At the beginning of an AdWords campaign you have a lot of different settings and data populating but sometimes you are unsure of what is happening or where to focus. This makes the first 30 days of your AdWords campaign very important to get it on the right track and building the statistics on important KPIs from the start. This little guide here will show you a few areas to look at to help figure out how to begin optimizations on a new AdWords campaign and understand what is happening on the Google-side of things.
This is one of the most important metrics for the life of an account. With Search Network campaigns, making sure you keep your CTR above 1% not only tells Google that users enjoy your content but also helps your marketing efforts by getting more people to your landing pages to perform some action. You can build stronger CTRs by following the “straight line of relevancy” concept and placing proper competitive bids on your keyword targeting.
This is great information here. Search Impression Share will let you know how much exposure you are receiving on your campaign for the keywords you are targeting and auctions you are eligible to enter. This number is delivered in a percentage (%) style which allows you to calculate the reach you have on the Google search engine. The key metric counterpart to Search Impression Share is the Search Lost Impression Share (due to rank) which will drop your Search Impression Share the higher the lost percentage is. This is effected by your quality score and account structure according to Google AdWords’ best practices and guidelines.
(the setting to add Search Impression Share statistics to your AdWords dashboard can be found in the “Columns” tab under “Competitive Metrics” where you can then add this information in)
AdWords has a strong geographic location setting that is really helpful in narrowing down your targeting for search campaigns. Sometimes, you can have irrelevant search parties looking “into” your geographic target location so you want to be mindful of excluding traffic you don’t want getting exposure to your marketing. Here is an example of a campaign that was running in the United States but was still receiving traffic from other areas in the world:
This can be a problem and give you unnecessary costs as you ramp up in the beginning of an AdWords campaign. You must constantly check your geographic reports to make sure you are getting the proper traffic, exclude countries that keep showing up, and switch your settings to maximize your geo-targeting focus. Excluding the countries is straightforward, but the settings you need to switch are under the Campaign’s settings under “Location Options”. Here is what I’ve found to have the best setup:
Adding in those extra countries to exclude will ensure you don’t get that irrelevant traffic anymore. Some people can look into the United States by geo-parsing their search query (ie: “hotel rooms in new york” or “car rentals los angeles”). Getting your geographic targeting narrowed down to the locations you specifically want to target sets your campaign on the proper path to scaling and growing. Find more geographic targeting tips here.
You can start to understand your audience more when you know what devices they are actively using over the other. You will want to monitor the traffic volumes between Mobile and Desktop to see how you should be developing your ad messaging. You will also want to pay attention to your Average Cost-Per-Click and Average Position for each device to know how to maximize spend for your AdWords campaign. Sometimes Mobile is more expensive and doesn’t really provide the conversions and conversion rate you are expecting. You can drop your Mobile bid adjustment to stay more focused on Desktop targeting. Vice-versa, maybe your product only makes sense targeting someone on their phone. Drop your Desktop bid adjustment and keep all of your advertising on Mobile. This is why it is important to monitor in the beginning to make sure you are being cost efficient with your budget.
(You can find device category information in the campaign settings under “Devices” just below the main tabbing for a campaign)
Maintaining the top 3 positions in AdWords is very important and has been since search advertising started. Knowing where your keywords are showing up will let you understand the competition and which keywords are valuable to you as data is collected. Sometimes you’ll want to make sure your keywords don’t have “Low Search Volume”, “Below First Page Bid”, or “Rarely Shown due to Low Quality Score” because those keywords that have average position data on them are not fully accurate. These keywords are only showing the data from auctions those keywords were able to enter. To elaborate, the keyword needs more attention if it has a high position with those status labels. You’ll want to make sure you have competitive bids again to maximize your positioning on keywords.
(Average Positions can be found at the Campaign, Ad group, and Keyword-level of the AdWords account, depending on the granularity you are looking for)
In the beginning of an AdWords campaign, you have no history or data on the targeting you set up. As all of this data is being collected and you are optimizing the campaigns, Google is learning about the way you advertise and if the system should “trust” you. AdWords is an auction-based system so data calculations are constantly being inputted from searches to determine the best user experience for that search. If you have no history how does the system know if you are relevant? Well again, the quality score is a strong guideline to making sure the system is happy with how you setup your account. Second, you just need to get history built. This is why the first 30 days are important, you are establishing yourself on the search engine results page and you are showing Google how trustworthy you are to join the ranks of advertisers that have potentially been advertising in the same space for years. There will be noticeable moments within those first 30 days that you see spikes in traffic if you are optimizing the campaigns properly. This is Google adding you into more auctions as it builds that trust. It’s more of a patience play in the beginning of an AdWords campaign than anything.
Remember! The data you gather in the AdWords interface is showing you data from auctions you were entered into & eligible to enter into for your targeting. This data does not show stats on auctions you weren’t eligible to enter. This why it is very important to hunt down more data like Search Lost Impression Share and find other metrics that are necessary to your business at the beginning of an AdWords campaign and as you are optimizing it.