AdWords Remarketing View-Through Conversions

Running remarketing campaigns on Google AdWords? If your conversion numbers seem low, don’t get discouraged and abandon ship. First, check to make sure you are tracking view-through conversions as opposed to click-through conversions.

According to Google, a View-through Conversion happens when a customer sees an image or rich media ad, then later completes a conversion on your site. This is different from a Click-through Conversion, which happens when a customer had previously clicked on an ad (such as on the Google Search or the Google Display Network) and then completed a conversion on your site.

If you can’t see view-through conversions in your remarketing campaign, you may need to customize your data columns and add the view-through conversion metric.

The Real Reason AdWords is Retiring Position Preference

The day after Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, shares some insights on the average position metric, emphasizing that conversion rates don’t vary much with the position, they decide to call it quits on the AdWords Position Preference feature.

Set aside the fact that the position preference feature was confusing and unlikely to be missed considering you can now run automated rules to keep your average position in check, here is the real reason AdWords is doing away with position preference:

setting a position preference can sharply reduce the number of impressions and clicks you receive for that keyword. Targeting just one or two positions means your ad will not show at times when it otherwise might have. ~ What is position preference?

At the end of the day, Google wants your ads running whenever possible. Why would they keep position preference around when they can get you to jack up your bids using automated rules in order to achieve a desired position without sacrificing impressions and clicks?

Duh! Winning!

Close Doesn’t Count in AdWords

If you have ever heard the expression “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”, you know exactly what I mean when I say that close doesn’t count in AdWords. If not, let me explain.

Earlier today I had the opportunity to review a Google AdWords account that was setup late last year and ran for all of 3 months. Unfortunately, after dropping nearly $30K on advertising, the advertiser pulled the plug on the project because they weren’t happy with the results.

Ouch. What went wrong? First, let’s start with what the advertiser did right.

After reviewing the account, it appeared they had followed all of Google’s best practices such as creating separate campaigns targeting different themes and implementing tightly knit ad groups with relevant ad copy. They even threw in some negative keywords for good measure to prevent their ads from coming up for irrelevant queries and went so far as creating custom landing pages for each campaign.

So far so good, right?

Well, upon further inspection of their keyword terms, I quickly realized exactly where the advertiser had taken a turn for the worse. And no, this wasn’t your typical single keyword broad matched scenario that plagues most AdWords accounts. Actually, the problem didn’t have anything to do with keyword match types.

As it turns out, this was simply a case of the advertiser doing everything right but the thing that matters most: keyword selection.

Although they were bidding on relevant terms, they were wrong for their business. Keyword terms that were way too broad and hyper-competitive with no real intent to buy or take action. Keyword terms that pass quality score filters but don’t produce results. Keywords that cost the advertiser $30K with nothing to show for it.

This just goes to show that even if you do almost everything right in AdWords, you might come close to getting results. But as the saying goes, “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”.

12 AdWords Optimization Tips from the Inside

Insider optimization strategies direct from the Google AdWords team to help improve the quality and performance of your account without raising costs. Sound, practical advice for existing AdWords advertisers and a must-read for anyone managing accounts.

1. Know your industry

Staying up to date with industry trends can help you better organize your campaigns, allocate your advertising budget across different products, time your campaign launches, manage CPC bids, and make your ads stand out.

2. Know your audience

Keeping an accurate profile of your target audience(s) in mind will help you choose the right keywords and ad text to reach that audience, and also help you filter out users who are unlikely to click through or convert for you.

Assessing Your Industry and Audience

3. Evaluate your website and identify your goals

…evaluate your website and identify your goals as you begin to optimize your campaign.

4. Measure your campaign performance

…measure the impact of your optimization so you can clearly evaluate your campaign’s performance before and after the optimization.

Assessing Your Website and Goals

5. Optimize the structure of your AdWords account

Structuring your account effectively will allow you more flexibility in managing your keywords and ad text, controlling budgets, and setting strategic bids.

Account Structure

6. Build and expand your keyword lists

…use keywords and their variations to strategize, target specific audiences, and achieve your advertising goals.

Keyword Basics

7. Refine and target keywords

…target your ads to potential customers and increase your ROI and conversion rates.

Beyond Keyword Basics

8. Optimize your ad text

…test and experiment with different ad text strategies…to help you achieve your campaign goals.

Ad Text

9. Create effective ad text

When testing different ad texts, be sure to control for some portions of the ad text, while experimenting with the other portions so you’ll be able to assess how effective the message you are testing really is.

More on Ad Text

10. Optimize your bids for best performance

…measure results without any special tools by simply looking at your conversions and your position, and then manually adjusting your bids until you achieve your optimal ROI.

Managing and Optimizing Bids

11. Continually brainstorm new keyword ideas

…identify both new keywords and negative keywords that you’d like to add to your account to better control when you would like your ad to appear.

Brainstorming new keyword ideas

12. Improve your ROI using negative keywords

…adding negative keywords to your account can help better target your ads, increase clickthrough rates, and lower your minimum cost-per-click.

More on Negative Keywords

New “Advanced” Search Query Report

If you have ever wondered what all of the “other unique” queries are after running a search query report from AdWords and didn’t have the time or know-how to setup custom analytics filters, today is your day. From within the AdWords report center, you now have the option to run an “advanced” search query report. Although you still get a handful of “other uniques”, there certainly aren’t as many and in return you get a plethora of long tail keyword goodness.

Armed with this new knowledge, you can maximize your keyword coverage by expanding your existing keyword sets and improve your ad targeting (CTR) by implementing negative keywords!

advanced search query report

UPDATE: This feature may not be available to the general public yet as I have only seen it in action within a couple of AdWords accounts.

Top AdWords Mistakes and Quality Score Killers

Running Search and Content networks in the same campaign.

Although not detrimental to your campaign performance, running the Search and Content networks together in your campaign can be more difficult to manage. Since impressions typically run higher and click through rates lower on Content, campaign performance reporting can be tricky. More importantly, splitting the networks into different campaigns will allow you to write ad copy specific to each group.

Using broad match keywords with no negative keywords.

Unless you’re the Dog Whisperer, it’s kind of like letting your dog run loose at the park without a leash. If you’re going to run broad matched keywords, make sure you establish boundaries by incorporating negative keywords into your account at the campaign or ad group level. Run a search query report and use keyword tools to discover negative matches that will help improve your ad targeting and click through rate.

Duplicate keywords across multiple campaigns or ad groups.

Don’t gamble on Google making the right decision and take back control of your ad serving. Download your entire account using AdWords editor and use the duplicate keyword tool to spot all of the offenders. Determine which duplicate keywords are performing the best by analyzing recent performance statistics. Pause out the the duplicate keyword that isn’t performing or isn’t as relevant to the ad and corresponding landing page.

Serving only one ad variation at a time.

Split-testing ads is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the performance of your entire account. See what your competition is up to and incorporate your unique selling point into some new ads. Emphasize benefits over features and be sure to include a call to action. If you’re worried about a new ad tanking the performance of your ad group, clone out your existing ad and run the new ad variation in less frequent rotation. Just remember to change your ad serving options to “rotate” instead of “optimize”.

Not using conversion and analytics tracking.

Sure, you’re click through rate might be through the roof, but if 3 out of 4 visitors are bouncing off your site the likelihood of the remaining visitor converting is much slimmer. Take advantage of the free conversion and analytics tracking tools within Google AdWords to better understand what your customers are doing “after” the click. Even if you’re not using a full e-commerce shopping cart solution, you can create a conversion action for nearly any activity on your site. Take it a step further and setup additional goals and funnels within Analytics to complete the picture.

Lumping all your keywords into one ad group.

Don’t sacrifice your quality scores by dumping all of your keywords into a single ad group. Instead, create more thematic ad groups with highly relevant ads to improve your click through rate. Since click through rate is one of the most significant factors in determining your keyword quality scores, segmenting your keywords into more focused themes is key. Tip: Not sure what your quality scores look like? Download the latest version of the AdWords editor and sort all of your keywords by quality score.

Not running performance reports at regular intervals.

It’s difficult to fix something if you don’t know it is broken to begin with. If you haven’t already done so, start off by running a search query report. Isolate any irrelevant search queries that you do not want your ad showing up for when searched. Add these negative terms to your campaign and immediately cut out wasted ad spend while improving your ad targeting. Also, if you’re serving ads on the Content network, run a placement performance report to find out where your ads have been shown and just make sure that is where you want to be!