Google AdWords is the most used online advertising tool for PPC campaigns worldwide. However, since it's possible to manage a multitude of campaigns — with lots of ad groups and keywords — this can make any PPC analyst feel lost in the woods!
With such a large amount of information it becomes critical to find ways to optimize campaigns, choose the best channel for your budget and speed up daily activities (especially if you do not have a PPC tool and bid manager). That is how I started to think about best practices to manage large accounts.
Here are my three tips.
1. Label at All Account Levels
Labels are great because they are visual and customizable! This is why I suggest you label all levels of the account: campaign level, ad group level, keyword level and, in many cases, also at the ad level.
Labels can be multifunctional, but I use them mostly as an insight tool, personal memo and alert system within AdWords.
Label Ads to Collect Insights
By selecting “labels” in the drop-down menu of the dimension tab, you can access all data about the labeled elements. Here is where it’s possible to have a macro view of the performance of the account and insights useful to take strategic decisions for the campaigns. This data certainly helps to identify those areas where the account is “weak” and where you need to invest more.
For instance, by labeling ads based on the most common message/key terms that you use inside them — cheap, deals, discount, limited, etc. — you can easily understand which key message gets a better CTR and conversion, and which does not. It is also possible to do it at the ad group level and keywords level.
Label Keywords as a Post-it
If you have lots of keywords in your account, it is almost impossible to remember the behavior of all of them. Although you can memorize the best/worst performing ones, you might forget everything about the rest. Thus, there’s the high risk that you might make the same decision over and over again, forgetting the historical actions already taken.
Use short labels for each keyword as a memo to remember information about everything useful to you:
- Their costs: expensive or cheap
- Their level of conversion: good or bad
- Their recommended average position, etc.
2. Analyze Your Target’s Behavior With The Dimensions Tab
There are two important functions of the drop-down menu that can be tricky: Time and User Locations
By selecting “Time,” it’s still possible to choose — through a drop-down list — which kind of data you want to visualize (day of the week, day, week, month, quarter, year, hour of day). In my opinion the most useful are Day of the Week and Hour of Day. The first one helps you to identify the best or worst performing days, the second one gives you more data according to the hour of day (and this is often related to the device people use during the day).
On the other side, by selecting “User Locations” it is possible to detect where most conversions are generated or where costs come from. By default, AdWords tells you just the country, but by adding columns in Google View it’s possible to also know the region and city.
Both — Time and User Locations — are available at campaign level or at ad group level.
3. Negative Keywords Bring Positive Results
Broad match and modified broad match keywords are a great way to cover a wide range of searches in your campaigns; nevertheless, they can be dangerous when they become too wide or target an ambiguous search query. Broad keywords get all the “noise” and unclear queries. What’s worse is you are most likely paying for keywords that are not matching the user intent (or your business goals).
Therefore, it’s necessary to run and periodically check the broad search query report. The report provides ideas on new keywords to add to your campaign, and gives you information about keywords to exclude.
Even though I consider (modified) broad match keywords necessary to enhance campaigns, remember to use them with caution and always with a good set of updated negative keywords (they can be applied at campaign and ad group level)!
What are your thoughts? Any other tips to manage large AdWords accounts?
I will be speaking at SMX Milan in November 2014 about “Creating & Perfecting Killer Paid Search Ads” using Cialdini's Six Factors of Influence. Join me in Milan!