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Rolling AdWords like a professional basketball player

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 02 Aug, 2017
Essential Essential topic

PPC tips and strategy to enhance your AdWords campaign

What comes to your mind when you think about AdWords? Perhaps, a lot of data, excel sheets, and analysis. When I think about AdWords, I usually think about a customer’s choice and their range of options, as if they were buying a burger at McDonalds.

Economists put goods that are likely to sell well together and called them complementary goods. McDonalds uses this approach to sell burgers and chips as great complements. How many times have you bought a burger without chips at McDonalds? Probably never.  The same theory applies to AdWords search and display ads. If you have search you should have some sort of display advertising. These are ideal components of advertising that complement each other so well and almost guarantee a great outcome.  However, I won’t be able to go too far with my food theory on AdWords advertising so I will try out some of the most known basketball strategies on a battlefield of AdWords competition.

“Alley-oop” Search & Re-marketing

There are a lot of advertisers who don’t use remarketing and search to their full potential. Search and remarketing make an ideal duo and contribute to amazing outcomes and campaign performance. Let’s imagine search ads as the player who makes a long-distance pass close to the rim of the basket and re-marketing catches the ball and dunks it.

This is how search and remarketing work together:

  1. A user searches for a product
  2. Clicks on your ad
  3. Doesn’t convert, leaving the site – the ball was close to reaching the basket
  4. Remarketing takes over and serves the user relevant ads across other websites
  5. Eventually a user clicks on one of these ads, leading to a conversion – the ball is in the basket. Well done, great job!

AdWords further improved the options for those who prefer using search advertising with RLSA, introducing the ability to use remarketing list for search ads. Once your audience is big enough, your team is ready to play the game. I would strongly recommend RLSA to all advertisers who are limited in their ad creative.

The data below shows how introducing a remarketing campaign in May 2016 initially brought instability and cost increase, but over time the CTR and conversion rate improved. The result was better than before retargeting with cost and CPC decreases with average position remaining at the top.

The choice is yours, however, do not underestimate the “Alley-oop” strategy.

Fast Break

The fast break strategy in Paid Advertising is not always the best way to approach AdWords. In basketball, it is an offensive strategy that involves moving the ball up the court as fast as possible before the defense has had time to set up. I refer to fast break strategy in Adwords as the initial stage of setting up the campaign where you choose the bid strategy, ads in rotation and so on.

Fast Break

Let’s say the campaign is set up with enhanced CPC, accelerated delivery, and ad delivery optimized for the best performing ad.

Enhanced CPC allows Google to pay more so you appear higher for a highly converting user. Accelerated delivery means that your ads are hyper-competitive and appear for every search with the top performing ad being seen nearly 70% of the time.

Unfortunately, the reality is that accelerated delivery aims for spending the budget faster throughout the day, while enhanced CPC further increases your bids based on an assumption that a user may convert. On top of this, ad rotation leaves you without an opportunity to see which ads perform better, because generally, only 1 ad will outperform the rest of them. At the end of the day, you will be left with a lot of unreliable data, unnecessarily high CPC, and an exhausted budget.

I strongly recommend letting the campaign breeze along, letting it collect data, rather than trying for a fast break.

Triple Threat

Triple threat is when the player has just received the ball and has the options to dribble, pass or shoot. Let’s think of an AdWords campaign that you have recently received from a customer, or a fresh campaign build, as a triple threat. It can go either way, and it is necessary to set the basics right. Think about very important features such as use of broad match keywords, negative keywords, overbidding, poor campaign structure, and ignoring the time of day.

When the new campaign is built, it needs to be checked daily until you are absolutely sure that there is no chance for things to go sideways.

Sixth Man

In basketball, the sixth man is the first non-starting player on the bench who is considered more valuable than the other reserve players. It’s time to talk about the business that we are advertising. It’s crucial that we don’t underestimate the power of the business itself. Our job is to make sure that the business model and goals are well-understood and baked into the strategy of the AdWords campaign. The business’ development is indirectly affecting the campaign as well as the team effort is what counted at the end of any game.

Also, we should not forget about the power of AdWords’ new tools and optimization strategies. Never miss a chance to try new strategies, new opportunities, and utilize new features once they are available (of course, only if applicable). If there is a chance, make sure you make use of AdWords betas.

Pick and Roll

Imagine a player running across the court, facing a defender, who is unaware about being blocked by a team mate of an offender, then our player “rolls” over and the defender is left thinking whether to pursue an offender or switch to another player who blocked the way. How can we ensure that our campaign is well protected? Never leave your campaigns with a limited budget. This is the time when your campaign is set to be perfect and it functions as an offender.

However, with a limited budget, or sick team member, the options become limited, and that “pick and roll” moment may never happen. You will miss a lot of opportunities to show your products and even miss out on a potential sale or lead. In the scenario where your campaign already has the necessary keywords and appropriate ads, the ball is in our hands and having enough budget helps to carry the ball until the end of the game.

Are you at a loss with your PPC campaign? Try Smart Insights' Paid Media toolkit to get your business started. This will help you increase your online reach and awareness using targeted paid media. Not only that, find out about best practices to improve your ROI using Google AdWords, Social Media and display Ads.

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