When you’re first starting out with AdWords, there are many things you need to know and understand that it’s almost impossible to grasp them all.
To help you get started with your new AdWords campaign I’ve written a list of all the helpful knowledge that I have compiled over the years.
The infographic covers key areas such as account structure and settings, quality score, mobile ads, new AdWords features and many more. All these tips are not necessarily beginner friendly, but you will be glad you learned about them one day.
29 Tips For AdWords Beginners I Wish Someone Had Told Me
When you’re first starting out with AdWords there are so many things you need to know and understand that it’s almost impossible to grasp them all.
To help you get started with your new AdWords campaign I’ve written a list of all the helpful knowledge that I have compiled over the years. Granted, all these tips are not necessarily beginner friendly, but they’re good to know and you will one day find out why you needed to know them.
1) It’s Not Just About One Metric
When optimizing your AdWords Ad Copy it can be dangerous to look at only one of the key metrics:
Cost Per Conversion
Avg. Conversion Value
If for instance you only look at CTR, then you will focus on the ads that draw in a lot of clicks. Many of my ad tests have shown that the ads having the highest CTR don’t necessarily have the best conversion rates.
To make sure you get conversions, you need to analyze your main metrics and detract the users who won’t be paying the price of your product or who are unable to get it delivered.
You need to take all the main metrics into account and get a great balance between high click volume, high CTR and conversions at a profitable cost per conversion.
2) Relevance is The Key
Working with AdWords is all about relevance. CTR (The percentage of people that click your ads, divided by the amount of people who see it) is the key metric that determines whether or not your AdWords Ads are relevant.
Maximizing your relevance has several advantages:
Higher position for a lower price
I advise you to read this post if you want to know more about how to increase your AdWords ad relevance
3) Remember a Call-To-Action
A Call-To-Action is something that you’re asking the user to do. It’s a term that you’ll hear a lot in online advertising.
Some of the most popular Call-To-Actions in AdWords ads are:
Get Your Free Estimate
Book Your Trip
See Pictures and…
Find Out Why We’re Best
Buy Online for Only…
Contact Us Today
Claim Your Promotion
Search for your … here
Including a Call-To-Action serves two purposes:
You direct the users to perform a specific action on your website
The user knows exactly what he can do on your website. If the user is looking for info, then he won’t be likely to click an ad that reads “buy here”.
4) Use the Most Appropriate Landing Page
Ensuring high relevance between the search term and AdWords ad is just one part of the relevance game.
Once a user clicks on your ad you need to take control and make sure that they’re taken to a landing page that matches their query, where they can quickly locate all the necessary information they need.
5) Ad Extensions are Mandatory
Ad Extensions were first introduced in the late 2009 and have since become a crucial to increasing your ad space in SERP results and increasing your relevance.
Ad Extensions can be set up manually, or you added automatically to your account if you meet certain criteria.
The ad extensions we recommend small business owners to absolutely include in your campaigns are sitelinks and callout extensions.
Always remember to include Ad Extensions
6) Don’t Use Broad Match
Broad match is the most commonly used match type in Google AdWords. It’s also the most volatile match type.
You have very little control over what search terms your ads are appearing for because your keywords may be accompanied by other random queries.
Looking through some of our Clients campaigns that have been using broad match keywords in the past, we found a lot of examples on how bad it can be.
7) It’s Not All About Long Tail Keywords
Don’t get me wrong – Long tail keywords can work great and creating a lot of content to catch the long tail searches for your organic campaigns is an amazing strategy, but with AdWords you can afford to think broader.
By strategically using broad match modifier and phrase match keywords you’ll be able to discover the long tail keywords that actually have enough volume to be worth spending time on.
8) One-Worded Keywords Rarely Work OutOne-Worded keywords attract searchers so early in the buying funnel that they’re not worthwhile for rookies or even for intermediate AdWords advertisers.
9) You Can Add Instances of the Same Keyword in Different Match Types within the Same Campaign
Don’t skimp on match types when adding new keywords to your campaigns.
Add the keywords in all the appropriate match types and find out what match type works best for each specific keyword.
10) Negative Keywords Are Not a Choice
Even though I would like to say that opening new AdWords accounts without Negative Keywords is becoming a rare practice, it’s really not the case.
Adding negative keywords to your campaign is just as important as adding regular keywords. Adding them is a MUST, not an option.
11) Use Negative Keyword Lists If You Have More Than One Campaign
The introduction of negative keyword lists means that you can add negative keywords that will apply toy our entire account.
Negative keywords lists can be a huge timesaver and will optimize all your campaigns in one go instead of having to do it one-by-one.
Your account structure is the foundation of your AdWords campaign. In the beginning, you might be able to build whatever structure you like, and it might work just fine.
But when you start adding more keywords, and ads things will start becoming messy and you will wish you created a more organized campaign from day one.
12) Focus Your Account Structure on Keyword Themes
Your campaign is made up of ad groups that contain keywords and ads. The best way to build these ad groups is by focusing on themes.
Even though a single product might have several keywords representing it, you should never put keywords that bear no resemblance in meaning within the same ad group (unless you do it on purpose).
The reason for this structure is that even though two keywords might essentially mean the same thing, people who are searching for them might have different search intents:
Rodent exterminator and rat exterminator have a similar meaning. But if you search for rat exterminator and see ads for rodent exterminator you might not click it.
Now add this to the fact that the other eight ads on the site say rat exterminator. You’re 90% sure that the ad for rodent exterminators can get rid of your rats, but you’re 100% sure that the ad for rat exterminators can get rid of your rats.
This is why account structure is the key to success. The better your structure is, the better your ad relevance will be as well.
13) Align Your Account Structure With Your Website
When structuring your AdWords account, you should try to mimic the same navigation and structure of your website. This is especially true for e-commerce websites.
You’re familiar with the way your website is organized, and you can intuitively find a product without performing a search for it. By using the same structure in your AdWords campaigns, you’ll be able to find easily the ad groups that represent certain products on your website.
14) One Keyword, One Ad Group Only Works for Professionals
You might have heard the old AdWords “rule” that only true experts normally use. This rule states that you can only have one ad group for each keyword. Well, that’s not true.
Just because the experts might be doing this, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. AdWords experts have vast experience and intuitively know how to set up a campaign. Most experts even use proprietary or third party optimization tools that you don’t have access to or cannot afford.
The one keyword, one ad group approach is very nice in theory. In practice however, this approach turns out to be very time-consuming and depending on how big your account and return is, the ROI on your time spent might be abysmal.
SettingsThe AdWords settings panel has gone through quite a bit of changes over the last couple of years. Here are some of the most important thing you should know:
15) Search and Display Campaigns Don’t Go Together
Display and Search don’t mix well. Each channel is vastly different and require specific tactics to become successful.
Even though I’ve seen them producing good results when I’ve taken over clients who have built their own AdWords campaigns, it’s never the way to move forward.
Display campaigns are more of a push marketing channel and require completely different ads and setups to make them work optimally.
16) You can Dynamically Change Your Bid Depending on Date, Device, Location and Time of Day
With enhanced campaigns, you can dynamically change your bidding options according to several factors:
Day of the week
Device (Phone or Desktop)
Time of day
Depending on what kind of campaign you’re running and what products you’re advertising for, chances are that you’re not seeing the same conversion rate on Saturdays as on Tuesdays.
Use the Dynamic bid modifiers once you got the hang of optimizing AdWords campaigns and you will be able to squeeze the last couple of conversions out of your account.
17) Choosing Your Locations is More Precise than Radius Targeting
When you’re using AdWords in a small geographical area it can be tempting to just set a radius of 50 miles from your company address. Even though it’s faster, in most cases it’s not better.
The radius feature is not as precise as selecting your locations. You can easily use either the bulk location uploader or select them on the map in AdWords.
18) Mobile Is No Longer a Choice
In 2013, Google performed a study along with Ipsos that concluded that 70% of the mobile searches surveyed reported that they click to call directly to connect with a business.
Two years later that statement not only rings true, but it is expected that this year mobile search volumes will exceed desktop search.
19) Use Bid Adjustments to Maximize ROI
Bid adjustments allow you to increase or decrease your bids in a percentage change that help you exploit the areas of opportunity of your account.
You can use mobile bid adjustments, hourly and day of the week, and location based.
Here are a couple of examples of what will happen with your bid when you set the various bid adjustments:
$10 at -100% = $0
$10 at -90% = $1
$10 at -40% = $6
$10 at +50% = $15
$10 at +100% = $20
$10 at +200% = $30
Search, Display, Remarketing, Product Listing Ads
20) AdWords is no Longer “Just Google.com”
The last couple of years Google has rolled a huge amount of new features to AdWords. These are some amongst many others:
Remarketing/Audiences for Search
AdWords Retargeting for Search & Display
Demographics Targeting Tab
AdWords Editor version 11.02
No matter how you look at AdWords, the truth is that it’s no longer just AdWords. If you’re only focusing on getting the most out of AdWords in the regular sense, then you’re missing out on big potential.
21) Shopping Campaigns are a MUST if You Have an E-commerce Store
Shopping Campaigns show your products along with a brief description and price on Google Search Results. The biggest difference from a regular Search campaign is that you don’t use keywords.
Instead, you need to upload the list of the products you want to advertise to the Google Merchant Center.
Google Mobile Ads
22) Ads Mentioning Mobile Specific Terms Work Amazingly Well
Always try to use mobile specific terms when creating your mobile ads. Mentioning that the user is on a mobile has proven to increase your click rate and conversion rate.
An example is: Use your smartphone and call now!
23) It’s All About the Top 2 Positions
In Google mobile ads you live or die by the top 2 positions. Even though you’ve always been able to get more clicks in the top 2 positions on a desktop as well, then mobile takes it to a new level.
Consider increasing your bidding if your clicks are low on mobile. Conversion rates on mobile ads are almost always better than on desktop for call-focused campaigns, so feel free to play with higher CPCs than the ones allowed by your desktop conversion rate.
24) Keywords Are Shorter
Using a smartphone is a lot different than using a computer. Mobile users tend to use abbreviations and shorter keywords in general. Think about this when setting the bid percentage for keywords on mobile.
Some keywords will simply never get traction in mobile due to their complexity.
25) A Mobile Friendly Website is a Must
Mobile browsing and usage is on the rise. Therefore, you should make sure you are leading your visitors to a fully functioning mobile site designed for them to have the best user experience.
Otherwise you will miss out on a lot of sales because it was difficult for your visitors to navigate on your site.
26) Quality Score Is Volatile
Your Quality Score can change several times without you even realizing it. The Quality Score you see on your dashboard isn’t necessarily equal to the Quality Score Google uses to calculate your ad rank.
This happens for several reasons, but just know that what you see is not what you get. Never stop optimizing for a higher Quality Score. Even the smallest and unnoticed change in Quality Score can allow you to get a higher ad position or pay less for your current ad position.
27) Quality Score Can (and will) Make or Break Your Campaign
Ignoring your Quality Score is the one thing that will always break your campaign in the long term. While there are a lot of things to know about Quality Score, you can’t ignore Quality Score or avoid optimizing it.
You need to invest time and effort to achieve the highest Quality Score for your campaign.
28) Your Accountant Will Hate You
The AdWords billing system has become friendlier as years have gone by, but it is still deeply annoying for first-time users. When you’re first starting out with your AdWords account your accountant will be the person you never want to meet.
Before your billing threshold increases, you will be getting bills for $50, $200, $350 etc. until you reach $500 in spend. If you’re spending $500 every couple of days, then yes – you will see an invoice every couple of days.
Unless you choose manual payment or get approved for monthly invoicing, then your accountant will hate you and will complaint.
29) You Can Get AdWords on Credit
The monthly invoicing option with Google isn’t one of the most known features for new AdWords advertisers.
If you spend more than $5000 per month, and your business has been running for more than one year, then you’ll be able to apply for monthly invoicing with Google.
This will imply that you can pay 30 days later through bank transfer. In other words, your AdWords spend in March will be due on April 30th.
Just know that you need to be on top of your AdWords spend. With this option, you won’t have a natural reminder on how much you spend or any other limit than the one you set in your AdWords account.
AdWords Is About Much More Than Just A List
Successful AdWords management is about more than just knowing a few facts or being able to set a bid for x-amount of dollars.
The best AdWords managers develop a feeling for the market that guides them through optimizations, directions and strategies.
Once you’ve worked with AdWords long enough, all the items on this list, and many more, will be imprinted in your head and they will all work together to shape your AdWords strategy.
Until then, keep up with your lists and procedures and your AdWords campaigns will prosper.