Successful Google Advertising – Six Planning Tips

Yesterday I spent a fair amount of time helping a customer as he set up a Google Adwords account for the first time. Although this isn’t my regular job, it was a great refresher in the basics. Google makes it pretty easy to start advertising (and spending a lot of money), before you have understood what you want to accomplish. So… here goes the top 10 tips for planning your Google Adwords campaign; what you need to think through before going to adwords.google.com.

1. What is your measure of success?

Before starting any kind of campaign, it’s important to understand what your goal is – and keep that goal in mind as you set up your marketing effort. So, if you want people to visit your site, register for an account, buy your products or walk into your store, decide that first.

  • If your customers will buy, register or download something from your site, set plan to set up Google conversion tracking on your site. I’ll explain how in a follow up article.

In addition to what action you want people to take, consider who you want to reach. “Who” might be based on demographics, region, interest…

  • Google has some tools for geographic targeting. If you run a regional or local business, you’ll want to leverage these features.
2. What types of words do your targets use now to describe what you do?

Search marketing is PULL not PUSH. This means that you are going to lure people to your site by giving them something that they are interested in already. So your first challenge is understanding what words people already use to describe what it is that you offer. For instance, you might call your blue pencils “Azure Writing Device with Edit Function,” but if no one else calls them that, you won’t get any searches, traffic or sales by using that as a keyword in search.

  • Google offers Insights for Search, which helps you understand how many times specific phrases are searched. There’s a lot of other information there, too, so bookmark the site so you can refer to it again easily.
3. What makes your product unique?

Understanding two or three unique features of your product over the competition will make it much easier to write good ads that people will click! Speaking of ad copy, Google ads are very short. You have a 25 character headline, two lines of 35 characters each and a website address (visible URL) to convince people to click.

4.  Where will you send people when they click?

Google calls this the Destination URL. Most everyone else calls it a landing page. It is rarely a good idea to send people to your home page. Why? Think of it from a user’s standpoint – they are looking for something specific. Going to your home page doesn’t necessarily answer their question directly. Imagine if you were searching for a specific type of digital camera, you clicked on an ad for Amazon, and you ended up on the Amazon home page. You don’t want to have to search through the entire site to find what you were looking for – and neither do your visitors want to search through your site.

  • Put a clear action on the landing page: buy, register (with a form), watch a video. When possible, give them just one choice for what they can do from your page. DO link your logo on that page to your homepage.
5. How much are you willing to spend?

Clicks from Google can be quite expensive, and it’s easy to spend a lot of money fast. The first thing you need to decide is how much money you are willing to spend daily and what is your expectation for what you’ll get for that money. You can set up a campaign so that the maximum cost per click is very low, but if you set it too low, you won’t get any traffic at all because your ads won’t be on the first page. Depending on the product or service, plan to spend between $0.75 and $3.00 per click. To get enough data to begin changing your campaigns, you will need about 100 clicks or more (this depends on a lot of things, but that’s a good rule of thumb).

6. Where do you want to show your ads?

Google offers two different categories of ad segmentation: geographic and type of site.  With geographic targeting, you can select to whom your ad is displayed, based on countries, states, regions, cities or even zip codes.

The second type of targeting is by search or by content. If you select search, your ad will be shown on a number of “search partners” – including Google’s primary search engine. If you select content, your ad will be shown on any number of websites where the owner is making some additional money showing Google ads. Google spiders these advertiser sites for the keywords you select to bid on, and shows your ads to what should be an appropriate audience. BIG POINT: If you choose to use both search and content, set up separate campaigns for each. Do. Not. Mix. Them.

The next post in this series will discuss how to choose keywords and write ad copy.