As a search marketer, my ultimate goal is to generate the most relevant clicks to my website and to trim the costs of my campaigns so I'm spending efficiently and optimally. Given this, my biggest enemy is irrelevant clicks because it can suck the life out of my piggy bank. While I think Google AdWords is a great channel, it can definitely run up your costs in a wasteful manner if you don' t know what you're doing. But when paid search is done right, it can really help drive visitors that are highly interested in your product or services.
In this quick 15 minute read, you'll learn a few targeting option basics and how to identify where you might be wasting costs. I'll also cover how understanding data performances will help you optimize to boost your conversions. If you're able to pay less for clicks, your cost per conversion will also be less - and that's a big win. For each of my suggestions below, I strongly advise you to add in the Google Conversion Pixel so that you can see the performances against your marketing goals.
Here are 3 questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Is your campaign on the Display Network?
When you're setting up your campaign for the first time, Google Adwords will default to traffic your ads on both the "Search & Display Network." In most cases, this isn't the option you're looking for. Here's a quick breakdown of what the difference is:
- Search Network: Your ads will appear next to Google search results, and you'll reach people with intent in mind who are searching for a specific product or service.
- Display Network: Your ads will be placed on websites opted into Google AdSense, a program that gives websites a way to earn money by displaying ads on their site. By selecting ads to run with this option, AdWords will take your keywords and match them up with related websites. While this may sound like a good idea, the user intent is usually very different than Search Network ads; these ads are usually shown to people that fall into the "browsing" category where they are simply surfing the web to read - not having specific intent.
There are two ways to find out if you are active on the Display Network. First is the small text above the "Settings" tab, or you can find it by clicking on the "Settings" tab and navigating over to "Type." Here you will be able to see and change what network you are running on.
To see how your network placements are performing, click into the "Campaigns" tab, then select "Segment" and navigate to "Network". Here you will see the breakdown per network and make strategic decisions from there.
Tip: If you are going to try out Display Network, it's best to break it into a separate campaign so you can monitor the campaigns and bid separately. Be sure to also check the placements to see where your ads are appearing.
2. Should you be bidding on mobile devices?
The first question you should ask yourself is if your website has an optimal mobile experience. If it doesn't then you could be wasting clicks away. You can view this data through your analytics platform to see what the engagement metrics are between mobile traffic versus computer traffic - or better, import the data from Google Analytics into Adwords to get one full view. While mobile searches are growing and it sounds great to reach new customers from any device, marketers need to realize that mobile users have different intent and behaviors than someone on a computer. For example, mobile users may encounter your ads at 7:00pm while waiting for dinner and are simply just browsing to pass the time, whereas those who are in front of a computer may be more engaged and looking for something specific with intent in mind.
Due to the way Google Adwords is setup, it's likely that you are trafficking ads to mobile devices. To see how your mobile ads are performing, click into the "Campaigns" tab then select "Segment" and navigate to "Device."
With the presented data, you can decide to reduce or increase the bid adjustments across your different device targeting options anywhere from 90% and +300%, or at -100% to opt out of traffic from mobile devices completely.
3. Do you know what geographic locations are high-performing or low-performing?
Let's role-play and say that you're a company that specializes in selling custom teddy bears and you operate in the entire United States. For some reason, the conversion rates are lower in the Midwestern states compared to all the other states you're targeting. This is your opportunity to optimize your bids and reduce the bid adjustments.
When you set yourself up for bidding in locations with a large audience size, such as all of the United States, your reach is broadened and it's best to put some controls so that you're reaching locations that resonate best with your product, services, or goals. Geographic bid modifiers is a fantastic way to boost bids on high-performing locations and lower bids on poor-performing locations.
To drill in and see how geography locations are performing, click into the "Dimensions" tab then select to view "Geographic."
With these three things in mind, don't let irrelevant clicks drain your piggy bank. Be sure to keep tabs on your campaign, at the very least, once per week. The more informed you are about who you're targeting, the better you can optimize to efficiency and profitability.