog.
For instance, picture your business as an airport, then your landing page is the runway. You don’t want to put up stalls and start selling your products right on the runway, would you? A runway intends to fly passengers in and out of an airport. We wait till a passenger gets to the comfort of the airport to pitch them your products. Similarly, providing better insights to the customers about your product/service is the aim of your landing page.
Ad text and Landing page:
With plenty of buzz around, it gets difficult to make the user get to your landing page. If they do get to the landing page, they might get confused if the ad text and the landing page are not relevant.
- A clean layout and a steady design catch the eye of a visitor at first glance.
- The header of your landing page and your ad text should be related.
- All your subheadings, customised texts, etc. should compliment with your page’s design and layout.
- The landing page must highlight your company’s prospects.
- All the details on your landing page should focus on that particular message you are trying to communicate.
- You can use testimonials to prove reputation as a genuine seller.
- Design mobile-friendly and tablet-friendly versions of your landing pages.
Minimalist Landing Page:
If there are objects to distract the interest of a visitor, they will bounce off the page.
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs and mention the details about your product in bullets.
- Omit all irrelevant backlinks if any; use only relevant ones.
- Do not confuse the visitor by offering multiple resources (ebook, voucher, free trial etc.).
- Keep a single product on the landing page instead of multiple products.
After Landing Page:
Now that your visitors are on your landing page, it is your responsibility to take them to your website.
- Your call-to-action should be persuasive but also informative at the same time.
- Layout easy-to-follow steps on the landing page for visitors benefit.
- Mark the path on the landing page which say where they are being redirected to or what they have to do next
- Post-landing page experience should also be satisfying, be it on the shopping cart of an E-commerce page or when using the resources as an ebook or a software demo. For instance, a user would appreciate if redirect them to a “thank you” page rather than your homepage.
As an Adword marketeer, you can suit yourself by using various Open Source tools to identify the right Keywords; add a dash of market research to sum it up. Using both as an input to create Ad copies is the next hurdle, but you can use the Best Practices mentioned above keeping in mind the listed deemed violations by Google; your job is almost done.
Last but not the least, you do not want to sell to the user on the Landing page itself. Instead, that should be a door leading to your offerings.
Sai Praveen Mantha is a Content Strategist who also loves writing. He is currently working with AdNabu, an AdWords optimization tool.