Ask the Experts Series: Google AdWords

October 26, 2017

Each quarter we bring in 1-2 of our brilliant excelerate team members and have a chat with them about their profession. This time we sat down with Marla Husovsky and David Shaw to talk a little bit about Google AdWords and answer some of our most frequently asked questions.

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Marla tell us a little about your experience with excelerate and PPC.

Marla: I've been doing PPC since about 2008 and have been with excelerate just about 8 months. David and I manage approximately 55 accounts at the moment doing everything in Adwords and MatchCraft. I set up new accounts and optimize existing accounts. This includes keyword research ad copy updates and changes bid updates negative keyword additions and overall account management.

David tell me a little about yourself and what you do for excelerate.

David: Yeah certainly. My name is David and I've been with the excelerate digital team as an SEM/PPC strategist for a little over a year now. I've been running AdWords campaigns since 2012. My day to day much like Marla's is focused on building managing and optimizing AdWords and Bing ads campaigns on behalf of our advertisers. That includes doing extensive keyword research developing compelling ad copy ensuring that ads are showing in the top positions on the page and generally managing the AdWords success from the beginning of a sale on through the entirety of the relationship.

Why would a business want to use an AdWords professional versus doing it themselves?

David: Sure I'll take a crack at that. First one of the benefits of utilizing excelerate digital’s SEM/PPC offering is having access to AdWords Certified professionals like myself and Marla who've been doing this for several years. At the end of the day there’s no replacement for experience and throughout the years our team members have worked with a wide range of businesses and understand marketing challenges across numerous verticals and industries. This allows for our team to draw on a wealth of past successes and learning opportunities from past campaigns and clients to provide expert-level SEM guidance. The second layer of this deep level of experience provides our team with a greater understanding of Google’s policy requirements for advertiser ensuring that each advertiser is properly abiding by Google’s policies for what you can and cannot say in your ad copy on your ad’s landing page(s) etc.

Marla: So like David said those of us that have been doing this for a long time have a lot of inside knowledge and connections with Google. We have the ability to actually get on a call with our Google team and troubleshoot an account; this is one advantage that an agency has over someone  doing it on their own.  Typically with Google when they know that you're with an agency you have a better working relationship with them and they're a lot more willing and able to jump in and help than if you're not. Again like David was saying it's just a matter of us knowing the ends and outs of AdWords and what new products Google has to offer. This allows us to have access to those as beta testers so  we get those updates when they first come out versus someone trying to do this on their own who may never see them.

So I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations on best practices on combing both analytics and AdWords together?

David: Yes that's a good question. I would definitely say that AdWords and analytics work together as a pair. I generally recommend linking an advertiser's AdWords account to their Google Analytics account. That link allows for AdWords campaign and keyword data to report in Google Analytics as well as allowing the AdWords account to view and import any Google Analytics Goals as AdWords conversions. You can import those as AdWords conversions and then report on how your AdWords campaigns are delivering goal completions for the various actions you've set up on your site. So for instance if you've set up a goal completion for a contact confirmation you can import that Goal into your AdWords account and report how many AdWords visitors completed that contact form what keywords were responsible for those goal completions etc. There’s incredible value in Google Analytics’ ability to paint a picture of how users interact on your site after arriving via an ad so I definitely recommend linking the two platforms.

So what are both of your recommendations when it comes to keeping ad costs low and increasing conversions?

Marla: I think my biggest recommendation on keeping cost low is to make sure that you're bidding on accurate keywords. That of course starts with keyword research in to your product ... making sure that you're not bidding on keywords that while they may be similar to your product they actually have nothing to do with your product. For example insurance type keywords tend to be pretty broad category like State Farm All State etc. The word state can appear in many different search queries for many different things. In a campaign for State Farm we may want to negative match for terms like Ohio State University or if they don’t want to bid on competitors names we would negative match for All State Insurance. You always want to make sure you are constantly updating your negative keyword list. This is something that is very much the low hanging fruit an easy first thing to do to get to make sure that your ads are shown for relevant keywords only. You take a look at the search query reports see what people are actually searching on that makes your ad show up. If there are obvious keywords that you don't want to be shown for you can negative match those particular keywords. If those keywords are in a search query your ads not going to be shown and you're not going to potentially be driving people to your website that you know aren't going to convert.

David: Yeah Marla makes an excellent point. From my point of view the thing that separates people who do AdWords at a base level and people who do AdWords at high level or at an expert level is really how much attention you pay to negative keywords. Making sure that you're showing up regularly for the products and services that are important to your business in terms of keywords while at the same time making diligent effort to regularly negate queries and terms that contributed towards ad spend but maybe weren’t so relevant to your product offerings after all. Setting time every 7 or 14 days to identify and weed out those irrelevant terms those ad clicks that were generated by your keywords but weren't necessarily for your products and services is critical to maintaining AdWords success.

How does a business figure out the right AdWords budget to use?

David: Yeah I'll take a stab at that. Of course it's going to vary from advertiser to advertiser and industry to industry. But how we approach this is first to obviously get an understanding of what products and services need to be advertised from the advertiser’s point of view. Some businesses may offer 100 different service lines or products or brands but figuring out of those 100 which products and services are most important which ones are going to move the needle which ones are absolutely essential for us to show ads for. Narrowing down and having that focus on the critical products and services doing some keyword research along those product or service lines and having an understanding of how large of a target geography the campaigns should have are important elements to determining a proper AdWords budget. For instance is this an e-commerce business that can sell their products nationwide or even internationally? Or is this a local SMB that maybe has a 20 or 30 mile service radius around their location? Those questions are going to be critical in determining a budget. So doing that background research making sure you have an understanding of those key elements is really what's going to be most important in determining a proper budget.

Marla do you have anything to add on Adwords budgets for advertisers?

A lot and I'll say a lot meaning really a lot of clients will think well I'll just give you a whole bunch of money and when my campaign is performing well I'll just keep dumping money into it and that will increase performance. There is a point where more money does not necessarily equal more conversions or more traffic. It's a matter of finding that balance of hitting the top budget that they want to have to be in whatever position it is that they are looking for without having them end up with a negative ROI because they are spending way more than they should and expecting way too much. In summary more money does not always equate to more conversions.

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