Paid search dispelling the myths

When referring specifically to Google AdWords, I find that businesses have often become frustrated, saying they’ve ‘been there, done that and had nothing to show for it’. This isn’t always a surprise, especially when we look deeper into how the campaign has been managed historically.

  • Was the correct tracking set up to assess performance?
  • How was the campaign, ROI, visitors, clicks, conversions and other metrics measured?
  • Was the ad copy tailored to include offers, promotions and/or a minimum price?
  • How many conversions did the campaign receive?

The answer is nearly always ‘I just set my budgets, put the ads together and press go’ or words to that effect. Sometimes quite simply, ‘I don’t know really, I didn’t really check very often’. This statement is fair, time is precious when running or managing a business, and a good campaign needs time invested in it!

You get out, what you put in!

Often businesses that advertise or sell online feel they need to at least ‘give paid search a go’, usually because someone, somewhere told them that it had worked for them. The truth is that if set up correctly and managed effectively, it can be a very successful channel, if market position is right. Historically, one of the main inhibiting factors to success is the budgets. If the correct amount of budget isn’t allocated, return on investment maybe compromised.

Keep your customer in mind

As important as it is to allocate the correct budgets, it makes no sense to ‘burn money’. Effective targeting is vital to maximising potential ROI and ensure campaign spend isn’t out of control. Make sure you keep the customer in mind, think about whom you are targeting and what they will be searching for. Avoid any unwanted spend by ensuring negative keywords are in place as well as focusing on longer-tail and more specific terms. Negative key terms will detract any unwanted clicks and therefore limit unnecessary costs. Longer-tail keywords are often costly and in some cases maybe more likely to convert.

All style, no substance

As important as the design and style are to an online user experience, it’s important that the user can carry out the action at the destination. Let’s put this into the context of a high street shopping experience; we walk into a shop looking for ‘product X’, the layout isn’t something you’re familiar with. You can’t find the product and you can’t find any members of staff that happen to be free. In this instance you may walk out of the shop, however, you have the option to wait just a short while and speak to a member of staff for some advice. If the high street shop doesn’t have it in stock, they may be able to order in or offer an alternative, essentially, you have other options.
Now put this into the context of an online shopping experience; you enter your search query within Google, you spot a result that catches your eye and matches your search query, you click but you can’t find the product you are looking for, or worse still, the site functionality fails you and doesn’t allow you to complete your journey or action. Would you pursue and contact the company directly? Or are you more likely to click off the site and pick another business in the search listings? In summary, if the landing page is all style and no substance, you will be spending money, with little or no return.

Time is money and time flies!

If you want paid search advertising to work for you and it’s being managed in-house, there has to be a certain amount of time committed to optimising the campaign(s). Don’t assume that you can simply select the keywords, set the budgets and press go. Optimisation and data analysis takes time, time is money and, time flies when there’s a business to run! On many levels, it can be much more cost effective to have an agency on board, with relevant qualifications and years of campaign management experience, to manage it for you.