How To Run A Successful AdWords Campaign

These tips are designed for people who already have a grasp of the basics of Google AdWords and, ideally, already have a bit of experience with AdWords management.

For beginners, take a look at the Beginners Guide to AdWords which breaks all the basic terminology and will guide you to putting a half-decent campaign together.

Please note that these tips are tailored to other AdWords professionals who are trying to develop their skills in the platform. Although, business owners who DIY their AdWords campaigns will still be able to take away something from this article from Tip 2 onwards.

Tip 1: Your Approach

I know, I know, this isn’t a technical tip.

But it is just as important as the technical stuff is.

I hear too many people in the industry scoff at the amount of money that any given client is willing to spend, claiming that it’s “nothing” or that the client is “cheap”.

What you have to remember is that your advertising cost isn’t the only thing that these businesses have to pay. It’s easy to forget that when you’re employed by someone else or have very little to no overheads of running your own business.

These guys are regularly bleeding out money for:

  • Rent
  • Electricity
  • Insurance
  • Products/Parts/Tools
  • Wages

…I could go on, but you get the idea.

So most businesses don’t have all the money in the world to throw down the marketing hole, no matter how much you think your advice should be enough to convince them.

In other words, you need to really respect the amount of money that you’re spending.

$30 or $50 every single day to pay for people to just to come to your website, regardless of what they do on there, is no small sum.

You really need to spend that budget as if it was your own money bleeding out of your own bank account each day.

Tip 2: Prepare For The Worst

Every campaign that I set up, I spend way more time thinking about what search queries I want to avoid as opposed to which keywords I want to advertise for.

Use the Keyword Planner extensively, play around in Google’s predictive search, have a look at the similarly suggested searches down the bottom of the page and also use your initiative to think of how a variety of similar words can get matched to each other.

I recently set up an AdWords campaign for a Perth carpet cleaner and, wow, was there a lot to look out for.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of searches per day for:

  • carpet cleaning solutions
  • carpet cleaning products
  • carpet cleaning shampoo
  • carpet cleaners (product-level keyword)
  • carpet cleaning bunnings (another product-level keyword)
  • carpet cleaning tutorials
  • carpet cleaning machine
  • carpet cleaning equipment
  • carpet cleaning vacuum

Then there are all the other educational search queries containing words like:

  • how
  • what
  • does
  • how
  • can
  • why

Nip all of these in the bud from day 1 by implementing negative keywords.

You should be watching the Search Terms like a hawk, especially in the first few days to see if there are any disastrous search queries matching your keywords and chewing up precious ad spend.

Tip 3: Track Everything

This is the most important thing you can do at the beginning of any campaign.

Firstly, you have to track the things that matter. The thing that are actually meaningful to a business’ sales process.

(There are some agencies who think that tracking Contact Page views is acceptable, but we won’t go into that).

Tracking contact form enquiries or click to call is a great start, but you cannot leave phone calls to guess, or for the client to gauge how they’re doing.

Call tracking is normally a unique phone number that masks your real phone number when the user enters the site through AdWords.

When this number is dialled, the software looks at who is on the site at the time of that phone call, assessing which keyword and advert they clicked on to get there and is able to attribute the Phone Call conversion appropriately.

Without this, it is almost pointless paying for ongoing AdWords management.

In fact, if a business owner asks me which is the priority between paying for call tracking and professional AdWords management; I will always say call tracking.

Below is a snapshot of some AdGroups for Total Entrance Solutions, segmented by conversion types.

The conversions of the AdGroup that converts the cheapest are all Phone Call goals.

Total Entrance Solutions Conversions

Now imagine, without tracking phone calls this AdGroup would have 0 conversions registered and would most likely be paused due to poor performance…

…And that would have killed off a really good source of enquiries for that business.

Conversion data is truly all that matters.

Your client couldn’t care less if your Click Through Rates are higher than the industry average or if you’re getting 4.5 pageviews and over 3 minutes time-on-site per session.

Your client wants leads that they can realistically turn into sales.

That’s it.

If you can’t prove that you’re delivering those leads, then you’re on borrowed time.

Because if that same client comes to someone like me, the first thing I ask is “how you do you know if it’s your AdWords campaign that’s bringing in the leads?”.

If they can’t answer it, then I’m going to tear your services to shreds.

#sorrynotsorry

Tip 4: Segment Statistics By Devices

If you take a look at the screenshot below, this is the first 30 days of the same cleaning client we were talking about in Tip 1.

What we see here is that despite desktop’s Cost Per Click being almost half of that on mobile devices, the Cost Per Conversion on desktop is almost double that of that on mobile.

Cleaning Client Device Segmentation

Because of the information revealed when segmenting the data by devices, I’ve turned campaigns into mobile only or even desktop only, purely based on their individual performances.

Just by focusing on the devices that are actually delivering results, you can easily turn an under performing AdWords account into a highly successful and profitable marketing exercise.

And don’t fall into the mobile first trend and assume that’s where your best conversions are going to come from.

You need to know with absolute certainty which devices are working for your client’s website.

The company in the below example sell air conditioning, solar panels and wood heating.

The wood heating campaign got the cheapest conversions on mobile, solar panels converted the cheapest on desktop and the air conditioning campaign was converting at almost the same value across desktop, mobile and tablets.

iBreeze's conversions segmented by devices

So don’t guess or assume, let the data talk.

Tip 5: Write Ads With Purpose

Writing great AdWords ads is one of the most difficult things to truly get right.

And writing great ads isn’t about winning any awards in creative copywriting.

Remember that the job of these ads is not to get a killer CTR (Click Through Rate), it’s to attract the type of traffic that is likely to convert into sales.

This means you often have to deter the wrong type of customers from clicking on your ads.

If you take a look at the advert below for Fleetsu, this ad is specifically designed to scare off the smaller to medium sized businesses who want to track their fleet with the word “Enterprise Level” and “Designed for Large Fleets”.

Fleetsu AdWords Ad

When these ads were implemented, Fleetsu saw a dramatic drop in enquiries but a massive increase in the exact type of customer that they were looking for.

Antenna Direct are another example. They are not the cheapest antenna installer in Perth by any means and this ad scares away the penny pinchers and attracts the customers who know what kind of service they’re likely to get when they scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Antenna Direct Wall Mounting Ad

Make sure you are rotating your ads evenly too.

By default, AdWords will favour one ad very quickly and not give other ads a fair shot at obtaining comparable data.

Don’t expect the AdWords API to properly split test ads for you. That’s your job.

Tip 6: Location Settings

I don’t know how many times I take over an AdWords campaign from an agency and have had to fix this one.

You want to advertise in the location you have selected, yes? And not to people that are just showing interest in the area?

Then go into your campaigns settings.

And make sure that only people in your targeted area can see your ads.

AdWords Location Settings

You can often see significant improvement from a local campaign just by ticking this box (or circle, I guess?).

Tip 6.5: Bonus Tip!

Wait, what? A bonus tip?

That’s right!

But it’s one that you may not like depending on the type of person you are.

Don’t ever show arrogance to your clients.

They may not know as much about AdWords, digital marketing or even marketing in general as well as you do, but they sure as hell know a lot more about running a business.

Just keep that in mind.