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Not all of these tips are directly related to Google AdWords, but all of them are important if your are thinking of spending money on Google AdWords, and many of them are important if you are thinking of spending money on Pay Per Click or any other form of internet marketing.

  • Do Your Keyword Research.

  • Use the excellent, free keyword tools provided by Google.
    http://www.google.com/insights/search/
    https://adwords.google.co.uk/select/KeywordToolExternal
    https://adwords.google.co.uk/select/TrafficEstimatorSandbox.
    Though bear in mind that the AdWords Traffic Estimator Is Not Necessarily Very Accurate.
    Ideally, keyword research should be done before your web site is even created. If you already have a web site that sells blue widgets, and you have no intention of selling anything other than blue widgets, then you don’t need to spend a whole heap of time on keyword research. The chances of finding a keyword variation of “Blue Widgets” that will bring in 10 times as many sales at 10% of the cost are pretty much 0%.

  • Make Your Website As Good As It Can Be.
  • Don't force new customers to register before allowing them to pay for their order!
    Small changes can improve your conversion rate substantially, meaning, for the same AdWords spend you can make more sales or generate more leads.

    For one example of how a small change to your web site can make a big change in your conversion rate see the following post How A PPCNI Client Improved Sales By 16.2% By Altering Their Checkout Process Slightly.

    Of course, your checkout process is only small part of you web site, and there are many other areas that need to be looked at to improve your conversion rate. A good place to start is the following document from Google: www.google.co.uk/intl/en/landing/conversion/make_your_website_work.pdf

    Other sites worth checking out:
    http://www.marketingexperiments.com/
    http://www.getelastic.com/

  • Make Sure Your Web Site Works Well On Smart Phones (And Tablets).

  • Use of mobiles and tablets to access the internet and make purchases is increasing at a phenomenal rate. There are 23 million smart phones in the UK alone (as of 2012). Check your site works properly on mobiles and tablets, and fix it if it doesn’t! Here is a Google mobile website with more information.

  • Use Conversion Tracking.

  • At the very least you need to track how much each lead or sale is costing you, and if you have an eCommerce site, make sure your shopping cart passes data to AdWords and Analytics. This way you will be able to see (almost) exactly what your return on investment is for individual AdWords adverts and keywords, and which traffic sources are worth most to you:
    goo.gl/ZIMXM

  • Use Google Analytics.

  • And make sure AdWords and Analytics are linked, auto tagging is turned on, and e-commerce tracking is set up. You’ll be able to tell how much each visitor from each source is worth to you (not just your AdWords traffic). You’ll also be able to see where people are coming from, and where they are leaving your site from, and reporting on organic traffic may throw up some great new keywords for your AdWords campaigns (though admittedly not as much as it used to, as a lot of organic traffic from Google will now have ‘(not provided)’ as the keyword.

    You can now also show various Google Analytics metrics directly within AdWords (which I think is the best thing since sliced bread) e.g. :-

    Analytics Data Shown In AdWords

    http://www.google.com/analytics/

    Here is a pretty thorough post on how to set up Google Analytics – conversionxl.com/successful-site-data-might-overlooking-google-analytics-setup/.

  • Use Telephone Tracking.


  • You can ignore this point if you only sell low value items that people would hardly ever feel the need to ring you about.
    However, if you sell higher value items, you will find that a sizeable percentage of your sales can be taken over the phone.
    If you are in the UK then I recommend Responsetap telephone tracking (Used to be Adinsight / Clarity). Prices start from around £60 a month plus a small per call charge.
    It allows you to track telephone calls right through to entering a final sale value on the telephone keypad. It integrates with Google Analytics so you can see transactions right back to the keyword level in Analytics and AdWords. It also has some really nice additional features such as allowing you to see average call length, average wait time, how many calls were missed etc.
    A good telephone tracking system will also give you the ability to set up ‘offline’ promotional phone numbers so you can measure the response to offline advertising campaigns *and* you can also use an offline number as and AdWords call extension so you can measure actual sales from the call extension number as well as clicks and calls that last longer than 60 seconds.

  • Make Sure Your Landing Page Is Right.

  • This is covered partly in the Google document in point two. Basically if your AdWords advert is for ‘Blue Widgets’, make sure that the destination URL for that advert is your ‘Blue Widgets’ page, NOT your home page, and tell your visitors what you want them to do when they arrive!

  • Do NOT Control Your Budget With Your ‘Budget’.

  • You can save a lot of money by controlling your advertising spend with your bids rather than your daily budget. The message above should read ‘Attention! Clicks are currently costing you more than they should be!’
    See :
    http://www.ppcni.com/save-thousands-year-adwords-bill/873/

  • Use Shared Budgets.

  • If you have multiple campaigns in your account, and need to stick to an overall daily budget for the whole account, this will allow you to spread the unused budget of some campaigns to others that need it more, and cut down on the amount of work involved in making sure that no campaigns are ‘limited by budget’.

  • Have Tightly Themed Ad Groups.
  • If you sell green widgets, and blue widgets, then make sure you have a separate Ad Group for each. Don’t have too many (loosely related) keywords in each Ad Group. In fact, in some cases, there is merit in having just one keyword in each ad group so you can make your ads laser-targeted, though this may be overkill if you are working with thousands of keywords with fairly low search volumes.

  • Use (or at least test) a call to action in your AdWords adverts.
  • ‘Buy Now!’ ‘Download A Free Trial Now!’, “Sale Must End Soon!” May look down market and tacky, but if it doubles your Click Through Rate, then you would be stupid not to include this type of call to action in your advert text.

  • Have at least 2 or 3 different adverts in each ad group.
  • (And always be testing new ads). If you can create 2 similar adverts, and one advert gets even a marginally better Click Through Rate than the other one, then you are ‘quids up’! But don’t get carried away. If you have 25 very slightly different ads in each ad group – it’s going to take a long time to find a winner.

    The 3 points above are directly related to improving your Quality Score. In a nutshell – Click Through Rate is the most important factor in Quality Score. If you can increase your Quality Score, then you can reduce your Costs considerably. This is a topic about which much has been written (and a lot of what has been written is utter nonsense). Here’s a new (as of June 2014) white paper from Google about Quality Score which will hopefully dispell some misconceptions – http://adwords.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/more-insights-about-quality-score-and.html.

  • Use different keyword match types.

  • ‘Broad’ match can be very, well, broad. So if margins are tight, I recommend starting out with modified broad match (put a + in front of each keyword), phrase match, and exact match.
    Generally, you should bid most on exact, less on phrase, and less still on broad matches (more so if not using modified broad match). But this will vary depending on your campaign(s) quite a lot.
    If you have had conversion tracking implemented properly for a long enough period of time, you can view the relative values of the different match types in the Keywords tab (‘Segment’, ‘Search terms match type’).
    If you are using any match types other than exact, see the following point…

  • Use negative keywords.

  • Negative keywords are a great invention. e.g. if you sell all colours of widgets apart from red widgets, then a good negative keyword for you would be ‘red’.
    Regularly review your search terms report to find more negatives to add.
    If you are using broad match, be sure to add negative keywords at the ad group level. (Otherwise you may find that a lot of traffic that should be coming in through your “red widgets” ad group is actually coming in through your “blue widgets” ad group).

  • Optimise Separate Campaigns For The Display Network.
  • If you are just starting out with AdWords and/or you have a limited budget, Turn Off The Display Network!

    More often than not, you’ll find that it will convert poorly compared to the Search network. However, if you are already having astounding success with the Search Network, and you still have some money to spare, then it’s probably time to tun your attention to the Display Network. But please bear the following points in mind:

    1. The Display Network is a whole different animal to the Search Network.
    2. It’s worth having separate campaigns with separate bids for your Display Campaigns.
    3. You can have separate advert text for the Display Network.
    4. You can set up a vast array of Image Ads / Rich Media / Flash ads. Here’s an example of what an image ad on the Display Network:
    5. You can increase the relevancy of your ads by using Category Targeting and Topic Targeting,as well as contextual targeting.
    6. If you site gets enough visitors to specific category/product pages, a Remarketing campaign will probably give you your best ROI. e.g. if someone visits your Blue Widget page, you can set up an advert that mercilessly follows them round the internet saying `PLEASE COME BACK AND BUY MY BLUE WIDGET, YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!`. You can also put a cap on impressions for each unique user so you don’t end up *really* annoying them!
    7. If you have success with a remarketing campaign, you can also target ‘Similar Audiences‘.
    8. Google also recommend having more tightly themed ad groups for the Display Network, and they provide a tool which helps you construct ad groups that are more suitable for the Display Network with the ‘Contextual Targeting Tool’ which you can find under the ‘Tools’ tab in your AdWords account.
    9. Google have really started to get serious about the Display Network, by giving everyone a dedicated ‘Display Network’ tab and which brings together a lot of Display options into one place, and announcing some handy new features like ‘Display Campaign Optimizer’ and ‘Next Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting’, see – Adwords Blog. This all sounds like a step in the right direction for the Display Network.
    10. The Display Ad Builder has been improved to the point where it is actually worth using. Click on ‘New Ad’, ‘Display Ad Builder’, ‘Suggested’ and it will build you some nice Flash ads based on text ads already in your account and images already on your web site. I know no-one uses Flash any more, but it’s still pretty good considering it is free, and you can have reasonable looking Display ads which catch people’s attention up and running in about 10 minutes.
    11. Even if you are not getting a great direct return on investment from the Google Display Network, don’t forget about view through conversions (they are far from worthless). See this article on view through attribution for further information.
    12. Following on from that point, there is no denying that if millions of people see your brand on the internet nearly every day on a wide variety of different web sites, it will increase brand awareness, and it will increase sales. If you are not convinced of this, see the point ‘Consider Bidding On Your Own Brand Keywords’ a bit further down…
  • Don’t Forget About AdWords Video Ads.
  • adwords-video-ads
    You can ignore this point if you are a small business that does not have the budget to make a decent video. But if you already advertise on TV and/or have some decent promotional videos, then it is a no-brainer to spend a little bit of money on Video Ads.
    You should find (in the UK and Ireland in particular) that you can get very good value impressions, views and CPCs for video ads (in my experience, you can get a pretty impressive number of views for £0.01 a view so long as you are not extremely particular with your targeting).
    But do bear in mind that currently (April 2013) you can’t easily track conversions from TrueView video ads as a click through to your web site from these is not classed as a ‘billable event’. If you do want to track these clicks, you’ll need to set up separate landing page for clicks from TrueView ads and then set up a goal in Google Analytics with that page as a required step.
    Also note – rather confusingly, if you look at ‘All online campaigns’ in AdWords this will not include data from ‘All video campaigns’, but when looking at your ‘MCC’ data for all your accounts, it *will* include data from video campaigns.

  • Consider Bidding On Your Own Brand Keywords.
  • If someone is searching for your brand, then they are much more likely to convert than someone who is searching for a generic keyword or someone else’s brand.
    Here are some eyebrow raising stats from a brand keyword in one account managed by PPCNI:-

    It can be argued that the majority of the conversions shown above would have taken place anyway without bidding on this brand keyword, but without getting into a lengthy debate on this, the CPCs tend to be so low, and the conversion rate tends to be so high, that it is worth doing.

  • When Looking At AdWords Account Performance – Be Sure to ‘Segment’ Your View.

  • Depending on which view you are in, you should see a little ‘Segment’ drop down box near the top of the screen which allows you to segment your view by network or device. You may find that ‘Search Partners’ doesn’t work as well for you as Google Search. You may find that ‘Desktop and laptop computers’ works better for you than ‘iPhones and other mobile devices with full Internet browsers’.

    If the difference is huge – then you can always exclude the offending network or devices, though bear in mind that if you are using Conversion Optimizer, it *should* take differences in conversion rates across networks and devices into account when adjusting your bids.

    If you are opted in to the ‘Search’ network, you’ll probably also find that ad groups / keywords that seem to have a terrible Click Through Rate at first glance, actually have a really good Click Through Rate on ‘Google Search’. NB – A Poor CTR on ‘Search Partners’ won’t have a negative effect on the ‘Google Search’ part of your campaign.

  • Don’t Make Changes Too Soon.
  • A very rough guide to the minimum number of clicks and conversions you need to be sure that differences you are looking at are statistically significant is 1000 clicks and 30 conversions.
    And yes, this does make it difficult to optimise low traffic accounts.

  • Use Google Conversion Optimizer (CPA bidding).

  • Once you have built up enough conversion history in an AdWords campaign you can enable ‘Conversion Optimizer’ or ‘CPA Bidding’. This is a great time saver, as you no longer have to keep a close eye on all your bids to ensure that you are always making a profit. You just tell Google ‘I am prepared to spend a maximum of £5 to sell a blue widget, now go off and get me as many sales as possible without going over budget.

    It can also help you get more conversions from ‘Search Partners’ by adjusting your bids at the search ‘network’ level – something which is not possible with standard CPC bidding:-
    http://www.ppcni.com/google-adwords-conversion-optimizer/477/
    More information on AdWords CPA bidding:-
    http://www.google.com/adwords/conversionoptimizer/

  • Use ‘Enhanced CPC bidding’.

  • If you’re not getting enough conversions in a 30 day period, you will not have the option to use Conversion Optimizer. The next best thing is Enhanced CPC bidding. See :
    http://adwords.blogspot.com/010/08/increaseroiconversionswithenhanced.html
    For further information, and here is a link which briefly describes the difference between the 2 bidding options above:
    http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py? hl=en&answer=162731

  • Use ‘Optimize For Conversions’ Ad Rotation.

  • If you are using conversion tracking, then I can think of no reason not to use this setting unless you are prepared to spend a lot of time and effort testing ads with the ‘Show ads more evenly’ option. Before this option was available, there was a lot of effort involved in selecting ads that gave better conversions.

  • Use ‘AdWords Campaign Experiments’.

  • These can be really useful for testing a multitude of different things. e.g. You can test different CPAs. A Lower CPA will give you a better Return On Investment, but will it give your a higher profit? There is only one way to find out!

    Here is a real world example of the sort of helpful information that AdWords Experiments can give you for your e-commerce site.

    Here is the official Google information on AdWords Experiments – http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=28565

  • Use Geographic targeting

    (and make sure your ads are tailored to the target market).


  • If you ship physical products outside your own country, you’ll find that separate campaigns for separate countries can work better. e.g. if you are targeting the Republic of Ireland, you’ll probably find that ‘Free Ireland Shipping’ in your ad text works better than ‘Free Shipping’. You’ll probably also find that “Save €’s” works better than “Save £’s”.
    You can also exclude locations that you cannot ship to or are not interested in enquiries from, though in my experience, Google’s claim that location targeting is 90%+ accurate is simply not true so bear this in mind when you exclude ‘Belfast’ and still get traffic from people in Belfast.

  • Use Ad Extensions.

  • There are many different types of Ad Extensions.

    Location Extensions and Call Extensions are important for advertisers that have physical stores, or want to allow people to ‘click to call’ a phone number from a mobile device (with full browser), or want to allow people to manually dial a phone number from a desktop/laptop/tablet without visiting their web site first (see the telephone tracking point earlier in this article for information on how to do this better).

    Dynamic Search Ad Extensions allow you to set up Dynamic Search Ads, which can be very useful if you have a huge web site with information that changes regularly as Google will take care of the updating the ads for you. Even if you already have well set up campaigns that cover everything on your web site, it can still be useful to set up a Dynamic Ads campaign with relatively low bids in order to ‘mop up’ searches that you are currently not getting any traffic for.

    Social Extensions allow you to link your AdWords account to your Google Plus Business Page which should make your ads stand out better for anyone who has anyone in their Google Plus circles that has interacted with your business page. Further info from Google here – AdWords Social Extensions, and some further observations on AdWords Social Extensions here.

    One which can significantly increase your Click Through Rate regardless of what you are advertising is ‘Ad Sitelinks’. If your ad is relevant enough to the search that has been performed and your bids are high enough, then Google may display Sitelinks under your ad. See: http://goo.gl/KlmeO for more information on Ad Extensions.

  • Use Automated Rules.

  • Remember the tip earlier on about not controlling your budget with your budget? In an ideal world, once you are sure you are getting a good return on an AdWords campaign, you would set the budget high enough that there is little or no chance of it ever being exceeded, but it is sometimes difficult to get clients to agree to this strategy.

    You can set up AdWords automated rules for host of different things, but I have found it most useful for alerting me when a daily budget is about to be exceeded.
    See Get alerts with email-only automated rules and Setting up automated rules for further information.

  • Use Google Merchant Center.

  • If you sell physical products, this allows you to set up a feed to Google Shopping, which means that your products can appear in the ‘Google Shopping’ results free of charge. In the UK, free Google shopping listings ended during the 2nd Quarter of 2013. But it was great while it lasted! :-

    In October 2011, Google also made Product Listing Ads available to all users in the UK! :-

    There is a fair amount of work involved in setting up Product Listing Ads correctly, and currently only CPC bidding is allowed rather than CPA bidding, update – September 2012 – it appears that Enhanced CPC bidding and CPA bidding are now available on product Listing Ad campaigns in the UK (though strangely, when you select CPA bidding for a PLA campaign – the ads stop showing completely – as of March 2013 someone at Google has confirmed that CPA bidding for PLA campaigns still doesn’t work – so there you go)! PLAs also allow you to double the amount of screen real estate you can occupy, and if you stock a huge number of products, you don’t have to manually create an individual advert for each one which saves a huge amount of time in setting up and maintaining ads.

    Here is a real world example of how well Product Listing Ads can work for an e-commerce site:-

    Here is the official Google information on Merchant Center – http://www.google.com/merchants/..

  • Make Sure Your Prices Are Competitive.

  • This is *the* most obvious point in this list, but is sometimes overlooked. If you are selling exactly the same product as Amazon for £5 more, and you are not adding any extra value, then no matter how great your AdWords campaign is and no matter how great your landing page is, your conversion rate is not going to be good!

  • Make Sure Your Web Site Has A Great Selection Of Products.
  • If you sell widgets which come in 200 different colours, and you only have 2 different colours in stock, then no matter how great your AdWords campaign is, your conversion rate for “widgets” is going to suck!

  • Use An Auto-Responder.

  • If you sell a consumable product that gets used up on average after 3 months, make sure your customers get an email 3 months after purchase asking them if they would like to buy some more.

    If you don’t already have an automated ‘abandoned shopping cart’ email, then get one set up as soon as possible.
    If you don’t already automatically ask customers for positive reviews after they make a purchase, and have had time to try their new purchase out, do it now!

    If you have an e-commerce web site that does not allow the use of auto responders, get a web site that does!
    Some very interesting further reading on shopping cart abandonment can be found here – seewhy.com

  • Use Google Web Site Optimizer Google Analytics Content Experiments.

  • Rather than guess what works, test what works and find out for sure!
    See:- Google Analytics Content Experiments.
    Or better still, employ someone who knows what they are doing to do conversion optimisation for you. See this guest post by Kevin McCaffrey on Conversion Optimisation. (It’s certainly not easy to do yourself if you have an e-commerce site).

  • Use Google Wallet?? (Used To Be Called Google Checkout).

  • As of 26th June 2012 Google Checkout was rebranded as Google Wallet.

    google-wallet-cancelled-sort-of

    Google wallet has now (pretty much) been cancelled by Google. See – http://googlecommerce.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/an-update-to-google-checkout-for.html for more information.

    Though the new Google Wallet instant buy API sounds like it could be great for increasing conversions from people with Android phones if nothing else.

  • Get Glowing Customer Reviews (AdWords Seller Ratings).

  • This can increase your Click Through Rate and your Conversion Rate by showing seller rating stars beside your AdWords ads. If you saw the same product at the same price from 2 different retailers, and one of them had lots of 5 star reviews, who would you buy from? Even if all your reviews are not 5 stars, don’t worry, it’s still a very good thing to have a lot of good reviews along with a few bad ones. See Bad Reviews Are Good For Business.

  • Have a look at all the reports available to you.
  • The Dimensions tab is a good one – where you can quickly view statistics by date, day of week, hour of day, and geography to name but a few.
    dimensions-tab-reports

  • Use a free AdWords voucher.

  • There are lots of these floating around. If you get your campaign set up a an AdWords qualified expert or AdWords qualified company, then they should be able to give you a £200 voucher as part of the deal (if you spend £100 or more within 30 days of setting up your account).

    If you are in the UK and you join the Federation of Small Business they will send you a voucher every single month (or at least they have with me!)

    As of 2013 Google started automatically emailing £75 vouchers to anyone who set up an AdWords account but didn’t activate any ads within 3 or 4 days to encourage them to do so. So if you don’t already have a voucher then it is worth waiting a few days before you start spending any money on your account to see if they email you one.

    In Autumn 2012 in the UK, Google started showing ads all over the internet offering a £75 voucher after you spend £25 within 31 days of setting up a new account (have a look around the internet and you’ll probably find one fairly quickly). To see if this offer is still available, head on over to the Free AdWords Vouchers page.

    If you want to become/stay and AdWords Qualified professional, don’t want to pay to sit the AdWords exams, and are lucky enough to have an account manager at Google, ask them nicely if they will generate you a voucher code for the Google Testing Center (worked for me…). Though soon, this will no longer be an issue as Google are making the certification exams free for their new Google Partners programme.

  • Use Adwords Editor.

  • This program can be a huge time saver if you are working on medium to large sized accounts. Download it and learn how to use it! (Though if you use Linux you’ll need to install WINE and use the Windows version) – http://www.google.com/intl/en/adwordseditor/

  • Consider importing your AdWords campaign into Yahoo and Bing Ads.

  • They make it relatively easy these days, and Microsoft support in particular make Google support look embarrassingly bad. Also, Microsoft adCenter and Yahoo Search Marketing have now merged in most of the world (including the UK and Ireland – which as everyone knows are the 2 most important countries in the world as of the 18th of April 2012:-) meaning you now only have one non Google campaign to look after.
    Also, make sure that you manually tag all the URLs in your Bing Ads campaigns so that you can track traffic (including conversions) from Bing Ads properly. e.g. mydomain.com/page.html?utm_source=bing-yahoo&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=CampaignName .

  • Consider using Google AdSense.
  • AdSense Logo
    This one is very far from being a no brainer, but if done correctly, you may be able to claw back some of the money you have spent on AdWords without affecting your own sales too badly. See Google Think Retail AdSense PDF for further (admittedly very biased) information from Google.
    For information on how I made around £20,000 from Google AdSense from a web site that I worked on in my spare time, see How To Make £20,000 From The Google Display Network.

  • Don’t Listen To People Who Tell You You Should Forget About PPC / Google AdWords And Concentrate On SEO.
  • It’s simply not true that you can forget about PPC and concentrate on SEO to get traffic to your web site. Apart from the fact that SEO can take a *long* time, and PPC gets you almost instant traffic, there are a lot of misconceptions around about how effective PPC is compared to SEO.

    For more details, see Should I Forget About PPC And Concentrate on Search Engine Optimisation?.
    For those of you who don’t want to read that article – I’ll list the relevant points from a Google Study carried out in March 2012:

    1. 81% of ad impressions and 66% of ad clicks occur in the absence of an associated organic result on the first page of search results. All ad clicks in these situations are incremental.
    2. On average, for advertisers who appear in the top rank organic slot, 50% of ad clicks are incremental. This means that half of all ad clicks are not replaced by organic clicks when search ads are paused.
    3. For advertisers whose organic search results are in the 2nd to 4th position, 81% of ad clicks are incremental. For advertisers appearing in organic position of 5 or lower, 96% of ad clicks are incremental.

    Here’s another study which shows that PPC accounts for 64.6% of clicks from searches with high commercial intent, and for product related searches, the number one organic result accounts for just 8.9% of the clicks! – http://www.wordstream.com/articles/google-ads.
    And here’s another study showing how conversions can fall by up to 98% when PPC campaigns are taken offline, here is a wee graph from that article that summarises things quite nicely. :-
    conversions-drop-after-pausing-ppc-campaigns
    Also, now Google are encrypting organic searches for ‘privacy’ reasons, it’s a lot more difficult to find out which keywords convert for you if you are not using PPC!

  • Bear In Mind That Many People Research Online Before Purchasing Offline.
  • If your shop has a physical presence, offline sales will decrease if you pause your AdWords campaigns.
    “Four out of ten people prefer to research online before purchasing offline (ROPO).” – Influencing Offline, The New Digital Frontier – White Paper.
    Having said that, if you have one small shop in the Outer Hebrides, online advertising is never going to have a massive effect on your offline sales…

  • PPC Ads Contribute To More Conversions Than You May Think (Don’t Attribute Every Conversion To The Last Click).
  • It’s not a good idea to attribute 100% of the conversion value to the last click.
    A study by lastminute.com found that “The effectiveness of non-brand search advertising is 43% greater than the estimate from last click tracking.”
    non-brand-advertising-effectiveness
    Click here for the full lastminute.com case study details.


    Also, many different channels and devices can also be involved in a conversion.
    There is some good reading on this subject, and internet marketing in general over at Zero moment Of Truth.

  • Protect Your Trademark.
  • If you have a registered trademark, you can fill out the following form https://services.google.com/inquiry/aw_tmauth which, in most countries, will mean that ads from competitors using your trademark in their ad text will be automatically disapproved by Google.

  • Consider Using An Affiliate Network.
  • Google Affiliate Network Cancelled
    The number of sales you will get from an affiliate network is fairly small compared to what you can get from PPC, there is quite an arduous set up process to ensure that all orders can be tracked by the affiliate network, and there is generally a fairly hefty initial set up fee and minimum monthly fee.
    But if you sell a lot of stuff online, it is worth considering as (leaving aside minimum monthly charges etc.) you only pay when you actually sell something, and it is one way to get onto the big ‘cash back’ sites in the UK like Top Cash Back and Quidco (I assume the same applies in the USA and elsewhere too).
    Being on a cash back site also has the added bonus that you can indirectly discount products that the supplier does not allow you to discount directly.
    The Google Affiliate Network is not the only one worth considering but last I checked, it had no initial setup fee, and a minimum monthly fee of £500 with a minimum length of contract of 3 months, which makes it one of the easier networks to get into as an advertiser. The Google Affiliate Network was cancelled not very long after its inception which was a kick in the teeth for customers who put a lot of effort into getting it set up, but there you are, move along, nothing to see here.

  • PPC Ads Increase Organic Traffic.
  • You’ll find that if you pause your PPC ads, your organic traffic will decrease!
    By exactly how much, I’m really not sure, and we are definitely not talking 50%, but there should be a noticeable effect.

  • Follow Industry Experts On Twitter.
  • Here is a great hashtag if you want to stay up to date with all things PPC related – ppc-chat-300x127
    #ppcchat
    .
    Sorry for the bias against Facebook and Google+. I don’t use Facebook at all, and Google+ very rarely. But if anyone wants to suggest a similar resource on another social media platform, feel free to leave a comment below!

  • Buy A Good Book About AdWords (And Read It).
  • advanced-google-adwords-3rd-edition
    Stop staring at a screen for a while and read an actual physical, paper book. I used to recommend Google AdWords For Dummies 3rd Edition, but it is so long since it has been updated, I now recommend the much more up to date Advanced Google AdWords 3rd Edition by Brad Geddes.

  • Take Everything You Read With A Pinch Of Salt.
  • Sceptical FaceThere are many ‘experts’ out there who would pass off opinion as scientifically proven fact. Even Google employees are not infallible. There are no people outside of Google who have a 100% understanding of exactly how AdWords works (and very few people within Google I would imagine).

    I’ll give one example which I have read time and time again (it even appeared in a guest post on a very reputable PPC blog who shall remain nameless). “Start out with high maximum CPCs – this will increase your Click Through Rate and therefore your Quality Score!” – Errr, no it won’t. It will almost certainly increase your CTR. It’ll definitely increase your costs. But it won’t increase your Quality Score…

    You’ll also see a selection of AdWords case studies on the internet which have nowhere near enough data for the results to be statistically significant. e.g. if a study shows that one version of an AdWords ad has 30 clicks and another has 33 clicks, this is *not* conclusive proof that the second ad will always have a 10% better Click Through Rate!

  • If you are writing a ‘Top 20 Tips’ guide, then make sure not to include more than 20 tips!
  • PS – While some of the above may read like a press release from Google themselves, please remember that Google is a PLC, and as such, it’s main aim is to make as much money as possible for Google!

    Links and references:

    Adwords Learning Center


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