Google AdWords is a cost-effective and customisable platform tailored for startups and those enterprises operating on a shoestring budget. There are many small business owners who are eager to jump on this wagon, but there are some things to pay attention to ensure the AdWords ROI.

Google is constantly adding new features, making it harder for beginners to get started. At the same time, staying on top of rising costs is a difficult challenge and many are those who manage to blow the budget. On a brighter note, there are many strategies you can implement to avoid spending money like it is going out of style. And do not worry, as you will still be able to reap the many benefits that AdWords can bestow upon you.

ValueTrack for quality AdWords campaigns

ValueTrack parameters are a type of URL tools which are utilised for tracking ad performance. They are pieces of text that end with specific braces and can monitor important data like the source of the ad click. In practice, when someone clicks on an ad, AdWords replaces the parameter with a value that reflects details about the ad, at the time when it was clicked. As such, ValueTrack parameters can be included virtually at any level of an account: In a tracking template or in a final URL and custom parameters. And once the appropriate level is chosen, ValueTrack scope can be integrated in the “Tracking Template”.

Adding more than one parameter in a single URL can be also done by appending them – using an ampersand (&). Note that AdWords runs the most specific template that is created, meaning, for example, that ad-level tracking has an advantage over one established for an ad group. Adding parameters at a campaign level, on the other hand, allows marketers to monitor a wide array of information from marketing activities. This way it is possible to discern what device was used to access the ad, and where was it located, as well as other details.

Depending on the marketing goals, this allows any marketing company to put a focus on different aspects of the campaign. One of the most crucial things is that users can figure out how much traffic is coming from the Google Search Network, compared to Google Display Network. Yes, these parameters are compatible with both campaigns, just keep an eye on campaign-specific requirements. This also implies that it is best to separate these networks on a campaign level to ensure the prime ad performance. Each network behaves differently and people have come in contact with your advertising in different fashion.

Another handy use of ValueTrack is gaining insights about keywords that induced a customer to click on a particular ad. Hence, a marketer may realise a bulk of the people is clicking on ads via mobile devices. It makes sense to separate campaigns in that case as well, and improve the results of the ads that target mobile users. The mobile market is skyrocketing and what it takes is some mobile pay per click (PPC) management and optimisation to make it work. Remember that search queries tend to be shorter here, and more locally-oriented, while the field for ads is narrowed. Aligning with these trends and user behavior is a tough job, but it increases the key marketing parameters.

Most common mistakes

The AdWords might be able to provide a plethora of valuable data, but it is not a one-size-fits-all-solution for marketing. First off, if you do not link it with Google Analytics, you might be missing some precious data.  For example, Google Analytics has a Keyword report in the AdWords section, enabling you to get into bounce rates and similar data at a keyword level. It is only then that many people realise that sophisticated phrases are second to the everyday language customers actually use. The idea also is also not to spread yourself too thin, which is the end of many marketing efforts. For that reason, to avoid the money waste, focus your activities accordingly.

One of the best examples and practices is sending the visitors to the specific pages related to products or instructions, not your home page. You do not want people bouncing back and seeing page clicks failing to hit the mark. Now, the same recipe works with keywords, which we will address later.  Another common mistake that is worth mentioning is overlooking the importance of remarketing. When someone visits your website, a cookie is set on the computer, and AdWords can start building an audience of all these people. Google also picks up these visits, thanks to the same cookies.

As a result, all other sites on the Display network that the same visitors go to will show relevant banners. This directs the customers back to your site, and generates some cheap traffic. Banners have high conversion rates because customers have already expressed their interest in your products and services before seeing them.  So, upon reaching a threshold of 500 visitors, it is recommended to launch a remarketing campaign. If you think that the moment is not right, you can still let AdWords build an audience for some other time. Also, try segmenting that audience by adding different codes to various sections of the website.

Furthermore, some marketers tend to immerse themselves in the world of letters and words, and lose sight of other possibilities. People are becoming increasingly visual about the way they perceive the world around them, including the digital one. Moreover, Display market is less competitive than search one, making banners a great and inexpensive solution. One must not fail to make good use of dynamic, photo, and video ads. What is more, Ad gallery is a powerful tool for creating non-textual ads with pre-existing templates. The best thing about it is that it does not bring any extra costs, making it perfect for modest budgets. Hiring graphic designers is only a way to pour money down the drain it seems.

How to save money?

The popular keyword planner is renowned for allowing marketers to exercise complete control over ad spending and when and where the ads will appear.  An excellent reporting feature should be used for keeping track of the every aspect of the marketing campaign and to maximize the performance based on the collected data. Still, startups have to compete with industry giants who have immensely bigger bankrolls. Every marketing dollar should count, so do not let the AdWords turn into a gold sink instead of a gold mine. One of the steps to take is to eliminate the under-performing keywords from your desired KPIs.  

It does not have to be that time-consuming, so dedicate at least half an hour per day to pull it off. The following metrics should be in the focus: Clicks, click-through rates, click conversion rates, cost per converted click, etc. It is not necessary to try and nail all these categories though. Pay per click advertising is designed to attract the highest number of clicks for the campaign, while the CTR advertising aims at generating the best traffic, one that converts.

The prioritisation varies depending on campaign goals and setup, so there are no hard rules.

If the ads are running on Display network and aimed at driving more internet traffic to the website, then view-through rates should be in the spotlight. The logic is that the keywords that are doing better should get a bigger portion of your daily budget, bringing about an account’s improved overall performance. Also, if you think that there is a time period when traffic is not being converted, do some ad scheduling. AdWords Reporting allows users to inspect the time of day, which is most suitable for conversions. By switching campaigns on and off during certain periods, marketers are able to save some money on PPC advertising.

Another fact to bear in mind is that the AdRank metric defines the order and position in which ads are displayed on a search results page. This rank is the products of two factors: The bid and the quality score. Increasing the score means that it is possible to ensure the same ranking with a lower bid.  It is no wonder that marketers try to find various ways of pumping up the quality score. There are many ways to achieve this, like creating easy-to-navigate landing pages and deleting the ads with a lower score. Do not hesitate to contact the PPC agency to get a hold of facts and figures if feeling overwhelmed by this ocean of info.

Working on a budget

Keep in mind that ads can also be triggered by those search terms that are not strictly tied to what you are advertising. Therefore, sometimes, digital marketers are better off including negative keywords than broad ones. First of all, they solve the problem of irrelevancy.  For example, the case when users are looking for hunting video games, but end up on a real hunting website.  That is when the negative keywords step in, signaling AdWords when to avoid showing ads to people. Thus, do some brainstorming and research to identify the words that you do not want to see related to your business. A “Dimensions” tab in the AdWords can be of help here, as it has a “View: Search terms” option. Use it for the desired data range regularly to discover new negative keywords.

To further tighten the belt, those who are using contextual targeting on a Display network should disable automatic placements which are proving to be irrelevant. Again, take advantage of the “Dimensions” tab and pick “View: Automatic placements”. Those placements that are not showing promise should be excluded. Furthermore, if you want to prevent the ads from appearing on certain sites, navigate to the “Placements” in the “Display Network” tab. Click on the “+Exclusions” button and determine what ad groups or campaigns you wish to add exclusions for. Local businesses will also save money by disabling the automatic nation-wide targeting of ads. If you have bitten off more than you can chew, maybe it is time to seek help of other professionals. Many digital marketing agencies opt for a paid advertising in their business portfolio, while others seek every chance to cut down the costs.

The ultimate Google AdWords Guide

Before starting any campaign, you need to understand who your customers are, and what are their online habits and personal preferences. You are supposed to build a product or develop a service that is tailored to their needs and wants, not the ones you are proud of. Identify the patterns and things that are missing in the market. The Holy Grail is a critical need which is not satisfied by the competition, and the same goes for keywords that are under their radar. The safe bet is to go for high-quality keywords and headlines. Some agencies can even help you with your site, or your personal branding development, depending on what works best for you.

Try to separate the wheat from the chaff and abandon phrases and words that are only creating unnecessary noise. Each major keyword should have its own ad group, and be tied to a specific product which has a USP description. Customers want to land exactly on a page they are looking for, so grant them that wish. Optimise and validate the landing page, before driving any traffic to it. SEO is closely tied to the performance of your ads, so keep an eye on other factors like number of links and on-page keyword locations. Just do not fool yourself into thinking you can appeal to everyone. Clearly define and focus your marketing messages, and use Google keyword planner and Keywords idea lab for guidance.

Set up the separate campaigns for Google Search Network and Google Display Network and evaluate the performance using parameters like CPC. Stick to your daily budget if you do not want to go overboard with spending.  As long as you structure your campaign well and do all the legwork, you can bid for lower cost keywords and still stay ahead of the curve. Always think big, but act locally. Advertising this way spurs great results because a big portion of Google searches are local. Finally, due to Google novelties, know that marketers must make an effort to update their ads every 30 days in order to retain the acquired position.