Last week, I took a look at some AdSense optimisation tips for beginners. This week, I want to do something similar, but for AdWords. I’ve already done one article of Adwords Tips, but it’s such a wide subject I wanted to do an update. Many bloggers use AdWords to advertise their blog, but it’s quite a difficult thing to get right. As a blogger, you probably don’t sell any tangible goods, so it can be hard to work out how much you should be spending.
While these tips are quite basic, they should provide you with a solid starting point if you’re advertising with AdWords for the first time and apply to anyone using AdWords, not just bloggers.
Work out what it is you’re selling
This might sound a little odd, but before you advertise your blog, take a moment to ask yourself why you’re advertising. For most people this will be because they want to increase subscriber numbers and get more people reading their blog. But you could equally be advertising a competition or pushing an affiliate offer by advertising a review of a product. This is important to your ad budget, the wording of your ads, and the link you actually send people too. If you’re pushing an affiliate offer, then make sure you’re sending people to the right page rather than you’re home page. If you’re pushing a competition, try to work out how much an entry is worth to you.
In the past, I’ve looked at the issue of how much a blog is “worth” per subscriber, so keep that figure in mind if that’s the aim of your campaign – and don’t go spending more on acquiring a subscriber than they’re worth to you in the long run.
Remember it’s real money
It might sound obvious, but it’s very easy to get carried away with an ad campaign, especially when you see loads of traffic coming to your site. Advertising is somewhat akin to gambling. However hard you work on getting your campaign right, you can never be sure you’re going to get your investment back, so one simple rule is to never spend more than you can afford to lose.
Check what the competition is doing
Another obvious tip that you may not have thought about is to check out your competition’s ads. Do a Google search for the keywords you’d like to advertise on and check out the ads. Look at the headlines, the body text and the actual link and see what you can learn. But don’t go clicking the competition’s ads just to spend their ad budget. Remember that Google knows exactly what you’re clicking, so if you try anything funny, Google will almost certainly catch you!
Be very careful with country targeting
This is something that beginners often overlook, but it’s vitally important to your ad campaign.
Many people will automatically set up a new AdWords campaign and target it to “all countries, all languages”. They’ll look at the AdWords stats and see loads of traffic coming in, but those people just aren’t subscribing or buying the product. So what’s going on? The answer is in the bids. Professional advertisers will only show their ads in countries they’re interested in. More often than not, these are “wealthy” countries like the U.S. and Western Europe.
When you set up your campaign targeted at the whole world, your keyword bids may be too low to show in the US and Europe because all the top advertisers are already advertising there. But AdWords reports that your ads are showing, right? That’s because your ads are probably only being shown in poorer countries where there is less competition from advertisers.
If your ads are only appearing in the poorest countries, the chances are people can’t buy your product or don’t even realise they’ve clicked an ad (particularly if you’ve targeted “all languages”. So take care to target only the countries or regions that are useful to you. It might cost you a few more cents per click, but those clicks are much more likely to perform better for you.
Go after the Long Tail
What’s the long tail? Wikipedia has an in-depth explanation.
In terms of web search and AdWords, it means going after highly specific keywords and phrases. These will often have much lower traffic than popular search terms, but they have significant advantages. If your keywords are very specific, there will often be less competition from other advertisers and lower prices per click. Plus you also get the benefit that you are targeting the user much more precisely, and they’re more likely to be interested in what you’re selling.
As an example, say you were selling ringtones. Instead of just bidding on the keyword “ringtones”, you might want to bid on “Nokia n95 ringtones” and send people to a Nokia specific landing page. You could then get more specific still by going after “nokia n95 kanye west ringtones” or even a specific song “nokia n95 kanye west stronger ringtone”.
As you can imagine, this is going to take you more time and you may not get much traffic. But because you have precisely targeted a search term, the people you do attract are much more likely to be interested in your product. The trick is to do this with many, many combinations of very specific keywords – and direct these clicks to precisely the right page (AdWords allows you to specify a unique link for each keyword you bid on). Don’t just dump people at your home page and expect them to find the right page.