Once your business has taken the step to invest in an AdWords campaign, it’s important to manage that money wisely. This post assumes you have already done your keyword research, written your ads, and created your landing pages. Whether it’s a few hundred, a few thousand, or even tens of thousands of dollars every month, here is a plan of action for managing your campaign for optimum efficiency and prosperity:
No launching on weekends
First and foremost, you should never start your campaigns on Fridays. There are several reasons for this. To begin with, weekends do not give the highest search results. As a B2B ,marketer, your prospects might be searching the web on their time off, but more likely will spend the work week doing this.
Also, it is very important that you to react to the data that accumulates as quickly as after the first 24 hours or launching your ad campaign, so unless you plan on working the weekend, wait until Monday-Thursday.
First glance after 24 hours
At this point, you can determine any under-performing keywords and keyword “vampires” that might be draining your budget. If, for example, after the first day, you have maxed out your budget, you need to tweak your bids. You can either lower your overall keyword bidding, or else reduce the bid on your top-spenders
If, however, after the first day, you haven’t come to within 10% of maxing out your budget, you need to increase your daily spend.
For any words that fall below the first page, increase your spend. For any ads below the 5th position, you will get fewer clicks. For these keywords, you should increase your bid 20-40% if it allows you to stay within your predetermined budget.
Daily after that, monitor this spend until you only have 10% of your budget left every day.
Once you have hit your “cruising altitude”, you should check for the following disturbances in your campaign:
- disapproved ads
- disapproved keywords
- conflicting negative keywords
- keywords below first page bid amounts
After the first week or so of desired click levels (which may be longer than a week if your bidding was low to begin with), you can begin optimizing your campaign:
- If you still are not reaching your budget, and your ads are below position 5, continue increasing your ad spend.
- If you have a flexible (meaning large) budget and want to get a good read quickly, focus on getting your ads in the top three positions.
- If you have a limited budget, or little experience in AdWords, consider maintaining a position of 4-6 with your ads. Alternatively, you can choose less often searched but relevant keywords to add to your keyword mix, which will take longer in terms of gratification, but will allow your spend to go farther.
Review the last 7 days (or longer if it took you longer to get to this point) and check your costs. If your budget was consistently met every day, you either need to reduce your costs, or pare down your active keywords.
If you had determined that an acceptable amount of clicks per day were say, for example, 30, but you are only getting 7 while you are still reaching your budget, you may need to make some changes:
- You can reduce your bid on high-costing keywords
- You can pause same said high costing keywords
- You can research new keywords that might have a less expensive CPC than your active ones
While it may be a bit early to see decent conversions, you should have at least some. You can now focus on pausing keywords and ads that aren’t generating conversions, tightening the net to focus on those ads and keywords that are performing well. This can also help with your overall quality score.
For ads, pause those that are competing with one with a higher CTR.
Unless you are receiving clicks on keywords that are labeled “low search volume”, now if the time to pause them accordingly for future use in your campaign. Make sure that the keyword isn’t labeled “low search volume” because of a misspelling!
Click Thru Rate (CTR)
Having a high CTR yeps your quality score. Because of this, you should consider pausing and labeling keywords with a low quality score. You can always reactivate these words later on when you have more time and list risk by optimizing them.
This is a great asset to your campaign. Under the dimensions tab, you can run a search query report, which shows you the actual phrases users types to get your ads. Review this report for any obvious terms that can be excluded from your campaign via negative keywords.
After two weeks, your goal from this point forward is to increase your quality score while building and then maintaining a profitable campaign. For this we look at your ads, bidding and quality score.
First we need to make sure all your active ads are the ones that are performing best against your key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs can include:
- # of conversions
- # of clicks
- conversion rate
- CPC (cost per conversion)
To this end, you should pause any ads that are underperforming, according to your established KPIs. You should also pause all your keywords or ads that have a low CTR (below 1%). Don’t be afraid to pause all the ads in an ad group are not performing to your expectations. Sometimes the only way to create a large return is to rewrite your ads.
If you are not doing badly, just not a well as anticipated, you may only need to make some tweaks to your ads. This can include such actions as
- action words in the ads
- pricing information (up or down)
- toying with adjectives or CTAs in the ads
Time again to review your bidding, as we did in the first week to make sure your budget is not being exceeded, and or/ you are bidding enough on your active keywords. This means pausing under-performing keywords, bidding higher on words slipping down in position, or trimming the fat or keywords that seem to be attracting “tire-kickers” rather than buyers.
In previous iterations we left alone those keywords that were working, but perhaps not well enough. Now is the time to focus only on those keywords that are performing well in your campaign. This increases the quality and success of your campaign. If a keyword isn’t profitable, let it go.
Now we really bite into the issue of your quality score, which can be affected by three things: keywords, ad text and landing pages. You should easily see the relevance from your keyword to the ad copy to the landing page for every term in your campaign.
Three weeks in, while not a long time in terms of your own timeline, is a long time in terms of your ad campaign. It is at this point that you should have achieved some sense of stability. Depending on how much traffic you are receiving you may need to return to the optimizations from week two, or focus on keywords with low search volume.
Remember those keywords we labeled due to low search volume? On week three, you should revisit these keywords and see if they have received enough clicks, impressions or conversions to start being optimized. You can now optimize them as your did for your other keywords in week two.
You should also be tweaking your ads with minor adjustments and A/B tests, especially those that were just created int he previous week.
Week Four and Beyond
At this point, you should establish a regular optimization schedule. These components of your schedule should include:
- bid optimization
- keyword optimization
- ad optimization
- negative keyword research
- keyword expansion
Two other components are campaign structure optimization and ad setting, scheduling and extensions. Consider breaking up your campaign into several waller ones, or playing with the actual settings and schedules for that fine tuning of your campaign.
Don’t forget to use the comparison of your ad performance over time feature in AdWords to compare metrics across different time periods. You can also use filters on these columns. Check out the AdWords blog post on this new feature, as well as the AdWords help on measuring performance by periods of time.