Last week we kicked off a mini-series that aims to help you make 2016 the year of AdWords success. We started off by looking at some tips for the newcomers and we’ve got some more in store for them in our next post. But this week we want to offer something to existing account holders who need to improve results over the coming year.

We know this will count for a lot of you guys, so we wanted to focus on some more in-depth tips to help you lift your AdWords campaigns to the next level. To do this we’ll be focusing on some of the key AdWords metrics and looking at how to improve them, rather than offering generic advice you’ll find in countless other articles.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Okay, so the first thing we want to look at is click through rate (CTR), because this is where your ads start generating leads. If your ads are showing, but people aren’t clicking then that’s bad news for your overall Quality Score and Ad Rank, but it also suggests your ads and targeting strategy may need some fine-tuning.

Ways to improve your click through rate:

  • Make sure your campaigns and keywords are tightly themed.
  • Reassess your ad copy – could it be more relevant or compelling?
  • Use ad extensions.
  • Use dynamic keyword insertion.
  • Run more campaigns for specific user needs, using long-tail and negative keywords (eg: seasonal campaigns, product categories, etc.).
  • Rethink targeting – have you still not looked at ad scheduling, location targeting, device targeting, demographics, affinity audiences for display ads, etc? Explore the remaining options and reassess the methods you already use to get your ads in front of the right audience more often.
  • Scrutinise your competitors’ ads, compare them to your own and consider what you can do to ensure yours is clicked first.

Conversion Rate

Now you have more people clicking on your ads you’ll find you’re spending a whole bunch more on clicks. Which means you need to be sure enough of those clicks will convert – otherwise you’re suddenly out of pocket. Conversion rate is undoubtedly one of the most important AdWords metrics so let’s run through some ways to increase that vital percentage.

Ways to improve conversion rate:

  • Focus on creating, testing and improving your landing pages for higher conversions.
  • If your landing pages aren’t the final stop along the conversion process, then make sure the rest of the journey is seamless (think shopping carts, checkouts, etc.).
  • Use conversion tracking for insights on how you’re performing after clicks (including offline conversions).
  • Import Google Analytics goals into AdWords for more in-depth insights.
  • Use AdWords remarketing to capture lost leads from your Search Network ads.
  • Create an email marketing strategy to capture email addresses from users who click your ads so you can target them with promotions outside of the Google networks (without paying Google!).

Cost Per Action (CPA)

Once your clicks and conversion rates are through the roof, the next step is to reduce the overall cost of each conversion. This will increase your return on investment (ROI) and potentially free up some space for you to increase bids on your more profitable campaigns or targeting methods (eg: times of day or most profitable products).

Ways to reduce cost per action:

  • Improve your Quality Score.
  • Use CPA bidding.
  • Cut out the poor performers – eg: expensive keywords or campaigns that aren’t converting.
  • Reassess your targeting once again and focus on the settings that perform best.
  • Rework your keyword and negatives list for specificity.
  • Tweak your bids and measure conversion rates to see how low you can go without denting your profits (also keep an eye on ad position and CTR).
  • Lower your cost per click (see below).

Cost Per Click (CPC)

The less you pay per click that converts, the better your ROI. But you also pay money for clicks that don’t convert and that means lowering your cost per click (CPC) not only reduces your CPA but also your wasted ad spend.

How to reduce Cost Per Click:

  • Create highly focused, single keyword ad groups (SKAGS).
  • Shift your attention to long-tail and other low cost/high intent keywords.
  • Refine your geotargeting efforts and create campaigns with location keywords.
  • Use manual bidding as much as you can manage for greater control over your ad spend.
  • Use broad match modifiers to pinpoint user intents.
  • Master bid modifiers for locations, devices, times of day, etc.
  • Make sure your landing pages are keyword relevant (this helps with Quality Score).

Okay, so that’s four of the most important and actionable metrics in AdWords you can use to improve results. Many of the bullet points we’ve covered will improve your AdWords accounts in other areas too – including some of the other metrics we’ve looked at today.

Hopefully, by looking at some key metrics before we mention any fixes helps illustrate how these action will impact your AdWords performance. Simply suggesting you improve your Quality Score isn’t much help to you, for example, but once you know it can reduce your expenses you can start to see why it’s important.

As always, you can get in touch with us, by using the contact form below, if you want more information on the points we’ve covered today. You can also speak to us directly by picking up the phone or reaching out to us on social. Next time we’ll be back with some more tips for the beginners and we’re not done yet with our advice for existing account holders either – so stay tuned for more!