3 AdWords Insights for Profitable PPC Campaign Management

The practice of Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign management can be a confusing endeavor for many search engine marketers. Google AdWords is an intricate advertising platform that demands some degree of experience and understanding to fully grasp. For this reason, many online marketers fail to manage successful PPC campaigns, and develop the belief that AdWords is purely a budget-suck for their ad spend.

The truth is, AdWords can definitely be big waste of your time and money. However, it’s typically campaigns that are not properly set-up and managed that fail to succeed. In this article, I hope to reverse any misconceptions you might have about AdWords by sharing with you three powerful insights for profitable PPC campaign management.

1. Understand Match Types for Effective Keyword Bidding

If you’re managing a PPC campaign, it’s imperative that you understand the various keyword match types. Otherwise, you could end up churning through your ad spend until your budget is dry.

The three primary match types for keyword bidding are broad, “phrase,” and [exact] match. For a clear explanation of each of these match types, visit this page by Google AdWords support.

Many uneducated marketers build their campaigns around broad match, which is extremely broad. That is, your ads will be triggered based on various long-tails, keyword variations, and synonyms. As a result, your ads may appear for keyword queries that do not truly reflect your target search market.

A solid bidding technique is to use modified broad match (or a “broad match modifier.”) In this scenario, you’ll place a “+” symbol in front of keywords you want to ensure are being used in a search query for your ad to appear.

For example, if we bid on the keyword +website +optimization +company, those three words must be used in a searcher’s keyword query for our ad to be shown. This is a very effective approach because many Google searchers use more detailed long-tail phrases to find what they’re looking for. So queries like “best website optimization company” or “website search engine optimization company” would trigger our ads. And those are keyword searches that we definitely want our ads to be shown.

2. Refer to “Search Terms” to Know Precisely What’s Triggering Your Ads

Even when you’re using more precise bidding techniques like modified broad match, undesirable keyword queries still might be triggering your ads. A good place to frequently visit when doing PPC campaign management is “Search Terms,” which is found under the “Dimensions” tab.

Under Search Terms you can view the exact keyword queries that cause your ads to trigger. This information can reveal a wealth of insights, and for some PPC managers, the data can be quite shocking.

For instance, take a look at the screen shot below. This particular ad group is only targeting parts, not actual skid steers. Based on this data we can conclude that broad match bidding is causing unwanted impressions and clicks, which is wasting budget. Instead we’ll implement exact phrase match and some modified broad match bidding strategies to avoid these issues.

Using search terms is the best tool for negative keyword research. If we see words that we do not want (e.g. “free” or “reviews”) we can add these terms to the list of negative keywords. Some keywords shown under search terms are clearly triggered by bots and not real humans, such as gehl ge342 mini excavator w cab & hydraulic thumb excavators shown above. In this case, simply add this keyword in exact phrase match form (surrounded by brackets) to the ad group’s negative keyword list.

3. Keep Ad Groups Tight and Keyword Focused

One of the most common problems for PPC advertisers is having too many keywords in one ad group. One of the best practices of PPC campaign management is to keep your ad groups very focused to very relevant keyword groupings. This enables you to create highly targeted ad copy based on a few very related keyword targets.

In addition to helping you write targeted ad copy, having focal keyword groupings per ad group will help to increase your quality scores. This practice can also enable you to develop better landing pages per ad, which can significantly help your conversion rates.

In short, strive to have only 2-4 closely related keywords in each ad group. If you find yourself adding a laundry list of phrases under one ad group, consider creating a new ad group for the oddballs, or implement more efficient bidding strategies.

About the Author

Tyler Tafelsky offers over five years of professional experience in search engine marketing with a keen skill-set in PPC campaign management for Web Presence Group. Tyler is also adept in organic search marketing (SEO) and social media engagement. You can connect with Tyler on Google Plus, or email him directly at Tyler@WebPresenceGroup.net.

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3 Responses to 3 AdWords Insights for Profitable PPC Campaign Management

  1. JakeSEO December 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Why is it that Google’s default is broad match? Doesn’t this deter the advertiser in the long run? Also, why is it that there is not an option to just make a keyword broad modified in Google with out manually adding the + sign to every keyword? Seems that Google does not want the average PPC user to use broad modified. What are your thoughts? Is Google still testing broad modified even though it had been over a year since its introduction?

    • Tyler Tafelsky December 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      Great questions, Jake. As much as I hate to say it, I am under the impression that it’s an easy way for Google to gain revenue from inexperienced advertisers. Additionally, broad match is the default setting for Google’s keyword tool, inflating the expectations of most beginner users. It doesn’t seem right, but it’s the way it is.

      I don’t believe Google is doing any testing with modified broad match. It’s very under utilized by most advertisers, although highly effective, in my opinion. You just need to monitor your campaigns closely from the beginning and drill down on those negative keywords. Cheers.

      • Simon Colley December 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

        Nicely put Tyler and yes I’d agree, defaulting to broad match is certainly an easy way for Google to make money. In terms of modified broad match, there is no testing, it’s fully up and running. However the modified broad match functionality has to be manual to allow the person managing the campaign to choose which keywords within a phrase they definitely want to be part of a user’s search query. Thanks for your comments Jake.

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