Trying to run a successful AdWords campaigns without the right tools is a great way to give your competitors the upper hand.
And it’s also just plain sad.
In a recent Convirza webinar with Fred Vallaeys, he tells us about AdWords tools that your competitors wish you didn’t know about. Fred was one of the first employees at Google and was also a member of the team that played a large role in building out AdWords. He is a respected marketing consultant, sits on the board for a variety of companies and is also the CEO of Optmyzer.
This post will outline the valuable data that was revealed during his webinar.
Automation is powering our data with action.
In AdWords, there are three primary ways to use automation for your business. They include:
Managing AdWords accounts involves a lot of repetitive work and without automation there are bound to be distractions and mistakes. By assigning the redundant tasks and calculations to computers, we give marketers the ability to focus on other aspects of campaign optimization.
Statistical and Automated Output + Human Judgment = Superior Results
By combining automation with human guidance, PPC marketers are gaining a massive edge over their competition.
Once your bids are set, your competitors are going to react to them. The bidding game requires a responsive strategy, which is why the topic of real time bidding comes up frequently around display advertising.
While the idea of real time bidding is very appealing, it isn’t truly feasible with the AdWords system.
Our limited visibility as marketers makes it necessary to rely on Google for any type of real time bidding.
We can set geographic bid modifiers, device bid modifiers and modifiers for specific keywords but there is a whole host of information that we don’t have access to when it comes to the auctions that are taking place. Google has a much more comprehensive view of relevant information at the time that these searches occur such as:
– Additional keywords that were typed into the original search query
– The actual search term as opposed to the keyword that was matched
– The physical location of the user
– The user’s past search behavior and viewing habits
This data would be extremely useful for real time bidding purposes but as advertisers we just don’t have access to it. For this reason, Google’s tools will offer some of the best results compared to external tools that don’t have the benefit of this information.
Different bid strategies are ideally suited to different goals.
And you can also apply them at different account levels. For example, some bid strategies might be applied at only the campaign level and others will be applied all the way down to the keyword level. The goals behind these strategies could involve a variety of things such as:
– Maximizing clicks or targeting a search page location.
– Targeting Cost Per Acquisition and Return on Ad Spend.
– Outranking specific competitors with Target Outranking Share
The ability to set these bid strategies at different levels on your account gives you the opportunity to drive great results. Rather than applying a single strategy to your entire account, you can use them strategically to produce the best ROI.
Before you decide to execute a specific strategy, you have the option of using Google’s bid simulator to view conversion estimates and select the strategies with the highest potential. You also have the benefit of evaluating the average cost-per-click and the incremental cost-per-click so you can make smarter bid decisions.
If you’re using any of Google’s automated bid strategies it’s really important to set up conversion tracking in AdWords to tell Google how they should be identifying conversions – whether you want to count unique conversions or all conversions.
You also need to decide which clicks should get values.
Is it the first click, the last click or all the clicks in between? Then you need to determine how they are weighted, whether or not there is a time decay factor involved, if they are position based, etc.
* Note: Even the best bid management systems require regular human monitoring. If you place too much weight on automation you may not get the most desirable results.
Incorporating automated rules into your AdWords arsenal you will make your campaigns much more efficient.
Automated rules are commands that you can set directly in the AdWords interface. This can be done at the keyword level, ad task level, campaign level and every other level.
These different options for automation allow you to put specific rules in place that modify your bid strategies. So let’s say you wanted to bid to an average position.
While Google has a positional bid strategy, it only allows you to bid to the first page or the top of the page – there is no middle ground.
With automated rules you can set your bids to keep your ads between certain positions. For example, if you wanted the ads for certain keywords to appear between one and three you could build a rule to increase or decrease your bid to hold your position in this range.
This can be achieved in other ways as well but automated rules are some of the easiest ones to run. The downside is that you can only run them once per day, whereas a script can be run once every hour.
There are several other possibilities with automated rules such as setting specific ads to run every weekend, pause keywords that don’t meet your quality score preferences or set up automatic notifications.
The nice thing about AdWords Scripts is that you don’t have to worry about hosting. You can simply take the code and put it directly into your AdWords account. Then the little graphical user interface allows you to build the schedule right there.
So it really is a very easy way to begin experimenting with sophisticated automations.
AdWords Scripts are code based and called Google App Scripts. If you are familiar with a little bit of coding it’s really not too difficult to implement. Once you read through the script it is generally pretty straightforward. They also have an intuitive developer interface that will automatically suggest what your next steps might be once you start typing.
Another advantage of AdWords Scripts is the ability to connect with your external data. So if you have a database of all your products or a list in a Google spreadsheet you can connect to it through an API that can connect to your private company data or connect to public data systems. For example, if you wanted to access weather data you could use Google’s bid by weather script. This would give you the ability to automatically switch out ads according to temperature, rain, snow, sunny days, etc.
You can also automate the AdWords auditing process. If you want to check for broken URLs, ad groups with too many keywords, or a variety of other things, you can use scripts to check for these situations. If the script detects any issues it can send you a notification or assign you a Google task. This saves time and adds these to-dos on a checklist that is more likely to be addressed than a single notification.
AdWords Scripts have flexible outputs, which means that there is really no limit in terms what you can do in that area.
Whether you want to send the output into Google Drive, Google Spreadsheets, Email, etc., it’s easy to do with AdWords scripts. If you are interested in learning more about AdWords Scripts, here is a useful resource from Optmyzer.
The real power of scripts is that you can customize them. You aren’t limited to the purposes that someone else built to satisfy. You can change the code in current scripts to incorporate any changes that you want to see. Just make sure that you preview the changes first before you actually implement them. You can start making small tweaks, and as you start to get comfortable with how scripts are run you can really begin to dig into customization.
If you want to optimize your campaigns and stay ahead of your competitors, then these three AdWords automation tools are essential. You can also learn more about strategies and tools that can be used to maximize your PPC campaigns in this free Ebook.