Google doesn’t know the specifics of your unique business. But they’re great at giving marketers enough help and advice to make sure all businesses have a shot at running ads profitably – that means more money for them, after all.
If you look closely, Google gives you explicit instructions on how to make AdWords work for you.
Not everyone follows their advice, but instead just jumps in. I call this “premature scaling”: going for everything before even knowing what works.
The first thing Google tells you to do is this, and it’s smart: Create ads.
I will repeat that: Step 1 is to create ads.
Not generate huge lists of keywords. Keywords come later, and need to be both strictly related to your Ads and Offers, and carefully controlled as to their match types, negatives, target networks, locations, devices, times of day, languages, and others.
So, to get started, make sure you create ad copy very carefully to reach only highly targeted buyers.
Align your ads with your landing pages – and your audience
Your ads should be reverse-engineered from your landing page, by the way – no ad should ever say something about your offers unless it appears on the landing page, otherwise you are breaking the promise you made in showing your ad in the first place (“click expectation”).
If there’s more you can say about your offer on the page, go back and include it – then make sure you write about it in your ads (Note: I’ve seen landing pages so boring that I couldn’t write a single exciting ad about it – I declined to work with that client.)
Be extremely mindful of your target demographic and how they will react to subtle factors in ad copy like:
– display url
– calls to action
– features and benefits
– benefits and features
– long headlines
– two separate sentences
– one long sentence
– many others
Eliminate non-buyers as early as possible, even if that means sacrificing CTR – i.e. try pricing in ads to deter clicks from window shoppers or those with insufficient budget. Your conversion rates to sales will be better.
People don’t just search with keywords, they have specific unspoken issues in mind, like price, availability, shipping, reviews and ratings, deals and promotions, related products amd services, color, size, customer service amongst many others.
As they refine their searches, you may start to see their concerns like “free shipping” appear in search queries.
But your task is to have already taken them off the market before they get that far in their search, by articulating in your ad “the conversation in their head.”
Let the results dictate your strategy
It’s simply impossible to fully describe even a single product in not just one ad, or two, or maybe even ten or more. (Ed’s note: single-keyword ad groups, or SKAGs, are at the heart of PPC Associates’ SEM strategy, but we like to show different philosophies.)
For the longest time, conventional AdWords wisdom has been to create two ads, “split test” them against each other in even rotation for a period of time, declare a “winner” and try to beat it as a “Control.”
But all this does is defeat the intelligence that Google has about where, when and how to show the ads best deserving of clicks (or conversions) based on more factors than human beings can take into account – and all done in an ad auction that can occur every 0.20 seconds or so (Google is hugely mindful and even boastful of their speed, always has been, always will be).
– the list can be massive
Google allow you up to 50 active ads per ad group (why do you think they do that?) – so use as many as you need.
For a Lead Generation campaign I was running in 2010, I had 34 successful ads in one ad group, all converting to my target cost per lead. Their target audience demographic was both broad and deep.
Your ads are salesmen and ambassadors for your landing pages, keywords and offers, and they should have a maximum target sales cost. As long as they are delivering that, why should you fire any of them?
Some marketers say “never take a visitor to your home page,” but that can often be incorrect and should be tested against your target Conversion Cost.
Above all, keep an open mind and be willing to test everything you can possibly say about your offer page – the results could surprise you.
You have to let the market decide. To paraphrase Bud Fox in the great movie “Wall Street” – don’t get emotional about ads.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for part 2 of the series: “Begin with the end in mind.”