Top 5 tips for reviewing your AdWords performance.
This week I’m going to set you all a challenge! If you think your AdWords account advertises only in the UK, I’ll bet you it doesn’t. Book a review and if you advertise in the UK only and your ads doesn’t show worldwide then we’ll give you a free hour long mentoring session worth £150. That’s got you thinking as to why you might be advertising worldwide hasn’t it? If I am right, perhaps you should change your agency.
Fools tend to think they know it all; their AdWords account needs no help. Whilst the wise advertisers are always looking for the refinement and improvement that leads to success. If you’re smart you’ll want to know why nearly all UK advertisers actually advertise worldwide. The why is simply – it makes Google money, but what to do about it comes later.
Great, the fools will have gone by now. So for my remaining readers I thought I would give you a little hand by giving you my Top 5 elements to review in your AdWords performance. I know you get calls every day with offers of free reviews (including my own teams) so here’s your chance for a DIY self review.
For those of you who know me, I like to research as much as possible to make sure I am at the cutting edge of AdWords. Now someone I have encountered over the years is Perry Marshall, he was the self styled World AdWords expert when I began this AdWords journey many years ago.
What I’ve noticed about Perry is that he never actually gives away anything useful; it is always filled with some sort of anecdote that sells me a life theory that can be associated loosely with AdWords.
Sure you’ll get his life experience and I do connect with a lot of what he says but more from a business point of view rather than an AdWords point of view. This approach is great if all I want is reasonably good information, the really useful stuff, I then have to pay for. I have to make upfront commitments. I totally agree with this approach, every client who I have ever had who just wanted to skip the sales presentation and get on immediately with working through their accounts issues and did the work succeed. Well none have ever failed. You can see why to go to one of Perry’s seminars in Hawaii costs somewhere in the region of $5,000 – $10,000 per person (that’s without accommodation and flights). He’s weeding out the fools. The smart know good information isn’t free. It has to be paid for.
Apart from the people within the AdWords fraternity, Perry Marshall is not so well known this side of the pond and I think that’s because the Great British psyche is so different to that of our American cousins. Some may say they are more gullible, I would say they are more open to opportunity. Just visit California and you’ll see this first hand. This is why opening in the U.S. is one of our long term aims.
So what’s the point John?
Here in the U.K we are naturally a less trusting bunch. So unless we are convinced, we will not be pressured into buying into anything. The old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true” is almost every British citizens mantra. I asked Perry once, why he doesn’t give away ‘how to’ knowledge. His response is that people don’t engage with ‘how to’ emails.
His point of view has nagged at me for years, so the point of this email is twofold.
Firstly to test if a ‘how to email / blog’ works
Secondly test if ‘giving away’ trade secrets does get a response.
So let’s find out. Hopefully we can encourage you to take a more serious look at our services and how we can help you as a business.
So here’s this week’s, our top 5 items to look out for on your account if you’re using text ads (PLA’s will be next weeks subject):
- 1. CTR. This has been one of the longest standing markers and when it comes to text ads it is still extremely important as it is directly attributable to the bidding process (Ad Rank Points). In 2010 I coined the phrase;“Google rewards relevant, quality advertising with a higher position on the results page and or lower costs”. – John Langley
this has now gone into AdWords Folk law, but it still holds true. Google states that they are looking for a CTR of 1.5% or above however we know that the successful campaigns we work on have a CTR in excess of 4% and some as high as 12%. Retail chemicals online and you’ll see over 20% all day. If your CTR is sitting below the 1.5% mark, you have serious issues and need to act now. If you are above that but not above the 4% mark, there is still some improvement needed to make your campaign as successful as it can be.
There are a number of instances where CTR isn’t as important this is for the areas such as remarketing where we expect low click through and PLA’s where no matter what market you are in your CTR will be between 2% – 4%. Again though if you are below 2%, you have problems. Get them sorted as you will be over paying for clicks, but it also indicates issues with poor quality or your search terms are too generic. By too generic I mean attracting clicks for ‘shorts’ when you only retail a branded specialist running shorts.
- 2. Position. This is a key point when looking at your CTR. Outside of the top positions on a Google search will bring you very little business if any at all (see graph below). The top positions are usually position 1 or 2 and occasionally 3. Your avg. pos. can be deceiving as it also includes search network and display network positioning. The best way to check this is to click segment button above the graph then the Top vs. Other option. Like a light going on in a dark room, it will then show you a breakdown comparing Google search top, Google search other, Search Partners top, Search Partners other and Google Display network. You will notice that by far the highest CTR will be in Google search top position. Now as position effects the CTR the same is also in reverse as the CTR is a direct component of the Quality scoring process which is directly linked to the Ad Rank points system for bidding. The upshot is poor position not only reduces CTR, but very few orders occur in the lower positions. It’s as if the bargain hunters are attracted to the right hand side of the page. They’ll click your ads, and every other side ad, visit Amazon and then more than likely buy from eBay. The top positions appear to attract shoppers that are often limited more by time and then budget as a rule of thumb. It’s not to say they’ll pay over the odds, but they won’t go the end of earth looking.
- 3. Quality Score. This again is similar to CTR in respect to the text campaigns although an old marker still vitally important. As PLA’s don’t use keywords (they do really in a long winded fashion, you need to pay for that knowledge) there is no current quality scoring process, however moving forward we think this will change as Google’s priority is always relevant adverts for the public’s search terms. So what is a Quality Score? It is based on 3 main areas. Firstly CTR for the keyword, secondly the relevancy between the keyword, the advert and the campaign & ad group names and finally the relevancy of the keyword related to the landing page the advert is taking the customer too. Google runs an algorithm in the background and comes up with a score out of ten. This score out of ten is then multiplied by your maximum cpc for a keyword and that gives you your Ad Rank points e.g. 50p max cpc x 5/10 score gives you 250 Ad Rank Points. These points are what you are bidding with when competing for business so this means that if a competitor is above you on the page they could possibly be paying less than you are e.g. 26p max cpc x 10/10 gives 260 Ad Rank Points. So unless your Quality Scores are 8, 9 or 10/10 you are paying too much. To check your quality scores on the keywords page click on columns button then customise columns. Now click on attributes and add “qual score”, click apply and the marks out of ten will be in the far right column. To be blunt, each point below 10 costs you an additional 10% per click. A score of 7 means you’re paying 30% too much. For Scores below 5, the extra click costs jump dramatically, a score of 3 means you pay 333% more than an advertiser with a score of 10. Next week, try paying 30% more for everything you buy for a week including petrol, food, clothes, etc. You’d be mad to try, but you do this every day, week and month on AdWords.
- 4. Wastage. Once you have got strong quality scores you will be getting better positions and better positions means more clicks (see point 1). Unfortunately the general public aren’t always the brightest bulbs in the box (nor are most AdWords advertisers either) and if you’re at the top of the page they will click on you without reading the advert properly. What can we do about it? Well first of all we need to see what people have been searching for when our advert has been triggered. Firstly on the keywords page click the “details” button then click “all” under search terms. This next page will bring up a list of all the different terms people have typed in to Google that has triggered your advert. Look through this list and if anything stands out as not being relevant to your business then we can filter these incorrect terms and stop your advert from showing to them again in the future.
On top of these terms there is a line at the very bottom above the totals entitled “other search terms” you will notice that dependent on what match types you have used for your keywords there will be a large percentage of your impressions on this line but very few clicks. This is because these terms are ones that Google deems to be relevant to your keywords. As there is a very low CTR we can assume that these terms aren’t relevant. Now we will never know exactly what these terms are but by putting in the filters and looking at our match types will cut this percentage of wasted terms severely thus giving us a better CTR, better quality score, better positions etc. etc.
The killer with filtering keywords / search terms is hardly anyone really understands how to effectively clean the traffic. In the 100’s of account review we conduct each year, it’s rare to find an advertiser or agency that understands negatives. You’ll need three approaches I pioneered in the UK many years ago – the bleed negative strategy, the invisible negatives strategy and a weeding strategy to succeed.
- 5. Competition. This is a great one, one of the questions I always get asked is what are my competitors up to? Now there is no way we know for definite what they are doing exactly but we can compare their results for the keywords you are using. Click on “details” button again on the keywords page. This time click on “all” underneath “Auction insights” this will then bring up a table. You on the table is “You”, and what we should be seeing is all your direct competitors who are using these keywords if we are seeing a number of websites who aren’t direct competitors then that means one of two things; 1 your keywords are wrong (no one else in your market is using them) or 2 your keywords are too broad (your keywords can mean several things. Don’t you love the English language?). If either of these situations is true then you have a problem. If not then let’s look at our competitors in a bit more detail the first column will be impression share. This column is indicating how much of a potential market you are showing your advert to, this should be around the 85%-95% mark if not then you are missing out on business. Check it against your nearest competitors if they have a higher percentage, then they are getting to more potential clients than you. The other column to concentrate on is the position above rate, this shows you; if you and your competitor are showing an advert who is showing above who the majority of the time. If their position above rate is more than 50% then they are getting the majority of clicks. Now that’s no good is it? The competition / auction insights reports really gives you a glimpse into how far you could go or how far behind you are.
This is just a few simple pointers to help you identify any issues you may have with your AdWords account. We are only scratching the surface when it comes to your campaigns and there is a lot more that needs to be looked at to make sure you are getting the most from Google AdWords. If this has started ringing alarm bells or you just simply don’t have the time to deal with it then give us a call and we will give you a full Health check and see what Click Convert can do for you this year.
Remember the challenge at the beginning? Be brave and give us a call and we will have a more detailed look at your campaign and see what can be done to succeed oh and don’t forget to look out for next week’s blog on Product Listing Ads and what to look for in your results.