Last year was the first year that online advertising revenue surpassed the revenue generated through traditional media. As it continues to become much harder to snatch up one of the few organic positions left in any given SERP, companies are being forced to push more and more of their advertising budgets towards Google AdWords. Putting money into Google AdWords is one thing, but how do you get the most out of your budget? If you’re a large firm working with a huge budget, even the slightest decrease in average CPC can save you millions!
Below, I have listed the top 4 KPI’s (key performance indicators) that you could be overlooking and explain why improving in these areas can do wonders for you overall cost-per-conversion metrics.
1. Click Through Rate (CTR)
CTR is the total clicks divided by ad impressions. Essentially this metrics measures your ads effectiveness, and if you’re doing it right you should have a high CTR. There are many tactics that you can use to improve in this area:
- Create different variations of ad copy. The AdWords platform can actually show you which variations are getting you the highest CTR and helps you optimize going forward.
- Make sure you are utilizing ad extensions. One of the more recent releases is the Google+ review extension. Displaying that you have let’s say, 25 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 stars can instantly increase a user’s trust in your brand.
- Take a look at what your competitors are using in their ads. Are they more enticing than yours?
2. Quality Scores (QS)
A keyword’s quality score is a grading system used by Google that determines if your ad is eligible to receive an impression on a particular search query, how much a click on that impression will cost you and what position it will be shown in. A better QS gets you a better ad position at a lower CPC. So what is Google looking at when they grade you?
- Historical CTR of your account
- Keyword Relevance (within your ad copy)
- Landing page quality
- Landing page relevance
If you are curious about your QS’s, you can find them by modifying the columns within the Keyword tab on the dashboard. You can also hover your cursor over the keyword’s eligibility status, and it will give you a quick breakdown of how you can improve the quality score.
3. Search Term Report
The search term report allows you to see how your ads performed when clicked, as well as show you the exact word, or set of words that triggered the ad impression. I want to focus on the importance of reviewing the search terms.
Quite often you’ll notice that you are receiving a ton of clicks and conversions from search terms that are not part of your keyword list – you should be adding them to it! On the other hand, there could also be search terms that are getting clicks, and not converting because they aren’t really qualified for your services. These specific terms need to be added to the negative keyword list. Keywords on the negative keyword list will no longer be eligible to trigger your ad, and in turn you will no longer be wasting budget on clicks you do not want.
There are negative keywords that should be added to almost every AdWords campaign. These could include searches for employment like jobs, employment opportunities, hiring, employer, resumes, etc. Yes, it is always good to receive resumes from qualified candidates, but you don’t need to be wasting clicks/budget on them. Others include search terms including keywords such as free, kijiji, ebay, craigslist, cheap. Generally, these users are not looking to pay top dollar for the goods they are searching for, so unless you specialize in a low cost/penetration pricing strategy – these are probably not highly qualified leads that you would prefer not to pay for.
4. Conversion Rate
The conversion rate tells you how many users took a desired action when they visited your website. There is always the situation where you have optimized your AdWords campaign to the best of your ability, but your destination page is not converting. You have less than ten seconds to grab the attention of a user, so make sure you have a strong call-to-action!
Another strategy that many of our customers use is building dedicated landing pages to seal the deal! Landing pages are focused on targeting a particular stream of traffic (in this case your AdWords campaign) and is focused on lead capture forms. If done properly, you will convert a higher percentage of your visitors into leads. A successful landing page has the following characteristics:
- Speaks to/focused on what a user is searching for
- Has a clear call-to-action
- Has content that relates to your ad copy
- Has a clear way for customers to contact you