ppc audit

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Last time in (part 1) we talked about the importance of the relevancy between ad groups, keywords, and landing page. Giving like-minded keywords their own ad group to create a specific ad is a great way to earn good quality scores. Also a landing page that precisely represents those keywords is an important part of the same equation.

Need help with your PPC campaign? Call us at (443) 475-0787 or Contact Us online.

“But I have good landing pages that match what my keywords and ads talk about. Why can’t I get a positive return on my spend?!?” Let’s find out.

Campaign Settings

In Google AdWords and Bing Ads, there are some cleverly placed default settings and not so obvious check boxes designed to help you waste spend your money.

Here is one such default for including search partners.

Google Adwords searchpartner

With this setting (Include Search Partners), your ads will be showing on more places than just google.com. Of course Google is saying you can reach more customers. Yes, that may be true but you also run the risk of having your ad impressions increase tremendously with virtually no bump in visits to your site. Here are some Google ads on a partner site… “one of the hundreds of search sites”.

amazon ads

I had to roll my mouse wheel five times to get to this part of the page. What do you think the likelihood is of someone clicking on your ad found on the bottom of an Amazon product page? How many times have you clicked on one of those ads? Did you even know those ads were there!

Why does this matter? Ad impressions that generate no clicks cause your click-through rate to decline. Low CTR begets lower quality score begets lower ad rank begets higher prices for good clicks. All this from a tiny default checkbox.

The best way is to see how this affects your CTR is to test. Duplicate a campaign and change that one setting. Run for a month with the “Include Search Partners” box checked and one month unchecked. Not the perfect A/B test, but it gives you usable data.

Do you run the risk of losing possible customers from other search partner sites? Maybe. But is the negative impact on the campaign worth the incremental sales? Yes, it’s brain damage, and you’ll need to do math. This is what separates PPC experts from PPC wanna-bees.

Bid Strategy

We have never really trusted Google holding our clients’ wallets. This one little check box is where you say to Google, “here’s the wallet”.

enable enhanced cpc

If you leave the Enable Enhanced CPC box checked (by default), you are essentially handing over your wallet to Google.

pay up

Does Enhanced CPC work? Of course it works to a certain degree. But again, Google is in the business on monetizing the click. The bigger the click, the more money they make.

In 2016, Google’s ad revenue amounted to almost 79.4 billion US dollars.” “96% of Google Revenue is Google AdWords PPC Advertising”.

So does increasing a bid guarantee a conversion? Not necessarily. Would the conversion happen regardless of an increased bid? Maybe. Should I run a PPC ad for my brand even though I do well organically? Yes and no. The solution? Detail an Enhanced CPC plan and test it as best you can. Let Google adjust your bids, then try doing it yourself.

Location Settings

This is a subtle way to get a bunch of useless clicks when using the default setting.

ppc location setting

Several years ago, this would default to ‘All countries and territories’. Many a PPC person has discovered they missed this setting when setting up a campaign. Using PPC tools and even AdWords Editor, it just gets missed on an occasion or two. Then how surprised we are to see how quickly the budget was burned. The writer of this blog post has been doing PPC for 14 years. Last week was the first time I ever used the ‘All countries and territories’ setting intentionally.

Even in the screenshot example, it defaulted to US and Canada. If you don’t change it, you are showing ads to all of Canada. Our recommendation? Even if your campaign is identical, create one campaign for US only and one for Canada only. Why? Clicks in Canada are less expensive than US. How can you effectively bid lower for terms as they compete in Canada versus the bids on terms as they compete in the US? It is two different playing fields, treat it as such. And if this sounds like overkill, then prove it to yourself. It’s easy enough to test.

Our intent is not to confuse you with some of Google’s recommended campaign settings. Rather, we are simply pointing out it’s worth testing. Don’t blindly roll with the AdWords default settings.

Set up an intelligent PPC campaign. Call us at (443) 475-0787 or Contact Us online.