Google AdWords

Google Analytics for Reporting linking Google Ads to Analytics

Google Analytics for Reporting linking Google Ads to Analytics

#4 in the series

Previous Articles

Google Ads Reporting

Google Ads had a wide assortment of reports available to
help you assess the value and performance of your marketing investment.  This includes reports to help you determine
which ad groups, which keywords, which ads, and more, are performing best.  You can even get a geographic breakdown of
which countries, or provinces, or states are driving the results you seek.  This is all very valuable information and
helps you to make decisions on how to allocate your Google Ads budget spending.

Not all of your digital marketing activities can be captured
within your Google Ads reporting which where the data available begins to fall

Digital Marketing
Program Level Reporting

In order to make a truly informed marketing decision, a
marketing manager should be able to view their data within the context of your
digital marketing plan, not just your Google Ads spend.  This includes many other potential digital
platforms including social media activities, referral traffic, organic traffic
especially as a result of your content marketing or SEO efforts, email
marketing campaigns, video marketing, and more. 
Much of this can be tracked and attributed back to the traffic source if
properly set up in Google Analytics. 
This then means we can use Google Analytics to provide us with
performance data across our digital marketing plans, not just the data we are
limited to within Google Ads reporting.

Google Ads to Google Analytics

So we must link our Google Ads account to our Google
Analytics account. An important note is that when linking these accounts, you
will need to be logged into a Google account that had administrative level access
to both accounts.

To link your accounts:

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account. 
  2. Click the Admin gear icon in the lower corner.
  3. In the Property column, click Google Ads Linking
  4. When you click the link above, you will be displayed a list of Google Ads account that you have Admin access to with your Google account. 
  5. Choose the correct account.

Google Ads
Data in Google Analytics

The process above allows Google Ads and Google Analytics to share data.  This places the Google Analytics source data along side your other source data such google organic traffic, Facebook social traffic, direct traffic, referral traffic, etc.  When viewing the #1 most important report in Google Analytics, you will be able to directly compare these traffic sources and quality of the traffic they are bringing to your site.  In addition to viewing important data such as number of visitors, the most important report in all of Google Analytics also includes behavioural data on each traffic source such as the average session duration, time on site, and average number of pages viewed.  The report can be found in Google Analytics by clicking Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium.  As an even more valuable comparison is possible if you have set up Conversion Goals in Google Analytics.  If so then you can now attribute your most valuable activities on your website to the sources of traffic.

Our next article in this series will outline how you can send
Google Ads conversion tracking data to Google Analytics and have it track to a
Conversion Goal.

How to Structure Google Ad Campaigns and Ad Groups

Google Ad campaigns can become very large. If you are running a very small campaign, say one main target market, with 10 to 15 keywords, then this article likely doesn’t apply to you. If you are running anything larger than a beginner Google Ad campaign then we will help you understand how properly structuring your campaigns and ad groups can help you control your budget and improve your ad quality which in turn can produce more clicks per dollar. We will be discussing a couple of key concepts:

  • budget management
  • quality scores
  • relevance

In order to help explain this article, we are going to need an example. So lets go with building ad campaigns for a fishing lodge and campground business. At this fishing lodge, they fish for 3 species of fish, Walleye, Northern Pike, and Lake Trout. The campground offers campsites with full service camping (water and electrical hook ups), and campsites without services.

Google Ads Budget Management

If you are familiar with Google Ads, maybe you already see where some of this is headed. First, it’s important to know the Google Ads hierarchy. In order from broadest the narrowest, the structure of Google Ads is:

  • Account
  • Campaign
  • Ad Group
  • Ads and Keywords

Budgets are set at the campaign level. A Google Ads account may have multiple campaigns, each with their own budget. Within each campaign, there can be multiple Ad Groups. Ad Groups contain their own list of keywords and associated ads. Using our example, we would create a campaign for the fishing lodge and another for the campground. This way we can allocate the budget separately as well as control increases / decreases and stopping / starting the budget for each campaign.

How you structure campaigns, and how many campaigns, should be based on how different your products or services are and differences in your target market for these products and services.

Create Ad Groups per Topic

Within each campaign, you will want to organize closely related topics of keywords, or themes. You should then set up one ad group per related group of keywords. In our example, in the campground campaign, we would likely set up Ad Groups based on themes such as “full service camp sites”, “tenting”, “seasonal campsites”, “long weekend camping”, “family camping”. Normally we will want to group together 5 to 15 keywords within each Ad Group. Usually if the list of keywords gets larger than 15, there will be enough variation that we should consider splitting into two Ad Groups. The main reason we want to limit the number of keywords in an Ad Group is to maintain a high level of relevance between our keywords, our ads, and the landing page for the ads. A high amount of relevance between these three components will lead to a higher ad Quality Score which will have big benefits for us. We will discuss improving Quality Scores in another article. It is important to know that all Ad Groups within the same campaign share the budget of that campaign.

Ads per Ad Group

You should plan to create a minimum of 3 ads per Ad Group and we recommend up to 5 ads. The more ads you have, the more assets Google has to work with and that increases the likelihood of a winning combination. Google will optimize the combinations of keywords and ads and will use the ads that perform better more often. When you are writing more ads you can use the top performing ads and make modifications based on a successful ad.

Cover all your main keywords with at least one ad. If you have have done your keyword research you should know which keywords will be your most important keywords. These top priority keywords should have ads that are specifically built to be of the highest relevance possible.

Google Ads Campaign Development Steps

You can easily follow through this series of steps to build your Google Ads campaigns.

  1. for each line of business, set a budget for ad spend
  2. list all your keywords for a line of business or product/service
  3. group your keywords into similar themes of no more than 15 per theme
  4. choose the top three keywords in each theme
  5. write an ad specifically for each of the top three keywords

You now have all the components for a well structured Google Ads campaign.

Linking Google Ads to Google Analytics

There are very powerful reports available in Google Analytics when you link in your Google Ads account.  These will lead to better marketing decision making based on better data.

Google is Search

Google has managed to lead the search industry for several decades now.  In the early days of the Internet, there were plenty of arguments over what was the best search tool.  Alta Vista lead the way for a while.  Others preferred Yahoo. Some got into Ask Jeeves.  MSN Search had a good foothold for a while (later becoming Bing).  But, for as hard as many of these tried, none of them became a verb.  Now if you want to look up something on the internet, you “Google it”.  With somewhere around 90% market share, Google is simply the way we find information.  Largely that is due to two factors.  The have the largest database of information, and their ability to produce the most relevant results.  In practice, Google is search.

Why Linking Matters

For marketers, Google has been a resource for unbelievable amounts of performance data for our websites.  While Google was constructing the best search algorithm, they were also providing marketers with powerful ways to track performance.  In Google Analytics they have given us a free website statistics package.  Yes, free.  Just sign up for a free account, add the tracking code, and you have access to statistics on your website visitors.

Now consider why you use Google Ads.  To drive traffic from Google searches to your website.  Google Ads has it’s own performance date reports you can view on your campaign performance.

But these are two separate sets of data (Google Analytics and Google Ads), making it difficult to determine what your best marketing efforts actually are.  Well, actually not.  Just link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account and your data-driven decision making will get more obvious.

How To Link

Linking to your Google Ads account from your Google Analytics account should take you less than 10 minutes.  We are assuming that your Google account (the account you sign into) has administrator rights for both your Google Analytics account your Google Ad account.

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics and select the website account you want to link
  2. Click the Admin link, it’s that gear symbol in the lower left corner
  3. Using the middle column of choices, choose the property you want to link, normally this will be the default property already displayed.
  4. In that middle column, under PRODUCT LINKING, click Google Ads Linking.
  5. Click + NEW LINK GROUP (the red button)
  6. Select the Google Ads accounts you want to link, Google will display the Google Ads accounts you have permissions to access.  Click Continue.
  7. You can name the link group, easiest to remember if you just use the website name.

How to Use the Data

With Google Ads linked to your Google Analytics account, you have the data to help determine which sources of traffic are producing the results you want and the data is in one place, Google Analytics.  One of our favorite reports is the Source/Medium report.  To see this report, click Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium.   This report will show you where your traffic is coming from and some key traffic behaviour stats for each Source/Medium combination of traffic.

Where this gets really powerful is if you have set up Goals in your Analytics account.  Goal tracking in Analytics is a way to report on the occurrence of the most important outcomes on your website, such a customers making a purchase, or filling out a form, consuming certain types of content, or other important performance criteria.  If you haven’t yet set up Goal tracking, don’t worry, we are going to cover that in an article in the not too far off future.

With Goals set up, you can quickly look at these report to see what traffic sources are leading to Goal completions.  Your Source/Medium combinations are likely to include referral traffic, social media referral traffic, direct traffic, organic search traffic and your Google Ads traffic.  It is these last two that will really tell you how your efforts invested and your dollars invested are producing the results you want.  If your organic traffic sources are driving half the traffic of your Google Ads traffic but are leading to more Goal conversions, then you need to address the Google Ads campaign performance.  You are likely wasting marketing dollars on ads that are not bringing the right traffic.  Conversely, if your Google Ads are far out performing your organic traffic sources then increasing your investment in Google Ads should result in more of the outcomes you are after.

Another very useful report is the Keywords report.  You can find it in Acquisition – Google Ads – Keywords.  Here you will see the traffic quality stats of your Google Ads keywords.  It is one of the best places to determine if your Google Ads campaign keywords are bringing you solid targeted traffic, or if you are just paying for traffic.  Low bounce rates and high pages per session are good indicators that the click through traffic is finding valuable information on your site.  Of course, if the keyword traffic is leading to Goal completions then this particular keyword is definitely bringing the type of traffic you want.

In conclusion, linking your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account requires less than 10 minutes of effort and the data that will be available in Google Analytics will be extremely valuable.  You will be able to compare the value of all your traffic sources, leading to your Goals, as well as more detailed comparisons to help identify the top quality keywords in your Google Ad campaigns.

Spend the 10 minutes today.  You will be glad you did.

Google Ads Keyword Match Types

Google has built an incredibly powerful advertising machine. Powerful in two ways. The most important is that it helps advertisers place their ads in front of people actively searching for content matching their ads. The second is it is a very powerful way for Google to reach further into your company wallet and optimize their way into bigger revenues. Fortunately, it’s a winning combination for you, the advertiser. How much you are able to win will depend on how well you are able to optimize Google Ads for your benefit. One of the most important ways to do this is by using Keyword Match Types.

What Are Keyword Match Types?

When you build your Google Ads campaigns, you will include a list of keywords to associate with your ads.  (We won’t get into how to structure your Campaigns and Ad Groups in this post.)  Keywords can be in one of 4 keyword match types.

  • Broad Match
  • Broad Match Modifier
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

This list above is also in the order of least specific to most specific.  As the name suggest, Broad Match will match your keywords to as many search queries as possible, search queries that are the same, similar, and related.  On the other end of the scale, Exact Match is also just as named, it will only match to a search query which is exactly the same as your keyword.

The more specific your keyword match types, the more targeted your traffic, but also the fewer ad impressions that you will receive.

How Keyword Match Types Work

For our examples below, we will be an online store selling fly fishing gear, including fly fishing rods, fly fishing reels, fly fishing line, fly fishing nets, and fly fishing vests.

Broad Match

  • enter the keyword without any special symbols
  • example: fly fishing rod
  • Search queries can match based on any word in your key phrase, in any order plus misspellings and synonyms.  So this keyword could conceivably be triggered by “fishing rod”, “fly in fishing”, “fly swatter”, “fishing boat”, “ice fishing tent”, “fishing lodge”, “best places to fish”.  Some of this traffic is desired, some is not.

Broad Match Modifier

  • place the plus sign in front of words that must be matched
  • +fly +fishing rod
  • Search queries can match based on having the + marked word included in the query, in any order, and may also include other words, or synonyms.  “fly fishing lodge”, “fly in fishing”, “fly angling guide”, “fly fishing gear”, “fishing flies”.  Traffic will be more specific than broad match.

Phrase Match

  • place quotes around the word combination that must appear
  • “fly fishing” rod
  • Search queries can match if they contain the phrase, in the correct order, or closely related phrases, but also may included additional words or synonyms.  “fly fishing trip”, “guide to fly fishing”, “fly fishing handbook”, “fly fishing for trout” could all be matched.

Exact Match

  • place square brackets around the term that must match exactly
  • [fly fishing rod]
  • Search queries must be very specific and must include the entire phrase, all words, in order, or very close variants.  This match type was updated by Google in 2017 to be a little less restrictive so now will also match on close misspellings.  “fly fishing rod”, “fly fishing rods”, “fly fish rod” would all be search terms that could trigger this match.

Multiple Keywords, Multiple Keyword Match Types

Remember as you are building your campaigns, that each ad group will have multiple keywords and each keyword can use a match type.   Some terms may target traffic broadly while others may be specific enough to eliminate other related traffic, that you do not want.  How broad, or how narrow you set your keyword match types should be based on how broad or narrow are the product or services offered.

You should almost never have all of your keywords as the same match type.

What is the Right Keyword Match Type for Me

The only exception to the above would be a brand new ad campaign built by a New Advertiser who does not have the data or the intuition to initially use other match types.  In this case, start with Broad Match and follow the data (see below).  As your campaigns run, Google Ads tracks a very useful set of data that can help you make decisions.  Your data should drive you to consider changing keyword match types.

New Advertisers

If you are new to using Google Ads, then narrow the choices down to two keyword match types, Broad Match and Phrase Match.  This gives you enough control over your keywords without providing a confusing set of rules that end up resulting in casting a net that is either too wide or too specific.  You will need at least 2 weeks of data but it is better to leave your ads running for at least 4 weeks before you start making changes.  Then go to the data, specifically look at keywords within your campaigns that are receiving a very high number of impressions and a very low click through rate (CTR).  Generally a CTR of less than 1% is considered low.  These are quite often add impressions that are triggered by search queries which are only slightly related.  The user then sees your headlines and ad copy as unrelated to their query and does not click your ad.  By using phrase match on these terms, you can narrow down the ad impressions to those matching the most important portion of your keywords.

Experienced Advertisers

If you are an experienced Google Ads user then optimize your use of keyword match types by starting from broad match and working your way to more narrow match types.  If you have enough experience with Google Ads and enough familiarity with the search behaviour of your target audience, then you may be able to begin your campaign with more than just Broad Match keywords.   Let the campaigns run for several weeks to a month and then begin following the data from the campaigns to lead you in the right direction.

The data you will want to use most for making decisions on keyword match types will be clicks, impressions, the resulting click through rate (CTR), conversions, and the wealth of information found within the Search Terms report.  Some of the best data available in your Google Ads account will be ad conversions.  To see this data, you will need to have conversion tracking set up. If you do not have this set up, we will be writing a future article on how to set up conversion tracking.

Anywhere you have high conversions, your campaigns are doing what you want, driving high quality traffic to your website.  Where you see good conversion numbers, it’s best to leave those keywords alone and spend you time on improving the performance of other keywords.  For an optimization strategy, think about beginning as broad as possible and working to becoming as specific as possible.  Where you see keywords with low CTR, you know you need to apply some attention.  As the initial step, consider which individual words in your keywords really should be in a search query to drive relevant traffic, and add the broad match modifier.  In our example, +fly +fishing would be the best place to apply this.

Check the Search Terms report.  The link to the report is found above the graph in your keywords performance report.  Here you will find the actual search queries used which triggered clicks on your ads.  Look for commonalities in the terms, phrases which you are not currently using in your keywords, but also pay attention to the CTR in this report.  If you find high impression numbers, with low CTR, make note of the search term and then go back to your keywords and adjust your match types to weed these out.  In our example, if we find high instances of “ice fishing rods” then we know we are too broadly exposed.  We can limit our exposure to these types of impressions by focusing the attention in our keywords to “fly fishing” with the Phrase Match modifier.

Looking again at the keywords performance report, look for high CTR but a low number of conversions, these are the types of people you want, (they are likely fly fishing enthusiasts) they just aren’t looking specifically for what you are selling.  The downside of this traffic is that it uses up your ad budget but doesn’t contribute to your revenue.  In this case, the keyword match type Exact Match can help to focus the ad impressions to those searches looking for the products you carry in your store.  Examples would include [fly fishing rod], [fly fishing reel], [fly fishing vest], [fly fishing nets], and [fly fishing line].

Pause the Old and Add New Keyword Match Types

One important user tip when you are optimizing Google Ads keyword match types.  When making changes to match types, we recommend pausing the existing keyword and adding a new keyword with the updated match type.  Sometimes your optimization efforts will go too far, get too specific, and reduce the appeal of the ads to a very small audience (low impressions).  But this is hard to tell if you don’t have the historical data from the old match type to review.  You can still see the historical data of a paused keyword in Google Ads.  So if your new match type is less effective at driving sales traffic conversions than the old match type, simply pause the new and reactivate the old.

Revisit your campaigns at least monthly and look for further opportunities to optimize.

SEO and SEM for WFO

We have deployed combination of SEO and SEM projects for Wilderness Family Outfitters as a successful example of bringing quality paid advertising with Google Ads traffic to a client and then working to add organic traffic over a longer period of time for a dual source of traffic, leads, bookings and revenue.

See more information in our SEO and SEM Project Portfolio or visit the Wilderness Family Outfitters website.

Google AdWords Message Extensions

The hottest new feature within the Google Pay Per Click advertising platform is Message Extensions.  With Message Extensions you are letting your customers communicate with you in the manner in which they prefer.  In this case, they are choosing to communicate with you by text message from their mobile phone to yours.

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The online user is increasingly becoming a mobile user.  As the phone becomes the primary device for search activities, marketers must adapt and prepare their own marketing channels to be Mobile First, to take advantage of how mobile users communicate.  Many mobile users prefer to text first as compared to talk first so given the choice, texting will be chosen.  Some mobile users will decline to communicate unless they can text, or if text is not available, email.

Message Extensions in AdWords enable people to see your ad, click, and contact you by text message. With one click of your ad, people can contact you for an appointment, to get a quote, request new information, or schedule a service.  Message Extensions work within your existing campaign structure so there is no need to set up a new campaign or AdGroups just to enable the messaging feature.  All you need to set is the schedule for when the message extensions will display, such as during business hours on weekdays, and the mobile phone number to which the text will be sent.  The media charges from Google for each message sent from an ad are the same as if an ad link was clicked through to your site.

Make it more convenient for your customers and give them the communication method they prefer by setting up Message Extensions.

For assistance on setting up and managing your Google AdWords program, Netnotic Marketing now offers our Digital Marketing Packages which provide a bundle of digital marketing services including Google AdWords program management.

Google New AdWords Expanded Text Format

Google has created a temporary opportunity for AdWords advertisers to have a competitive advantage by switching to their new Expanded Text Ad Format.  The new ad format results in a physically bigger ad, occupying a greater share of the search results real estate.  A larger ad is more noticeable and leads to higher click through rates.  I say this from experience, having implemented them with ALL of my AdWords clients.

What are expanded text ads?

Going from the standard text ad format to the new Expanded Text Ad Format gives you more text to work with, more than the previous standard text ads in a few important ways. The important differences are:

  • Two 30 character headline fields
  • An 80 character description field
  • Using your final URL’s domain as the display URL
  • Two path fields that can be used in the display URL


google-adwords-expanded-text-adsThe first two of these changes are the most significant, as the images above depict.  The New Expanded Text Ad on the left is clearly much larger and more prominent.  When you are the only ad format on the search results using the new format, your click through rates might jump as much as 30% to 50%.  Of course, this advantage only lasts as long as your competition lags behind in updating your ads.  Conversely, the disadvantage lasts as long as you lag behind.

I have been asked “Can you still use the old Standard Text Ads?”  Yes you can, but why?  As Google continues to tweak their search results pages, it become increasingly important to stand out, not to blend in with the other noise.

Overall the new ad format gives you almost 50% more space, 50% more opportunity to deliver a compelling message to your audience.

Google AdWords Optimization – Keyword Match Types

Once you have had your AdWords campaigns running for a few months, you should have enough data to start optimizing.  Using keyword match types can help you get more (or less) out of your keywords to improve your financial performance.  When you start your campaign and build your ad groups, ads, and keyword lists, I would strongly recommend sticking to the broad match keyword type, which is the default.  This will give you the most exposure and the most data to evaluate your performance.

For the purposes of some fictional examples, we are an online retailer of baseball gloves.  We are using Google AdWords to attract people to our site who want to purchase a new baseball glove.

Broad Match Keyword Type

Google will attempt to match your broad match keyword with as many closely related terms as possible, including synonyms of the words in your keyword phrase, and searches which contain some of your words.  A keyword such as baseball glove could potentially display your add for searches such as softball glove, baseball mitt, baseball gloves, baseball batting gloves, gloves for baseball.  A short keyword phrase, one, two, or even three words, may trigger your ad for the widest possible search terms.  The negative side is your ad may be triggered for searches you really don’t want, potentially costing you pay per click dollars or click through rates.  For example, the same keyword from above, baseball glove, could trigger your add for terms such as history of the baseball glove and how are baseball gloves made.

To use broad match keywords, simply enter the keyword without any other symbols or modifiers (which are used for other keyword match types).

Phrase Match Keyword Type

If you need a little more control, phrase match keyword match type eliminates a lot of terms by requiring that your entire keyword phrase is contained in the search term.  Using our “baseball glove” example, searches such as baseball player gloves, baseball golden glove winners, and gloves for baseball would not trigger your ad while searches such as baseball glove sizes, types of baseball glovesbaseball glove for kids, and leather baseball glove could trigger your ad.  

To specify the Phrase Match keyword type, simply put the double quote symbols at the beginning and end of the phrase, “baseball glove”.

Exact Match Keyword Type

The greatest amount of control is the exact match keyword match type.  It will also deliver, in most cases, the lowest amount of search impressions as it will only consider your ad for searches that exactly match the keyword phrase.  This match type is best used when your audience searches for a specific item, or when your product mix is quite narrowly defined.  Sometimes it can be useful to use the exact keyword match type when you are running a promotion or perhaps you have some specific traffic types that you want to drive to a specific landing page.  In our example, you could be running a promotion for Youth/Kids Baseball Gloves.  In this example, you might set up an Ad Group specifically to drive traffic to a suitable landing page with exact match keywords such as [kids baseball gloves], [baseball gloves for kids], and [youth baseball gloves].  You would not want to drive traffic to this landing page (which is all about Kids Baseball Gloves) for search terms such as professional model baseball gloves, so you would make the keywords very specific.

To specify the Phrase Match keyword type, simply put the square bracket symbols at the beginning and end of the phrase, [baseball glove].

Negative Keywords

Probably the least used keyword match type is negative keywords, but potentially the most valuable.  Negative keywords eliminate your ad from searches that do not have value to you.  In our example, negative keywords such as -used, -cheap, -secondhand, would all keep you from spending money on searchers who are not looking to buy a new baseball glove.  You can set negative keywords at both the campaign level (in the shared library) as well as the ad group level by using the minus sign before the words.

Getting More from Your AdWords Budget

 AdWords Budget Maximization

If you have been running a Google AdWords campaign for over a month there will be enough historical performance data to optimize and maximize your budget dollars.  The key to effectively managing your budget is to start at the top and drill down to the detail.  If you try to start at the detail level, you will spin your wheels in too many places.  I would normally like to see a campaign running for about 3 months before make too many drastic changes.  If your business has high seasonality, you should base your important decisions on data gathered when it matters most.

Budget maximization is not only about squeezing dollars.  It should be viewed as finding the right places to spend your advertising budget, which means both increasing and decreasing the amounts spent.

Use Conversion Tracking

By running a campaign, you must have some marketing goal in mind that you want the traffic to your website to accomplish.  In most situations, this is purchasing a product or becoming a lead by filling out a form.  If you have identifiable actions such as these on your site, then you should be using Conversion Tracking.  This feature tracks your visitors arriving to your site through the click of an ad.  If they complete the desired action, they are a Conversion.  Tracking conversions shows how your advertising dollars are generating sales and/or leads and provides a cost factor per conversion.  This will be key data used in the following budget maximization efforts.

AdWords Supplies a Ton of Data

There is enough data in an AdWords account to drown away an entire morning of clicking, sorting, secondary dimensions, more clicking and more detail.  The key to not wasting your time and getting the most from your efforts is knowing how to spot the opportunities.  I am assuming you are running a fairly typical campaign, using the Google search network and Google display network, with text ads and image ads.  Also, within each Ad Group, you have multiple ad variants and a suitable list of keywords.

Begin at the top, at the Ad Group level and compare your performance across the board.  The key metrics will be conversions, cost per conversion, clicks, cost per click (CPC), impressions and click through rate (CTR).  This same set of key metrics and viewed at the campaign, Ad Group, ads, and keywords levels.  A conversion is the highest measure of commitment (an likely value) that a website visitor can make.  So any combination of high high conversions is a positive sign.  As long as the cost per conversion fits within your marketing goals, then the high conversion components of your campaign should be what you view as successes.  For the most part, these top performing assets can be left alone to continue performing well.  Where you want to focus your time is where you see high campaign dollars spent, and few conversions.  These are visitors to your website which are costing you dollars, but not returning value.  Dig deeper in these areas and look for specific ads with high dollars spent low conversions.  Also look for keywords generating high traffic volumes but not resulting in conversions.  Where this is happening, you are taking budget dollars away from other ads and other keywords that may perform better.  By simply pausing the campaign elements costing you money, you can retain the data, but free up the budget.  Don’t delete your low performers, just pause them.

Trading Budget $’s

stretching-adwords-budgetsWhen you set your budgets at the start of the campaigns, you had an idea of where the search traffic would come frsqueezing_cents_from_dollarsom and where your dollars needed to be.  Now that you have actual data, from actual search traffic, let the dollars guide you.  Unless you have other marketing goals not related to ROI, begin shifting dollars from elements that are simply driving cost to those that are generating traffic and conversions.  That should mean both shifting dollars, trading from low performers to high performers, as well as adding dollars.

Be prepared to look out side your AdWords and outside your digital media budget to compare the performance of your AdWords dollars to other marketing expenditures.

Adjusting CPC to the Optimum Level

When you first start your AdWords campaign, I strongly recommend you let AdWords automatically set your max Cost Per Click (Max CPC).  This will give AdWords the flexibility to apply your budgets to where the search traffic is happening.  As you become more familiar with your performance data, you will should see some areas of your campaign that are frequently maxing out their budget allotment.  If you do not have additional budget dollars to apply here, then you ca follow another tactic to attempt to get more clicks and conversions from the same dollars.  Begin to manually turn down the max Cost per Click.  If you are maxing out the spend, then that means there are more clicks to be had, but your budget is running out before the end of the day.  Adjusting the max CPC downward by 5% increments can tweak your way to higher traffic for the same dollars. Make the change, then let it run for a couple of weeks.

If your adjustment leads to higher traffic, be prepared to trim the max CPC by another 5%.  Be patient, don’t try to get there all at once with a 25% reduction or you may under price your way into traffic loss.  Once you reach a point where a 5% reduction no longer gets you more clicks for the same dollars, then adjust back on 5% increment.  You have found the line, go back.

Down to the Keyword Level

Managing your campaign at the Keyword level might meant that you have a lot of spare time.  For a sizable campaign, you might have upwards of 1000 keywords.  Trying to manage too much detail at tool low of level can leave you chasing the data instead of using it to guide you.  At the keyword level, i recommend that you do the following:

  • set the date range to 3 month or more
  • sort the keywords by conversions
  • pause the keywords with high media cost, low click through rate, and zero conversions

Using Google AdWords and Google Analytics Together

We will discuss how to use these two powerful tools together, to gain more insights into your traffic generations campaigns.  This will be found in a future article.


Every campaign has something to gain by reviewing and looking for opportunities to improve the performance.  Use the AdWords performance data to guide you to the elements most needing your attention.


Responsive Website for

An existing customer called us up and wanted to be more aggressive marketing their Texas Whitetail Deer Hunting.

The project included developing a Google AdWords campaign and a fully responsive website based on our “Mobile First” approach.  The site design, content strategy, layouts, and image galleries were all optimized for mobile.

See more in our Portfolio.