Avoiding The Pitfalls Of A Basic Paid Search Campaign

eMarketer research predicts that U.S. advertisers will spend 11 percent more on paid search in 2017. Although this is the first year that display spending will surpass paid search, it is still neck and neck with display as one on the top budget line items for marketers, with $32.32 billion expected in 2017. With that much going into paid search, advertisers need to make sure their campaigns don’t get caught in any number of trip wires, thereby losing their campaigns’ effectiveness.

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We’ve compiled the top three pitfalls of implementing campaigns in Google AdWords. Avoiding these will ensure you are getting the most effectiveness out of your campaigns.

1. Structure of your keywords - AdWords has four different match-type formats for keywords that expand or focus the search options for your campaign. These four formats are Broad Match, Broad Match Modified, Phrase Match and Exact Match.Broad Match is obviously the broadest of the options. In this format, you may write a keyword such as red shoes.

Broad Match will bid on that term, as well as misspellings, synonyms, singular/plural or related searches. This means that you will bid on terms that may not be part of your keyword list, like red boots.

Broad Match Modified is slightly more targeted. In this format, you would write the keyword as +red +shoes. Broad Match Modified will bid on that term, as well as misspellings, singular/plural or close variants of the term, but not synonyms. For example, shoes that are red.

Phrase Match is even more targeted. In this format, you would write the keyword as “red shoes.” Phrase Match will bid on only the term in the exact order, however there could be slight variations. For example, cheap red shoes or red shoes in Dallas.

Exact Match is the most targeted match type. In this format, you would write the keyword as [red shoes]. This will only bid on the exact term that you specific. The only variation would be singular/plural.

A couple of notes on using these match types. Be careful not to overlap your keywords in campaigns. Overlapping keywords cause your campaigns to bid against one another, effectively bidding against yourself for a paid search result. Think about what alternative searches may be included by another keyword, so you avoid overlapping.

2. Specific Settings - Each campaign can have specific settings that target or expand your reach. These include the type of campaign (search or display), the network (only Google or search partners), devices, locations and languages. Perhaps your company offers only local services. In this case, you would want to limit your location targeting to the area in which you offer services. In some cases, you may want to limit your campaigns to desktop only if, for example, you have a limited budget and your web analytics show minimal activity from mobile environments or your website is not responsive.

3. Content Messaging - We all know content is king, and paid search is no exception. Don’t let all the work you put into creating the perfect keyword list be ruined by poor ad messaging and content on your website. Google has many factors that determine your quality score (one of the measures that determines your ability to wins bids and reach top positions). Google looks at the relevance of your keywords against your paid search ads and keywords on your site to determine the quality score. This is done in an effort to establish a user-friendly experience for Google searches. Users will be more likely to engage after clicking if your ad messaging aligns with keywords within your campaign and the destination page remains on-topic with the ad messaging. Just think, how many times have you clicked on a link in a Google search to find that it wasn’t relevant to your search? Wasn’t it frustrating to look through the page and think, “Well this is useless”?

All in all, always consider the end-user in your campaign setup. What ultimately impacts the effectiveness of a campaign is considering your potential customers and their behavior. What information do they look for? What features or benefits are important to them? Would a search result from your company deliver on their expectations?

Paid search campaigns can deliver interested and engaged traffic to your website, but proper implementation ensures that waste is eliminated to make the most out of annual paid search budgets.

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About Hannah Woodham

Hannah Woodham

Hannah Woodham loves data. As a digital strategy manager at M/C/C, she specializes in seeing the numbers and translating them into a story on performance. She primarily works on the Texas Instruments account, but also supervises the digital advertising process and implementation for other media accounts at M/C/C.

Outside of work, Hannah spends time with her one-year-old son, two big hound dogs and her husband. You can often find her cooking up a storm in the kitchen, blasting Trampled by Turtles from her iPod dock, and using veggies and herbs from her homegrown garden. She considers these indulgences her “little break from the structure of her mind.”

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