5 Things to Look for in a Google AdWords Account

5 Things to Look for in a Google AdWords Account
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By Brett Farmiloe

Managing a Google AdWords account is like managing a garden. Both activities require an attention to detail and consistent maintenance.

Google AdWords is Google's online advertising program. Businesses use AdWords to create online ads to reach their target audience in Google search and other sites through both text and display ads. With no minimum spending commitment and the ability to reach prospective customers exactly when they're interested in your types of products or services, AdWords is a great marketing tool that can be utilized to grow your business.

Unfortunately, a lot of Google AdWords accounts that we audit look like an unkept, backyard garden when we first see it. The more messy an AdWords account, the more money a business is wasting in their ad spend. Below, I'll share what to look for in a Google AdWords account and what actions to take so that your business can turn AdWords into a profitable marketing tactic.

Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking tells an advertiser what happened after a prospective customer clicked on your ad. With this free tool, you are able to tell whether a prospect purchased a product, made a phone call, filled out a lead form or performed another desirable action after coming to your website. Without this tool, you're left with just a "gut feeling" on whether Google ads are working for your business.

Most conversions you're looking to track rely on the addition of a conversion tracking code to your website. Some conversions don't require code to be added to the site and instead rely on Google to track conversions. For example, adding a call extension or creating a call only ad (text ads that encourage a user to call rather than click) could rely on a Google forwarding number to track phone activity.

When a user completes an action, the tracking code will report that activity to AdWords as a conversion. Tracking conversions will enable you to see which ads, keywords and landing pages are producing results -- and more importantly, which ones aren't. Keeping a close eye on the ad account activity empowers you to double down on the ads that convert, and pump the brakes on the non-producers.

Quality Score

Google determines which ads to display and what to charge based on the Quality Score. A score of one is the worst; 10 is the best. Your quality scores measure the relevance of your keywords, landing pages and ads to ensure that Google users see quality ads and have a positive experience.

Keywords with Quality Scores of eights, nines and tens add value to Google users and will cost advertisers less per click. The ones, twos and threes will likely still appear in search, but advertisers have to pay the maximum per click to keep the impressions rolling.

If your scores are below a four, your ads are not performing at an optimal level. You should always target a Quality Score of seven or higher. To improve low-quality scores, ask yourself a series of questions. Is the keyword relevant to the product? If yes, then is the keyword relevant to the landing page? If yes, then is the keyword and landing page relevant to the ad text itself? More specifically, can the keyword be seen in the product, landing page and the ad?

No one likes paying more than they have to. Experiment with more targeted keywords, splitting ad groups, testing different ad text or creating specific landing pages to improve your Quality Score, save money and get more clicks.

Click Through Rate

Quality Scores are largely determined by the Click Through Rate (CTR) of a keyword and matched ad. CTR is a ratio of the number of people who click an ad to the total number of times an ad is shown (impressions).

If the click through rate on a converting keyword increases, then conversions increase and a business experiences growth. If a CTR is below 2 percent, try raising this percentage by adding negative keywords to campaigns, finding more targeted keywords and updating your ad text.

Mobile Ad Performance

Mobile searches continue to grow at a rapid pace and often have higher intent to convert. At the same time, a mobile ad performance may be drastically underwhelming when compared to desktop performance due to a poor mobile landing page experience. Analyzing mobile ad performance typically indicates one of three things:

  1. You're wasting money on mobile users who are not converting at the same rate as desktop users.
  2. You're missing opportunities to expand by not targeting mobile users.
  3. Mobile is outperforming desktop.

Enabling mobile on ad campaigns will increase spend, which is why it's important to keep an eye on conversions. If mobile conversions do not keep pace with purchases from desktop users, implement a bid adjustment to decrease the cost per click for mobile devices and allot more dollars to what truly works.

Account Activity

Putting in work is the No. 1 determinant of whether an AdWords account is successful. If you are not logging in at least weekly to the account (preferably daily), you’ll be ignoring minor (and sometimes major) issues impacting ad performance. Keyword conflicts, ads not running due to low keyword search volumes, or having keywords with max CPCs that are less than first-page bids are issues you can easily identify and solve if you are devoting time to your account.

Log in frequently to AdWords and maximize the time spent by evaluating what’s important: conversions, quality score, click through rate and performance.


Brett Farmiloe is the founder and CEO of Markitors, a digital marketing company that moves small businesses forward online.

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