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Search Advertising Part Two

Do not use budget caps.  Google AdWords allows its users the ability to set a maximum daily budget.  For example, if there is $100 of traffic available you can tell Google to serve your ads in a way that only generates $50 of clicks.  On the surface this appears to be a great way to be sure that you don’t spend too much on your campaign.  If you set a budget cap you will be forcing AdWords to make decisions on your behalf about where your ads will be seen.  That usually means that they will end up in those places that nobody else wants.  You will stay within your budge but your campaign performs poorly.  It is a better idea to set your bids conservatively and closely monitor you spending.

Allow someone else to take the top spot.  Many business owners tend to be very aggressive about bidding for certain terms such as their brand name or recognizable buzzwords.  They bid aggressively to ensure their ads appear near the top of the search results.  However that is a very bad practice.  Advertisers at the top side search results pay an additional 49% cost per click, which of course results in higher campaign spends with not a whole lot of new traffic.  It’s best to let your competitors have that spot.  By bidding lower you will drive nearly the same amount of traffic as they do at a far lower cost.

Optimize your quality score, then optimize it again.  On Google AdWords each ad is assigned a quality score from one to ten.  Ads with high quality scores appear more frequently and are charged a lower cost per click relative to competitors.  Low quality ads tend to be more expensive and show far less frequently.  Improve your quality scores through a combination of keyword matching, ad copy split testing and landing page optimization.  These practices are well worth the effort.  Those few advertisers who do make them an integral part of their campaigns edge out their competitors on search engines.

Turn your competitors successes against them. In most advertising mediums it is the innovative marketers who break through the noise.  However search advertising combines highly motivated searchers with highly targeted ads.  This is a killer combination that means originality rarely pays off.  Innovative ads often confuse visitors and result in low quality scores.  Standard advice given to new search marketers is to split test ad copy over and over again to improve your click through rates.

While this is reasonable in theory there are two huge drawbacks.  It can take a long time, up to six months or more, to develop strong ads.  And you can never really be sure when your ads are good enough.  Google AdWords is designed as a massive evolutionary experiment.  Good ads breed and poor ads die.  You can use that to your advantage.  Survey the ads that are appearing most frequently for your keywords and use them to seed your split tests.  Instead of starting at the bottom you will start near the top and cut your workload massively.