How to Make Sure your Best Converting Ads are Shown?

by Louise McCartan February 7th, 2013 

This post is inspired by the following New York Times article.

This excerpt describes a business owner's struggle with getting his best converting AdWords ads to show. I've continued below with tips to help with this problem.

"The daily budget hadn't been exhausted, but Google was only showing the ads that got the most impressions and the most clicks – even though their click-through rate was much lower than some of my other ad groups. All other ads were being shut off, so that more money could be devoted to the ads with the most traffic. This approach maximizes Google's revenue. If the impressions are huge, it doesn't matter to Google if the click-through rate is low – even though the minuscule rate is an indication that there is little real interest in the product.

In other words, my budget was being wasted. It was putting ads in front of people who weren't as interested in our products and couldn't really afford them. But because the number of people searching was so high, the total number of clicks generated far outstripped the traffic from my more focused ad groups. Google's algorithm saw the total number of clicks generated as evidence of success, regardless of whether we closed any business. By all of its own metrics, the AdWords campaign was a home run. I had received lots of impressions and bought lots of clicks. The only problem was that these apparently were the wrong clicks."

New York Times, 'My AdWords Debacle: A Wake Up and a Fix', 26th Oct 2012

So, How do you get your Best Converting Ads to Show?

1. Specify your Ad Rotation Preference
Always be careful with your Settings before activating a campaign.

2012 brought changes to how AdWords Ad Rotation works. You can now choose from the following on your Campaign Settings page.

AdWords ad rotation settings

2. Value Specific Audiences Differently

Not all conversions are valued equally. As in the case of this New York Time's article, some search terms lead to higher value sales than others.

Identify high value search terms and place them in a separate campaign to the lower value keywords, so that you've control over the budget for each. Avoid having your low value and high value keywords all in the one campaign as your low value keywords may eat your budget, restricting your high value ads from showing.

Remember, budget is set at the campaign level, not at the ad group level.

3. Be Aware of Ad Scheduling

This is especially the case if you're advertising across multiple time zones (e.g. targeting all of America in one campaign). You don't want your daily budget to run out before your California clients have even woken up.

– Have a separate campaign for each time zone you're targeting.

This way you can keep a close eye on the time of day that converts best for you. You can choose to pause your ads at costly, unproductive times.

If you're looking for additional AdWords management tips, here's a few that you may find useful:

Louise McCartan

Former Google employee, now AdWords & SEO consultant in Northern Ireland for Search Scientist Ltd.

Read AdWords Articles by Louise

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