Jason sent me the following question: “I put a lot of work into building a new Adwords campaign and I want to make sure I get good quality scores. Is there anything I need to do to my landing pages before launching the campaign? ”
Like I have said before, no one has the exact magic formula for Adwords success, but here are my recommendations.
By now I’m sure everyone has read about the coming updates to Adwords. By the way, if you don’t already subscribe to the Adwords blog I highly recommend doing so. You can read the full details of the update there.
Apparently these changes will be rolled out more slowly than originally thought. I talked to my rep this morning and he said they scaled back the number of accounts to get the new system right away. I guess there were “issues” on Saturday. So chances are most of us still won’t see them for a couple weeks. My account is unchanged.
I know some people are a little freaked out about the news, but all these improvments sound positive to me.
So did you get the new changes yet?
You probably received the emails from Google about their Adwords seminars. If you are starting out in PPC, I would recommend going to one of these event. Here are the benefits I can see:
I have not personally been to one of these, but I am considering the Advanced class when it comes to my city later this month. I would like to learn more about the API, which is one of the topics for that session.
Has anyone ever gone to one of these events?
You may have seen these new ad formats show up in your account recently. They are not in full release yet, but many advertisers are now able to run them after the latest Adwords maintenance last Sunday. These template ads, or rich media ads are for the Google content network only. The are much more content heavy ads than a standard text or image ad that you could previously run on the content network. These type of rich media ads can also be run on third party networks, but now Adwords is fully in the game.
One of the main benefits of these ads is the interaction tracking. This lets you see statistics of things like user mouseovers of images, and clicks on various ad components like next, previous, poll results etc… Which really helps you optimize your ads based on the interaction data. The interactions that you can track vary based on the ad type.
There are 7 different types of template ads that you can build:
These ads are easy to create, just plug your info and images into the template.
I have testing some of these ads for 3 weeks with mixed results. The formats I have tried are the Showcase, Quiz, and Coupons templates. I am having trouble getting decent volume with the ads, which is not surprising due to the early stage of the rollout. Once the formats become more widely accepted and the publisher base expands a bit more with Adsense publishers, I see this being a very good opportunity for marketers. Conversion rates have been strong with the low volume.
I am curious to hear if other people are testing these with good results. Anyone want to share there experiences?
It’s pretty well known that the 4 main categories of quality score elements that you can control are:
Volumes of information have been written about each one of these topics. But many people are not aware that there are other factors to your quality score that you have little to no control over at all.
1. First of all, the niche you are in affects your quality score. By just entering the niches, certain factors are applied to your score at the account level.
2. Your business model affects your quality score. Adwords looks at the way you are driving leads to a landing page and assigns a business model rating to your account. If they think your business model is based on affiliate sales they probably have a rating that dings your whole account.
3. Lastly, your competitors afffect YOUR quality score. This is probably the most frustrating thing to learn, but yes the competitors around you affect the score in your account in a negative way. Is this fair? I don’t think so, but that’s how Adwords rolls.
source: Adwords employees
Everyone is always looking for a secret to doing well with Adwords. The endless campaign options and quality score considerations can be a mystery to newbies and veterans alike. But Adwords success can be summed up in one sentence.
Here’s the big secret: give Google what they want.
That is a radical concept to some people who are always trying to find some trick or glitch to keep their ads running. But do you want your business depending on tricks? Sure its a pain to follow all of their rules and guidelines. Sure they have driven me crazy over the years with Google slaps. But if you want the traffic, what choice do you really have? You can either play ball on their field, or go home.
Here are just a few common sense examples of giving Google what they want.
Google even tells you upfront what they want!
So is Google evil? Perhaps. Do they withhold some information about quailty score? Absolutely. But all that is irrelevant. If you want to continue to run ads successfully over the long term, and ultimately make money, surrender your pride and give them what they want. It’s in your own best interest.
You often hear that direct type in traffic and parked domain traffic converts better than search. But if you don’t own a thousand domains, how can you get exposure to this traffic? Well, many people are surprised to find out this source: the Google content network. Google quietly slipped this one through a while ago. If you are running on the content network, check your placement performance reports, you probably are already getting traffic from parked domains.
If you run a placement report by URL, it shows up as “parked domains”.
There is an excellent explanation of how to run these reports if you haven’t run one.
You can also turn off parked domain traffic using Google’s “site and category excludion tool”, under the “page types” tab. But, why would you want to turn it off? I have found this traffic does convert like crazy!
I have to say Google never ceases to amaze me. Today I was reverse Google slapped!! What does this mean? I had several campaigns that were slapped down to 0 impressions, poor quality score and generally dead campaigns. I had long since moved on to different domains/accounts with the campaigns, but just left the dead campaigns as “active”. Well, much to my surprise today when checking stats on some affiliate campaigns I had huge numbers. Checking the sub IDs I found the traffic was coming from very strange old subs ids. It turns out after 6 months Google now likes those old campaigns and changed the quality score to great. This automatically switched everything back on and charged up huge amounts of clicks. Keep in mind I did nothing whatsoever to these campaigns to bring them back.
Perhaps this is a new technique, just let your slapped campaigns sit there and age, like a fine wine, then eventually Google will decide they like you again!
The only problem is, since I wasn’t using those landing pages or domains nothing was optimized and conversion rates were terrible. But nothing that can’t be fixed quickly so I can capitalize on my new surge of traffic.