I take a very simple, but effective approach when I start a new AdWords campaign for a client. I call it the Shot Gun, Sniper, Jump Shot Approach To AdWords. The goal of this AdWords strategy is to discover high-converting, profitable ad groups and keywords, discover and allocate the maximum budget possible to those profitable ad groups and keywords, and then repeat by “taking shots” and looking for other high-converting and profitable ad groups and keywords. Here’s how it works.
The first step is to load and fire the shotgun. Shotguns shells shoot wide, but they don’t shoot far. So when I set up a new AdWords campaign I want to cover as wide an area as possible, but I don’t want to go deep with the budget into any one area yet.
I find as many relevant keywords as possible. Then I group those keywords into as many ad groups as makes sense. Once that’s done I make my ads, start the campaign, and sit back for two to four weeks and let the campaign run.
The goal of the shotgun phase is to target as many relevant keywords as possible, but not to spend much budget doing it. And of course the primary goal is to find out which ad groups and keywords are going to be high-converters and profitable searches to run ads against.
One month is a good time period to let the shotgun phase run for. It’s usually enough of a sample size to provide meaningful data, and one month’s budget is worth spending to discover which keywords are going to be profitable.
After you discover which ad groups and keywords convert at a high rate, you enter the sniper phase of this strategy. Snipers aim narrow and long. And that’s what we’re doing in this phase. We’re going to narrow down and only target the ad groups and keywords that have been high-converters and profitable during the shot gun phase, and we’re going to go long with the budget.
Our goal to figure out the maximum amount of money that we can spend on these profitable keywords, and then follow through by spending 100% of the budget on these high-converting keywords. In the shotgun phase we figure out which keywords are profitable, and in the sniper phrase we figure how often we can target those keywords with ads. Then you max out the budget and allocate 100% of the budget to these high-converting and profitable keywords.
To help figure out what the maximum budget possible for campaigns and keywords is, add these three columns in AdWords everywhere that it is possible to add them: search impression share, search lost IS (rank), and search lost IS (budget).
At this point you will be running your AdWords campaign profitably, and you will know what the maximum monthly budget is that you can spend on these profitable keywords. And hopefully you’ll be able to spend the maximum budget possible for these profitable keywords, because by definition, if the ads on these keywords are running profitably, then the more money you spend the more money your business will make.
The third, and ongoing phase is to repeat steps one and two by “taking shots.” As Michael Jordan said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So repeat the process, take lots of shots, aim wide with your shotgun, find more profitable keywords, go long with your budget in the sniper phase, and then continue to take more shots and find more profitable keywords.