Organization inside your Google AdWords account has always been one of the keys to success on the paid search platform. You will find countless articles on how to increase your productivity in AdWords, task calendars, task lists etc.
Until the arrival of labels in AdWords we were really missing an internal way to organize and navigate through countless creations, optimizations, bid changes, ad rewrites, ad tests, keyword additions and many more.
After using labels for a couple of months I have come up with four great ways that I apply to my AdWords accounts in order to optimize Google AdWords quickly.
Before jumping into the world of labels, I want to give you a quick tip on how to use AdWords labels while still following “color standards”.
Color Code your AdWords Labels for Ease of Recognition
When you’re using labels you have the possibility to choose a color for each label. The first tip I have is to refrain from using a new color for every label that you create.
Use similar colors for the same type of labels. For instance if you are using labels to keep track of ad groups or campaigns that were created recently, then I suggest just using a white background for the label.
This will ensure that you don’t have a large variety of colors in your dashboard that will make visual recognition harder. We can quickly get distracted and the last thing you want is that your newly optimized AdWords dashboard gets more cluttered.
Color Code Labels to Match Their Meaning
When choosing colors for your AdWords labels keep the colors that you see every day and take their meaning into consideration.
We see a great variety of colors every day, and they all have a different meaning depending on our culture. In most western countries we have traffic lights that mean Stop, Get Ready and Go.
Use the same methodology when it comes to your labels.
- Use red labels for special attention keywords
- Use yellow for new additions
- Use orange for experiments that you’re confident will work out
- Use green to label your champion ads and bread-and-butter keywords
Now that we have the right mindset for creating labels, it’s time to look closer at some of the ways I personally use labels to optimize Google AdWords.
1) Use Labels for New Initiatives (with date!)
The ability to label new initiatives and the date they started on is amazing. You can now add new keywords, ad groups or even campaigns and know exactly which ones to review to make sure they’re performing as expected.
A great example is when you add new keywords to existing ad groups. In the old days you would note the new keywords in your task manager and set a reminder for a couple of days later to make sure they’re running.
I still recommend you use your task manager, but now when checking your account you can quickly filter all keywords based on labels (New – 23/7). This will quickly allow you to identify the new keywords and do a diagnostics on them.
Remember to include the date of when you added the keywords. It will make it super easy for you to set the correct date ranges when checking stats.
2) Use Labels to Differentiate Champion Ads and New Ads
This is by far my favorite use of labels since it was time consuming to track and identify how my new ads were performing.
In large accounts and especially when you start testing the small factors in your AdWords ads, you can forget which ad was the champion and which was the test.
To help with this issue I use green labels to label my Champion ads, and then I set a yellow label (with date of activation) for the new ads.
Now I can quickly identify my new ads and determine their performance. I can also easily set the correct data range, so I precisely compare the date ranges from the day the new ad was created.
Quick Tip: When testing new ads, try to discard the first 7 days of data until the Quality Score on your new ad improves so that performance is not skewed.
3) Use Labels to Remember Keyword Bid Increases
It’s not always easy to remember your bid changes, and it can be quite repetitive to list every keyword bid change in your task manager.
Even though AdWords labels aren’t the fastest way to do this it’s a good replacement for your notes.
I usually use labels for bid changes if I want to remember the change for my next optimization. I might just be testing out a certain bid, or decreased it to see if the clicks/conversions would remain the same.
A good thing to notice here is to note the last conversion and conversion rate over the last 14 days. This will help you so you don’t have to go back and check the previous date range to benchmark.
4) Use Labels to Mark Paused Keywords, Ad Groups or Campaigns
Quite often when I start (soon to be) big campaigns for new clients there is a budget limit and performance goals that need to be met.
In some cases I have created a good setup for the new campaign, but for various reasons 50% of the keywords are more than enough to meet the initial performance goals within the budget limitations.
Instead of simply decreasing bids for all keywords by 50%, I opt for pausing the lower quality, lower conversion rate and lower CTR keywords/ad groups to save budget. This helps me to focus on the great portion of our account instead of working hard to get decent keywords performing okay.
I’d rather focus on maximizing performance on keywords that are already performing well.
In order for me not to disregard the low performing ad groups in future (which would be a huge mistake), I label them accordingly.
The labels I usually use in this case are:
- Paused Due to Low CTR
- Paused Due to Budget Limitations
- Paused Due to Low Conversion Rate
- Paused Due to Low Clicks
- Paused Due to Vacation
This not only allows me to see which keywords, ad groups or campaigns I can quickly turn on for a quick win, but it also reminds me what parts I need to focus on when optimizing them after reactivation.
Always Check your Labels Before Optimizing
Last but not least, make it a habit to check your labels before you start working on your account. Specially if you use another form of planning then it's important that you review your labels.
Habits take time to develop, so make sure you remember your labels manually from the beginning.
How does your label system look like, and what label usages can you recommend to your fellow search marketers?