The launch of a new AdWords campaign is a very special time, both for the team here at Rothman PPC and for our advertisers. The clients have committed to advertising their business with Google AdWords, we have built a new, great campaign to accomplish that goal, and everyone is ready to turn on the ads and start seeing the quality leads roll in! No matter how big or small the campaign is, there’s always that special feeling when we launch a new campaign.
The first question on everyone’s minds after a campaign launch is how do we tell if the campaign is working or not?
Here at Rothman PPC we’ve developed a three question checklist to determine if a campaign is working. But before we look at those three questions, let’s first define what working means for a new campaign.
Once a campaign has been up and running for at least 30 days, working means the campaign is achieving the ultimate goal that is always the ultimate goal… acquiring leads at a profitable cost.
But for a brand new campaign, what we mean by working is basically is the campaign launch going as planned? Sure, it’s great if after a few days leads are already coming in at a profitable rate, and often times that happens. But for the first week of the campaign, working just means basically are things going according to plan?
That’s a vague definition of a successful campaign launch for sure, but things “going according to plan” really is the goal during the first week or two of the campaign. However, to help better-define “going according to plan” we have implemented a three question checklist we ask ourselves during the first couple weeks of a Rothman PPC AdWords campaign launch. This checklist is as follows.
1. Are we spending the full budget?
This question is fundamental to any AdWords campaign. Every campaign has a budget, and one determinant of things going according to plan is whether or not we’re able to spend that full budget.
If we’re spending the full budget, okay great that’s all we need to know and we check this item off the list.
If we’re not spending the full budget, there’s a few questions we need to ask ourselves:
Is the budget unrealistic? Meaning, is the search volume for this niche low and the budget is unrealistic?
Can we expand the location targeting or the schedule to get closer to spending the full budget?
Can we open up the match type targeting to show up on more searches and spend more budget?
Can we find more keywords to target and spend more of the budget?
Can we bid more aggressively, show up higher in the search results, and spend more of the budget?
These are the questions we ask ourselves when a campaign isn’t able to spend the full desired budget during the first couple weeks after the launch.
2. Are we getting a good clickthrough rate?
One of the best signs that you’re delivering relevant ads to interested search users is a strong clickthrough rate. Getting at least a 1% clickthrough rate on search campaigns is usually the benchmark people use to define a good clickthrough rate. But on many search campaigns you’ll probably be able to get a clickthrough rate much stronger than 1%.
However, during the first couple weeks of a campaign we’re using that 1% benchmark to see if our campaign is going according to plan. If we’re achieving at least a 1% clickthrough rate after the first week, we say, okay great the clickthrough rate is starting out above our benchmark. But if we’re not getting at least a 1% clickthrough rate we drill down into the keywords and find out which keywords and search terms are holding down our clickthrough rate and then we make the necessary adjustments.
3. Are we showing up on quality search terms?
The third area we check to determine whether or not our new campaigns are running as planned is the search terms report. Keywords are what you use to target traffic, and search terms are what people actually search in Google when they see and click on your ads. Understanding what search terms are is extremely important when you’re advertising on AdWords. If you show up on the right kinds of search terms your AdWords campaign is going to be successful, and vice versa, your AdWords campaign won’t be successful if you fail to show up on the right kinds of search terms.
And what we mean by the “right” kinds of search terms, is search terms that are relevant to your advertising goals. For example, if you’re a Chicago moving company you want to be paying for clicks on search terms like moving companies in Chicago, Chicago movers, and office movers Chicago. These are relevant search terms done by people looking to hire a local Chicago moving company, and you’re able to tell that is their intent based on what they search. Conversely, this Chicago moving company would not want to see the following kinds of search terms getting impressions and clicks: moving truck rental, earth moving equipment, how to start a moving company, and moving company contract template. These are bad search terms to show up on and pay for because people doing these searches are not searching for a local moving company to hire. And again, we can infer their intent based on what they search for in Google.
Because showing up on the correct search terms is crucial for AdWords success, we’re checking that search terms report daily for the first couple of weeks after the campaign launch. And we’re checking it to make sure we’re showing up on quality and relevant search terms. If most of the search terms we’re showing up on are quality and relevant to the advertiser’s goals, then we’re good and we cross this item off of our new campaign checklist. But if a lot or most of the search terms we’re showing up on are low quality and not relevant, then we figure out what keywords are bringing in those bad search terms and we fix the problem.
So there it is. Use of the budget, a good clickthrough rate, and relevant search terms. Those are the three items we look for immediately after a new campaign launch. Once these three items are on track, we get on with the ongoing AdWords campaign management.