Friday, March 07, 2014

Win with Adwords Strategic Decisions

I make myself tiring when i say to my friends and colleagues again and again that what is missing nowadays is not skill, but critical thinking. Strategic insight and then tactical implementation.

Marketers are not an exception.

Now, if we think Adwords from a marketer’s holistic point of view, caution is necessary; otherwise our campaign is doomed to fail. What else could we put emphasis on, apart from grouping the keywords correctly, using optimized settings and then sitting back to drink scotch (or soda if you prefer), thus leaving our account to run without intervention?
Ignoring our Unique Selling Proposition
USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition. The USP states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer that convinced them to prefer or even switch brands. In Google Adwords, no part of the marketing campaign needs a USP more than our ads. If we write the headline, benefits and URLs without strategic insight on how to sell the offer to a specific customer, our ads will fail. The stimuli provided by the ad will not cause attention and perceptual selection, causing CTR and ad position in the search results to go down.
Instead, before writing any Adwords ads, we should try to understand and be ready to circulate the benefits of our advertised products or services. Understand our target customer, the needs and solutions they would value. Reflect all of these points in our ads and landing pages. Bid on the brand, not the money. Google may reward us with high quality score (QS) and customers will reward us with a good Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and, why not, feasible lead generation. This is the quintessence of marketing, after all. Satisfying customer needs.

“Highest bid for the highest position” strategy

“Turnover is vanity and profit is sanity”. I will bypass the theory behind the auction computational problem that is called Google Adwords, even though I strongly recommend deeper digging in publications of researchers like Aranyak Mehta or Nikhil Devanur as food for thought for the computational mechanism behind Adwords. The truth is that we must be stupid if we think that we must bid the most to get higher search result positions. This is a common Google Adwords budgeting mistake that will waste money and leave us with nothing more to spend very soon. It may get us to the top temporarily, but it’s definitely not a sustainable strategy for our resources. Especially if our PPC campaign is the part of our strategic marketing plan and we have limited budget.

Instead, we may opt for the long-term, budget-safe solution. Improve the relevancy and consistency of our ads, ad groups, keywords and landing pages, then Google will increase our Quality Score (QS). A good QS may increase the frequency of our ads at better positions and our CPC may go down. By improving overall quality in PPC campaigns, we end up to spend less budget for a higher position in the long-term.

Forgetting conversion profit margins & costs p.u.

Not setting up conversions for sales or enquiries so that ROI of this marketing action can be measured? No conversion tracking? Not understanding the profit margins and marketing costs per unit for our products or services so that we can set a price per click? FAIL.

When we spend €10,000 on Google Adwords, this is a cost. Marketing costs need to have a ROI. Wise planning of cost per conversion/impression/click/unit/day etcetera is highly recommended. Off course, there is always the opportunity cost, the cost of the missed opportunity. Ok, it’s time for some critical thinking, I guess. But come on, had we managed the account better and spent our budget in a smarter way, we may have had more satisfying financial results. Which is why we are paid for, at the end of the day.