Google AdWords – First Campaign!

Hello All – a quick post today on Google Adwords. This is an inexpensive way to answer two worthwhile questions:

  • Are you where you want to be? When you setup adwords, you define the keywords and phrases that people will search for. This is a great way to validate that your site’s focus is targeted to what people are searching for. For example, my own site effectively targets “bespoke” development; or development in conjunction with a “committed” partner. That doesn’t show up very well in Google searches, because no one searches for such a thing! Because you literally see the quality of your keyword (search) phrases, you visually can review your own corporate or individual mission and (as an Infantry colonel put it) “azimuth correct” accordingly.
  • What is your Call to Action? Within adwords you have exactly 70 characters to Get Your Point Across. That’s 20 characters for the heading (clickable link) that shows up when your site gets a search hit, 35 characters for line #1, and 35 characters for line #2. Your mission is to craft a message that will engage your possible target enough to get a click. Not only that…but remember that you pay for those clicks! So you need those clicks to lead to something; to achieve a goal conversion. Otherwise you are simply more irrelevance floating in the ether.

Let’s take a peek at how I answered those two questions based on my own first adwords campaign. That will lead to some great dialog on your end as you wrestle with the same topic on your own adwords.

Why Google Adwords?

First let’s look at the adword landscape:

  • Bing Search Engine Marketing. Bing provides its own adwords service, where the claim to fame is tight integration with syndicated partner sites (Facebook and Amazon plus networks like The Wall Street Journal Digital Network). In fact, Bing Network has as much as 30% of the online search share, with excellent customer support. The lower traffic that can result (Bing is simply less popular than Google) is offset by the higher quality of goal conversions.
  • This network gets your banner ads out to the Internet effectively with good transparency into the process.
  • 7Search. This is the oldest second-tier advertising network on the Internet and does require a minimum deposit of $25. However, it’s inexpensive to run keyword tests so you can review its effectiveness without breaking the bank.
  • This approach works well if you use parked domain names; a search hits to one domain are rerouted to your actual sit; you can get people who type in an exact URL of a relevant site they once visited.

The takeaway here is that you have options for targeted search engine marketing. Check out these alternatives before committing to Google for your entire marketing campaign.

Walk-thru on Google Adwords

For our use case we simply went through the process of setting up our first campaign on Google. This was instructive and eye-opening and quickly led to some great discussions and consideration of what our message is, how effective the message will be to get eyeballs locked onto it, and just what we want to do when we get those eyeballs.

  • Account Setup. You access Google Adwords as with any Google service; that is, through your Google account. So the first step is to Sign In to Adwords using your account. Let’s consider this one done 🙂
  • Campaign Type. When you setup a new marketing campaign you are prompted for the type of marketing campaign you want to create. As of Feb 25, 2014 you can select from any of the following:
    • Search Network. Simple and direct, this option display your ad next to Google search results when you only want to reach customers searching for your specific product or service.
    • Display Network. When you want to reach customers while they’re browsing online and you want to build brand awareness across a large audience by placing ads on websites that are relevant to your own offerings. Think of the targeted ads you see when you go to a specialized site such as the Wikihow page on configuring a Cisco router. In this case you haven’t really searched for anything; you are looking for information. A targeted set of ads will appear on the right based on this specific interest (computer networking, Cisco devices, etc.). If you use the Display Network option then your Google Adword campaign *may* appear on that site…more on the bid process later!
    • Search Network with Display Select. The best option for most adword campaigns. You get both the Search and Display options put together. By default, Google Adwords will prompt you to select this option.
    • Shopping. Are you already a Google Merchant? If so, then you can use the Shopping campaign to get your ads displayed within online retailers based upon tightly-focused search targets. For example, if you sell men’s ski vests then you can create a custom campaign based on your Google Merchant inventory, specifically your ski apparel. However, if you have a single good or service that you provide then the Shopping campaign is overkill.

    For our use case, we used the recommended “Search Network with Display Select” campaign type.

  • Devices and Location. By default your campaign shows up on all devices. However, you have the option to customize your campaign such that on particular devices you can use a different bid option. Consider High-End Mobile Ads: these ads aren’t necessarily high-end but they *are* designed to run on more-expensive smartphones (with greater resolution). You may want particular ads (such as a restaurant instant coupon) to be readily accessible by smartphone on the assumption that the user is very near to your (for example, a restaurant coupon). In this case, you may want to up your bid slightly to have a better chance of the customer picking *your* ad…after all, if the person is looking for a place to have lunch right now, you have a limited window of opportunity to get them. The location, on the other hand is simple: where do you want your ads to display? For our use case we selected the default of the U.S. and Canada.
  • Bid Strategy and Budget. These are interesting; you can select whether you want to manually set bids or have Google Adwords set the bid for you based on a daily budget. We’re just checking out these features; we set our budget purposefully low ($1/day) and told Google Adwords to set the bid automatically based on that budget. The bid strategy has three flavors: CPC (cost per ad-click); CPM (cost per “impressions” which are displays of your ads); CPA (cost per acquisition which ties bids based on how often click-thrus translate into goal conversions). Please do not be content with this quick answer! CPC vice CPM vice CPA is a huge topic and gets into some very complex arguments and approaches; for a great start see this blog entry on why CPM is a waste of $$ – especially the blog responses. You’ll quickly see that the bid strategy is critical to your adword campaign’s success. That being said, we selected the Google default 🙂
  • Ad Extensions. There are three options we could select from: Location, Sitelinks, and Phone Number. We selected to add Location (from our Google Account) and Phone Number (which we discovered wasn’t available via search on our target landing page…so we added one).
  • Create the Ad. This is where we get the 70-character limitation. You specify the heading (20 characters) and up to two lines (35 characters each line). Plus, you associate a landing page. For us we chose to emphasize Cloud, Engineering, and Federal solutions. You will want to craft your own message 😉
  • Keywords. Now we come to what drove this article. When you first setup an ad campaign Google will scan your landing page and extract keywords from it. Not only that, you’ll get a relative weighting of how many clicks you will get from each set of keywords. Snap! We discovered we have terrible keywords! This is where you can have a good conversation with your group to answer just what your mission and goals are. If you have a keyword phrase like “industrial product development” – that’s not so good unless you are really making industrial products…and even then it is so vague that you won’t get hits.
  • The Bottom Line

    This has been a good 2 hours of writing, so unfortunately we need to cut it short. Key takeaways include:

    • Tailor your landing page. Carefully phrase every part of your targeted page, make sure your keywords are properly reinforced, and articulate your mission clearly. It does no good to get a click if you don’t inspire an action.
    • Put in your Call to Action. You can’t get something if you don’t ask for it, and on the Internet that’s more true than ever. In our case, we are going to put in some very concise contact and query forms to give people a way to get in touch with us.
    • Identify your target. For us, Google Adwords was most effective in getting us to think about our keywords and what they represented. Your keywords and search engine results really do define your audience.

    We have barely touched on this topic, folks. There is so much more to cover on running an effective advertising campaign…but use the links we provided and you will get started quickly.

    Happy Computing!

    The Search Network includes Google Search, Shopping, Maps, Images, and Groups, as well as search partner sites like AOL

    Team-oriented systems mentor with deep knowledge of numerous software methodologies, technologies, languages, and operating systems. Excited about turning emerging technology into working production-ready systems. Focused on moving software teams to a higher level of world-class application development. Specialties:Software analysis and development...Product management through the entire lifecycle...Discrete product integration specialist!

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