In an effort to give away all the little secrets (as well as basic stuff) I have gathered running 100m-a-year in PPC campaigns I am publishing this document as a point of reference for me to link back to rather than my blog which I am in the process of redoing.
I use this doc to cut-and-paste answers to commonly asking Q's from members starting out on adwords.
Its the nitty-gritty.
Adwords is like an algorithm...impossible to figure out 100%, but here are some of the basics.
I'm hoping to post some really good advanced methodologies in the near future regarding bidding strategies, but I figured I would start here.
If you have any Q's about running an Adwords campaign, whether for the first time or not, feel free to drop me a line.
So here we go;
The first step to creating a new campaign is to do keyword research. Keywords are search terms that an end-user puts in to a search engine.
There are different methods used to obtain the keywords that you need to generate for the Adwords campaigns. Keywords are selected by several considerations such as;
Competitiveness/KEI - Keyword Effectiveness Index (The KEI compares the number of searches for a keyword with the number of search results to pinpoint which keywords are most effective for your campaign. The higher the KEI, the more popular your keywords are, and the less competition they have. That means that you might have a better chance of getting to the top. According to the KEI definition, the best keywords are those that have many searches and that don't have much competition in the search results.
Misspellings (ergonomic and natural misspellings)
Suggestions made by the different search engine based on their past results. Create separate list within each engine that you are setting up the campaign in. Each will have its own separate history for the keywords so its best to use each.
Negative Keywords Using negative keywords is a core component of building a successful keyword list. A well-targeted keyword list can help lower advertising costs and ensure relevant clicks for your business or service. It's important to remember that over-using negative keywords can result in a very limited advertising audience. However, not using negative keywords can mean that your ad rarely reaches users who will want your business or service. Consider all your potential keywords carefully, including negative keywords, before you add them to your Ad Group(s).
To identify appropriate negative keywords for your account, you can use the following methods:
The Keyword Tool
Enter a very generic keyword related to the product or business (generally a one-word keyword). The tool should provide keywords that are very vaguely related to the original keywords you entered. Some of these may be relevant to your product, and others may not. To identify keywords that may cost you more without gaining clicks from truly interested visitors, switch the Keyword Tool to the possible negative keywords view. Once within this view, you can also sort by Search Volume to see which of these keywords have more traffic. Popular keywords can increase your spending without gaining actual customers or leads for your campaign.
For example, if your keyword is used books, you can enter this term in the Keyword Tool. You may then see terms that include the following:
used rare books
rare and used books
used audio books
used books sale
used technical books
If you don't sell these books, you can add the negative keywords rare, audio, sale, and technical from the Possible negatives column. This makes certain that your ad won't show for the above keywords.
Manually add negative keywords
You can also manually add negative keywords to your keyword lists. First, think of all phrases that you especially don't want your ad to appear for. To specify a negative keyword, place a negative sign () before the word. An example Ad Group keyword list:
French used books
You can apply the negative keyword option for a keyword at both the Ad Group and campaign level.
Google and MSN
a. Research top 10 keywords and the ads that come up in the top of the PPC results within each Search Engine. Do a search in Google for the keyword that you are targeting. Look at the top 3 ads (light blue sponsored listings) and see if there are any similarities in the adcopy title, description and landing pages. You want to create something similar, but not exactly the same ad.
b. When creating ads, be sure that the keyword/keyword phrase is included in both the title and the description.
Example; Debt Consolidation
Get Debt Help through
c. Be sure to include the keywords in the display url.
d. Ads should be grouped together by main keywords. This will make adgroups easier to track and make adjustments to. (eg. The keywords debt consolidation loans would be located in the adgroup debt consolidation)
e. If you create ads to run as exact or phrase, be sure to group all of these into their own campaign: eg. Debt consolidation (phrase)
f. Create a minimum of 3 different ads for each keyword group.
g. Each ad needs to concentrate on 1 of the 3 top versions/spelling/phrases
1st ad title: Debt Consolidation
2nd ad title: Consolidation Loans
3rd ad title: 100% Consolidation Loans
h. If it applies, create tracking codes in BidBuddy for tracking.
Yahoo Yahoo will be changing everything it currently does after the beginning of the year therefore we have not included any of the information yet.
In the initial stages of your campaigns, always bid so that your positions put you between position 1-3. There are 2 reasons for this;Keyword Matching Options
i. You need as much traffic as soon as possible to be able to make the appropriate adjustments to your bidding strategies
ii. The search engines look at keywords and their CTR (click through rate) to determine where your ad is going to be placed and how much you will spend to be there. Their contention is that if an ad is getting clicked on, then it must be what the end-user is looking for and therefore we should put higher in their ranks. They will also put you there for less cost per click. Some keywords have a vendor spending 10-20% more than their competition for the same keyword, but they rank below them because more people click through their ads. It used to be that you could outbid your competitors, (you still can on Yahoo) but MSN and Google have implemented performance guidelines that determine where you place and how much you spend, based on the CTR of each individual keyword.
Day Parting/Ad Scheduling - Ad scheduling lets you control the days and times your AdWords campaigns appear.
Your AdWords ads normally are available to run 24 hours each day. Ad scheduling allows you to set your campaigns to appear only during certain hours or days of each week. For example, you might set your ads to run only on Tuesdays, or from 3:00 until 6:00 pm daily. With ad scheduling, a campaign can run all day, every day, or as little as 15 minutes per week.
To determine when you want your ads to show, run an hourly report. This would show you what time during the day your ads received the most valuable traffic.
Ads are scheduled on the campaign level, from the 'Edit Campaign Settings' page. The unique ad scheduling tool lets you use pull-down menus to set blocks of time you want your ad to run. A bulk edit feature allows you to edit all days, all weekdays, or all weekend days at once if you prefer.
Ad scheduling also includes an advanced setting which lets you adjust pricing for your ads during certain time periods. For example, if you find that your ads get the best results between 8:00 and 11:00 am, you can bid more for impressions or clicks during that period. Learn more about advanced mode.
Selecting a time period means your ads will be available at that time, but does not guarantee your ads will receive impressions or clicks. The usual AdWords rules still apply, and your ads will compete for impressions with other ads as they normally do.
A note about reporting: Your ad will always stop serving impressions according to the schedule you set. However, because click reporting can be delayed, you may notice clicks being recorded for up to an hour after a scheduled period ends. These clicks are not errors, but are clicks that occurred during the scheduled period.
Ad scheduling can be used with both keyword-targeted and site-targeted AdWords campaigns. If you select the advanced setting, the bid multiplier will apply to both cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) bids.
Ad scheduling will not raise or lower your budget. The AdWords system will try to reach your usual daily budget in whatever number of hours your ad runs each day.
b. Position preference - lets you tell Google where you would prefer your ad to show among all the AdWords ads on a given page.
Whenever you run a keyword-targeted ad, your ad is assigned a position (or rank) based on your cost-per-click (CPC) bid, your keyword's Quality Score, and other relevant factors. There may be dozens of positions available for a given keyword, spread over several pages of search results.
If you find that your ad gets the best results when it is ranked (for example) third or fourth among all AdWords ads, you can set a position preference for those spots. AdWords will then try to show your ad whenever it is ranked third or fourth, and avoid showing it when it is ranked higher or lower. If your ad is ranked higher than third for a given keyword, the system will automatically try to lower your bid to place your ad in your preferred position.
You can request that your ad be shown only when it is:
Higher than a given position (such as above 7)
Lower than a given position (such as below 4)
Within a range of positions (such as from 2-8).
In a single exact position (such as position 2).
You can choose any positions between 1 and 10+ (that is, 10 or any larger number). Separate position preferences can be set for any or all of the keywords in your campaign.
Please note that position preference does not mean that your ad will always appear in the position you specify. The usual AdWords ranking and relevance rules apply. If your ad doesn't qualify for position #1, setting a position preference of 1 will not move it there. Position preference simply means AdWords will try to show your ad whenever it is ranked in your preferred position, and to avoid showing it when it is not.
Position preference also does not affect the overall placement of AdWords ad units on the left, right, top or bottom of a given page. It only affects your ranking relative to other ads across those units.
Position preferences are not guaranteed. Your ad may still appear in other positions, though we will make every effort to display your ad where you prefer. Once you set new position preferences, it may take a few days for the AdWords system to begin delivering your ad according to those preferences.
Finally, note that setting a position preference can sharply reduce the number of impressions and clicks you receive for that keyword. Targeting just one or two positions means your ad will not show at times when it otherwise might have.
Setting Position Preference - Position preferences are set in two steps. First, you enable position preference for a particular campaign. Second, you set your preferences for individual keywords within that campaign.
To enable position preferences for a campaign, follow these steps:
1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
2. On the 'Campaign Summary' page, check the box to the left of any campaigns you want to enable for position preference.
3. Click Edit Settings.
4. Find the 'Advanced Options' section.
5. Select the box next to 'Enable position preferences.'
6. Click Save Changes.
Additional Account Setup Information
Get Hittail, BidBuddy and Google Analytics code and have site owner install them
For campaigns that will be monitored by Bid Buddy, you will need to create tracking codes for each individual keyword.
Manually filter the keywords for bad matches
Group the keywords together into categories
Overture can furnish a Keyword Proposal and a list of suggestions based on historical information collected over time.
Numbers used it the ad title attract more attention
Analysis and Bid Adjustment
Here are some basic rules to follow when adjusting bids.
If there are High Impressions with no clicks Delete the keyword
If there is a High CTR with no conversions Improve the ad creative, increase the bid and/or turn the position selection
If there is a low CTR with low conversions % - Increase the position of the kw
If there is low CTR without conversions Change ad and increase the bid.
Glossary (Cut and Paste from Adwords site); Glossary of Relative Terms from Google
Ad Delivery - How quickly your ads are shown within a specific AdWords campaign each day.
When you select a budget for your campaign, you can choose standard or accelerated delivery for your ads. This choice will affect how quickly your ads are shown each day, but in each case your selected budget will apply.
Standard delivery: We'll spread your ad impressions across the day to make sure you don't accrue all of your clicks early on. If your budget is set below the system-recommended budget, your ads may not receive all possible impressions.
Accelerated delivery: We'll display your ads as often as possible until your budget is reached. If your budget is set below the system-recommended budget, your ads may not receive all possible impressions.
An Ad Group contains one or more ads which target one set of keywords or sites. The advertiser sets a maximum cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for all the keywords or sites in the Ad Group. The advertiser may also set prices for individual keywords or sites within the Ad Group.
An ad's position is based on its Ad Rank, which is determined by your keyword or Ad Group's maximum cost-per-click (CPC) times the matched keyword's Quality Score. For the top positions above Google search results, however, we use your ad's actual CPC to determine its position.
Ad scheduling lets AdWords users control the days and times their ad campaigns appear. Ad scheduling can be enabled for any AdWords Standard Edition campaign. Users may also choose an advanced mode, which allows them to raise or lower their bids for a campaign at certain times of the day.
Ad serving defines how often we deliver your active ads in relation to one another within an Ad Group.
Optimize (default): Optimized ad serving favors ads with higher historic clickthrough rates (CTRs) and Quality Scores. With this setting, these favored ads enter the ad auction more often than other ads within the Ad Group. Then, the system will consider the ad's Quality Score and maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid before ranking the ad on a given page. Since these higher quality ads enter the auction more often, they will gain more impressions compared to other adswithin the Ad Group, resulting in higher ad served percentages.
Rotate: Rotated ad serving delivers ads more evenly and will not favor higher CTR ads when entering ads into the ad auction. All ads within the Ad Group will enter the auction an equal number of times. Next, our system evaluates the ad's Quality Score and maximum CPC bid when ranking the ad. All ads within the Ad Group are more likely to gain an even number of impressions, reflected by similar ad served percentages.
Note: Ads with higher Quality Scores are still more likely to receive better placement on a page. This is because although they enter the auction as many times as other ads in the Ad Group, these higher quality ads may gain more impressions due to their placement. This can result in uneven ad served percentages between these ads.
Ad variations are multiple versions of an ad for a single product or service, all based on the same set of keywords. Variations are a good way to test many versions of the same message to see which works best with potential customers.
A campaign consists of one or more Ad Groups. The ads in a given campaign share the same daily budget, language and location targeting, end dates, and syndication options.
Campaign Negative Keywords
You can prevent entire campaigns from showing on a certain query by applying negative keywords to them. Selecting more focused matching options, such as negative match, to your keywords, helps you reach the most appropriate prospects, reduce your cost-per-click (CPC), and increase your ROI.
Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (impressions).
Google leverages our award-winning search technology to deliver relevant AdWords ads to content pages of sites and products in the Google Network. Our technology draws upon our understanding of the billions of pages in our search index and our ability to crawl web pages to figure out which keywords would lead a user to the page. Then, we match ads to the page based on those keywords.
When a user completes an action on your site, such as buying something or requesting more information.
The number of conversions divided by the number of ad clicks. Note that the conversion rate should not be greater than 100%. Conversions are only counted on Google and some of our Google Network partners. The conversion rate is adjusted to reflect only the ad clicks on which we can track conversions.
In online advertising, a conversion occurs when a click on your ad leads directly to user behavior you deem valuable, such as a purchase, signup, page view, or lead. Google has developed a tool to measure these conversions, and ultimately, help you identify how effective your AdWords ads and keywords are for you.
The type (purchase/sale, signup, page view, or lead) recorded in the generated code, allowing you greater specificity in your conversion statistics.
Cost / Conversion
The total cost divided by the total number of conversions. This statistic gives you the amount spent per conversion. Conversions are counted only on Google and some of our Google Network partners. The cost-per-conversion is adjusted to reflect only the cost of ad clicks on which we can track conversions.
This stands for cost-per-thousand impressions. A CPM pricing model means advertisers pay for impressions received.
The amount you're willing to spend on a specific AdWords campaign each day.
AdWords displays your ad as often as possible while staying within your daily budget. When the budget limit is reached, your ads will typically stop showing for that day. How quickly your ads are shown during a given day is determined by your ad delivery setting.
On any single day, the AdWords system may deliver up to 20% more ads than your daily budget calls for. This helps make up for other days in which your daily budget is not reached. However, you'll never be charged more than your average daily budget over the course of a month. For example: if your daily budget is $10 and the month has 30 days, you might be charged up to $12 on any single day but your monthly charges will never exceed $300.
When you create your ad, you'll specify a Display URL and a Destination URL, which is the exact URL within your website you want to send users to from your ad.
The green text in the sample ad below is the Display URL (the URL users see).
Effective CPM, or eCPM, is the effective cost per 1000 impressions generated by a cost-per-click ad. eCPM is determined by multiplying a number of factors, including the ad's cost per click (CPC) and its clickthrough rate (CTR). The resulting eCPM can be used to rank CPC ad campaigns against CPM campaigns.
Geo-targeting lets you target your ads to specific countries and languages. When you create a new AdWords campaign, you select the countries or regions and the language(s) for your ad. That campaign's ads will appear only to users who live in the those areas and who have selected one of those languages as their preference.
The "Impr" located on your reporting statistics refers to the number of "impressions" for your ad. The number of impressions is the number of times an ad is displayed on Google or on sites or products in the Google Network.
Impressions per day
The number of times a site-targeted ad has been displayed to web users in the course of one advertising day. One thousand impressions equal one cost-per-thousand, or CPM, unit.
Clicks that Google does not charge to your account because we determine they were generated by prohibited methods. Examples of invalid clicks may include repeated manual clicking or the use of robots, automated clicking tools, or other deceptive software.
An active web page where customers will 'land' when they click your ad. The web address for this page is often called a 'destination URL' or 'clickthrough URL.'
Landing Page Quality
Landing page quality is one of several factors that helps determine a keyword's Quality Score. The quality of a landing page is represented by such things as the usefulness and relevance of information provided on the page, ease of navigation for the user, page loading times, how many links are on the page, how links are used on the page, and more.
Your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) is the highest amount that you are willing to pay for a click on your ad. You can set a maximum CPC at the keyword- or Ad Group-level. The AdWords Discounter automatically reduces this amount so that the actual CPC you are charged is just one cent more than the minimum necessary to keep your position on the page.
Quality-Based Minimum Bids
The AdWords program has always looked for ways to incorporate keyword quality evaluation into our system. Currently, we use quality evaluations to set minimum pricing and encourage advertisers to create targeted, relevant ad campaigns.
Minimum prices are based on the quality and relevance of the keyword, its ad, and associated landing page. This minimum price is called a minimum cost-per-click bid (CPC bid). This pricing model favors higher quality ads by requiring lower minimum CPC bids for them to enter the auction. Lower quality ads require higher minimum CPC bids.
Recommended Daily Budget
The daily budget necessary for your ad to appear as frequently as possible for your keywords. Your campaign daily budget controls how often your ad appears on Google. If your daily budget is lower than the recommended amount, your ad may not show all the time. Matching the recommended daily budget helps ensure maximum exposure.
Relevance refers to the usefulness of information to a user (such as an ad, keyword, or landing page). Relevance, or the quality of an ad, is reflected by a keyword's Quality Score. The AdWords system is designed to match our users' needs as closely as possible to relevant ads. This ensures a positive user experience so that users click on AdWords ads more often, while maintaining the advertising value the program provides to our advertisers.
Return on Investment (ROI)
The benefit gained in return for the cost of your ad campaign. Although exact measurement is nearly impossible, your clickthrough rate and your conversion rate combined with your advertising costs, can help you assess the ROI of your campaign.
Value / Click
The conversion value generated per click. For example: Value / Click = Total value (total_value) / Total number of ad clicks (num_clicks). Conversions are only counted on Google and some of Google Network sites or products. The conversion rate is adjusted to reflect only the ad clicks on which we can track conversions.
Value / Cost
Total value divided by total cost for all ad clicks. If you've entered in your revenue or profit value, this statistic will be equal to your ROI. For example: Value / Cost = Total conversion value (total_value) / Total cost (total_cost). Conversions are only counted on Google and some Google Network sites or products. The value-per-cost is adjusted to reflect only the cost of ad clicks leading to conversions.
Zero Impression Keywords
Keywords that have generated no impressions of your ads. This may be caused by lack of relevancy to user searches due to keyword obscurity, specificity, or a significant misspelling of the intended keyword.
Adwords Editorial Guidelines
The most effective advertising communicates a clear message to a targeted audience. Once you determine whom you want to reach and select appropriate keywords, you need to create ads that will inform your potential customers about the products and services you offer. The Google AdWords Editorial Guidelines will help you create effective ads to generate sales and meet your goals.
Underlying all the Editorial Guidelines are two simple principles that have worked for thousands of advertisers already in the program:
Clearly and accurately describe your site.
Emphasize the unique benefits of your product or service.
Our ultimate goal is your success, and we believe that providing a great user experience is the best way to ensure it. To run your ads on Google and our growing ad network of sites and products, you must adhere to these guidelines. Please also ensure that your site and ads comply with our Content Policy.
In cases where only minor changes are required for an ad to comply with our Editorial Guidelines, an AdWords Specialist may edit your ad for you. Examples of the type of edits we may make for you include the following: removing an exclamation point, removing or adding an extra space, and fixing a spelling error. However, Google shall not be responsible in the event that a change is not made to your ad text and a disapproval results. So, please be careful to follow the Editorial Guidelines to help ensure that your ads continue running.
Use Standard Punctuation and Symbols
No repeated and unnecessary punctuation or symbols.
Your title may not contain an exclamation point.
Your ad text may only contain one exclamation point.
Use Standard Capitalization
No excessive capitalization such as "FREE" or "GOOGLE ADWORDS."
Capitalization of the first letter of each word within your displayed URL is permitted.
Avoid gimmicky repetition.
Use Correct Spelling
Check that you use correct spelling.
Use Proper Grammar
Your ad text must be in logical sentence or phrase form and must contain grammatically correct spacing.
The use of symbols, numbers, or letters must adhere to the true meaning of the symbol.
Keep It Concise
Please keep the following ad text limits in mind when planning your ads. We believe that concise ads provide a great user experience and ultimately contribute to your success.
Ad titles are limited to 25 characters.
The two description lines and Display URL are limited to 35 characters each.
Note: Languages using double-byte characters (such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, and Arabic) can have 12 characters in the title, 17 characters for each line of ad text, and 35 characters for the Display URL.
The keywords and ad text must be relevant to your site, products, or services.
Write Accurate Ad Text
Your ad text and keywords must directly relate to the content on the landing page for your ad.
Distinguish your ad by including your company name, line of business, or product in your ad text or title.
If you offer a local service or product, clearly indicate your location in your ad text.
If your alterations business only services New York, you should include "New York" in your ad
Target Specific Keywords
Use specific keywords that accurately reflect your site.
Use keywords that reflect your location if you offer a location-specific product or service.
A New York apartment rental agency would not be allowed to run on only the keyword "rentals." The agency would have to use keywords such as "New York rental agency" or "NY apartments."
text, mention your company's particular specialty, "experts in reweaving fine garments," and link to a page that displays this service.
No Unacceptable Phrases
Avoid call-to-action phrases such as click here that could apply to any ad, regardless of content.
The limited text space should be used for concise, informative language that sets you apart from your competition.
Phrases in the 3rd line of your ad cannot continue into the Display URL.
Hope this helps.