“Help. My Google AdWords is not working for me!”

Matt Brown of One Vision Ltd

Paid search advertising is the only form of marketing I can think of where as a marketer, we can put our message in front of a potential customer at exactly the time they are seeking our particular product or service.

If this is such a powerful form of marketing, then why do people sometimes say to me that Google AdWords does not work for their business?

Having been managing Google AdWords Campaigns since 2001, I have worked with many businesses and in my experience; there are some common reasons why Google AdWords Campaigns might not be working as well as they could for the advertiser.

Poor objectives
What is the purpose of driving qualified visitors to your website? You are paying for each click, so you need to consider the reason for incurring the click cost.

For example, are you seeking to:

  • Generate enquiries for your sales pipeline?
  • Increase your opt-in marketing database?
  • Secure direct orders from your website?

No conversion cost calculation
Paid search is completely measurable and advertisers should calculate the value of each converted click (a completed goal on their website) to their business. This then enables a sustainable campaign to be developed, as each click is contributing to a positive Return-on-Investment (ROI).

Not considering the 'lifetime value' of an action that originates from a paid search campaign
For example, a customer who has clicked on an advert in Google might place a small order as a result of that click, but they will then be a customer who you can communicate with over time and who will buy again and again.

Do you know the typical order value of your customers, how frequently they buy and the length of time that they may remain a customer? From this information you can calculate your customers' ‘lifetime value’ to you and this may enable you to bid more aggressively in your paid search campaigns.

Poor keyword targeting
While it may seem obvious that keywords relevant to the advertiser's business should be selected (positive keywords), equal consideration should be given to keywords searched upon that you would not wish an advert to be displayed for (negative keywords). For example, if you specialise in selling ‘running shoes’, you may wish to use negative keywords such as ‘baby, tennis, ballet, dance,’ etc. to prevent your adverts displaying for searches that are not relevant to your business.

Correct keyword matching options are also important for effective keyword targeting.

Poor relevance of keywords to adverts
Paid search advertising is all about relevance. A person searching for their particular thing is more likely to click on an advert that promises the exact thing they are looking for, rather than an advert that uses very generic text. Ideally your advert will include the keywords searched on as part of the text.

Poor relevance of advert to website landing page
Having gone to the effort of setting up properly targeted keywords that display a relevant advert, the relevance theme has to be carried through to the landing page that the person will be taken to when they click on an advert. If they have searched for ‘red roses’, link the advert through to a red roses page, rather than a page with all the different types of roses that you supply, or worse, to a page listing all the flowers that you have.

Your campaign should do the work for your potential customer. Pick your targeted keywords very carefully so that they trigger a relevant advert, which clicks directly to the page that the searcher needs, without any further clicks or navigation needed on your website.

The advertiser thinks that paid search marketing is ‘set and forget’
Google AdWords is very simple in concept (selected keywords trigger adverts to be displayed that link through to relevant web pages) but can be very complex and sophisticated in execution. Campaigns need continual development to achieve maximum ROI from the ad spend, through testing and refinement of keywords, adverts and settings.

Competitive activity and search trends will also affect campaign performance over time, so regular campaign review and development is essential. To give you some idea, we review most of our campaigns at least weekly and some daily.

Google AdWords paid search engine advertising is a very powerful and sophisticated marketing tool, but it has to be set-up and managed correctly. Stay on top of your campaign development and you will be rewarded with profitable paid advertising campaigns and discover new opportunities along the way.

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