Tag Archives: Google AdWords

Google AdWords Explained

Google AdWords is a pay per click program. Pay Per Click programs, PPC or Pay For Performance are all the buzz in Internet marketing. The growth in web traffic generated by pay per click services is growing and a marketing option to be seriously considered. With PPC, you pay each time a web viewer chooses your ad listing link and clicks into your website.

Pay per click targets a specific audience reaching up to 85% of all Internet users in a cost effective and immediate way. There can be as much as a $20 return of investment for each $1 spent.

The first step is to select which pay for performance agent to use.

Although Yahoo has more overall visitors statistically, due to their Web properties, than Google, Google AdWords is the most productive pay per click vehicle and the place you should start with when you decide to advertise using pay per click. In the United States, over 80% of all Internet searches will start on Google first. With Google AdWords, you can see your ads in several hours, and have the ability to start and stop campaigns easily. You will show your products and services to millions of viewers and active shoppers using the massive reach of Google. Additionally Google AdWords will typically out perform Yahoo and MSN adCenter when it comes to generating conversions and return on investment.

The second step is to select your targeted keyword or phrases.

At this point you may want to consider increasing the density of your selected keywords in your website’s HTML code, your site’s description, and title. However, we have found that you can still experience great returns using PPC without revising your website, as your PPC ads are triggered by the keywords you selected that are tied to your ad and not your web site’s content.

The third step is to select your monthly budget.

You select the maximum amount that you will pay each month for click throughs to your website. Once the maximum amount is reached your agent will halt click throughs to your site automatically. Additionally, you will select how much you are willing to pay by keyword.

With Yahoo! Sponsored Search, you will be charged your pre-designated budget amount on a monthly basis in advance of the clicks. Clicks are then deducted from your account balance on a daily basis. With Google AdWords, you may pause a campaign or update your settings at any time. There are no minimum monthly spending limits and no contracts or long term commitments. You can select to be charged for clicks after they happen.

How much should you allot for a pay per click program?

I suggest that clients should set a budget of at least $500 and better yet $800 to $1,500 for 30 days of clicks on top of our fees for the first month. This allows Google to have enough budget to not minimally serve the account and allows us enough latitude to find the sweet spot for a market competitive cost per click.

When you are ready to get serious about pay per click for your business we invite you to consider our AdWords services. Not sure which account manager to use? Review our client ratings and testimonials as you evaluate your choices.

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PayPal Versus Google AdWords

I wanted to bring to your attention some issues in using PayPal and tracking conversions on sales on Google AdWords in this issue.

Right now with PayPal, if the user selects to purchase with their PayPal account they will be automatically be redirected back to your selected landing page in which you have embedded your Google AdWords conversion tracking code. However, if the customer selects to pay by credit card (not the one tied to their PayPal account), they will no longer be automatically redirected to your landing page accruing a conversion. For this type of user, your buyer must now click an orange button to return to your website on their order confirmation page.

If they perform this action, they will go to your landing page and a Google AdWords conversion will be recorded. If they choose not to click the orange button to return to your site, the sale is recorded, but a conversion for Google AdWords is not recorded. This is a very big problem for any client who is using PayPal and then marketing these services on Google AdWords and really needs to know conversion statistics.

As a Professional Google AdWords Account Manager I will not be recommending that clients use PayPal if they are promoting their items on AdWords unless they are using a third party PayPal Web Pro integrated shopping cart. As an account manager, the recording of conversions is one of our biggest tools to understanding if the advertising spend on AdWords is an investment or an expense.

So what can you do if this is a problem for you?

1. In your PayPal settings you can force all users to use either their PayPal account or set one up. This means they will be redirected at the completion of the order to your conversion tracking landing page.

2. You can move to a different credit card processing program – I use Sage Payment for my online credit card transactions. Although PayPal makes it very easy to do online transactions, the issues in regards to accurate conversion tracking may force you to use an alternative service. 

3. You may even want to test, for two weeks or so, forcing customers to use their PayPal account for transactions online and see if you receive complaints. The reality is that most people who do buy online at some point have set up a PayPal account, but for some reason may not want to use it. If tracking a conversion is crucial to your business, you may need to force them to use their PayPal account to shop on your site.

It is easy to change this one setting (forced use of the buyers PayPal account) in your PayPal account settings and easy to undo as well. If you choose not to do this, you and your AdWords account manager simply need to be aware that some sales simply will not be recorded as AdWords conversions. If that is the case, AdWords conversions and overall sales should be evaluated together when reviewing the success of an AdWords program. The big draw back to all of this is that your statistical data on which keywords convert for you and which do not will not be accurate.

I wish these work arounds were not needed, as the redirect issue has not been an issue before, but for some reason PayPal has decided to make these important changes in the order confirmation page that impact conversion tracking forcing us to look for alternatives to their service.

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Google AdWords Trends From August 2009

There are several marked trends that we have seen across many business sectors in Google AdWords this past month. One has been an increase in advertising start up and the other has been a marked increase in conversion activity. Both trends bode well for a change in our economy and for increased business for the fourth quarter of 2009.

First, many clients who have moved out of AdWords due to budget restraints and the economy are moving back into AdWords this past month. We’ve had several new account set up and several paused clients re-start programs. What is interesting to me is that with this flow back into AdWords, typically we see a rise in the cost per click as more competition drives the click cost up on AdWords, but we have not seen this activity yet. Possibly we will this next month, but not so far.

Second, we’ve seen a real jump in conversions across nearly every market sector. Conversion activity has been particularly strong in August with many clients having their best month ever or for the best month in the past six months. Now not all conversions are sales in “AdWords language”. For some accounts a conversion does mean a true online purchase, but for other clients a conversion actually means a lead. A conversion lead really should called a micro-conversion, but AdWords calls it a conversion in their tracking and control panel. Whatever you call it, increased leads and increased sales is good news for our economy and our own personal clients.

So based on these trends should you be moving back into AdWords or should you wait out the economy a bit longer? The decision may be in part based on what you sell. Most of the activity we are seeing is still for products under $1,000 or so and not the big ticket purchases of $2,000 and more, but based on the activity we are seeing, the prospects for a strong economy for the fall are looking pretty good.

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CPC Rising on Google AdWords

After three months of decreasing cost per click prices on Google AdWords, the CPC is on the move up for the majority of the accounts we are managing.

I manage numerous Google AdWords accounts and am seeing this as a strong trend starting in mid March and continuing into April. The cost per click is increasing in nearly all accounts. However, impression activity is still low or the same on many accounts. So although advertisers are feeling bullish about AdWords and moving  back into the platform, searchers and buyers have still not returned to previous levels.

For advertisers who have a click budget under $500 a month for clicks, it will be a struggle to get Google to serve their ads due to increasing competition for the available clicks with the decreased search traffic. Advertisers with larger budgets will simply, by default, hog the available traffic as Google tries to help them spend their budget during the day. With their budget lasting longer into the day it will be hard for those with smaller budgets to get a piece of the available action.

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AdWords Trends

We’ve seen a strong downward trend in the cost per click in Google AdWords starting in January. If your account is still set up for clicks based on the cost per click increases you had to make in September and October to salvage your AdWords business, now is the time to take a careful look to see where you can start trimming back.

Google had a decrease of about 64% in income in the fourth quarter of 2008. The economic stagnation is finally hitting Google AdWords with advertisers moving out of the mix causing profits to fall for Google and impacting the cost per click in Google AdWords. With over 5 years as a professional account manager and managing accounts for businesses in a broad number of sectors, we are seeing several strong trends in activity.

  1. The opportunities to drop the cost per click and still retain excellent ad position on AdWords is happening right now. Although this is not across the board in every business, we are seeing a marked trend down in the cost per click needed to retain page position.
  2. Although impressions for many accounts still remain high, we are starting to see a drop in impressions for some accounts as a reflection of decreased searches.
  3. For our client accounts at this point we are not seeing a marked decrease in conversions. In fact for many clients due to the decreased competition online for clicks, we are actually seeing an increase in conversions.
  4. For my own business, I am seeing more clients come in to AdWords for the first time as well as more prospects wanting information or just consulting but wanting to self manage their accounts to keep expenses lean.

My biggest tip on AdWords at this time is to review your cost per click to see if you can start to drop your bid without impacting performance. For some account this means as much as a $1 per click drop and for others we are incrementally moving down at $.05 to $.10 at each review. For some accounts some keywords can go down and other hot property keywords have had to go up in cost per click, but the general marked trend is a downward drop in the cost per click.

If you haven’t read Jeremy Chatfield’s predictions on what will happen with Google AdWords for 2009 I would recommend that you click in to read his blog post on this topic.  I think as Google gets squeezed more by the economic realities of our time, we will see Google try to squeeze more dollars out of each click and work hard to stop the slide in their revenues by looking to creatively increase the cost per click for advertisers. We’ve already seen Yahoo add a minimum cost per click level on many keywords which is simply a bogus “grab for cash” and Jeremy expects Google to do likewise this next year with a big push on using broad match, minimum cost per click bidding, and “spin” on the impact of personalized search.

Jeremy’s been right before particularly on the September 2008 AdWords quality score adjustment. It will be interesting to see how Google reacts as we see an even greater decline in their profits for the first quarter of 2009.

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How Do You Monitor Google AdWords?

It is shocking, but there are business out there that are spending thousands of dollars on Google each month without any checks and balances in place to monitor the performance of their programs.

Before we start working with an AdWords client we want several things in place. (This is really in the client’s best interest.) We want to have metrics to evaluate the success, or lack thereof,  of their Google AdWords program.

This is what we recommend:

  1. Have a website statistics package installed. AWStats is not enough. We like Urchin and second best Google Analytics.
  2. Have a contact form on the website that when the script is triggered drops the client to a new URL for the thank you page. Contact forms that simply place text on the same page thanking the client for a form submission will never be able to have Google AdWords conversion tracking installed.
  3. Make sure that AdWords conversion tracking is installed on the thank you or order confirmation page.
  4. Have a budget established for $800 to $1,500 per month for clicks to start with. Less than that, you really should not use our services as we will add too much to your program’s overhead.
  5. Consider custom landing pages targeted to your ad group’s themes. Some clients don’t always need this as they may have a page on their website that is a good match, but we never recommend dropping the AdWords clickee on the home page of the website. When we do custom landing pages we always enable a form at the bottom to allow for fast questions and an additional way to capture the lead for further contact.

If you are not using metrics to evaluate your AdWords program, you are just leaving your pocket book or wallet open on the table for Google to grab your cash without accountability. You should only spend on Google AdWords when it is smart for your business.

I’ve seen and made happen some absolutely wild success stories with Google AdWords, but I’ve also told some clients that AdWords is not working for them and they should stop advertising there. If you don’t measure the activity and leads generated by your program, you will simply be guessing at whether AdWords is working for you. You should not be guessing, you should know!

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