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Archive for the ‘google’ Category

Getting Started with AdWords Scripts

Posted by Nikki Duffy in adwords, AdWords Scripts, google, Uncategorized

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

AdWords Scripts allow you to programmatically control and customize what is done to and how you receive AdWords data. Scripting, in general, is a type of programming in which you control the behavior of existing complex objects. Though you can set up your own internal scripting structure you ultimately rely on another program for the low-level structure. That being said, AdWords scripts do a great job at simplifying complex objects and turning them into objects that AdWords users are already familiar with. This gives almost any motivated AdWords user the power of scripting as long as you understand AdWords objects (CPA, CPC, etc) and entry-level JavaScript.  If you are serious about your AdWords , this is an area that you need to explore.

I am the lead in this area working with Diego León as my backup. So far, our agency has built an automation process that allows us to monitor budgets on a daily basis, an automated mobile bid modifier that  turns mobile campaigns on and off based on client specific schedules and I am currently working on automating our Executive Dashboards and in the near future bid automation’s.

If you want to get started with AdWords Scripts your first step in that process should be to find some basic training in JavaScript. Once you have a handle on the language syntax adding the AdWords objects should be easy to deal with. There are some finer points to learn in this process such as data types and values which we have discovered can be represented differently on the Adwords interface and the scripting database. Take for example the device override for mobile which is expressed as 0% in the interface but as 1 in the object. Don’t let this intimidate you, this ‘random’ knowledge only comes from trial and error.

An image from the Google Developers page that explains how to “get going with AdWords scripts in under a minute!”

AdWords Scripts are great for so many reasons, a big one being that they integrate the Google Drive which allows users to post and/or retrieve data from cloud services like Google Spreadsheets. When combined with the ability to send email you can quickly see how this can be a powerful tool for the AdWords Experts that are willing to devote the time needed to learn it.  Scripts can be written within an account or across accounts in a Client Center. The limitations of this are simply the imagination of the AdWords Expert doing the programming.

Be on the lookout for future articles as our team learns and shares more about this!

How to Pick an AdWords Partner

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in adwords, adwords expert, google

Friday, December 16th, 2011

There are thousands of firms that list AdWords as one of many things that they do. The problem is the more they are about these other things the less they are about AdWords. Most web design firms and SEO firms will list AdWords and present themselves as experts but most of the time they are barely literate in the issues involved.

Experience Counts

Experience counts in AdWords, just like any other field. AdWords was launched in October 2000 with 350 customers and it was not until 2003 that AdWords was opened to the general market.

In 2005 Google launched their first Certification Program for Google Advertising Professionals. In 2009 the certification program was renamed “Google AdWords Certified Partners.” Look for the Google AdWords Certified Partner logo and click on it to see that the certification is current. This logo should send you to a Google site that will contain basic information about the partner. If the link is missing be very careful in checking references. Google lowered the requirements for the certification in the last few years so it does not mean as much today as it used to.

The Right Connections

When the challenges become tough the difference between success and failure often come down to whom you know. Look for a partner that has a positive relationship with Google and current certifications. Besides Google a good AdWords Expert will have connections to Web Design, SEO, Hosting, Ad Agencies, Graphic Artists, and many other areas involved in the professional management of a website.

Watch out for the common Tricks

Make sure that the services are affordable and that you own and control them. There are several tricks that happen in this industry and you need to avoid all the following:

Fixed Monthly Advertising Budget

AdWords is an auction so any form of fixed budget is probably not to your advantage. A fixed budget opens up a profit potential for the provider and they are probably better at this than you are.

Percentage of Ad Spend Fees

This is a conflict of interests because you are paying the person that sets the bids a percent of what they spend! The more of your money they spend the more they make and that is never going to end well.

Selling individuals keywords

This is usually a trick that revolves around the selling a word that has very low volume for a fixed price. The providers profit is driven by your loss and they know the volume of the words.

Programs where you do not own the website or phone number

These are the most horrible trick of them all in that you are trapped in the relationship and your organic traffic is at risk. Never run online advertising for a site you do not fully own.

Long term agreements – any more than month to month is a problem.

Advertising investments should produce results and if they do then you will never cancel them. If the provider needs you to guarantee more than month to month you really have to wonder why.

Check References

An AdWords Expert should be very easy to verify in this world of social media. Look for references on their LinkedIn.com profile and read the profiles of the people providing the references. Watch out for reciprocal references and friends rather than business relationships. AdWords is a business to business trade and the references should look like that. When in doubt connect to the reference and ask them more questions.

Talk to Them

By all means pick up the phone and talk to the people that will be supporting your account, not just the ones selling you services. Make sure you like the way they think and how they solve problems. If you cannot get past the sales person to the actual service providers then keep asking.

Dear Saint Google,

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in google

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Twas the night before Christmas, when all though the net not disk drive was stirring, not even in the cloud. The clicks are hung by the SERP with care, in hopes that Saint Google soon will be there.  The AdWords Experts are nestled all snug in their beds while visions of new features danced in their head and I am sure you know all the rest.

Every year in the fine tradition of the Christmas letter, I write an open letter for the things I want to see in Adwords.  Before I get started with the details I would like to note that many of the things I asked for in prior years I actually got, so maybe this letter isn’t as silly as it seems.

Negative Search Query Report

I would like to start with a billion dollar idea in hopes that some Google Engineer will adopt this idea and make it their own on their 20% time.

A negative SQR would show us the searches that we lost during the time period because they were dropped by a negative word. Negative keywords are a great tool but they are also dangerous because they are silent. The Negative SQR would allow us to see errors in the keyword model and correct them. The recovered revenue from this report will probably pay for itself every month.

Enhance Budget Controls

Budget controls get difficult as the size of the account increases and one glaring problem is the lack of an account wide budget control. This would be across all campaigns and when the daily budget was exceeded in aggregate it would shut down the traffic.

Add MCC Negative Keyword Reporting

Negative keywords deserve some respect and they need to be supported in the reporting process. Nowhere in the MCC can you get negative keywords extracted to a report yet they are critical to the process of AdWords.

MCC Level Change Log

In our business we have over 100 accounts and several people involved in the maintenance of accounts. It would be great to have a central log that you can view all the changes in the accounts and who is making them.

Annotations

Google Analytics has had this for a long time and AdWords needs this desperately. We should be able to click on the date in a chart and add an annotation so we know what caused certain data to move.  Keeping notes on an account is a very basic function that you expect in today’s systems.

Bounce Rate on Keywords, AdGroups, and Campaigns

For an account that is linked to Google Analytics the bounce data flowing back to the keyword and up the data hierarchy would be a great tool.

Formula Based Bid Updates

Let’s face it bid updates are a painful manual processes that really do not have to be like that. Since AdWords already has filters to create sets of keywords all we need is to add an update function that supports simple formulas for update. This does not need all the fancy math functions just the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Keyword Lists

Similar to the function now supported in Negative Keywords keyword lists could be added to an adgroup just like a single keyword. The advantage of this is that you would not have to duplicate the keywords when you reuse them in another adgroup or campaign. It is very common to have the same set of keywords in different campaigns because of other controls such as geo or device targeting.

Segment Totals

Segmentation is a great tool in AdWords but it can be difficult to work with on larger accounts. When you segment with top and side it shows every campaign but it never totals it for you so it is difficult to see that is high or low for the value. If the detail is segmented it would be swell if the totals were as well.

Trend Line in Graphs

Graphs display the actual value but often we are looking for is the trend not the data value. It would be nice to have this option on the graph so you could see if the cost per click is trending up or down although we would not want to lose the data view we have now because it is very useful.

Scheduled Bid Updates

Now that we have filters and bid formulas we should be able to set up schedule and a time period to perform the update. This should be as simple as saying on the 10th of each month using data from last month apply this filter and formula.

Batch up the changes

I have to be honest the constant roll out of changes makes managing AdWords Accounts a nightmare.  It is a common experience in our offices to discover a new feature that just rolled into production or maybe a beta that looks like a production change. In the olden days software changes were batched together into organized releases with good documentation. When they went into production everyone knew it and we also knew what changed. While we understand the value of the development model of release and refine we think that there should be a production level of code and you should be able to opt in or out of being a beta. When a beta is active in an account there should be some notice on the account so you know not to look for it everywhere else.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Conversions to all, and to all a good-night!”

Google+ is about Getting Social

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in google, Social Media

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

We advise clients to compete on both the paid and organic traffic and now we are adding social media to that recommendation. Social Media needs to be part of the marketing plan strategy, even if the plan is to do nothing other than listen and learn right now. With an audience of well over 700 million no business can completely ignore this. Social Media is rapidly evolving and it is fundamentally different than advertising or PR because it is a two-way conversation and it’s time to get social.

Google and FaceBook are at war with each other and it is tons of fun to watch from the sidelines as the titans clash on the worldwide playground. The latest shot over the bow of social media is Google’s +1 and Google+, which are intended to compete with FaceBook and their Like button. The twist with Google is that they are integrating this with both organic and paid search results.  So what should advertisers do now?

First let’s get the ridiculous out of way. We do not think anyone, other than someone trying to game the system, is going to vote for an ad so input at that point is dumb although output there does make sense. The input point of this is going to be the web page and there a vote is both likely and reasonably placed.  This process is likely to be important to both your ad and your organic rank.

One only needs to look at the train wreck that is Buzz to see that not every Google experiment works well. Based on this we need to be careful with how much we invest in this in the very early stages. The +1 process is typical Google magic with several components but no details when you get to the implementation.   One of the first things that you realize with +1 is that it is URL based so you may want to rethink your landing page, redirects, and page canonicalization.

We try to follow everything Google so we did get an early invite to the beta for Google+ and our observations are that it is functionally similar to FaceBook. The system does not have the critical mass of users that it needs to face off with FaceBook but Google is not without resources so I would not immediately disregard them. In the first few weeks the network grew to 10 million but this is still a long way from FaceBook numbers of 700 million plus. The challenge in social media is the network size not the software so Google has a huge uphill battle, but the integration with gmail is a big advantage.

At this early stage it is probably a good idea to get involved in Google+ and to implement the +1 button on your site but we think it is too early to invest your internet goodwill in the development of your contacts and circles on Google+.

No Adwords for You! Prohibited Adwords Item Rundown

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google, prohibited

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

You can sell almost anything with Adwords, almost. So what exactly can’t you sell on Adwords? Turns out it’s a lot of stuff. Some prohibited items aren’t surprising and others are shrouded in plenty of grey area. Basically if it’s illegal, unethical, too much fun or any combination of the above you might just be out of luck.

You Can’t Sell Blatantly Illegal Items with Adwords

Shocking I know. Also if I may point out, if you’re selling this stuff online at all you don’t deserve internet access. “They’ll never catch me now that I’ve posted my address and phone number online along with the fact I like to break the law for profit… oh wait…” The following items are not only totally illegal but also prohibited from being sold via Adwords:

Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia
No selling weed, crack, meth, magic mushrooms, LSD, or any other mind-bending substances via PPC. You also can’t sell bongs, glass pipes, and other getting high accessories… except for black lights, those are still ok.

Fake Documents
No fake driver’s licenses, social security cards, diplomas, immigration papers, etc.

Steroids
It’s probably best that you can’t easily get your hands on Austrian horse steroids online.

Hate Groups
No hate groups, anti certain ethnic or religious groups, or groups that encourage violence against certain peoples.

Counterfeit Designer Goods
No fake purses, jeans, leather goods, shirts, shoes, etc.

Prostitution
You really shouldn’t bother trying with this one, that’s what Craigslist is for… and it’s free!

If it’s Illegal in Most States or You Have to be Over 18 Just to See it, Chances are You Can’t Sell it with Adwords

Things that are age restricted, have a tendency to cause moral outrage, or have the possibility of poking an eye out are generally prohibited from Adwords. Be advised this one has some grey areas to it.

Gambling
No promotion of casinos or online gambling is permitted. You also can’t promote sports books, lotteries, bingo, poker, gambling software, gambling tutorials, gambling eBooks, gambling affiliate sites, and even play for fun gambling sites.

Porn (sometimes)
This one is tricky; you can promote porn with Adwords. However there are a lot of off limits areas and you have to be very careful with your keyword strategy. You must stick with very specific queries that would only bring up adult results, and I would recommend phrase and exact matches here.So what porn topics are banned? Anything having to do with kids, teen pornography (even if the models are 18+ and the site is legal), anything denoting youth (school girl, etc), and non-consensual material or implied non-consensual material. I’m going to guess there’s more that’s banned that Google would prefer to not spell out. (Note: even though you can promote porn we don’t. We don’t have that kind of time and you probably don’t have that kind of money)

Certain Weapons
Guns, bullets, parts of guns, switchblades, butterfly knives, brass knuckles, and other weapons with malicious intent are a no-go. You can however promote more utilitarian things like hunting knives, pocket knives, kitchen knives, and archery gear.

Tobacco
Cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snus, cigars, and anything else full of nicotine that will make you smell bad and slowly kill you is prohibited.

Alcohol (except wine and champagne)
No beer, no hard alcohol, but wine and champagne are cool. Weird, I know.

Fireworks
If it is supposed to explode on purpose you can’t promote it. In all fairness you shouldn’t really ship fireworks anyways; the post office gets a little skittish about explosive packages.

No Cheating!

Academic Cheating Services
This includes test taking services, paper writing services, and anything else that is academically dishonest.

Drug Test Cheating Services
You can’t sell “cleansing” teas or your little brother’s clean urine with Adwords, sorry.

Illegal Traffic Devices
Radar jammers, plate blockers and traffic signal changers are all prohibited. Radar detectors seem to be ok however.

Miracle Cures
This doesn’t cover miracle weight loss pills so much as a magic pill with a suspicious resemblance to a tic-tac that may virtually cure AIDS and Cancer.While we’re talking drugs and pills, prescription drugs are allowed -if- you are an Adwords approved pharmacy. You can also sell over the counter drugs but this isn’t a good place for Adwords beginners. There is an extra layer of scrutiny when you’re trying to promote OTC products so you have to factor in extra work and administration time.

Prohibited Scams, Tech, and Marketing Items

There are a lot of scams out there that Google has isolated to be dropped from the Adwords programs. Also any software of services that have an adverse effect on Google or its search results are not allowed either.

Scams, Phishing, Data entry affiliate sites, e-Gold, Dialers
If it’s a known scam do yourself a favor and don’t waste your time. If you’re bent on promoting a scam you’re going to have to come up with a new one, so you might as well put that energy towards a legit business idea.

Bulk Marketing (E-mail Spam) Products
If you have a great e-mail list of thousands of e-mails you scraped from sites around the web you can’t promote with Adwords.

Hacking & Cracking
You can’t promote sites that teach you to illegally access software, servers, websites, cell phones, unlock copyright protection, descramble cable, and anything else illegal and hacker-y. You can promote hacker skills if they are for white hat defense purposes.

Automated Ad Clicking
Adwords rule number 1, don’t mess with Google’s wallet! Automated ad clicking is a good way to get your Adwords and Adsense accounts shut down in a hurry… oh and they have a word for this -click fraud.

Made For Adsense (MFA) Sites
Honestly I’m not sure how enforceable this one is, but it’s on the books for good measure.

Copyrighted Material You Don’t Own
Adwords is not the place to try and sell your pirated DVD collections. Stick to hastily set up card tables on street corners and at flea markets.

Webmaster Guidelines Violations
Don’t openly promote with a Google service services to screw with Google, not smart my friend.Phew, that’s a lot of prohibited stuff… I hope this was educational for you all. Remember if you can’t bring it on an airplane, do it in front of a police officer, or tell your mom about it you probably can’t use Adwords to promote it. And now that I think about it I’m probably on some kind of government list after all the drug, weapon, and explosive related searches I just did to make sure my list was correct… the things I do in the name of science.

One last thing I’d like to point out is that you may be able to get away with promoting some of these items for a very, very short period of time. However your account will in time be somewhere between banned, blocked, or canceled.

Does Your Site Load Fast Enough for Adwords?

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google, landing-page-design, page loading

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Google has already announced that page loading time was going to be a factor in Adwords quality scores, but now you can see if your landing page is quick enough. The change is supposed to go into effect in mid-June. The Inside Adwords Blog announced today that you can now view load time evaluations on the Keyword Analysis page.

So how do you get to the Keyword Analysis page? It’s pretty easy once you know where to look.

Start at the Ad Group level and make sure your keywords are visible.

Next to each keyword is a magnifying glass icon

Click on the icon to receive the following box and click the “Details and recommendations” link.


This brings you to a breakdown of quality score elements. You can see your landing page load time at the bottom of the box.

In theory this metric becomes an official part of the quality score next month and it has an impact on both your position and your cost per click! If your web site is not loading fast enough now is the time to assess why. Is there too much junk on your landing page? Is your hosting company doing you wrong? There could be numerous reasons as to why this could be happening, but the bottom line is you should fix it anyways! Your visitors will thank you.

Does This Ad Group Make My Campaign Look Fat?

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Google Adwords can be a beautiful yet dangerous mistress… her seemingly targeted traffic, easy going daily budgets, and conservative broad matching. As you get to know each other and start to build what you think is a trust-based relationship, she slowly goes completely crazy. Like bad movie psycho girlfriend crazy (I’m looking at you Ben Stiller). Make a wrong move and she’ll set your wallet on fire with bad content network traffic, ridiculously liberal extended broad matching, and possibly throw all your clothes out the window onto the lawn because she caught you messing around with Yahoo Search Marketing.

You know Adwords isn’t perfect but she’s the best you can get. Sure there’s other fish in the sea, but that MSN chick has a lazy eye and a handlebar mustache… and who knows where those skanky banner ads have been.

Since you can’t buy your Adwords account flowers, what can you do to keep the romance alive?

Do What You’re Told!

Adwords holds all the cards in this relationship so don’t push your luck. Adwords tells you to use small focused ad groups yet you insist on a bucket. Adwords tells you to match the landing page to your ad and you send traffic to the home page. She tells you to not leave your socks on the floor in the living room… no, wait that’s my girlfriend… well you get the idea. You could make your life a lot easier if you just did what you were told. Adwords tells you how to do it right, listen!

Ask Questions

Have you ever screwed up big time with your special lady friend, and now she won’t talk to you? Seeing as you’re not even sure what you did, it’s time to do some reconnaissance with her best friend to figure out what just happened. I’m kind of like Adwords’ best girlfriend for a living.

My company gets a lot of calls from people that have been running their own Adwords Campaigns and the basic gist of most conversations is “what the hell happened to my account?” Adwords will tell you if you just ask the right way. A Search Query Report can call attention to huge amounts of waste due to the occasionally faulty logic of extended broad matching. Or a good Placement Report will show a few sites that are impressively unrelated to your business are sucking up lots of money through the content network. Adwords is full of lots of good data; you have to figure out how to turn it into information.

Put Some Effort Into Your Relationship

To be successful at anything you have to put some work into it. Keeping an Adwords Account up and running seems deceptively simple, and it is if you don’t want the best possible return out of your spending. Make plans for a date with your Adwords account on a regular basis. Light a candle, add some keywords, put on some make out music, look for inactive keywords, freshen your ad copy, look at your account from top to bottom and see what you can do to make it over. If that doesn’t work, talk about your feelings… chicks dig that.

Try Not to Talk About Money

I’m not saying Adwords is a gold digger… she’s just very opportunistic when it comes to your declared assets. Adwords has some settings that are supposed to be fun and easy and are labeled with cool words like “automatic” and “optimizer.” When Adwords wants to automatically optimize something for you, run for your life! Features like the budget optimizer are a way of getting you to fess up to how much you’re willing to spend and then taking it from you.

With a little work you and your Adwords account can be happy together for a long time, but if all else fails send Google Flowers… you never know 🙂

Getting Google Slapped

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in adwords, google

Monday, March 17th, 2008

It happens to everyone and you just have to learn how to fix it. A Google Slap is when Google suddenly wants a lot more money for your keyword. The typical story is a keyword that cost .50 yesterday is suddenly $5 or $10 and the word is “Inactive for Search” until you increase your bid. That’s a Google Slap and it hurts and raises a red welt on your wallet and traffic flow.

To understand what is happening you have to understand the world according to Google. Google is seeking to improve the search experience because they know that is what drives the value of Google. The Google Slap is nothing more than one part of the cycle of improving the search experience. What is happening is that Google’s system has detected that your keyword may not be contributing to that experience. The way they tell you that they are unhappy with that word is they simply increase the bid to a pain level that will get your attention. You have to admit that increasing your marketing expense by 10x is an attention getter.

Nobody really knows exactly what triggers this process or what the specific rules are but we do know what the general rules are. Google calculates a quality score and shows you the results of that calculation in a very broad sense. On your keyword detail page you will see the quality score range. This is not the default so you may need to customize your display to show the quality score. Here is what that looks like.

Google does not tell you what the quality score is but rather what broad range your score fits into. These levels are: Great, OK, Poor, and Poor + Inactive. While details of this quality score are cloaked deep inside Google we can tell you that quality score and organic page position are very closely related and share many of the same evaluation attributes. If you improve your quality score you almost always improve your search engine optimization. Conceptually what Google is looking at is how does the keyword connect to the ad copy and the landing page. If they think that your ad contributes to a better search experience then your quality score will be great but if it detracts from the search experience get ready to be slapped.

So you have been slapped, now what? Well the options are improve your quality score, delete the keyword, raise the bid, pause the keyword, or do nothing. Google never points out the pause or do-nothing option but they do exist.

Improving the quality score requires rethinking the keyword, ad copy, and landing page. In tests that we have performed its seems that the landing page is the source of most of the quality score but Google is looking at the whole series (keyword-ad copy- landing page) so simply changing the page will not fix the problem. Look at the other keywords in the ad group and consider how this keyword fits with them. If the adgroup is just a bucket of keywords without a theme then you have to reorganize them. When new clients come on board with us this is one of the most common tasks in the first month for those with an existing Google account.

Deleting the keyword is easy but it hurts if you need the traffic from that word. If the connection to your business for this keyword is weak then deleting it will improve your overall account. However, if the connection to your business is strong you have to think very seriously about how you deal with this and deleting the keyword should not be on the top of your option list.

Raising the bid is an option but only if that traffic is really worth the cost they want. If the word is worth that much then you really have to think about improving your quality score. As we noted above this is closely linked to your organic position and Google is telling you point blank that it does not think your page is related to what you think is an important keyword. We advise clients to listen carefully to Google on this. Raising the bid might be the way to handle this immediately but remember you are overpaying for that keyword and hurting your organic traffic by treating the symptom rather than the cause. If you have a poor quality score you can bet that you also have a poor SEO position for this keyword.

One low impact way of dealing with this is to delete the keyword and start a new adgroup focused on that word. Then connect that word to the best supporting landing page for that word on your site. If your quality score increased to OK or Great level then the keyword will live to create traffic another day. Quality score problems are often caused by adgroups with too many keywords with weak associations between the words. Breaking these into smaller more focused ad groups often will fix the problem and save you lots of money.

Most accounts have hundreds or even thousands of keywords. We commonly will pause the word and let the number of paused keywords grow then try to find ways to resolve several keywords in one pass. This saves tons of time and often you find that once the first word gets slapped others play follow the leader. Our most common approach to dealing with this is the pause, accumulate, and act strategy. During these regular reviews we examine the poor rated keywords because that is a warning level that you are about to be slapped. It’s very rare that a word goes from great or good to a slap without a pit stop at poor. The expectation to that is when we know that the keyword is one of the major conversion producers. With those keywords we drop everything and work through the details until we have it resolved.

Don’t let getting Google Slapped make you mad. Treat it as a learning experience and use what you learn to improve the search experience of your visitors. Ultimately this is what Google is after and you should be too.

Google Budget Optimizer – The House Always Wins!!!

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, budget optimizer, google

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Think about it for a minute… you walk into a car dealership with $20,000 dollars cash. You’re greeted by a salesman, and you tell him that you can spend up to $20,000 dollars and everything else is his call. That doesn’t sound like the best idea ever does it? It’s entirely possible that you will roll out of there with the world’s first $20,000 used Toyota Tercel (but c’mon it has spinning rims!). So why would you go to Google and tell them “here’s all my money, could you spend this for me however you see fit?”

Could you punch me in the face, but not make it hurt?

When you turn on the Budget Optimizer, you’re pretty much asking for it. I recommend that you never, ever, ever, ever, ever use the Budget Optimizer. Its job is to spend as much of your money as you tell it to, that’s it. It’s not thinking “hey $8.79 per click can’t be right, let’s think this through.” It’s thinking “hey I have $8.79 left in my budget, maybe right now is a good time to bid my way to number one on a tangentially semi-related but irrelevant word.”

I’ve inserted a screen cap from one account that we took over recently that was getting absolutely abused by the Budget optimizer. They do have a very competitive market, but it’s not $9.38 auto bidding competitive. Google Was eating up a $1500 per month budget at $5.00 per click on its own, we have the same amount of traffic down to about $2.50 a click right now.

Wow, Google-centric Optimization sounds awesome, what else can they do for me?

The other optimized option that bothers me a lot is the Ad Serving Optimize option in your campaign’s advanced settings. It sounds like a good deal, Google makes sure that the better ad is always showing (by the way it is the default choice). The problem is the metric they measure with is Click Through Rate (money in their pocket), not the actual conversion cost (money in your pocket). Is it easier to just let Google pick? Yes. Should you actually just buck up, pay attention and do the work yourself? Yes.

So how do you turn off this not so handy optimization feature? It’s pretty easy; you just have to know where it is. This is a feature that is set at the campaign level in the same place you set your daily budget. Click on “Edit Campaign Settings” at the campaign level and then scroll down to “Advanced Options.” At the bottom of that box you’ll see the box I’ve inserted below, Choose “Rotate.” From there you just have to pay attention and control your own split tests.

The thing to remember with Google Adwords is that it is self service advertising. They want you to succeed and to get traffic, but they also want your money. Someone has to do the work, and if you leave it up to Google you are going to get burned.

Adwords Triage Checklist

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google, triage

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Bob and I are both Army veterans and one of the things they drill into your head starting in Basic Training and continuing on through the rest of your career is how to evaluate a casualty (FM 21-11 if you were curious). As I was evaluating a new account that had a fair amount of history I realized the same steps applied to an Adwords account.

Remember with your accounts, much like a casualty; don’t do too much until you figure out what is actually wrong!

Responsiveness – Are you generating impressions? Are people seeing your ads?

If your account doesn’t have a pulse start looking for problems with your bids, are they too low? Or maybe your keywords are too obscure. Also check your geographic settings maybe they’re too tight.

Breathing- Are you getting clicks?

Ok so you’re getting impressions but no clicks. Check your ad copy, is it any good? Are you running a price ad that is higher than the prices offered by your competition? What position are you coming in? If you’re not even on the front page you need to reevaluate your bidding.

Bleeding- Are you hemorrhaging money?

Are you getting too much traffic that isn’t converting? Do you have a rogue keyword spending all your money and not converting? Has the Content Network gone out of control? Does your landing page just suck? Figure out what the problem is and stop the fiscal blood flow while you regroup and re-strategize.

Shock- “I spent how much for one order!?!”

At the end of the day ROI is what matters most. Make sure you track your orders and your ad spend to make sure that you’re making your business money and not just helping Google’s stock prices. If your shock problem is of a more electrical nature, stop putting USB cords in your mouth… it’s bad for you.

Fractures- Are your links broken?

Getting clicks but no visits? We’ve seen this before on a site run on a content management system. The CMS went through an upgrade and changed the naming conventions for all of this client’s URLs. Once that goes into effect basically every link in your Adwords account is broken! They had no idea this change had happened, we were the ones that caught the error! Make sure your links work on a regular basis, especially if there has been recent site changes or upgrades.

Burns- Are you getting a disproportionate number of clicks from one area or ISP?

We don’t see this too often, but click fraud does happen. Google is smart enough to catch most of this stuff, but if your account takes a major turn for the worse that can’t be explained by the steps above you might be getting burned by a competitor or Adsense fraudster. Start investigating and looking for suspicious trends.

Head Injury- Is running a PPC campaign beyond your general mental capacity?

It’s ok and nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a reason Adwords Experts exist, and it’s that not everybody should manage an Adwords account… much like I shouldn’t wear spandex, change my own oil or sing in public.

Apply these steps to see what condition your Adwords are in, and if you’re stuck give us a call. We can rebuild it, we have the technology 🙂

*Just to point out the coincidence, in writing this article we realized that we both had essentially the same picture of ourselves in uniform even though they are 32 years apart. Bob and I are about the same age, same name on the uniform, the same rank, in the same pose with the same weapon… hell for all we know it might be the same serial number!