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Google Adwords – Which Ad Groups Are The Biggest Influence?

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The Google Adwords interface, coupled with the Google Adwords Editor, are usually pretty user friendly, easy to navigate, and useful for drilling down into reports.

However, when you have many campaigns and Ad groups, it can often be difficult to trace an account-wide trend to it’s source.

For example – you have seen that as a whole, your account average position spiked on May 23rd. But, if you have more than 10 campaigns, it can be quite time consuming to find out which campaigns contributed most to this trend.

Then, if you get it down to the campaign, it is more time consuming still to track it down to the appropriate ad group and keyword.

This is because, the Google Adwords interface doesn’t let you compare trends over time on the same screen. You have to switch between ad groups, and compare visually that way.


The better way to do it? Export all the information to Excel, and use pivot tables.

Go to the campaigns tab and press the download button. This opens up some more options, including ‘add segment’. Click on this, and it allows you to segment the data in a number of ways, for the purposes of this article, I choose ‘day’.
Google Adwords Export Segment

This exports the data to Excel showing a huge table of campaigns, day, clicks, CPC, Average position, etc. It is an overwhelming amount of data, and you know what you have to do to make huge data dumps useful – that’s right, use a pivot table.

1. Select the whole table

2. Create a pivot table

3. Tick day as well as the parameter you’re interested in.  E.g. clicks, conversions, cost, etc.

4.  Drag ‘campaigns’ to the columns area.

5. Choose Pivot Chart to visualise the trends.

Now you can more easily see which campaigns contributed most to the overall account trend you spotted.

Google Keyword Matches – Broad Match Modifier

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The new Broad Match Modifier keyword matching option in Google Adwords, is a great addition for advertisers to increase their advertising reach to qualified traffic. It is also a great innovation by the business experts at Google, as it will result in more clicks, and therefore more money for them.

Broad Match Modify can be used to address the many long tail queries that people might use to search online. While this was traditionally handled by the phrase match and exact match options, Broad Match Modifier takes it an extra step further allowing

– Different word order for specified words

– Plurals and misspellings

– Requirement that all the words you list are in the search term

So, for example, if you were bidding on the term “sydney hairdresser” on phrase match, you could have clicks from searches like

cheap sydney hairdresser

sydney hairdresser for men

best sydney hairdresser

But your ad wouldn’t show up for

sydney’s best hairdresser

hairdressers in sydney

Whereas, the new broad match modifier will allow your ads to show for all five of those search terms. All you have to do is put a + in front of each word in your search phrase. (Kind of like how you search on Google now with the + symbol, to make sure the words are in the results.)

e.g. +hairdresser +sydney

This match type is especially good for products with many codes, colours or product names, because it allows your ad to show for more specific searches in your industry.  And, as I am sure you know, the more specific the search, the further down the buying cycle the searcher is, and the more likely to buy.

Google Adwords Remarketing – Things You Might Not Realise

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Google Adwords Remarketing, or any remarketing campaign, works by putting cookies on the browsers of certain visitors to your site, enabling you to show custom ads to them after they leave. In the case of Google Remarketing, this means showing them your ads on the Google Content Network.

It seems like a great idea in principle – trying to recoup those marketing dollars you spent getting them there in the first place, by getting them back again to hopefully buy. But there are two points about remarketing campaigns in Google which can cause confusion for advertisers, and mislead them somewhat.

The first is regarding cookie length. Cookie length can be set up to as long as 180 days on your remarketing campaign. However, unless your product has a very long buying cycle or consideration time, your customer is likely to have already purchased an alternative by the 180 day mark. Effectively, what you are doing with the 180 day cookie then is setting up a content network campaign only for people who have already been to your site. So, you have to think about your cookie length very carefully, and make sure you understand what the difference is between remarketing to your visitors, and another campaign of content display ads.

The second thing, is the View Through Conversions. VTC are conversions where an impression has been made to the buyer of your remarketing ads, but not clicked on. However, what you might not realise is that the default setting in your conversion tracking is that view through conversions will also be counted when the buyer has clicked on an ad in another campaign. For example, a Search PPC ad. In my opinion, such conversions should not be attributed to both Search AND remarketing impressions, and I prefer to enable the deduplicating setting for conversions, which attributes it simply to the very last search click.

Google Adwords Conversion Optimisation

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A couple of days ago, Google introduced a new ad rotation option, for conversion optimising. Since then, I have seen it referred to as the new “conversion optimiser”, which I think causes confusion.

This new ad rotation option is in addition to the original conversion optimising option Google Adwords already offers – originally called Conversion Optimiser, but I guess now there are a couple of options they might all be grouped under “conversion optimising”.

If you are a PPC manager, you will like already be aware of Google’s original Conversion Optimiser in Adwords. It has been around for a while, and the gist of it is, that Google will use your accounts performance history, and particularly conversion history, to try and meet your cost per conversion targets. This is the actual quote from Google

It optimizes your placement in each ad auction to avoid unprofitable clicks and gets you as many profitable clicks as possible.

So, the original conversion optimisation was to improve your cost per conversion, and involved optimising your bids.

With this new optimisation, Google will show your best converting ads, more often. So, it isn’t so much about meeting certain CPA’s, but rather about increasing conversions altogether.

To have either of these conversion options work,  you need to have conversion tracking set up for your Adwords, which involves putting a snippet of code on your conversion pages. Once that snippet is in place, Google will start to track your conversions, and you will be able to get all nifty metrics like conversions by keyword, adgroup and ad as well as cost per conversion and more.

After your ad has accumulated enough conversion data, Google will alert you to let you know you are eligible to participate in conversion optimisation.

For the CPA conversion optimiser, your ad rank is now going to be determined by quality score, CPA and your conversion history, rather than quality score and keyword bid. This is no magic trick, though, and Google covers themselves by saying your conversion costs may not meet your targets, and that it can be affected by changes to your website and ads. I guess it must also be affected by your keyword choice, since older keywords would have bad conversion history.

For the ad rotation optimisation, they will be automatically showing your better performing (as per conversions) ads more often. Best practice for adwords is usually to continually improve your account by making many ad versions and testing them. But to do this, you need to choose rotate evenly, and that you cannot be constantly using conversion optimiser.

Since conversion optimisation works on the historical performance of your ad, it is best to switch off optimisation when you make significant changes to your account, and keep it off until enough conversion data which is more reflective of your current account, has been accumulated.

Conversion optimising options should be used with caution. While they can be helpful, they work on retrospective information, so if there are significant changes in your website, adwords account or even your offline business or industry, you might not want to plan your future on your past performance.

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