Lately it seems like Google has been working very hard to add new features to the AdWords interface. Between new advertising and reporting options, it seems like AdWords additions are coming rapid-fire nowadays. With so many new options available, it’s no wonder people may be a bit confused as to what some of the newer reports and tools can do. Here are a few ways in which the newer reports can help you spend your marketing budget more efficiently.
1. Run a Search Query Performance Report. This helpful new report can show exactly what queries your ads have been displayed for. For example, if you are bidding on “blue widgets”, you may be able to see that your ad was also displayed for “small blue widgets” and “little blue widgets”. This can help you find new phrase match keywords to bid on, and therefore potentially paying less per click and spending your media budget more efficiently.
2. Optimize your landing page – that means it can be wise to use SEO best practices on your PPC landing pages. As most readers are no doubt aware, the fundamental principle of effective SEO is increasing the relevance of a page for a specific set of keywords. By applying SEO to your PPC destination pages, you could have a positive impact on the relevancy of your overall ad campaign, and therefore potentially save money by increasing your Quality Score.
3. Track Your Conversions! We still frequently see PPC campaigns that are not effectively tracking PPC. Sometimes it’s because the PPC campaign drops people off at the home page, and sometimes it’s because tracking hasn’t been set up properly. If you don’t have the in-house resources to internally track your conversion rates from your PPC ads (and few organizations seem to), then use the Conversion Tracking tool in AdWords if you haven’t already done so. Using this tool properly can have your conversion rates included in AdWords reports, which can be very useful when making adjustments to bids and ad targeting.
4. Use the Website Optimizer tool. This tool can help you test different landing page variables in order to determine the most effective messaging for your target market. The Website Optimizer tool can help make A/B split testing and multivariate testing easier by automatically running the “experiment” on your landing pages for you. Basically, instead of guessing that using the color red will cause more people to convert, you can test different colors on the landing page and find out which one actually causes more people to convert. One caveat – just because the tool makes testing a bit easier doesn’t mean that there is no work involved. Some thought and work still has to go into designing what you want to test, and getting the variables into the system.
5. If advertising on the content network, be sure to run the Placement Performance report. This very informative report can tell you where your content network ads are running, and what the CTR and conversion rates are (if you are running conversion tracking). This information can help you determine where to increase or decrease (or eliminate) your PPC budget spend.
It’s an exciting time in search engine marketing – and using the most current tools can go a long way to improving the overall quality and return of your campaign.
Helen M. Overland is the Director of Search Marketing at non-linear creations (NLC), a leading web development and IT integrator, helping clients leverage the business benefits of Internet technology to drive traffic, support sales, and achieve a strong return on online investments.