Instead of always look at what to do, it’s sometimes just as useful (or even more useful) to look at what not to do. You may be doing a bunch of things right with your campaigns, but not realize that you may be doing this one thing wrong. So let’s take a look at some common mistakes in our Adwords campaigns :
Mistake #1 : Combining Search and Content Networks
One reason this happens is people simply forget to turn the content network off when they start a new campaign. But people also just naturally run search and content under the same campaign. Separate search and content campaigns, they’re two different ways of playing the game and you have to play them both differently. Different bids, keywords, everything. It’s just easier to spread them apart. I personally split them between different accounts. My accounts are either search only or content only.
Mistake #2 : Dropping Bids too Fast
Another mistake people make is getting too anxious about dropping their bids and making the transition from the “losing money” phase to the profitable phase. Example : you start a new campaign and you’re bidding for the front page. You have an awesome CTR and your conversions are pretty good, but you’re losing money. You start your bids at $1.00 and you’re in position 3. After the first day, your average CPC naturally falls from $0.98 to $0.95. You’re sick of losing money and want to turn things around, so you drop your max CPC down to $0.95 to match the average. Wrong move. Your position is now going to drop, along with CTR. You didn’t give Adwords enough time to “love” your campaign. In this current situation, I’d wait until average CPC drops to about $0.85 before I start pulling down my max CPC to $0.95. Slow and steady wins the race. Maintain that position while ultimately paying less and less for each click.
Mistake #3 : Starting Bids too Low
Cool, so you start your campaign and all of your keywords have an OK quality score with a minimum bid of $0.10. Let’s start our bids off at $0.10 then, right? Wrong again. Starting your bids off at the minimum will start you in a crappy position (unless theres 0 competing ads), which will then translate into low CTR and everything that follows. Quality score gets slapped, you’re paying more with no improvement in position, etc. Ignore minimum bids and focus on what you need to bid in order to get you into a position that you’ll see good CTR.
Mistake #4 : Broad Matching From the Start
Don’t start your campaigns with broad matching keywords (unless you have a completely insane list of negatives). Broad matching will get you a lot of impressions, also a lot of which aren’t targeted enough to get a good CTR. Start off using just phrase and exact match, and you’ll start off with a better CTR. Play that for a little until your bid prices start falling and QS starts increasing, and then introduce some broad matched keywords.
Mistake #5 : Not Enough Testing
Many people simply aren’t testing enough ads in their campaigns for optimal CTR. They’ll split test 3 or so ads and once they find the best ad, just leave that one up and let her ride. Never be content with your ad CTR – always fight to increase it. Find the best ad out of that three, and then match it up against a new one. Test everything. Turn on “rotate ads evenly” and give each ad their fair share.
Mistake #6 : Too Many Keywords in Adgroups
I’m not going to spend too much time on this one because it’s boring and you’ve heard it 100 times before. Less keywords = more targeted = higher CTR and conversions. Don’t pull 2,000 keywords from Wordtracker and put them all into 1 group. Keyword Companion is an awesome tool to break up keyword lists. So don’t be lazy, the more time you spend optimizing, the more money you’ll make.
Mistake #7 : Not Tracking Everything
You have to track things other than just your ads – track keywords too! You may think your campaign is going well with a 3% CTR – which isn’t bad by any means. You look into one of your adgroups and see that there’s a keyword getting 1/2 of the impressions and has a 0.53% CTR. Taking out this keyword will skyrocket your CTR. Track the CTR of keywords and how they convert – it’s important.
Mistake #8 : Not Testing by Time of Day
When I say “track everything”, I mean track everything. Track down to the hour of the day. When you look at hourly stats, you can see times of the day when CTR is awesome and so are conversions. You can also see the “gaps” in your day that CTR and conversions are down – you may be losing money during these times. By optimizing this, you’ll increase your profit and CTR. Both good things for your Adwords account.
Mistake #9 : Realizing That Landing Pages Effect Adwords
Many people believe that Adwords is all about what’s in your account, and once they click the ad it’s now all just about the CTR on your landing page and how it converts. Adwords also looks at your bounce rate, or how many people leave your page after just 1 initial impression. Bad bounce rate = bad page in Google’s eyes. It’s tricky, but work on getting users to stick around your page for a little before moving on to the offer and converting there. You can actually increase conversions while decreasing bounce rate, it just takes some effort and testing on your part.
Mistake #10 : Getting Discouraged too Easily
One big thing to realize is that Adwords is certainly not an easy beast to tackle. I’ve talked to affiliate marketers that are making $5,000/day off of Yahoo and MSN, and still are having a rough time with profiting in Adwords. Too many people make a couple attempts at Adwords, fall flat on their face, and then walk away with their tail between their legs. Adwords takes a lot of time and more importantly patience to master. I’m not even close to mastering Adwords yet, but I’ve had the patience to lose a lot of money with it for the sake of learning a few things that I’m now sharing with you. Six months ago, I didn’t have the patience. I put up a few campaigns, had them run for about two days before they got slapped, and then called it quits with Adwords. Don’t be that me six months ago, because I know that’s how a lot of you are now. It’s like a David and Goliath sort of thing. Adwords is the Goliath, but a few small tricks here and there can have a big impact.
I know this was more of a “classic” article that’s been done many times before, but I hope you maybe pulled something new from this one. Cutting out the number of wrong things will increase the number of right things, which means more money in your pocket.