Not an AdWords newbie anymore? If you know your way around a PPC campaign and have all the basic best practices figured out, you may be looking for some more advanced ideas to help you:

  • Expand your campaigns and grow your reach
  • Reduce costs and eke out a little more ROI
  • Find new opportunities and niches to target

Here are three ideas for the more advanced PPC manager to explore to get more leverage out their AdWords campaigns.

Do a Quick Competitive Analysis

Even when you pretty much know you have all your ducks in a row, from a PPC perspective, you might be curious how your campaigns measure up against other advertisers. Your account metrics may be improving over time, but how are your campaigns performing when compared to other accounts?

WordStream just launched a new free tool, the AdWords Performance Grader, that provides an instant, comprehensive report on your AdWords account as it compares to other advertisers with similar budgets. Your overall grade is an assessment of your AdWords account as a percentile of the thousands of other advertisers that have used the tool " in other words, if you get a grade of 66%, that means you're doing better than 2/3 of similar AdWords users. You'll only be compared to advertisers with similar monthly budgets, so don't worry about measuring up to PPC behemoths like Amazon and Sears.

AdWords Performance Report

The report also breaks down your performance in several different categories (including Quality Score, click-through rate, impression share, long-tail keyword optimization, etc.) and checks your adherence to best practices like usage of negative keywords and modified broad match. Even if you're an expert, this report can be really useful for making sure you haven't dropped the ball anywhere (especially if you manage multiple accounts) and to catch potential wasted spend. It's also a good way to benchmark an account that you plan to make changes to.

Try Remarketing

Newer AdWords advertisers are usually better off focusing on their core campaigns first, but if you're more experienced and have some budget to play with, remarketing is a great avenue to explore. Remarketing allows you to get your marketing message in front of people who have visited your site in the recent past, even when they're not on your site. In essence, with remarketing you can "follow" people around the web with your advertisement.

The benefits of AdWords remarketing are pretty obvious. Your options include:

  • Targeting people based on what pages they visited " Push a different offer out to people depending on what products they looked at previously.
  • Targeting people who abandoned their shopping cart " If someone added something to their cart but didn't purchase it, you can show that person ads for that same product.
  • Targeting previous customers " You can also message to people who did buy something, but hit them with a different offer to push them toward repeat purchases.

For more tips on setting up a remarketing campaign in AdWords, check out Brad Geddes' article on how he set up his own campaigns.

Mine Your Search Queries for Insights

There is a ton of actionable data hiding in your search query reports " if only it were easier to leverage. As an "advanced PPC manager," you're probably an Excel ninja by now, but it not, you're in luck " Chad Summerhill of PPC Prospector wrote a series of posts on the art of advanced search query mining and created a free spreadsheet template to go along with it.

Basically, the idea behind search query mining is this:

  1. You should be using broad match keywords " Using the broad match type is the best way to find new keyword opportunities (i.e., new keywords that you should be bidding on) and expand your reach. However, if you are using broad match
  2. You should be using negative keywords " Google's definition of "broad" is " you guessed it " quite broad. So you need to use negative keywords in conjunction with broad match or you'll be wasting a ton of money on irrelevant clicks. And finally,
  3. You should periodically dig through your search query reports for insights " Your search query reports tell you what keyword strings your ads are actually matching against. Periodically sorting though these keywords helps you find new keyword opportunities as well as negative keyword candidates.

Chad's spreadsheet and tips will help you make quick work (well, quicker, anyway) of this tricky, iterative process. You can find Chad's full series of posts on search query mining at the WordStream blog.