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8 Steps to Optimize Your Newly Activated AdWords Campaign

White Shark Media

10 years ago

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Do you remember the first time you created a Google Ads campaign? And how excited you felt about the potential that it was going to help you improve your business?

But later as you clicked on the button to activate it, nothing happened, or worst you got a lot of clicks but no sales or phone calls?

Unfortunately, this is a very common scenario in the real world of Online Advertisement.

Setting up a great campaign is the first step in a long list of processes you need to follow. After you set up your campaign, you will need to continuously perform changes to it in order to have it run as effectively as it possibly can.

To help guide you through this process, here are some tips as to what you should be looking into after you activate new campaigns.

1. Install Proper Tracking on Your Campaign

Depending on your specific industry and how you’re getting most of your online leads or sales, you would have to use different tracking options to determine how effective your campaign really is.

In order to give you some pointers as to what you type of tracking you need on your campaign, we’re going to go over the most common and effective tracking options currently available for AdWords users.

Install Conversion Tracking

If your campaign focus is going to be a direct response, such as online sales, sign-ups, downloads, etc., it’s almost mandatory that you include conversion tracking.

By properly installing conversion tracking on your campaign, you will identify the precise keywords that are bringing leads to your campaign.

This is pretty useful information as you could optimize your campaign based on actual ROI results and not just basic metrics such as CTR and Avg. position.

If you want to check that you’ve properly installed conversion tracking on your campaign, check my colleague’s post “How to Test If Your AdWords Conversion Tracking is Working” by Cynthia Luna.

Install Google Analytics

Currently, Google Analytics is the most complete data gathering program to help you analyze all visitor traffic to your website.

This includes PPC traffic as well as organic, so it can provide you with a wealth of data that would be pretty useful while optimizing your campaigns.

Generating the code for analytics is really simple and the best part of all is that is a free tool included as part of your AdWords account, so you should definitely take advantage of its power and use it to improve the performance of your campaign.

Install Call Tracking

If your business usually gets most of its leads from customers calling in, then it would be a good idea to track calls to identify which are the main keywords driving in calls to the campaign.

To do this, you could either use a third-party call tracking provider service or use a Google forwarding number.

There are a few pretty decent third party call tracking services most of which allow you to record calls and identify the time and the keywords that are generating such calls.

In case you don’t want to hire a call tracking provider, you could include a Google forwarding number on your campaign’s call extension.

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This Google feature will allow you to set a call duration goal and then it would track that as a goal conversion.

Being able to track calls with either of these methods will provide you with great insight into the performance of your campaign. It will help you identify what keywords are providing leads and a positive return on your investment.

Always remember that no matter what tracking method you’re going o be using for your campaigns, it is very important to install tracking before you actually activate your campaigns.

Running your campaigns with proper tracking from the get-go will allow you to have real-time and accurate data to make the necessary corrections to improve your campaign in case things are not working as planned.

2. Perform A/B Ad Testing

As you set up your campaign, you must include at least two different ads for each of the ad groups you’ll be running.

Having different ads lets you test out which is more appealing to your online audience and ultimately allows you to identify the ads that are being more productive in terms of your ROI.

Once your campaign starts to run and you’ve gathered some valuable data on the performance of your ads, then it’s time to perform some ad testing.

If you have installed proper tracking, it would be easy for you to identify which are the best performing ads for each of your campaigns.

Once you have identified your best ads, you could try do perform slight variations to your description lines, and include a different call to actions, promotions, highlight different features to improve the performance of your ads. This infographic will give ideas to split test your ads ‘71 Ad Tests You Can Try in Your AdWords Campaigns Today’.

It’s always a good idea to continuously keep updating your ads to improve performance and conversion rates for your campaigns.

3. Pause Underperforming Keywords

As soon as your campaign starts running, you could take a look at your keyword performance and quickly identify the ones that are underperforming.

Let’s say you’ve noticed some keywords with very high amounts of impressions but no or very few clicks. These keywords probably have a very low CTR and therefore are negatively affecting the quality score of your ad groups and campaign.

An easy and fast way to identify underperforming keywords is by creating different filters for your keywords.

As you can see on the screenshot below, you could filter keywords with a CTR lower than 0.8% and more than 200 impressions.

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You could also use different filters for keywords with no conversions, low avg. position, low search volume, etc.

AdWords provides tools that will help you perform quick optimizations such as ‘Filters’.

4. Take a Deep Look at Your Search Terms

A good way to determine if your campaign is driving in relevant traffic is by taking a look at your search terms, or what people actually typed on the search engine before clicking on your campaign ads.

If you notice a lot of irrelevant search terms, this would be a problem, as you’re paying for clicks that are not going to drive the right type of visits to your website.

The reason for this high amount of irrelevant search terms could be a complete lack of negative keywords or an ineffective list of keywords.

Using the search query report is a pretty good way to expand on your negative keywords list. For more in-depth information on how to optimize your AdWords, check out this post on “How to Optimize your AdWords Campaigns with The ‘See Search Terms’ Report”.

5. Make Sure You Have the Right Bidding

One of the first things you should be looking into after activating the campaign is your bids.

Normally, it would be a good idea to let the campaign run for at least one full day before deciding to adjust bidding. This is because your new campaign needs to gather some data in order for you to evaluate results and take corrective measures.

Let’s assume you just activated a campaign and noticed that you’re only getting a couple of clicks but a moderate amount of impressions. Additionally, while taking a look at your campaign’s avg. position, you realize it’s located in position 6.5.

There you have the most likely culprit for the current situation. A very low position would mean that your ads are showing near the bottom of the search results page and people might either not see them, or simply click on one of the ads on the top positions.

The fastest thing you could do to fix this is to increase your bids. When increasing bids you could use the Est. First-page bid and Est. top page bid as parameters to set your bids around those numbers.

On the other hand, if you notice that your campaign has a top position, but your daily budget is running out very fast, you definitely need to take corrective action.

In this case, you would probably notice that your avg. CPC is high. What is most likely is happening here is that your bids are too high and, consequently your high CPCs are running your budget out really quickly.

To fix this problem you could just lower bids gradually while trying to maintain a position among the top 3 positions.

6. Include New Keywords from Converted Search Terms

Another good strategy while taking a look at your campaign’s search terms is to identify search terms that have converted and that are relevant to include on your campaign.

As an added benefit, Google usually rewards these keywords with high-quality scores, so this could be one of those “win-win” situations where you add keywords with conversions and also lower CPCs.

7. Take a Look at Analytics Data to Improve Your Campaign

Once you have Google Analytics installed on your web page and linked to your AdWords campaign, you should use the gathered data to optimize your campaign.

You could take a look at the bounce rate to determine what keywords are driving irrelevant traffic to the campaign. If you notice, for example, that some keywords have high amounts of clicks but no conversions and a high bounce rate, then you should consider pausing or modifying those keywords, as they’re not providing good results for the campaign.

A high bounce rate indicates that people like your ads, but for some reason didn’t find what they were expecting once they reached the landing page and just left the web page.

Another thing you could consider to lower the bounce rate is to change landing pages to see if taking people to pages with more relevant content would help reduce the bounce rate.

If you are running an e-commerce website, you should definitely include e-commerce tracking on your Analytics account, as it would provide you with highly accurate data about actual revenue figures.

With these data, you will be able to see valuable information, such as the best-selling items on your website. Based on this, you could decide to create new ad groups and more relevant ads for your best selling items.

8. If All Else Fails, Don’t Be Afraid to Drastically Restructure Your Campaign

During the initial weeks or even months of activating a new campaign, there is a period of time involving a lot of testing and evaluating its performance.

If after a couple of weeks you determine that the original approach and strategy to your AdWords campaign is not working, then it’s time to re-think your initial strategy and restructure it.

Perhaps, you decided to use exact match keywords, and since your product or industry is a bit niche, you’re not driving any traffic to your website. In this case, you could probably either use short-tail keywords in exact or change the match type to either BMM or Phrase Match.

Conversely, if you were running a BMM campaign and noticed very high volumes of irrelevant traffic, then you could restructure your campaign to include more restrictive match types such as Exact or Phrase Match. You could also consider using longer tail BMM keywords as well.

You’re Good to Go

Once you create and activate your new campaign, you need to be on top of its performance, especially during the first few weeks.

If you install proper tracking on your campaigns from the start and follow some of the basic guides outlined here, you should be on your way to managing a successful Online Advertising effort.

What other challenges have you come across after activating your campaigns? Share them in the comments below 🙂

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