Using AdWords as an online marketing tool has many benefits for a business. It is cost effective, measurable, flexible, faster than SEO when it comes to generating traffic, and most importantly easy to set up. But setting up your AdWords account is only the beginning. To be successful and see a return on your investment, you must be consistent with the management and maintenance process of your campaigns.
You’ll need to make adjustments to your AdWords campaigns on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis in order to achieve the best possible success. Because AdWords provides such detailed analytics, it is easy to get lost in all the data. Understanding what to look for and how to interpret all the information is key to maintaining and managing a successful AdWords account.
What to review in your AdWords account on a daily basis.
Daily maintenance of your AdWords account consists of checking each campaign’s overview, along with the ad groups and keyword performance under each campaign. The process should only take you about 5 to 15 minutes because you are just looking to make sure that your campaigns are running as scheduled.
First, check the status column of your campaign to ensure that it is ‘Eligible,’ meaning your ads are running per the schedule set up. If the status of the campaign is anything other than ‘Eligible’ (e.g. paused, removed, limited by budget), you need to address the issue accordingly. For instance, let’s say the campaign status is ‘Limited by Budget,’ which occurs when your budget does not cover the maximum potential of traffic that is available or you’re running out of money before the end of the day. You will need to make an adjustment to resolve the issue. Some possible solutions are to adjust your campaign schedule, increase your daily budget, or decrease your budget per keyword.
Second, review your campaign’s ad groups to identify any ad group that may need immediate attention. To identify any such ad groups, sort by click through rate (CTR), which measures how often people click on your ad after it is shown to them. Using past CTR as your baseline, review each ad group’s baseline to ensure that it is within your normal range. For instance, a low CTR can mean that your ad is not attracting visitors. You may need to take a closer look at the structure of the ad.
Make sure that there is a call to action that is relevant to the keywords that are connected to it. For example, if my ad says “#1 Furniture Store – Tables, chairs, beds and more!!” but my keywords all have to do with “building furniture,” the person who sees my ad in search will not click because the ad isn’t relevant to what they are looking for. They are more likely to click on an ad that has to do with IKEA over mine, so I will need to adjust either my ad or my keyword to better reflect a searcher’s intent.
Lastly, you will check the status of the keywords in your campaign by sorting them by status. Review the status to ensure that ads are eligible to be triggered by each keyword. There are different keyword statuses that tell you whether the keyword is triggering ads to run. The action you take is different with every status, but, in general you want to be sure that they are all in eligible status. A status that may require you to make and adjustment is ‘Below first page bid estimate,’ which happens when the current cost-per-click (CPC) bid is lower than the amount needed to place your ad. If your budget allows, adjust the bid amount on the keyword so that the ad will appear if the keyword is triggered.
What to review in your AdWords account on a weekly basis.
Weekly, you will review CTR, CPC, clicks, and impressions in the ad group and keyword tabs to help you determine what you may need to adjust in your campaign. Minor adjustments to your account like changing keyword modifiers, bid amounts, and ad schedules can be done on a weekly basis, so that any changes made have sufficient time to accumulate data for you to review the following week.
Similar to daily maintenance tasks you will review CTR taking it one step further by looking to see if the clicks are generating conversions. For example, we have learned that a high CTR means your ad is attracting visitors, but failing to convert a click could mean that the landing page a visitor is brought to is not providing them with what they want. This is comparable to seeing an advertisement for a coffee table for sale at a furniture store, only to find out that they only sell dining room tables. Adjustments to your landing page or ad may be necessary if you are not receiving the conversions you desire.
You will also need to review CPC to see if there are budget adjustments that can be made to either get you more clicks and impressions, or drive your CPC down. A useful tool in AdWords to help you understand if you are bidding where it benefits you the most is the Top vs. Other segment found in the campaign, ad groups and keyword tabs. Applying the segment helps you analyze your ad’s performance at the top position above the organic search results, versus other positions below the organic search results. In the example below, you can see that Google Top and Other have a similar number of clicks, and although the ‘Other’ position has a lower CTR, it is where you are gaining the most conversions. What this tells you is that you do not have to bid for the top position to meet your conversion goals, which will help you adjust your bid amount accordingly.
Lastly, you will review your keyword performance by checking Status, CTR and Quality Score. We have touched on the importance of reviewing Status and CTR, so let’s take a closer look at Quality Score. A keyword’s Quality Score is an assigned value on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being poor, and 10 being great. It is a measurement of the quality of your ads and their respective landing pages; it considers the expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. A lower score means that the users are not finding the ad relevant, so you may need to adjust your keywords.
Using the previously mentioned furniture store example, I may have a phrase match keyword “tables” listed with a Quality Score of 3/10. Adjusting my keyword to be more specific, for instance by changing “tables” to “dining room tables”, can help. Additionally, making sure that the ad that is clicked on takes the user to a landing page that offers information on dining room furniture can help improve my Quality Score because it speaks directly to the search intent of that user.
What to review in your AdWords account on a monthly basis.
Once you have been managing your account using daily and weekly routines you will have developed a deeper understanding of how your AdWords campaign is performing. Using that knowledge and aligning them with your online advertising goals you can make major changes to your campaign during this monthly mark. Use this time to create new campaigns, ads, and ad groups.
Remember our furniture store? This is when I can develop a new campaign to showcase a sale on dining room chairs since my dining room tables sold so well. I will need to create a completely new ad, ad group, and maybe even landing page. Making major changes monthly gives you enough time to be strategic with your overall online marketing advertising because you will have accumulated enough data to understand the approach that works best for your business. Keeping a watchful eye on your AdWords campaigns takes the guess work out of what changes your account needs.