There are many ways of optimizing AdWords campaign and they depend on many factors, both internal and external to the campaign (ex: the reference market, the type of campaign, the budget we have available, the objectives, etc.).
Given that there is no perfect formula for optimization is also true, however, it is basically possible to identify best practices to improve the performance of AdWords centered on specific strategies to be adopted.
Like any strategy that respects our work, it must be in accordance with some assumptions:
The campaign must be measurable on the basis of precise objectives we have set ourselves. For example, it is essential to trace some kind of conversion (ex: purchase, feedback, page visits, telephone contact).
Our strategy must be “temporalized”, that is, we must set certain times in which to carry out a precise action and a temporal interval in which to analyze the results.
We must be honest with ourselves and analyze our optimization actions on an accurate basis such as on the concept of precise KPI. If we are convinced that something we are doing will work and then we realize that it is not so, we must put aside our beliefs, accept the error and proceed in another way.
First Strategy: The Funnel of Keywords
If it is true that a good analysis of the search terms of the users is a fundamental step for the choice of the keywords of a campaign, it is also true that Google declares that every day, 15% of the searches made on the search engine are new (internal Google data ), that is, never done before. In this scenario, you understand how difficult it is to accurately predict what various searches users are using to get to the site or platform they are looking for.
The advice then is that when setting up a new campaign, always start with a good set of broadly matching keywords and take a few days to analyze the search queries. Among the queries you are looking for include:
- Absolutely irrelevant terms (e.g.: “Men’s shoe” keyword, the query “Men’s shoe.” The term gymnastics should be inserted as a negative keyword at the campaign level (or ad group);
- Terms that are relevant but have not been entered as a keyword (ex: keyword “Men’s shoes,” query “Men’s shoes online sales.” The term online sales should be inserted as a keyword.
This operation must be done frequently in order to keep the campaign clean and to find ideas for new keywords (ex: related searches). We recommend you to read the article about keyword ideas here.
Second Strategy: The Balance of Visibility
One of the reasons why some advertisers choose AdWords is due to its ability to get “early” out of search results. There are some workaholics who spend hours searching on Google to see where their ad comes out (without taking into account the personalization of searches). But how effectively do we see our campaign? And how often does our ad come out from the competition?
This data is visible on AdWords through the impression share reports that is located between the “hidden” columns of the panel (Columns -> Edit Columns -> Competition Metrics).
What Do the Competition Metrics Indicate?
Share of impressions in the search network: This is the percentage of impressions that our campaign reaches with respect to potential impressions (research carried out) in the target market. It is a metric that tells us how much we are visible in general.
Impression Match Fees Exact Match Matches: This is the percentage of impressions we could have achieved if all of our keywords matched exactly. In other words, it shows how much visibility we have compared to the actual searches that users make and which activate our ads.
Lost share (ranking): This is the share of impressions we have lost because the ranking of our keywords is low. This may depend on various factors that affect the quality of our campaigns such as the selected keywords, ads and landing pages.
Share of impressions lost per budget: It is the share of impressions we have lost because our budget is lower than our competitors’ budgets.
With the impression data, we can make strategic choices that allow us to optimize the campaign. The lost share by ranking is the first indicator that our campaign can improve if the quality improves. In this case, the thing to do is to work on the quality score of our keywords by eliminating (or moving) those with low scores (less than five / six), working on ads and improving landing pages.
Third Strategy: Quality at the Right Price
Whether you have an e-commerce, a showcase site, a blog or a magazine that you need to improve AdWords campaign, you must understand how much your campaign is affecting your business goals. For this, it is necessary to always set one or more conversion objectives that can be of sale (as in the case of an e-commerce), contact (call or email) or even other (e.g. on an editorial site where you sell advertising, a possible goal could be to increase the number of pages viewed or to stay on the site).
Once you set the goal, you can understand how to optimize the campaign. The simplest method is to maximize the effectiveness of keywords that generate conversions. To do this, you need to maximize the quality score of these keywords and then work on the budget depending on what is the break-even threshold (beyond which the gains are at a loss).
The quality score is a parameter set at the keyword level. To show it on your reports go to:
- Modify Columns;
- Quality score.
Once you have set the Quality Score next to each keyword, you will see the relevant Quality Score with a score from 1 to 10. To maintain a good quality of the campaign and try to pay less the single click, you have to optimize this score by working on the keywords with a score below 6. The options you have to include:
- pause keywords with low QS;
- try to change the correspondence to see if the quality score changes;
- change the grouping of keywords to have as much consistency as possible between the keyword, ad text and landing page on the site.
Working on quality, as we said before, means improving the parameters that affect the ranking, whether they are internal to the campaign (structure, announcements, keyword correspondence) or external (landing page). Once we reach the highest quality, we can increase the offer (CPC) and/or the budget until our keyword brings us profitable conversions.
An automated way to maximize conversions can be to rely on the tool to optimize AdWords conversions and work on a CPA bid (how much are we willing to pay for a conversion?) Or manage an ECPC (optimized CPC) campaign that leaves AdWords with a margin to increase a keyword’s CPC bid if it senses the possibility that that keyword will convert.