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Google AdWords adverts are those adverts that appear at the top and right of your Google search results page and although they are not as glamorous as Facebook or other display adverts, they are effective. As opposed to Facebook where we are generally minding our own business when we are shown an advert, when people search and click an AdWords advert, they are more likely to be in buying mode.
Managing an AdWords account can become super nerdy but you can also get a decent amount of mileage out of AdWords with just a little knowledge, and work your way forward from there. To do that you need to know what is possible and here is just a selection of some of the things that you can do.
1. You can use Google AdWords to test things
This one is obvious to anyone who has done a bit of advertising with AdWords but I want to put it first for those who haven’t yet taken the plunge.
AdWords provides a quick and easy way to test some very important things such as how people respond to key phrases, selling points or offers. For example, by running two slightly different adverts you might test whether people respond better to words such as “internationally experienced hairdressers” vs “award-winning hairdressers”, or “$100 off” vs“10% saving” . This knowledge not only helps you improve you AdWords performance but can be applied in the headlines you use on blog posts or display adverts.
There are a lot of other things you can test such as search keywords and landing page performance.
2. You can track “conversions” to really see what works and what doesn’t
As you may come to understand, AdWords is a game (enjoyed by many). You lay down your strategies, see if your premise is right, and then adjust. To do this effectively you do need to be able to measure your success, and click through rate (the percentage of people who actually click on an advert when they are shown it) just isn’t a good enough measure. For example, I would get a much better click-through rate with an advert offering free marketing consulting compared to one that didn’t offer such a deal. But how many of those clickers would actually convert into real business? By measuring conversions I don’t need to guess.
With AdWords you can set out rules of what you would consider a conversion. For online shops conversion is easily measured by how many people reach the “thank you” page shown after a sale. For other sites the conversion might be that a person ventures to the “contact us” page, or price list or clicks on a button. While the latter measures are not yet sales, you should be able to do a little bit of maths to decide how many people who go that far will become customers, or at least enter the top of your sales funnel where you can nurture them to sale.
3. You can learn how often people use various words and phrases for search
You don’t have to advertise to get access to this tool, just get yourself an AdWords account. This tool will help you get an idea of the search volume for certain phrases and keywords, broken down by country if you wish. But more than that, it gives you a “competition” score for that word or phrase and this gives you an idea of how many other companies are competing, or specifically bidding against you, to get their advert shown when a someone searches with that particular word/phrase.
There is a great deal of strategy surrounding this. Is it better to go for longer, more specific and less used phrases where there is less competition, or do you duke it out with a more general phrase, convinced that your advert will outshine that of the competition? The usual strategy it to use both, and hope for some quick wins while you wait for the perfect match for a longer keyword string, which will probably also bring you in a better prospect.
This information is of course invaluable in other areas of your marketing.
4 You get to see what phrases people search before clicking your advert
This can be hilarious or tragic but is certainly educational. Why does someone type in a search for Shamrock hotel and then click an advert for Shamrock catering? Is it really a good match when someone types in “adult parties” and clicks on an advert served to them by Google for catering? There are a couple of ways you can prevent this. However, the two key take aways are that people don’t always behave logically and that Google is not infallible.
5. You can “remarket” to people who have visited your website by showing your adverts to them when they visit other websites
You’ve probably noticed this happen to yourself; you visit an online shop and lo and behold, you see an advert for the very same product later on that day when you are browsing a totally different website. This is all done with cookies so that when someone visits your site, Google is able to track them so that when they visit another site that allows the display of Google adverts (the hosting website receives money for this if people click), Google knows to show one of your adverts as specified in your remarketing campaign.
This can either be very useful, or very annoying to the potential client. Something you’d need to test via conversion rate!
There is much much more to know about Google AdWords but perhaps this little peek behind the scenes will help you realise that AdWords can drive relevant traffic to your website where, with a well designed conversion funnel, you should get a whole lot more business.
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