Recently I was given the opportunity to manage all of Wishpond’s AdWords campaigns. Aside from writing marketing content for all you beautiful people, I’m managing things like ad creatives, budgets, optimization, and conversions.
I’ve managed PPC (Pay-Per-Click) accounts in the past, but this was definitely a step up from what I’ve done. I’ll admit that things were a little bumpy at first but after some experimentation and a lot of research I’ve slowly arrived at a comfortable place in my workflow.
This experience got me thinking about all you business owners and marketers out there jumping into paid advertising. Unless you’re already some sort of AdWords wizard — you’re about to experience a few new problems.
For business owners and marketers, PPC advertising (like AdWords) is a great method to reach new audiences and grow your revenue quickly. Depending on your industry and what you’re trying to accomplish, the possibilities for paid reach are virtually limitless.
In this article, I want to highlight six pesky problems you’ll most likely run into with Google AdWords and how you can fix them.
In a study done by Disruptive Advertising, out of 2,000+ AdWords audits only 29% of accounts were effectively tracking conversions while the rest had poor or no conversion tracking at all.
If conversions are being registered on your account but something seems off, you’ll need to diagnose your conversion attribution. Here are some issues you should look out for:
- Click and conversion count are the same. Your tracking code might be on the wrong page and not on your ‘thank you/order confirmation’ page. Make sure you’re tracking the final page of your funnel to get the correct conversion count.
- Your conversion counts are curiously low. This might be due to not tracking the right type/amount of conversions. A plumbing service for example, will need to track quote requests AND phone number clicks.
It’s a good idea to install both your Google Analytics and Google AdWords tracking codes on your website (and landing pages) to track conversions.
Follow these steps to properly install your Google Analytics tracking code:
- Head into your Google Analytics account and click on the ‘Admin’ section.
- Click on the ‘Tracking Info’ > ‘Tracking Code’.
- There you’ll be able to copy your website tracking code and place it into the <head> section on your website.
- Take your tracking code and paste it onto every page you want to track with Google Analytics.
- Now you’ll have to connect your analytics account with your Google Adwords account to track all of your conversions.
- Click on the ‘AdWords Linking’ section on the left-hand side to link your Adwords account that you’ve set up. That’s it!
- *Note: If you use a self-hosted WordPress website you can easily setup your Google Analytics tracking with a plugin like this one. It will place your tracking code throughout your WordPress site for you with only a few clicks.
Finally, do a check to make sure the Google Analytics code shows up on every page of your site as well as your landing pages. If your landing page is on another domain than your main website (www.mysite.com vs. www.myothersite.com), then setup a new Google Analytics account to property track your landing page traffic.
Now, follow these steps to properly create and place your Google Adwords conversion tracking code:
- Head to the ‘Tools’ section of your Google Adwords account and click the ‘+’ to create a conversion.
- Select the source of the conversion you’d like to track — like a successful purchase or sign-up. In that case, you would select ‘Website’.
- Enter in a name for this conversion, like ‘Purchase’ or ‘Signed up’ and how much this conversion is worth to your business.
If you use several different tracking programs or if you’re a marketer that has to wait for your developer to place code for you, Google Tag Manager will solve your problems. Google’s Tag Manager allows web page owners to easily tag pages with tracking codes without having to go into the source code.
It’s a long road to a fully optimized AdWords strategy and it’s filled with plenty of side streets. Like with anything in marketing, your goal should be to get the maximum ROI for the money you’re spending. In other words, spending $5 and receiving $7 is great but after some optimization that $7 could become $8.
A rule of thumb you’ll see on the marketing interwebs is to always optimize for conversions. Avoid falling into the trap of prioritizing vanity metrics like impressions or views. Vanity metrics might make you feel warm and fuzzy inside but do little towards your goal of revenue.
A portion of the Wishpond ad funnels, for example, sends clicks to a landing page, then to our pricing page, then onto sign-up for a free trial. My goal is to send as many people as possible to the pricing page at the lowest cost with the ads I’m running. If the number of clicks I’m sending to our pricing page begins to dip I know that it’s because of 1) the ads or 2) the landing page, and then I would optimize accordingly.
If you’ve just begun to optimize your PPC ask yourself: what in my ad funnel can I improve for the conversions I want?
These are some prime opportunities for optimization:
Ad quality score.
How well do your ads match the intention of the person clicking on them? Is it sending them somewhere they want to go? Is it giving them what they’re looking for?
One area that I found a little tricky was the organization of ad groups. You must make sure that your ad groups are organized according to the ads you’re running. All the keywords under one ad group use the same ads so make sure they’re playing well together. WordStream has a handy keyword grouper that organizes your keywords into ad groups to help eliminate the organizational confusion.
The more organized your keywords are, the more they’ll match the ads and landing pages they’re pointing to, thus yielding a better quality score.
Landing page text.
Does the copy on your landing page match the ads you’re running? An optimized landing page will match the copy/intention of the text so as to not confuse your visitors on arrival.
Language and positioning.
Test a variety of copy in your ads to see what responds with your audience most. Draw attention to your ad using your business’ unique selling proposition and stand out from your competition by communicating where you stand in the marketplace.
It’s a best practice to try at least 2-3 ads or more then pause the ones that aren’t working.
If not managed correctly PPC spending can get out of hand FAST, especially if you’re targeting a lot of “phrase and exact match” keywords.
Is your business ready to handle mobile? If not, be sure to head to your campaign settings, then devices, and enter a bid adjustment of -100% to make sure you’re not wasting money on mobile ads.
Keywords play a huge part in Google AdWords search ads. Always be monitoring your keywords to see which are performing well and which are just wasting budget. Remember to take a look at the search terms your ads are displaying for and eliminate the keywords and phrases that aren’t serving a purpose for your business.
This brings me back to the earlier point of having proper tracking in place. Track your numbers properly and pause campaigns that are not performing as well as you’d like. Pause keywords that are performing poorly and add unrelated search terms to your negative keyword list.
Experiment with the keyword match types you’re using to find your audience. Google will show your ads depending on what queries match your keywords. Too broad a match will show plenty of impressions but attract a broad variety of clicks. Too defined a match will have a higher cost per click due to competition but will be more qualified.
Image via WordStream
Staying on top of your keywords and the numbers is the best way to make sure you’re not wasting the majority of your ad budget.
4. Timing and Geography Optimization
This is an often overlooked area of optimization. For instance, say your conversion point is a phone call. Meaning, someone that calls your office between 8 am and 5 pm when you’re there to answer it. Well, you better make sure your ads are only running during those specific times.
What about people who click on your ad that are sitting in front of a computer in Liechtenstein?
Are those people your target audience?
The solution to this problem can be handled in your campaign settings. Here you can change some of the targeting of your ads. You can change your mobile bid adjustment as well as the locations you target. You can schedule your ads to only run during the day and not at night. You can have your ad dynamically served depending on search queries. The depth you choose to go to is up to you.
It pays to know who you’re targeting and what they’re browsing habits are so that you can hit them with ads at the right times.
5. Missing landing pages
Are only a small percentage of visitors converting after they click on your ads?
Are many of them bouncing or leaving to other pages on your website?
Are you using landing pages for your ads?
If you’re not using landing pages, then you’re missing out on a big conversion opportunity. Landing pages work so well with PPC because they provide only one conversion goal for a visitor after they click on your ad. Landing pages do away with the header and footer navigation and provide only two options to the visitor: convert or bounce.
This means more conversions and less visitors leaving because of confusion or distraction. Using a landing page for your ads allow for a catered experience for your visitors and have shown to markedly improve conversions.
Incorporate a few landing pages into your PPC mix. Create a different landing page for each of your ad groups and be sure that they have only one conversion goal.
There are simple landing page builders, like Wishpond’s, that can create beautiful landing pages in minutes. If you’re website uses a CMS like WordPress you can easily create pages similar to your homepage, for example, and remove the navigation bar so that the landing page only has one conversion goal.
Once you’ve created a landing page you like, duplicate it and change the keywords for your other ad groups.
A landing page, like the one pictured below, has only one conversion goal: to collect leads. Visitors to this landing page could learn more about how much their home costs and eventually book a showing, that’s all.
6. Analysis Paralysis
I personally struggle with this sometimes and if this is the start of your PPC journey then you might too. PPC can do a lot of things for your business but there are just SO many things to optimize and create that you can get bogged down by the sheer number of tasks.
Where should I start?! Which platform should I choose? What should my ads look like? How much should I spend? How many landing pages do I need? How should I optimize everything?
My advice would be to start off slow with a small budget to get familiar with your environment first. After you play around with all the features and see what ROI you get, eventually you’ll be able to turn up the heat.
The best way to learn PPC is by doing it and spending the money to see the results that come out. Maybe you’ll discover that PPC isn’t right for your business, or maybe the results will tell you to double your budget.
Don’t be afraid to start slow and optimize as you go. Many of us want instantaneous feedback from our advertising effort but you’ll have to realize that results take time. Seeing what ad produces better results, for example, takes weeks to have statistical significance. Take a deep breath, be patient, and be confident that everything can be improved on.
Putting This In Action
Paid advertising is an excellent way to reach new audiences but it’s also an easy way to waste a ton of money your first time around.
Prepare to experiment and learn new things on your way to figuring out a proper PPC strategy for your business.
If you’re a business owner or a marketer jumping into PPC my number one piece of advice would be to keep things organized properly from the start. New strategies and techniques can be picked up as you gain experience.
PPC can be a tough nut to crack but a solid strategy can provide staggering returns on your investment. Prepare and optimize for the problems I’ve outlined and you’ll be on your way to growing your profits quickly and efficiently.
How is PPC working for your business these days? Are you struggling with any areas of PPC? Leave a comment for me below and weigh in with your opinions on PPC!
About the Author: Jordan Lore is a Content Marketer at Wishpond in Vancouver, BC. Wishpond makes it easy for marketers to run lead generation and marketing automation campaigns, all in one place. When he’s not writing he has a camera attached to his arm. Follow him on his budding Twitter account @jordanlore6.