Are you burning through your online ad budget – or, more specifically, your Google Adwords budget – every day with minimal results to show?
Here’s a humorous example: I was doing a search on “Sizzix.” For those who don’t have a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator as a wife, Sizzix is a company which makes die cutting, embossing & texturizing machines as well as the dies to accompany them. Their equipment, which is built to last, easily runs up to several hundred dollars a piece. My reasons for searching on “Sizzix” were varied – they would probably best fall under the “just surfing” category or, more specifically, I guess I’ll reveal that I was wondering what price range retailers were selling them for in order to get an idea of the markup.
An Adword in the top right position caught my attention. I did the search twice and saw the ad both times, but, of course, this time, when I planned to copy & paste it, the ad was gone. The ad was for a commercial tool & die company – apparently a small one, located in my home state (Pennsylvania). The 8 page site looked like it was built in the late 90s by a local web design company (ie painful to view) and had little eye pleasing copy – primarily technical descriptions about horizontal milling machines, engine lathes, grinders, you get the idea. Obviously, not something the typical crafty searcher would be looking for. You might even say that they were throwing their Adword cash into the fire.
So, how did something like this take place? I’m going to guess that, whether this local machine shop set up their Adwords campaigns themselves or had another company (Yellow Pages, etc) do it, whoever set them up used the built in keyword suggestion tool in the Adwords account. You type in “tool & die shop” (nor that phrase but something similar), and you’d probably get prompted with a lengthy list of words – some relevant, many not. Typically, people will then pick and choose what words they’ll actually target with their Adword campaigns. However, when the popular search word “Sizzix” showed up in the list, whoever was setting up the campaigns apparently chose to include that word, though, if they’d only done their homework, they would have realized that word and the traffic it would generate for them would not be a good match.
One more question: how do you stop burning up your Adwords budget on non converting keywords? Fairly simple, actually. As long as you have a decent website traffic metric installed (Google Analytics is perfect), you can monitor what pay per click keywords are generating traffic for your website and what people are doing once they arrive on your site. Look down through the list carefully. Simplistically speaking, you want to mark (and probably discontinue) any keywords which have very high (80 – 100%) bounce rates; a bounce rate is when a visitor lands on a page and then exits your website without visiting any other pages. Based on how your other keywords are performing, you may want to trip them some more (ie the 55-80% range). Then, look down through the list to see if there are any other irrelevant pay per click keywords which are generating traffic. Google loves to maximize their bucks, so you’ll have to go into your account and make sure you’re not giving Google free reign to “experiment” with very high trafficked, generic keywords which you might not have the budget for.
The moral of the story: keep a tight grip on your Adwords budget and don’t let it slip through your fingers; your boss wants a good investment (I hope), not merely an investment (though I’ve run into plenty who just want to spend the money thinking that “if you spend it, they will come …”).